Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Departures & farewells
Autumn is the season for exits. It seems that everyone sees trees shedding their leaves and they suddenly contract "I've got to get OUT OF HERE" fever.
For me, there have been three notable departures this week alone -- one on a family level, one on a blog level, and one on a fan level. One of them is terrific news, the other two not so much.
I'll start with the great news first and then depress you all later.
1. MC COURT HAS COME TO HIS SENSES
I knew it was only a matter of time before Frank McCourt realized that there was no other option than to sell the Dodgers. He may have been delusional for two years but he'd have to be absolutely insane to continue fighting to remain owner.
McCourt wasn't the worst baseball owner that ever existed -- the Dodgers did reach the playoffs a few times under his watch -- but he came pretty scary close. I find what he did to the team and others to be postively unfathomable and honestly immoral. Hopefully, he can turn himself around now.
As for who I'd like to take over -- I don't have any idea. I grew up with Peter O'Malley running the show. That's my idea of the perfect owner, even if that kind of owner doesn't exist anymore. But I'd like someone as close to that as possible -- someone who cares about the players and winning, but doesn't insinuate himself in the process.
OK, now for the bad stuff:
2. THE BASEBALL-REFERENCE.COM BLOG IS NO MORE
This hit me between the eyes, just like it seemed to do to many folks when the news broke yesterday that there would be no more new content on the B-R blog. Sean Forman has decided to focus even more on the statistical aspect of the site and cut back in other areas.
I'll echo what several others have already said -- this decision means I'll consult baseball-reference.com less. It'll still be my No. 1 source for baseball facts -- but I have no reason to go to the site every day anymore.
I'm not even close to being a stat-head. I still cite stats like wins and RBIs. The B-R blog helped me understand WAR and some of the other more involved statistics. But I have no hope of comprehending those stats without the blog to "show me how."
As someone who contributed -- what was it, 4 or 5 posts? -- to the B-R blog, I'll miss that. It was always fun to add the baseball card perspective to the blog. I'll admit that during particularly low moments in my job, the irrational side of me held out hope that someday B-R would ask me to write for them on a salary. That pipe dream will never happen now.
Andy, the former writer of the 1988 Topps blog and one of the regular writers on the B-R blog, has been my connection to B-R and I admired what he contributed to the blog -- ideas that I could never convey.
Not long ago, Andy was in a card shop and found some cards for me. I don't want to show them all here because I'd like to devote at least one post solely to some of the cards that he sent. But here are a couple more:
That's your look at what 2013 Heritage is going to resemble. Can't wait to see those orange backs.
These, of course, are 1964 Topps originals in very nice shape.
All of Howard's cards look borderline terrifying. What a giant. I also have his first year in pro ball memorized. It was in Green Bay of all places. 162 hits. 104 runs. 37 home runs. 119 RBIs. .333 batting average.
His OPS was .971. But I found that out by going to B-R.
I don't know what the writers for the blog will be doing now. They probably don't know either. I know it was not their major source of income, but the impact they had on legions of fans can not be measured.
I know this was a business decision. Just another reason why I'll never understand business.
3. MY DAUGHTER IS IN MOURNING :(
This doesn't affect anyone but my daughter really. But you have to understand the life of 13-year-olds to realize the heartache involved.
My daughter lost her best friend this week. She moved to another town and to another school.
Kids lose and find best friends all the time, but this was different. My daughter and her best friend were inseparable for eight years -- from kindergarten through eighth grade. That's a lot of sleepovers, birthday parties, pool parties, camp-outs, trips to the mall, tears and laughter. And suddenly it's been yanked from her.
She's a little lost now. Last week, she and her best friend would joke and laugh before almost every class. This week, in her words, she "sits and stares into space a lot."
I've given her the "it gets better" speech already. And I know from experience that 8th grade can be the loneliest grade of all, but all that means is that my heart goes out to her. I do believe by the end of high school, she'll have the class conquered -- she's that awesome -- but it's a painful process, one that I've experienced myself. And am reliving again.
Farewell and good luck to you all. Even you, Frank.
May there be even better times ahead.