Hi friends. It’s been a while since I occupied this Thursday WWW space. With some recent changes to the site, I’ll be splitting the every-other-week rotation with newbie Jessica Forrester. You’ll still be seeing Kyle Welch on the other Thursdays, per usual. I hope you won’t mind too much that I hop in every now and then.
As I get started, I wanted to first and foremost bid adieu to my colleague Kirk Lammers. He was recruited to the site way back in the day as a WFNY weekend editor. With his recent departure in a Thursday WWW, that leaves me (again?) as the only former weekender still contributing to the site.
That WFNY weekend job – originally a trio of Denny Mayo, Brendan Porath and myself; we later added Brendan Bowers and Kirk (and Ben Cox and Ryan Jones; my apologies for the initial omission) – was really tough. Sure, it’s hard for an Internet sports writer to complain too much about their “duties” online. But this was pretty dang thankless. We enjoyed it … sometimes. It was dang hard sports writing work.
During that old structure of WFNY, the weekend editor was practically the on-call person for all Cleveland sports news from 5 p.m. Friday to 10 p.m. Sunday. Yes, we’d get some help with major developments or a Browns game or something like that. But for the roster move here, or the Indians recap there, or the Cavs trade rumor over yonder, or every single dang draft pick, we were in charge.
And remember, this isn’t a full-time job by any means for any of us. We all did it for the love of the site and the love of this WFNY community. We sacrificed weekends with friends, family, significant others, etc. Kirk and I pretty much planned our lives in coordination with our WFNY commitments for years. We kept doing it for a long time. It could get pretty frustrating and difficult at times.
All of the people at WFNY are really, really genuinely great people. I’ve had a real fortune to meet most of them in real life. This is a great, great place. We do have our disagreements every now and then, and we’ve certainly changed a lot over the years. But Kirk helped make this site better in a bunch of different ways. From my collaboration with Kirk, I’m a better writer. Here’s to you, Kirk, and I’m looking forward to reading your work again soon.
My Charlotte adventures
A brief personal note: If you didn’t know, I’ve been interning in business analytics for the Charlotte Hornets this summer. I’m down to my final two days this week. It’s been a blast working for a tremendously smart business organization. I’m hoping to share a bit more about some of my job responsibilities in a personal blog post soon.
Either way, I just wanted to give a little PSA for Charlotte. I had only driven through the city occasionally in the past – it’s a fun thing to point out to my new friends here that I also live right off I-77 in Ohio. But it’s really got some impressive momentum. It’s growing like mad, there are young people galore, and I’ve been a whole bunch of craft breweries and excellent restaurants.
I grew up going to Atlanta a lot to see family. Don’t get me wrong, Atlanta is a massive city and you can easily find your niche in whatever you might like there. But I think we – as in Ohioans, or millennials, or people in the Midwest – might be sleeping on how awesome Charlotte is, too. Here’s just a brief list of some of the great things I’ve done this summer. I hope to be back again soon.
Here are all of the Charlotte things I've done in two months. Only 10 days left. What else to do? pic.twitter.com/tYi78BZR56
— Jacob L. Rosen (@JacobLRosen) August 7, 2015
And for the record, in a related note, here are my five favorite cities that I’ve visited. Charlotte (and my hometown of Akron) do not qualify.
Top 5 U.S. cities (no order) I've visited (and never lived in): Portland, San Francisco, Austin, Savannah, and now, Asheville.
— Jacob L. Rosen (@JacobLRosen) August 9, 2015
Some book recommendations
Charlotte even has a light rail. I live in the Southend neighborhood and I commute via the Lynx blue line light rail right into Uptown to the Time Warner Cable Arena every single day. The train is clean, pleasant, and very modern. It makes Charlotte feel like a massive city.
But on the light rail every day, as opposed to completely burning through my cell phone data, I’ve taken to reading some books. It’s been years since I’ve read any books for pure enjoyment. So it’s been pretty fun and relaxing and enjoyable to get back into this rhythm. Here are the three books I’ve gone through so far.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg – I first grabbed this one because my MBA accounting class (yes, my accounting class) required us to do a book report on a business book of some type. I scrolled through some bestseller lists and this was the one that intrigued me the most. For those interested in patterns, behaviors, psychology, marketing, and pretty much all of the rationale behind our everyday actions, this was a really fascinating read. I’d recommend it highly.
10% Happier by Dan Harris – After having so much fun with the first book, I decided to keep going down the self-help route. This was another bestseller and a book that I snagged back at Powell’s Books in Portland. I still haven’t gotten into meditation or yoga at all, although pretty much anyone can still derive a decent amount of self-satisfaction from reading about Dan’s battle with anxiety. Yes, the book might’ve been a bit too much about the TV news industry. But that’s what made it so powerful to see how Dan’s ambitions really affected his day-to-day psyche.
How Not To Be Wrong by Jordan Ellenberg – This is now the third book, which I purchased at the San Francisco airport last week on my way back to Charlotte from a bachelor party. I’m only halfway through it but it’s been entertaining and informative as hell. If you have any inkling at all for math or stats or analytics, and are interested in new applications and stories and approaches, this is just incredible. I really dig the comparisons to Freakonomics. The main difference: This is a mathematics book, plain and simple. That means it sniffs out 95% of the B.S. you’d find just about anywhere else.
Some tweets that have me thinking
Long-time readers will recall that I used to do various “top tweets of the week” type segments of my WWW posts. Today, I just felt I’d comment on a few sports tweets that had me thinking recently.
Why wouldn't baseball hold HOF induction ceremony during the All-Star week when games aren't going on. Just another event getting overlooked
— Keith Britton (@KeithBritton86) July 26, 2015
This makes almost too much sense to me. Perhaps it’s a bit too much of a tradition for that weekend to be carved into people’s calendars. And there are still national TV games happening on the weekend before the All-Star Break. But I think this could be great.
This is a great point. I would hope that some smart data people consider the business side of sports, too. The job security, impact on decision-making and more can be much greater. It’s not the sexy side of analytics. But it can be very valuable.
I see people joking about Cardale Jones going to the Steelers. I can't think of anything less funny.
— David Zavac (@DavidZavac) August 1, 2015
This would eat at me for a decade. It cannot happen.
The best part of being back in Cleveland is everything.
— Joe Posnanski (@JPosnanski) August 4, 2015
Super duper excited to be back in town on Monday. I’m home for almost two weeks. Hope to see many of you at the Indians games on Aug. 25-26.
Question: Where does DeflateGate rank in the most annoying, over-saturated scandals/controversies in sports history? Does anything top it?
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) August 6, 2015
Just read Dan Wetzel’s piece from yesterday. It’s excellent. I have no idea what the NFL is really doing.
Throwback to 1996. pic.twitter.com/7HUOe5z8g8
— Corey Barnes (@Corey_Barnes) August 9, 2015
SO MUCH THIS.
Updated #Indians prospect rankings:
10 E Gonzalez
— August Fagerstrom (@AugustFG_) August 12, 2015
So, you’re a WFNY reader, so chances are that you’re a self-selected demographic already … but raise your hand if you honestly know the full names of more than four prospects on that list. The Indians have appeared to drastically upgrade the talent of their minor league system in the last 15 months. I’ve written before on prospect ranking turnover. It might be a great thing. Or it might be a somewhat disheartening thing about all of the other prospects that have been replaced.
The good thing about being a blogger is that you don't have to suffer through all the deaths of the friends you would have otherwise made.
— Carson Cistulli (@cistulli) August 12, 2015
OK, I laughed. But seriously, blogging has helped make me dozens and dozens of friends that I’ve met in real life. Just last night, I was hanging with Uproxx’s Martin Rickman. So yes, I’ve spent many late nights on Twitter and many weekends managing WFNY. But blogging has been very, very good to me in helping make many more friends.