August 31, 2012
Baseball Prospectus News
Goodbye to the Internet
This one isn't easy. I don't even know where to start. I remember some editor yelling at some writer in some movie about not burying the lead, so I'll do that. This is my final piece at Baseball Prospectus, as I've accepted a position as Pro Scouting Coordinator for the Houston Astros. That doesn't sound real to me yet either, but there it is. Needless to say, I'm extremely excited about this opportunity and the challenge ahead of us. I've been nothing but incredibly impressed with the entire staff in Houston, as well as their plans for the future, and I'm absolutely honored to suddenly be a small part of it.
Yes, it's a dream job, no question, but this wasn't an easy decision. I love this place. Honestly and truly. In my six-plus years here, I've grown personally and professionally and was never asked to be anything but myself. You really can't ask for anything more from a place of work. I've seen a lot of changes since I was brought in by Nate Silver, and I can't tell you how excited I am for the future under Joe Hamrahi. There are many fantastic things happening at Baseball Prospectus, and so many more things coming because of Joe's leadership. Knowing the ship has such a fantastic captain at the wheel made this decision much easier, as does the content published here that continues to blow me away on a daily basis. People like Ben Lindbergh, Sam Miller, Colin Wyers and Bradley Ankrom are going to be huge in this world, and I can't wait to see it happen. And prospect coverage won't be any less comprehensive here, either. You should expect some exciting announcements in that regard, and soon.
I loved writing here, but I was never a writer. I never enjoyed the actual process of writing. It always was a chore for me. I loved gathering information. I loved talking to scouts and agents and various front office officials and trying to tell the readers everything I learned. Writing was the medium I was stuck with, so here I am. I've always felt bad for my editors, scuffling to make my words something decipherable. People like John Erhardt, Christina Kahrl, Steven Goldman, Ben Lindbergh and the entire editing staff made everything I ever wrote better for you to read, and editors will always be the behind-the-scenes heroes of any good content. I'll miss writing in the sense that I'll miss sharing, and I'll miss writing in the sense that I'll miss working with our editors.
I'll also miss working with ESPN. It was often a thrill to go to ESPN.com and see one's name in lights, as it were. They can be an easy mark for some simply because they're on top of the mountain, and no, I was never asked to write about, or even lean on writing about prospects from the East Coast. Working with people like Matt Meyers, Dan Kaufman and Jon Scher showed me why ESPN is on top; because they have fantastic people working there.
While I may not have liked my own writing, I could always talk. Communicating I'm good at. I'll miss doing radio, especially the weekly show on MLB Network Radio with Mike Ferrin, who might just be the best human being you'll ever meet, if you ever get the chance to meet him. He just has that gene of pure good humanity, and I'm jealous of him for it.
And of course there is the podcast, which is still the most fun I've ever had "working," and also the one thing I am most proud of. We created a community, we made friends for life, we had so many great guests and so many great musicians on, and we even added terms to the baseball vernacular. Its popularity was exciting, shocking, humbling, and remarkable, and man, I'll miss doing the show (although we will be recording one final, farewell episode on Monday). I won't say I'll miss Jason Parks, because I won't have to. We'll still talk, and often, and I'll laugh just as much. We just won't record it anymore. Jason truly is one of the most interesting and unique people you'll ever meet, but behind all of the incredible, jealousy-inspiring post-modern creativity is a razor-sharp baseball mind and one of the best friends a person can ever know.
I realize this is starting to sound like some sort of Oscars speech, but I kind of don't care. There are just that many people to thank; so many people without whom I would not be here. Like Jim Callis, along with the two-headed editor-in-chief duo of John Manuel and Will Lingo at Baseball America. Jim was the first person ever to have me rank prospects professionally (California League, 2004, Felix Hernandez no. 1), and during my three years at Baseball America, Jim was not only a great friend, but an incredible mentor I learned so much from. Before Jim there was Peter Gammons, whom I still basically owe my career to for the time he mentioned my little minor-league newsletter to a nation and led to it going from just that, a little minor-league newsletter known by a couple teams, to something much more real with over 10,000 subscribers.
And then there are all of you, the readers and listeners, who deserve the biggest thanks of all. All of the people who subscribed, all of the people who downloaded the podcast or emailed the show, all of the people who followed and often made me laugh on Twitter, all of the people who came to our events. Interacting with people was always the highlight of my job, and that applies to both the readers and the people in the industry who always graciously took my calls.
I'm going to miss that, all of that, and I'm very sad about it. But this is the opportunity to go beyond just trying to analyze prospects and talking about their future. This is the opportunity to actually see if I'm right. It's both terrifying and exhilarating and brings back weird and wonderful feelings in the back of my brain that haven't been triggered since my technology days working for start-ups. I'm going to take some time off, recharge the batteries, and get going with Houston just in time for the offseason. I'm not going away, as I'll still be reading Baseball Prospectus every day, and watching and learning from and laughing at all of your tweets. I'll just be doing it silently while putting everything I have into this new and thrilling endeavor.
People often ask me what it's like to make a living in a baseball. I'll often steal a line from SportsNight about how it's like living in a dream and hoping Mom doesn't wake you up to go to school.
Do me a favor, Mom. Don't wake me up. This dream just keeps getting better.