After nearly six seasons covering the Thunder, this is the end.
I’ve put it out there electronically, but I’ll do so again for those who still choose the newspaper as their sole form of information. By the time you’ve read this column, my tenure at The Trentonian will have concluded.
On Aug. 18 I’m moving over to Baseball America to become their Social Media Editor. Nominally, I’ll run their Twitter account and figure out ways to make their product more electronically accessible and enjoyable.
Beyond that, I’ll be writing, editing and shooting video of baseball’s best prospects from both the amateur and professional ranks. Basically what I’ve been doing here, but on a larger scale, both in regard to the sport and professional reach.
Before I go, there are a few — OK, quite a few — people I’d like to thank. Without these folks, there’s simply no way I’d be in the position to take this leap toward the next part of my career.
First and foremost there are my friends and family, who have supported me ever since the day I decided to get into sports journalism, which must have been especially odd when you consider I grew up with two parents who didn’t watch sports in a home that didn’t take a newspaper.
They’ve been there through the ups and downs to keep me level-headed when things were going well and to assure that things were going to be OK when I went through a rough patch — usually during the winter when there was no baseball.
Beyond that there are my colleagues, those people who have put up with my nonsense since day one with only minimal irritation. In the Thunder press box, there’s Mike Ashmore, John Nalbone, David Fenster, Jed Weisberger, Josh Maurer, Adam Giardino, Jay Burnham, Jared Smith, Rudy Jones, Dave Schofield, Steve Rudenstein, Hank Fuerst, Josh Landsburg, Greg Zak and Greg Zak Sr.
They’ve been sounding boards for the more than half a decade I’ve covered the team. Moreover, they’ve taught me how to be a beat writer. When I pushed for the paper to send me to spring training, it was to keep up with Nalbone and his coverage down the street. When I bought a camera and learned how to shoot and edit video, it was to keep up with Ashmore and his omnipresent blog.
There’s also the fantastic front-office staff, including (but not limited to) Eric Lipsman, Will Smith and Bill Cook, all of whom have gone the extra few miles to make sure the media is well attended to and the game day experience for the fans is as enjoyable as can be. Fun happens here, and they’re a huge part of the reason why.
Back at the office, there are a few more who deal with me away from the ballpark — when I’m at my most irritable. There’s my editor, Kyle Franko; my current deskmates, Tyler Barto, Ed Morlock and Nick Peruffo.
You’ll be reading a lot more of Nick in the coming days and years. He’s taking over for me on the Thunder beat, and he covers both Princeton men’s basketball and the New York Jets. He gets around.
Over the years there have been countless others, including Jay Dunn, Ben Doody, Rob Chakler, Aaron Bracy and Matthew Osborne, the current editor-in-chief, who have helped mold me from a raw journalist fresh out of college into something (slightly) more professional. They made me realize that this is a job that requires full-time attention, not a hobby that can be dismissed on a whim.
A special thank you here goes to Osborne, who, after I was let go in a round of layoffs during the spring of 2008, thought enough of me to push for my re-hire five weeks later when a colleague chose a different path. If not for that, I have no idea where I’d be. More than likely I’d have been back at home in Oregon, living with my parents and re-starting both my job search and my career.
It’s safe to say I can’t say thank you enough for showing that kind of faith in me so early in my career. I hope I’ve made that decision worthwhile.
Finally, there’s the fantastic group of players, coaches and scouts who have been kind enough to humor me nightly as I try to pry my way a little deeper into their world. Without their willingness to cooperate — especially those nice enough to speak with me off the record – my stories wouldn’t have been nearly as well-informed.
All of those guys are important, but none has been as influential and accommodating as manager Tony Franklin, who has been the skipper here since the first game I covered, way back in 2008. There are endless perks to doing this job, but without question the best has been the lengthy, freewheeling nonsense conversations between the manager and the media before day games.
Those sessions are where I’ve gotten to learn about the manager as a person, and Franklin has been the most wonderful person of the thousands of people I’ve met in seven seasons covering this game (six here and one in Eugene, Ore.)
Going to Baseball America — one of the sport’s foremost voices — is beyond a dream job for me. Since I first took a job at my high school newspaper, all I’ve wanted to be is a journalism version of Don Zimmer: Someone who gets into baseball early and never leaves.
All those mentioned above, plus many more, I’m sure, played an immeasurably enormous role in helping me accomplish everything I have so far and everything I will going forward. For that, I have nothing left to say but thank you.