In 2004, I received an email from Tyler Bleszinski, who ran a blog called Athletics Nation. We would joke about it later, but the email was sent to dozens of people at the same time and was completely impersonal.
I have noticed your Baseball Site on the World Wide Web and was curious if you would like to Join Up! with our team
Those weren’t the exact words, but they aren’t far off! So I ignored the email.
Then my dude sends the exact same email a week later, but with, “ICYMI” or something in the subject line. And I giggle a bit before ignoring it, except ... wait a sec. I was always internet-jealous of Athletics Nation, which had come out of nowhere to build a robust community. The site has all sorts of widgets and tools— huh, there are “diaries” that allow anyone to write? — and you could tell the traffic was good. Every post had a bunch of comments under it.
So I poke around. The people behind the site are legit, and all of them have a history of building websites that got eyeballs. All I had wanted before this is for the people at All-Baseball to notice me (IT’S NOT TOO LATE, KEN), but I didn’t really have a plan for Waiting For Boof, other than to get noticed. Here is someone noticing me.
Fast-forward to January, 2005, when McCovey Chronicles goes live. It’s the second site to go live after Athletics Nation, and I check it six times from a little kiosk at the Stockholm Airport. A large group of 6-foot-plus teenagers walks past me, presumably some sort of U17 Swedish National Team, which means that Jonas Jerebko almost certainly sees me check McCovey Chronicles for the first time, but that’s trivia you probably don’t need. I’m really, really proud to be a part of something. The site looks way better than my stupid site on Blogspot. It’s so cool. I’m so proud.
Fast-forward to 2007, when I’m hustling to sell text links to, like, Betting.Online-US-today.biz for a couple hundred bucks a pop. I’m a student at San Jose State before the tuition went completely bananas, and the money I made from those sketchy links paid for my tuition and books. I’m even prouder than before. I’m a career writing major studying to be a grant writer, which is incredibly on the nose.
I just want to write anything. Besides, what’s the endgame for me in baseball writing? It’s not like the Chronicle is going to hire me based on my dumb blog. It’s the kind of writing that had to live on the internet.
Fast-forward to 2011, when after a couple of false starts, I’m hired to cover baseball full time. I’m going to be working under Rob Neyer, one of my favorite writers, and I’m literally going to write about baseball for a living. It’s, uh, grueling at first, but also rewarding. I’m allowed to be creative, and even though my writing is still mostly trash at that point, I keep working on it. Nowhere else would have given me that kind of freedom to stomp around with my puppy feet.
Along the way, the Giants win three World Series, and I feel like I should point that out.
Fast-forward to 2018, and I’m burnt, absolutely burnt. That hilariously impersonal email from 2004 had turned into a billion-dollar company, and I feel no small measure of pride in that, but I’m burnt. I had been writing for this site and doing my day job for so, so long, and my responsibilities here usually meant that I couldn’t go anywhere on the weekend. Heck, forget about Friday nights — they’re gone forever unless the Giants are playing at Wrigley Field. Sounds great, except the one road trip the Giants took to Chicago in 2017 was a Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday series, so I can’t even count on that oasis. I think that’s what finally breaks me.
So I give up the reins to McCovey Chronicles, and, really, I promise that my intent was to write once or twice a week. But I was FREE, DO YOU HEAR ME, FREE, and I realize that I just didn’t have the brainpower to write for a site if I technically didn’t have to. I’m not sure how I did both sites for so long, but once I had a chance, ker-thunk, I drop that set of free weights like it was covered in spiders.
Sorry, Bryan. My bad. My bad.
Still, I have the keys to the site, and I write when I need to. I’m proud of my reaction to Willie McCovey’s passing because it isn’t forced. This would be the template going forward. If I absolutely can’t resist sharing my thoughts about something happening with the Giants, I have a place for it. I was going to write for McCovey Chronicles forever.
Alas, things change, and entropy will always make us smell the glove. I am no longer employed by SB Nation, which means I do not have the keys to this site anymore. Goodbye, website. Goodbye, place where my dreams began and were realized. Goodbye, fixing a typo from eight years ago that I couldn’t let go once I noticed it.
If there’s good news for this, it’s that I’m going to start writing about the Giants again. Couldn’t stay away from this awesome team for long, you know. I’m going to be joining The Athletic, and while you’ll still see me chime in with some hot national takes every so often, my primary job will be to cover the Giants. It’s going to be a lot like it was here, except you’ll pry my Friday nights from my cold, dead hands.
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What was that link again?
Ah, yes, it’s http://theathletic.com/welcomegrant.
No problem. That’s http://theathletic.com/welcomegrant, and you should definitely subscribe. My goal is to crush Bryan and Doug and everyone here.
You said the quiet part loud again.
Oh, shoot, right. Anyway, don’t think of this as a goodbye forever, despite the headline. Just think of it as an opportunity to pay for my words, which you should have been doing all along, you ungrateful cheapskates. I love you all.
I’ll miss this place, I really will. It’s a part of my identity, and the constant grindgrindgrind really did give me a six-pack of writing abs. At the same time, it’s not like they’re deleting my account. Maybe I’ll be a jerk in the comments, talking about lunch. Man, I’ve always wanted to do that.
But I’m back writing about the Giants, which I think is probably my final form until my YA novel gets published. I hope you’ll join me for the next chapter in my life.
Which is ... why I’m joining The Athletic.