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April 30, 2004

One Year
by Larry Mahnken

A year ago today, I was just a guy posting on a message board. What a difference a year makes--now I'm a guy posting on a blog.

Okay, I won't make that big a deal about this, since I don't really place that much importance on the passing of years anyway. But what started as a place where I figured I'd post my rantings about my favorite team turned into one of the best things to ever happen to me. It's given me direction, it's given me a measure of renown, it's made me a couple hundred dollars, and for the most part, it's been fun.

I really didn't think very many people would visit this site, and I didn't think those that did would stick around very long. If you had told me that within the next year I would have been getting linked to in Clutch Hits, exchanged emails with Keith Law, been named the best baseball blog by Forbes, been mentioned several times in Art Martone's columns, participated in a roundtable discussion with several respected sportswriters, launched a highly successful website with other popular internet writers, or had an article published in a newspaper (let alone one it Red Sox territory), I would have called that crazy talk, you crazy, and told you to get out of the road.

I don't know if this is fame, though I guess having my name recognized by people who've never met me can be considered fame to a small degree. It is kind of weird to hear people talking about your opinions when you're not around, as though you're an authority. I'm not, I'm just a fan like the rest of you guys, I guess I've just got a way of expressing my thoughts in a way that people enjoy.

Really, I don't know why people like my stuff. That's been a problem for me, since being moderately successful gives me a responsibility to put out quality material, but I don't know what people are considering quality. I should probably just go with whatever I feel like saying, since that's what attracted people in the first place, but the pressure affects that, and sometimes I don't really know what to say. To some degree, it may have affected the quality of my writing, but it certainly has affected the quantity of it.

But anyway, I guess I just did make a big deal out of this, so I'm sorry for that. I'm pretty sure what you do like about this site is when I talk about, oh, I don't know, the Yankees, so let's go there.

The Yanks finished off a huge sweep of the A's last night. Since the Red Sox swept the Devil Rays, too, the Yanks didn't gain any ground on Boston, but it's really too early to be looking at the standings (he says as updating his magic number countdown...). What was important about this series was that the offense came to life, scoring 22 runs off of one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, and three of the best starters in the game.

Derek Jeter broke out of his 0-32 slide with a homer on Zito's first pitch last night, but while the slide's over, the slump isn't. He'll need to get a couple more hits to break out of that, but it'll come soon enough, probably this weekend. Miguel Cairo hit a tie-breaking home run that probably ensured he'll be the regular second baseman for the next few weeks. His numbers will inevitably decline, probably very quickly, and the Yankees will end up settling into something of a platoon between the two before going out and accquiring a legitimate second baseman (I'm thinking Junior Spivey, once the Brewers start fading).

Kevin Brown was very good again, although he wasn't dominant. Brown's intensity led to a very funny moment during the game, when Mel Stottlemyre came out to talk to him as a stall tactic while Paul Quantrill got warm. "You can talk to the other guys," Brown said, and left Mel on the mound with Posada and Giambi as he walked off by himself. I can see where Brown's gotten a reputation as being a prick, but on this team, where winning is more important than anything else, that's an attitude that might be appreciated, rather than being irritating.

Listening once again to Jim Kaat spout more half-assed comments about how the game is supposed to be played, I'm starting to come to that realization I suppose all people come to as they get older, that you can't change the minds of the previous generation, you have to win over the minds of the next one. I should let Kaat and Kay's foolishness roll off my back a little, and focus more on presenting information to the casual observer of sabermetrics in a way that might be more appealing. Let the media and fanboys fawn over Derek Jeter's defense; we can't change their minds, it's the unbiased who we have to educate.