On February 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm the first ever post went live here at Hammer & Rails. Back then sports blogging was still the wild west. The Big Ten still only had 11 teams and at the time only four (Iowa, Michigan, Penn State, and Minnesota) were represented by SB Nation blogs. The network was making a big push to add a blog for every major college and pro team. They had originally offered the Boiled Sports guys, but they turned them down. I was running off the Tracks through Blogger at the time and they approached me to come on over for $50 a month.
Here we are, almost 10 years later. Of over 90 college sites affiliated with SB nation we’re regularly in the top 5 in traffic. This year alone we have had five months with more than 1 million page views and December is on pace to be a 6th. We even had our best month in November With more than 1.65 million page views. I have been pleased to add some great writers over the years and they have done a ton to help grow our audience. I couldn’t runt his palce without them, and even though we’re all over the country, we have a great crew here handling things. I am now one of the longest tendured site managers with SB Nation and it still amazes me how far we have come.
In these past 10 years we’ve done a lot, both good and bad. We’ve tweeted recklessly, made embarrassing videos (yeah, I know THAT video was really bad), published posts we shouldn’t have, made outrageous claims like Donnie Hale could be the next Robbie Hummel. We’ve also had a lot of fun. We’ve watched some great basketball runs, enjoyed a pair of monumental Ohio State upsets, and survived the horrors of Darrell Hazell.
Things with Purdue sports are far from perfect. In the last 10 years we have four Sweet 16 runs, two Big Ten basketball titles, a women’s golf national title, four bowl games, Big Ten titles for women’s golf, women’s track & field, women’s tennis, baseball, and a few individual national championships across various sports.
The thing is though, we’re nothing without you readers. Without all of you coming here over the years we would not be able to do what we do. Yeah, we write all the stuff, but you all have to read it. We must be doing something right all this time becaquse you keep coming back and even bringing more friends.
Sure, our acerbic take is not for everyone. We say what we think, right or wrong, and have shown to be masters of the bad take, but we write from the hip and are definitely lifelong fans of Purdue sports. All we want is success from our teams (and a Final Four, please, for hte love of God before I die. It is my new sports white whale after a Cubs World Series).
So to you, we offer our deepest thanks and wish you and yours a Merry Christmas. Many of us are in Indiana this week visiting family, but we are all one extended Purdue family. May all of you have a great and successful New Year.