"This is the long goodbye"
When I arrived here in Orlando to cover the GM Meetings earlier today, I checked my Twitter account and found it inundated with kind words from many of you who read my announcement about leaving the Indians beat. Overwhelmed by the show of support, I thought back to that day, nearly five years ago, when I arrived here under much different circumstances. I was en route to Winter Haven to cover the Cleveland Indians’ Spring Training camp in my first year on the beat as the reporter for the team web site.
That’s still quite a concept to wrap my head around. Because to a Euclid kid who would head to Cleveland Municipal Stadium on many a summer day with his old man to scalp a couple general admission seats in the right-field stands (so that I could see my favorite player, Cory Snyder, up close) and who spent every morning of every day in grade school and high school reading every last inch of the sports page and hoping to one day be the one providing the words within it, this was a dream job.
In many ways, it still is a dream job. It still boggles my mind that they pay people to write about baseball and you fine folks devotedly read the ensuing product. I can’t thank you enough for that.
So I thank you, also, for the many wonderful experiences that have come with this job, from covering the 2007 playoff run (and ensuing collapse) and the Armando Galarraga perfect game (I’ll always refer to it as such) to walking through the Iowa cornfields with Bob Feller to shaking hands with Billy Joel. I even got to interview Snyder one time.
The perks of the profession extended to the personal side, too. Having my dad, who made me a baseball fan in the first place, along for the ride on a few road trips was a great bonding experience for us both.
And while all of the above led to some meaningful memories, nothing compares to that day when I met the girl who, in a few weeks, will become my wife. Naturally, we met at Jacobs Field.
Of course, to do this job right is to give up a lot. That can include your sanity, as any ball scribe worth his credential can tell you after covering a day-night doubleheader in which both games go into extras or getting up at 5 a.m. after covering a night game in Kansas City so that you can catch that flight to Minneapolis that includes the three-hour layover in Chicago.
Fortunately, my bosses at MLB.com value my work enough to allow me to continue to do what I love – i.e. attempting to put this great game into words – while stepping away from the daily grind and the relentless travel that come with beat responsibilities. I owe them a big, public thank you, as well.
Over on the Indians.com page, I’m turning you over to the highly capable hands of Jordan Bastian, one of MLB.com’s best. Jordan is inheriting a front office that is a joy to work with. Mark Shapiro, Chris Antonetti and Co. have always been accomodating and responsive, and Curtis Danburg, Bart Swain and the rest of the guys and gals in media and community relations are extremely helpful, as well. Toss in the cast of characters in the Progressive Field press box — including Paul Hoynes, Sheldon Ocker and Jim Ingraham, who have been on the beat longer than I’ve been alive yet never made me feel anything less than welcomed — and you’ve got a tremendous work environment.
As noted in the Inbox, I’m not completely stepping away from all this. Here at CastroTurf, I plan to continue to track the Tribe, provide some insight into their decision-making and direction, some analysis of their performance and, yes, some excruciating minutiae, too. It won’t be on the nightly basis that it once was, but hopefully it’ll be enough to keep the writer-reader relationship we’ve built up over the years going strong.
I hope you’ll also check out my columns for MLB.com (they’re linked here) and keep an eye out for my other work on the site. You can always follow me on Twitter (@Castrovince) to see what I’m up to.
Thanks to all you “Castronauts” for making this job a joy.
PS: On a completely unrelated note, don’t forget to buy the Darkness box, in stores now.