So this is it.
Hard to believe that we’re here today, retiring. Yep. This really is it.
We’ve done a lot here, together, separately, as a team. Thousands of posts. Countless comments. Five total website builds/rebuilds. Game recaps. Open threads. Interviews. Analyses. Rants. Rumors. Sharing of our lives, yours and ours. And for me, that’s the hardest part. I’ve come to know so many of you, virtually and in person, as if you’re long lost family and friends.
But it’s time.
I have loved every minute being part of this website and community. From way back when I got started with just a small handful of loyal readers who helped me meet my original goal of having just 10 of you read my thoughts on a daily basis. Then came a first link from ESPN and we took off. Eventually Tamar Chalker joined me, then others, to help expand our coverage. We were the first Yankees blog when the SweetSpot Network was formed in 2009 and we rode that wave through that 2009 World Series title. Soon after, Brien Jackson took over the lead writer role from me as my work life got a whole lot more complicated in 2011. We left ESPN and joined SNY for two years, coinciding with our merger with The Yankee Analysts. Stacey Gotsulias and Brad Vietrogski took over as co-Editors in Chief, bringing the site to new heights with a large team of contributors*. We rejoined ESPN after two years with SNY, bringing us through to today.
* One of my most favorite parts of the merger was joining the email group where we’d share thoughts, rants, whatever across the writing team. Most of this never made it onto the site, but was always a source of fun, info, and baseball. I’ll miss it, and all of them, tremendously.
I’ll be forever in debt to Larry Berhendt, William Tasker, EJ Fagan, Mike Eder, Dom Lanza, and so many others who joined me in this quest to deliver insight, analyses, and perhaps a bit of sarcasm and humor along the way.
Stacey and Brad, I cannot thank you enough for all of your efforts over the years. It’s been a privilege getting to know each of over the years and sharing our common pinstriped bonds. Brad, thanks for teaching me what I didn’t know about this game. Stacey, it has been really wonderful getting to know you and your family as much as I have. Thank you for letting me, and your readers, into your life as much as you have. Your ability to add the personal side into your writing separates you from so many; don’t lose this. After all, it’s this silly game which binds all of us so closely. Stacey, I wish you nothing but the best as you continue to climb.
Any retirement “speech” would be lacking something without properly thanking those who helped you get started, whether accidentally or intentionally. So Craig Calcaterra, thanks for teaching me how to set up a hyperlink, as well as countless other points over the years. It’s been an absolutely pleasure seeing you make each step forward, proving that with hard work and smarts, you can make the leap. Rob Neyer, thank you for that very first link and inviting me to represent the Yankees for you on ESPN. That email inviting me, to this day, still makes me smile. It’s been an honor, my friend. And of course, to Matt Sosnick, incredible human being and agent, in that order. Well, really, thanks are due to Matt’s mom, who had that Google alert set up, leading to what became the single biggest launching pad for me. Matt is the embodiment of the word “mensch”, doing things for me and my two boys without ever being asked. Just because that’s who he is.
To every writer who dared to put their thoughts under the IIATMS banner: thank you from the bottom of my heart. Every single one of you. I will remain eternally in debt to you for your contributions.
And thanks for my wife and boys who put up with me on a regular basis. My oldest was just 7 when I started IIATMS; last week he got his first college acceptance letter. My youngest was 4; yesterday he pitched a 5 inning CGSO with 9 K's and roped a 1-hopper off the LCF fence 285' away. Time flies.
The lifecycle of a blog like this is super condensed. Creation of daily content is damn hard work. It requires discipline, patience, and a whole lot of luck. I lost my fastball years ago, but I hung around, futzing around in middle relief, before making the transition off the field into the cushy offices. Younger talent found its way in, thankfully, refreshing things and keeping the site going well beyond my useful life as a writer.
Brad, Stacey, and I discussed this prior to the 2016 season and there was a desire to continue. But Brad’s desire abandoned him as it did for me, as he admitted. The work produced was outstanding, even as the desire wanes. Stacey has begun to move on, smartly so. Dom, EJ, Paul, and others have tried to keep things going but life gets in the way. I’m not mad, upset, or disappointed. This was never supposed to be work, after all. This was supposed to be fun and enjoyable and when it stopped being that, I was going to stop.
So rather than force it any further, I’m going to call it:
It’s About The Money: December 2007 – October 2017
Together, we’ve watched the arcs of Jeter, Rivera, Posada, Bernie, Paulie, Tino, Pettitte, ARod, Sabathia, Teixeira, and so many others rise and fall and eventually come to an end. We are no different. Someone else will write about the continued rise of this next young core of Yankee talent, the joys and disappointments, highs and lows.
Thank you all so very much for helping this site, my baby, exceed my wildest expectations.
Forever in pinstripes,
PS: While IIATMS will slowly wind down, EJ will continue his podcasts and Paul has a desire to keep as much of the crew together in a rebranded effort. More to come from each of them. Stay tuned and please keep supporting these awesome people.