Four years can be such a long time — even for Cubs fans.
When I graduated from high school back in the 1980s, my parting words of wisdom for my fellow seniors were rock lyrics, as were nearly everyone else’s in my class. I chose a line from Boston’s debut album, which the 17-year old that I once was listened to all the time. The line says “It’s been such a long time, I think I should be going.” While I left out the “yeah” that Brad Delp added in when he sang the line, the sentiment was true to how I felt about packing up and moving on to whatever came next. At this moment, it’s also true to how I feel about writing for Through the Fence Baseball.
The first thing I wrote for TTFB was an appreciation of Kirby Puckett, a player I remembered fondly from the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was a perennial All-Star and two-time World Series champion when he took a pitch from Dennis Martinez to his face near the end of the 1995 season. One moment you’re one of the top players in the game, and the next moment it all comes to an abrupt end. Life happens that way sometimes.
I haven’t written anything for this website since last October, when the World Series was still going on. I’m sure that I’ve had a few things to say about the game I have always loved since then, but the desire to sit down and put those thoughts into words just hasn’t been there for me. So, before I walk away from doing this, I wanted to sum things up a little bit.
Over the past four years, I’ve written slightly more than 200 posts for TTFB. For the sake of convenience, I’ve decided to put the actual writing time at an hour per post. That could be wildly inaccurate, but it’s a nice round number. At an hour per, I’ve contributed nine days of my life writing various observations about baseball. I once spent a great week in Paris in my younger days, but that didn’t total up to nine days. So, the time commitment has been something significant, especially when most of those hours were probably time I should have been sleeping, instead.
Here’s another way to sum it up: at 500 words per post — another round number that is probably wildly inaccurate — I’ve contributed over 100,000 words to this website. Not to get all literary on everyone, but my favorite novel — George Orwell’s 1984 — checks in at just under 89,000 words, while Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is a few words over 100,000. I’ve written enough words here to fill a novel, and the time has come to admit that it’s been enough.
My years writing here have overlapped with the rebuilding of the Cubs under Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. After many, many bitter pieces about the Cubs, including one where I renounced the team entirely early in the 2014 season, this should be the year where I will favor the world with observations both grand and small about my beloved Northsiders (but I won’t ever call them the Cubbies. I’ll leave that terminology to someone else). When the Cubs finally do win their first Commissioner’s Trophy, please rest assured that I’ll be happier than I could ever put into words.
I’m grateful to Jon Sumple, my editor, and Jamie Shoemaker, who runs this site, and all my fellow baseball scribes for sharing my love of baseball. Baseball is a great game, unique among all other sports. It’s always going to be our national game, no matter what the television ratings suggest. As James Earl Jones so eloquently stated in Field of Dreams, baseball has marked the time, and I’m quite confident that it always will.
With that said, it’s time to cue up the Boston and keep on chasing a dream, whatever it finally turns out to be.