For the past eight years, I have called the Astros’ Fan Blog home. It has been a place where family and friends could share the love of baseball and where friendships could be born and nurtured.
Today, after nearly 2,000 entries and literally thousands upon thousands of comments, I’d like to say “thank you”. It’s been a fun ride. It’s been incredible, no unbelievable! You have been and are an incredible blessing to me.
Indeed, it’s been a wonderful eight years. Today, I’m here to let you know that I will no longer be on these pages, at least not regularly. The pace of family, work and life demands a re-focus and I’m answering that call. So this week, I’d like to celebrate you and the memories that you helped to create here in these pages.
Here’s where it all started, back in late September of 2005. Joe Conway emailed, asking me to call him. I well remember where I was – waiting in the chiropractor’s office for an afternoon appointment. Joe was then one of only three members of the Chronicle’s online staff, and he was hoping to build readership during the Astros’ playoff run and eventual World Series appearance.
He had seen many of my exchanges on Richard Justice’s blog and was inquiring to see if I’d be interested to begin something new for the Chronicle: A fan blog.
He was hoping to create an environment for fan exchange to run through the playoffs and help build on the excitement of the team’s success.
Back then, My Space was bigger than Facebook, Word Press was in its infancy, and Apple was still two years from releasing its first iPhone. Justice’s blog was well ahead of its time and I had been a frequent commenter. RJ often interacted in the conversation and banter.
After the playoffs, Joe asked me to continue writing over the off-season and “let’s just see how it goes.” We’d go entry to entry and see if readers responded. And, here we are, nearly eight years and a few sports editors and sports writers later. Thanks to Joe and thanks to current Sports Editor Nick Mathews for their trust. I cannot think of one time that they have edited or censored my entries.
Frankly, we couldn’t have predicted your response. The comments and interaction came in droves during those first months and years. Quite obviously, as the industry focus shifted from print to maintain the dramatic increase of overall online readership, the online Chronicle grew rapidly. Other fan blogs were also added. More beat writers began to blog as well.
Honestly, this has been one of the high privileges and blessings of my life. This blog has provided an opportunity I cannot possibly have imagined. I had written for major newspapers and even the AP, but the last 20 years or so I’ve spent mostly in radio, interviewing many political leaders, even presidential candidates and other politicians as well as a variety of sports figures.
Over the years, we’ve introduced our families to each other, exchanged impassioned ideas about baseball in general and the Astros in specific. There are no smarter fans in baseball than those who have traded thoughts on this blog. You have been – and will continue to be – an immense blessing in my life.
I’ve asked Dan Peschong and Brian Todd to help with this week’s celebration. I hope you’ll join in. We’ll return this weekend with a tradition that I started back in 2007: The Free Blog Weekend.
During the week, I invite you to please stop by, leave a note, share your memories and continue to discuss your ideas about the Astros and baseball. Let us know your real name, where you’re from and when you started to read this blog.