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Diamonds, dreams and dot coms

Haddonfield sophomore Jack Nuckols is in love with baseball. So he and his father created their own online baseball ballpark guide for fellow fans of America’s pastime

Mike and Jack Nuckols have been going to major and minor league ballparks together for a decade, so the father-son combo have collaborated to form a new website: baseballstadiumguide.com (RYAN LAWRENCE, The Sun)

Jack Nuckols, a sophomore at Haddonfield Memorial High School, goes to professional baseball games regularly each spring and summer. He has a knack for tracking down souvenir baseballs (he’s collected over 40). And, despite being 15 years old, he’s already published two baseball stories in these very pages as a budding sports writer.

So, naturally, the next step was for Nuckols and his similarly-baseball-loving dad to create a passion project together, fueling their professional interests, too.

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The Nuckols’ launched a website last month: NuckolBall’s Official Guide to MLB Stadiums (baseballstadiumguide.com).

While the younger Nuckols still plays baseball, he’s smart enough to have figured out the analytics: 10 years from now, he stands a better chance to report to the ballpark every day as a professional baseball writer than as a professional baseball player. The website allows him to continue to hone his writing craft with college still three years away.

“I love baseball a lot, but I always wanted to be a baseball player, but I very quickly realized that there is very little chance that I become that,” he said. “But I think that I like it enough, if it’s that important in my life and basically what I find the most joy in, I thought that’d be a really cool thing to do, to do that professionally.”

Mike Nuckols is a creative director for an advertising agency by day but mainly works in health-care marketing. Creating a baseball website with his son has allowed him to expand the tools of his own trade.

“I took some online courses on digital marketing and social marketing, because I’d like to be able to do that and I never get to do it on my job,” Nuckols said. “So we have a whole digital plan.”

The plan is set to launch in March. It’s neatly outlined on a hard copy calendar, with run dates for various story ideas the two have brainstormed about together, like additional tips for how to get the most out of your Camden Yards experience on road trips to Baltimore, a story on the game’s best nicknames, and perhaps a submission on the top eateries at National League ballparks from the youngest Nuckols man in the house, Alex. A seventh-grader, Alex Nuckols is officially listed on the website’s list of contributors as “Annoying Younger Brother.”

(Alex isn’t too into baseball).

“Whenever he comes,” Mike Nuckols said. “we have to feed him like crazy to keep him occupied.”

Jack Nuckols, a 15-year-old sophomore at Haddonfield Memorial High School, has been writing about baseball for a while. He was in sixth grade when The Sun ran a story he wrote on former Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp. (RYAN LAWRENCE, The Sun)

In addition to feeding the website’s guide (which you can download for free) with fresh stories throughout the season, Mike and Jack Nuckols have created Twitter and Facebook accounts to share their content through social media channels. If the guide itself is any indication, it should a fun follow and read throughout the season.

For example, the Haddonfield sophomore has this info nugget under the guide’s page on Denver’s Coors Field: “Sit on the 300 level, Row 20. Unlike the green seats throughout the rest of the stadium, this row is purple because it is exactly 1 mile above sea level.”

Even a long-time veteran baseball writer wasn’t aware of this upon reading the guide.

Jack Nuckols clearly has a mind for the game. It only makes sense sharing it through writing for a website.

“If you’re talking about when going to baseball stadiums began (for us), I had to be 6 or 7,” Nuckols said of the nearly decade-long project. “I mean, it’s watching baseball. It took a few months this winter. And it gives us more incentive to keep going to games, just to add to the guide.”

Ryan is a veteran journalist of 20 years. He’s worked at the Courier-Post, Philadelphia Daily News, Delaware County Daily Times, primarily as a sportswriter, and is currently a sports editor at Newspaper Media Group and an adjunct journalism instructor at Rowan University.

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