What am I even doing here? A long-overdue tribute

What's in the box? APPRECIATION - Ezra Shaw

Grant would probably blush right down to his toes at the thought of this article going up on his site. WELL GRANT AIN'T HERE.

I was one of the people whom Grant asked to contribute an article this week as he celebrated the birth of his second daughter. I was obviously flattered, because I'm flattered any time anyone suggests that what I do is worthwhile. (I may have low self-esteem. I will run the numbers and report back.)

But Thursday night came and I hadn't yet had the time to write anything. Then I looked at the front page of McCovey Chronicles for this week. Sam Miller. Eno Sarris. Ian Miller. Tom Ziller. Riley Breckenridge. And that Bryan Murphy guy is no slouch, either. I couldn't help but marvel at the assembled talent, all of whom came together gleefully in order to help our beloved Grant Brisbee and to have the chance to grace McCovey Chronicles, a site which means an awful lot to an awful lot of people, myself included.

My first thought was, of course, What am I even doing here? How did I manage to rate alongside these amazing authors and get the opportunity to write for all of the wonderful people that comprise the McCoven?

This is the second time in my life that I've managed to fall ass-backwards into writing for a website that changed my life. The first such instance was when I became a staff writer for Progressive Boink. It was such a monumental event for me that, two years after joining the staff proper, I wrote a tribute to how profoundly the discovery of the site changed my life.

Now, at the risk of being entirely too self-serving on the front page of the very site I'm about to pay tribute to, I'd like to do the same for McCovey Chronicles. Because McCovey Chronicles is important to me. I know it's important for a lot of you. I'm positive it's important to the lovely guest writers you've been reading all week. And I think it's important to acknowledge the wonderful thing that Grant has done (intentionally or not) by creating this place for all of us. I think that, during what is certainly a wonderful and stressful and crazy and unforgettable week for our host, we let him know how much we deeply appreciate what he does, day in and day out.

Grant is probably going "eesh" and "urgh" and tugging at his collar while reading this draft, so if you end up reading these words, you'll know that I've won. BOW BEFORE ME FOR I AM YOUR NEW MASTER. Or not; whatever.

I've told Grant most of this before, so for everyone's sake I'll try to keep this short. (Too late.)

In summer of 2009, my friend and Progressive Boink founder Jon Bois (you've probably heard of him) began working part-time as a weekend editor for a place called SB Nation. I'd never heard of it before, so I of course checked it out. I quickly found out it was a network of sports team blogs. (Seems like they should have incorporated that into the name somehow.) As a lifelong Giants fan, but someone who is historically bad at the Internet, it had never really occurred to me to seek out any sort of online community related to my favorite sports team in the world. Looking back, I'm kind of an idiot.

So I looked to see if this "SB Nation" had a Giants website. Turns out they did! Needless to say, I was instantly hooked and became a regular reader throughout the end of the 2009 season. Grant's writing spoke to me and influenced me, just as I had previously been influenced by Jon, Brandon, Will and everyone else over at Progressive Boink. 2009, if you recall, ended better than expected for the Giants, but still a bit sadly.

In December of 2009, I was laid off from my for-real, adult middle-management job. Four days later (two days before Christmas), my father died. I decided to move to Los Angeles in early 2010, where I remained unemployed, wrestled with depression, read McCovey Chronicles every day, lived and died with every pitch of the postseason and found out that all I had to do to help the Giants win a World Series was move to Southern California. Worth it.

In 2011, I remained unemployed, read McCovey Chronicles every day, wrote about the Giants for a site called Baseball Feelings, cursed myself both for unintentionally-intentionally aping Grant's recap aesthetic and cursed Grant for being better at this than I'd ever be.

In October of 2011, After nearly two straight years of unemployment, I managed to get a job as a part-time newsdesk writer for the SB Nation regional sites. I was over the moon. I hustled my butt off and worked harder than I'd ever worked at anything before, yadda yadda yadda, now I'm a somewhat-peer of Grant, a full-time employee of SB Nation and an occasional contributor to McCovey Chronicles. I'm over the moon. And the Giants won another World Series. Worth it.

I now make my living as a sportswriter and am real-life friends with many of the writers that I've looked up to, star-struck, for so long. My inspirations are now people I can go get a sandwich with. That shit is wild, man. And it's in large part thanks to a site that gave me a place to go ARGH WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING BOCHY along with hundreds of other people who were, like me, dumb enough to invest my happiness sometimes entirely in the success or failure of a professional baseball team. This site has gotten me through some of the most difficult years of my life and now I get to say "Thanks for being there, McCovey Chronicles." Right on the website! America; what a country!

But that's my story. I'm sure you all have your own. Let's hear them! And let's all say thanks to Grant for what he's done and what he continues to do. And congratulations, of course. Now take the weekend off, you weirdo. You've earned it.

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