It feels like another lifetime ago, yet it also feels like yesterday.
I got into blogging just after my father died in 2004 as a form of therapy. Writing about my life on a daily basis turned writing about the thing I love over anything other than my family: sports. I tried to gain traction with an audience in the pre-twitter world. I had a core of probably 50 people tops who read my stuff, but I was in it for the love of the game. The only way I knew how to get a little more mileage out of a piece I was truly proud of, was to send a link into WFNY for the morning “While We’re Waiting” round up. To my surprise, I was picked up from time to time.
Then in the January of 2009, I got a Google chat pop up on my screen from co-founder Rick Grayshock. He said he’d been a fan of my stuff and had been discussing me with Scott Sargent and Andrew “Rock” Schnitkey. They wanted to know if I wanted to come aboard. I was trying to fill a site that probably only my friends were reading with material four times a day while working a real job and balancing my wife and two year old son. Let’s just say it was not advisable. So I made the jump. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Over my time at WFNY, I wrote a lot from the heart. Sure, I wrote about the beginning and the end of ActaBall. I was with you when Terry Francona took over and turned the franchise around. I was all over the place with pieces about why the Indians should be pursuing Carlos Pena (bad call) and why Manny Acta got a raw deal (worse call). I also gave thousands and thousands of words in praise of Tito and defended my guy, now Hall of Famer Jim Thome, from the heathens who continue to dog him for leaving for Philadelphia. Then there’s was my infamous busted-ass call for the Indians to DFA Ubaldo Jimenez in late April of 2013, the same season that he willed the Indians to the playoffs with his second half performance. The responses I got from the readers made it even more satisfying being the WFNY “Tribe guy.”1
The daily Tribe beat was fun and exhausting, but it was a labor of love. If you followed me when I was at the site, you know that sports and family are intertwined in my writing. That’s who I am. That’s where my most satisfying pieces came from. I don’t know what it was about writing for WFNY, but it allowed me a place to bare my sports soul to you.
When I got home from taking my son to his first Browns game in November of 2011 – a 14-10 win against Blaine Gabbert’s Jacksonville Jaguars – I had to get to the keyboard to share how that felt.
On Father’s Day 2013 I penned a bittersweet column about raising two kids to be Cleveland sports fans the way my father had done for me.
My November 2014 therapeutic piece on the 10-year anniversary of losing my father was probably my most proud moment on the site. Then after coming out of a two-day depression of not wanting to discuss my experiences at Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, the laptop was calling my semi-retired ass to lay it all out for you: The agony of falling behind early and having to deal with the obnoxious Cubs fans that infiltrated our stadium. The ecstasy of Rajai Davis’s game-tying SANTA MARIA Home Run—which I still will tell you is the greatest moment of my life. Then finally agony of losing in extra innings, something that will live with me forever.
Having this outlet was a great thing for me and hopefully for the great fans of WFNY who took the time to read my posts.
I always said that when it felt like a chore, I would back away. So after six fun, hilarious, inspiring, gratifying years with WFNY, I just didn’t have it in me anymore. I turned the Tribe beat over to the talented Michael Bode. Mike Hattery is much smarter than I will ever hope to be. Jim Pete, Gage Will, and the rest of the folks who have penned Tribe pieces have been spectacular. As always, Scott and Craig have been so gracious, having me on the podcast from time to time to talk about the Tribe and to let me write an essay if the mood should strike me, like I did after Game 7.
The Tribe coverage on this site, like everything else, has grown and gotten better and better as WFNY has become more established. Countless Cleveland sports blogs have come and gone over the last decade, but WFNY has continued to thrive, becoming a true voice of the fan. What Scott, Andrew, and Craig have put together has been like planting a tree in the front yard and watching it grow from the first watering of the seeds to a full scale Oakwood that covers the entire lawn. I am proud to say that I got in on the ground floor and was a part of building WFNY into what it is today. Ten years of sustained excellence in this day and age is hard to do, but the WFNY crue, motley has ever, has managed to stay at their top of their game.
Cheers to a decade of decadence. Go Tribe.
Just to celebrate #WFNYX we made some new gear!