Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How Youz Doin

This is the final post.  After this one, we'll be closing up shop and the 1,645 posts and over 12,650 comments on How Youz Doin Baseball will probably just occupy Internet space for eternity.  It will be a good running record on the state of the Yankees, Red Sox, baseball, and life in general between the years of 2007 and 2011.  It was an interesting time period for both teams, the sports, and two American twenty-somethings growing up, and I don't think it's necessary for us to go over all the stuff that's taken place. 

It also, at least for me and for Pat, gave us a way to stay connected (probably too connected) to the game we've loved since we were kids.  Part of what made college special was the fact that I got an opportunity to argue with someone from the other side of the rivalry who had the same intensity, passion, and knowledge of the game that I had.  Despite the fact that we didn't like each other's teams, Pat and I seemed to agree on quite a bit, including how stupid it was for the Red Sox to trade Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell.

The day, at least in my mind, that this blog became virtually unavoidable was the day our senior year when Sanchez threw the no-hitter.  Meanwhile, Ramirez won the Rookie of the Year, Lowell went about a month without an extra-base hit, and Beckett gave up 36 home runs.  That day, and my apologies for entering the Rocky III semi-weird area here, was the day I disappeared for three hours, seeking refuge and a place to vent at Pat's senior apartment.  Over the previous three years, Pat and I had spent countless hours coming up with clever ways to present baseball arguments - many of which are still hovering in the vapor over Dana Dining Hall or Alfond Athletic Center, and some of which were tragically deleted forever once we X'ed out our AOL Instant Messenger windows.  (In fact, in honor of my screen name, Pat's girlfriend tolerated a certain amount of "Tuna Time" every night so we could discuss baseball over A.I.M.) 

I'd say it was sometime in mid-2006 that Pat started planting the idea in my head that we should go in together on a baseball blog.  I was initially hesitant about the idea because I knew that once it started, I wouldn't be able to give a 99% effort on it.  But after three hours of my venting, profanities, and baseball frustration disguised as "insight" and "being right all the time" on Anibal Sanchez Night, Pat started pressing harder for the idea.  Two and a half months later, once the boy wonder signed JD Drew and Julio Lugo (five years ago tonight, in fact!), it was pretty much time to start planning.  So in February 2007, instead of having it all X'ed out at the end of a conversation, we started a blog so that we could eventually look back on how correct, incorrect, and/or entertaining our arguments were.

It wasn't too long until we reached my first goal:  To be able to refer to our own previous writing.  After a while, we developed a following.  We accumulated a small, but loyal and prolific community of followers who contributed to our comments section, including friends from school, friends from home, friends from work, and a couple of people who we either knew vaguely or didn't know at all.  We made it to a point where we reached nearly 15,000 hits a year, and most posts gathered dozens of comments.  With links coming from a couple of Yankee sites, one really popular Boston site, a Kansas City newspaper, and the foremost Tampa Bay Rays blog, our little blog became a lot bigger than we thought it would be. 
Over the years, when most of us graduated from college, got real jobs and lost the time to post during the work day, our lives changed and perhaps the quality of the blog receded a bit (not to mention Pat and I being at each other's throats for a lot of '09 and '10), we kept it going because it was fun to keep that conversation going.  I can speak for both of us by saying that if we didn't have the constant back-and-forth with our little community, we would have been out of the game years ago.

But it was you guys who kept it fun.  It was Bandi, the Gunn, Tim C, Ross Kaplan, and Jason who started as significant contributors and have stayed with us for the entire duration.  Over the years, we had (and occasionally still do have) From the Bronx, John, Mr. H, Rocci, Frankie Firefox, ZWeiss, Mike V, Jvins, Matt, the Big Ticket, Craig, Jack Sox, JFlu, Jon, Beau, Marino, and probably a few others I had forgotten.  You guys came up with some of the clever, insightful, and refreshing opinions that Pat and I were often unable to come up with ourselves.  In many different homes and workplaces throughout the country, I think there were and are people who checked How Youz Doin regularly and got a couple of laughs or some insightful baseball knowledge by following their bookmark to How Youz Doin Baseball. 

I'm proud of the body of work that Pat and I put together.  But I'm equally proud and grateful for the work that went into the 12,000 comments from our readers.  You really made it fun for Pat and me.  It's a lot more gratifying than having one of the countless other blogs across the Web that never got a comment, tossed out a couple of posts, published a normal post on a random Wednesday, and never was logged into again.

I also want to take a quick minute to thank my family for being among the silent followers of the blog, who took some of the stuff from How Youz Doin Baseball and started conversations about it at the dinner table.  I'm also very grateful to my fiancee, who had to share me with Pat and the blog from our three-month anniversary all the way to the present.  Somehow, me talking trash over the internet until 11:30 PM instead of coming to bed wasn't a dump-able offense, and that's pretty nice to know.  She didn't even get mad about last month's Coco Crisp post other than saying that her ex-boyfriend wouldn't have minded.  Same goes to Pat's girlfriend and Boston native Allie, who's been tolerant of what has undoubtedly been several thousand hours of Tuna Time.

Lastly, I want to thank Pat for three things.  First, thanks for getting me into the blog thing in the first place.  How Youz Doin, strangely enough, helped me professionally on a few occasions, as I got to talk about my baseball blog during a chamber of commerce event about two years ago.  Second, thanks for your tireless efforts in being just as big a part of this blog as I was despite not having enough passion for writing to use spell check (your words, not mine).  Your opinions brought balance to the blog and invaluable opinions that, at least in my eyes, shaped the way a lot of us view the game.  I think most of us in the comments section think your input had more impact on our relationship with baseball more than Bill James's input did.  Lastly, thanks for staying with it as long as you did.  I know that you probably could have called it quits two years ago, but you stayed aboard anyway and maintained our challenging schedule.  This is not ignored and will not be forgotten.

If Pat and I live until we're roughly 88 years old, our time writing for How Youz Doin Baseball, but moreso receiving immeasurable entertainment, insight, and a sense of purpose from this blog, will have been a central part of about 1/18 of our lives.  One eighteenth, of course, would be the equivalent of one half-inning of a baseball game.  And as we all know, one half-inning can make all the difference in the world.  Thanks to Pat and thanks to you all for being part of it.

14 comments:

Rocci said...

At one point in the article, this image popped into my mind:

http://xkcd.com/386/

Anyways, if you're looking to keep discussion going without having to put in the incredible amount of effort blog writing takes, you might want to consider a twitter account.

Anyway, it was a great run, How Youz Doin.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the many hours spent reading your posts and comments over the years to everyone, and of course to dv and pat who did such a great job with the blog!

-Jason

Wilesthing said...

I actually clicked on your Facebook link hoping to see you refer to your body of work as a body of work, so thank you for not disappointing me. Ha, that made me happy.

The GM said...

Rocci,

Bingo. As you know more than anyone else, I will never start a Twitter account unless you make me. This is actually a funny parallel - other people set up my Twitter, blog, and Facebook accounts because I was too stubborn or anti-social media to do it myself.

Jason,

Thanks for being there from Day 1, not only Day 1 of the blog, but probably also Day 1 of Tuna Time back in 1997 or 1998.

Wilesthing,

Glad to have not disappointed. I am disappointed with myself for not giving you a shoutout within the post.

ZWeiss said...

I'm relatively new to HYD, since I discovered this blog in 2011, but I'm still pretty bummed to see it end. Awesome work guys, I've really enjoyed reading this stuff. You guys are part of the reason I still blog on here (although I admittedly wish I had more time to post). Thanks for everything, and good luck in whatever you guys do in life!

mr.h said...

Thanks guys for all your hard work over the years. I know I had to stop posting a while back, between actually having to go to work and raising my blood pressure to unhealthy levels fighting against both of you, i just had to quit.

But I still checked in to read every now and then, and if you keep writing somewhere else, I'll be sure to check that out too. Good luck guys.

Anonymous said...

I also found this blog late in the game in the past year. I actually found it stumbling through DV's online running log which is also very good. You guys both are very good writers and have provided great insight and humor about the team I love, the sox, and the team i hate, the yankees. Best of luck.

- A Colby Runner

Ross Kaplan said...

I started reading How Youz Doin because I knew both DV and Pat and wanted to support their venture. I continued reading and commenting almost everyday for the subsequent 5 years or so because I loved reading what you guys had to say and the opinions of others who chimed in. I kept coming back because I truly enjoyed reading strong opinions especially those from DV and the other Red Sox fans. After moving back to NY after college it was much more difficult to keep up with on goings in the Red Sox Nation so How Youz Doin was my way of keeping up to date.

I can't tell you how many times I checked the blog during a boring law school class to see if anyone responded to one of my comments which probably partly explains my less than stellar academic record. Looking back on it, it was definitely worth it. Thank you DV and Pat and hopefully I can still follow whatever arguments arise during the 2012 season.

Anonymous said...

PF/DV

I have barstool sports bookmarked. I have the infamous Macho Man Randy Savage interview bookmarked. I have MLB Trade Rumors book marked. And I have How Youz Doin bookmarked.

Like Ross, I started following this blog because I knew both of you guys and Pat was a roommate and teammate of mine. I'm glad that I did. Not only did I kill a lot of dead time, but I learned a lot about you guys, a lot about baseball, and even though I rarely see either of you, I felt as though we were always in touch.

It's also important to note that the quality of this blog was very high. You guys made great points and a tremendous effort to generate as many posts and as much discussion as you both did.

Thank you.

--the Gunn

Anonymous said...

DV and PF, I wanted to say thank you to both of you guys for the incredible amount of content you guys generated on such a regular basis over these last five years. I do not spend very much time at all reading up and analyzing baseball, particularly when compared to the other sports I watch, so for me this blog was as much a go-to resource for baseball thinking as anything else and I am truly going to miss having that available to me.

I also want to say the same to you guys for how dedicated you guys all to putting in the same amount of effort into the comments sections of those posts- it really made this a special link for so many of us over these years. Congratulations, too, for being able to leave it on your own terms and for doing so at a time when things were still going very well for the site- although I would not poo-poo a '45 on the Wizards' blog in a year or two...

On the same lines, thanks to everyone else who has contributed in these comment sections for the insights, commentary, and general hilarity that made its way up here over the years. Your presence made up a very important minority of how special this blog was over these years. On that same thread, no one will know if Bandi indeed hailed from the Bronx but I do know that the process of working hours on a blog post can be crushing when things go un-commented on and sometimes it is hard to understand that when you spend so much time on the commenting end. So, kudos to you guys for the sharp commentary and for the small contribution to keeping our two main guys going.

But, again, to PF and DV, thank you guys for HYDB and good luck with your future projects.

-Tim

John said...

Guys,

Along the same lines as Mr. H, I know I stopped posting a long time ago, but whenever anything big happened with the Sox, or Yankees depending on whether or not it was good and I wanted to hear anymore about it, I would always come and check the blog to see what people had to say about it. So thanks for giving me years worth of opinions and a place to give my own if warranted, especially in the last year and a half while I was living outside of New England and wasn't able to watch many games or discuss baseball much with anyone. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to everyone for the good words. Great to hear not only from so many regulars, but also former regulars. Not just in this comments section, but in the comments for my last post yesterday. It's been a great reminder of how many tremendous baseball debates were had in this space by really knowledgeable fans. Again, DV and I have all of you to thank for that.

I also second a lot of the sentiments being thrown out there, notably that this was just a great place to talk sports, baseball, and Yankees/Red Sox. And I don't say that because I co-authored the site, I say that just because of how much fun this was over the last 5 years. It's even more rewarding that others felt the same way.

Fortunately, I know most of you and will still be in regular communication. For those of you that I won't, I wish you all the best, and hope we get a chance to run into each other at some point. Either way, thanks again for all of your contributions to this site.

PF

The GM said...

ZWeiss,

We've both enjoyed your content once you discovered us. My advice to you as a young blogger (especially as one who has all those prime college blogging years ahead of you) is to keep it consistent for a long time. As you know, your blog's on the right-hand side of this one. Good luck. I'm sure you'll see my comments at least occasionally. Also, good luck on your running.

H,

It was really a shame that a player who hit .252 over the last two years signing with the Yankees scared you off back in 08, but it's great to see you back for one more comment today. I know that you and John especially only started following the Red Sox fervently when everyone else did, too. However (and I've stated it here before), it's supremely admirable that you guys took it to a level not reached by most fans who took it up around the same time you did: You researched, you learned, and hopefully because of that, you got a lot more out of the game than an opportunity to see a homemade sign shown on NESN. You were a valuable addition here for as long as you were on the blog, and I appreciate the time you put in yourself.

Colby Runner,

First of all, good to see the increased quality of the team's performance this year. Thanks for stopping by and, whichever one of the runners you are, I encourage you to leave me some comments on my running log. I'll have a pretty sizeable writing void to fill the next few months.

Tank,

Already gave you a mushy comment last time around, but I'm glad we could make law school more tolerable. Your Jersey Shore comment still hangs on my wall at the office.

John,

You were always good for an insightful periodic post when we least expected it. A lot of the stuff I said to H also applies to you. I was very thrilled to see that through this blog, a lot of the basketball guys from Colby and a lot of my friends from Wilmington all kind of came together for a discussion having never known each other. Welcome back to town.

Gunn, Tim C, and (though you're probably waiting for the last word) Bandi: While Pat and I may have been the facilitators of these discussions - the pens that write the document, if you will - you guys were the ink that wrote the document. Without the ink, there would have been no discussion for the pens to facilitate. Your opinions, the way all three of you presented them, and the level of commitment that you guys brought to a website that was not by any means your creation or your responsibility are something that made this "half-inning" worth continuing for as long as we did.

Without your constant input, we would have reached the end of this blog a long time ago. We would have realized we were wasting our precious hours writing a bunch of stuff that nobody really read. But due to your contributions and the fact that you guys really did show up every single day for five years, we never really felt we were wasting our time at all. You think you'll be missing our writing? It's the other way around: We'll be missing yours.

Though the critics may not agree, How Youz Doin in my eyes is the best website on the Internet, and it has been ever since it became a two-way stream of information and opinion. Thanks to all those who made it possible.

Anonymous said...

DV and PF,

Thank you again for running the blog. As I said on the last comment, it was a lot of fun and was a good way to stay in touch.

Thanks as well to other regular contributors, such as the Gunn, TimC, and Tank.

It occurs to me that there are many questions that still remain unanswered even as the blog closes- Who is From the Bronx? Did the Gunn make up his own nickname? Will Joba ever be viable MLB pitcher?

And yet I am comforted that we did have many profitable discourses, and that many questions were answered. No JD Drew never became a profitable member of the Red Sox. Yes the Red Sox could win 2 championships in a decade. Yes PF could make it through law school without beating anyone with a wiffle ball bat following a Yankees loss. Yes, Ross Kaplan could become a productive member of society and earn a paycheck. Yes, the Gunn could learn how to shoot lefty three pointers.

And so with that, I post my last comment on HYDB. And I will leave you with the conclusion of Ronald Reagans farewell address.

"And that's about all I have to say tonight, except for one thing. The past few days when I've been at that window upstairs, I've thought a bit of the 'shining city upon a hill.' The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we'd call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free. I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.
And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was 8 years ago. But more than that: After 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home."
- Ronald Reagan, January 11, 1989

So long, and God Bless.

Bandi