A few months ago in the aftermath of a post that was literally 20 times the length of my average longwinded post, I mentioned that I would be moving to a one-post per week format. I had initially planned for that to be a temporary move but clearly that wasn’t the case. There’s a reason why I didn’t return to my normal post frequency and the point of this post is to let you know that reason. My first blog post was on June 28, 2005. It had been a goal from early on to maintain this blog for five years. In just over a month, I will reach that goal. I’ve enjoyed having my own personal real estate on the interwebs but I am more than ready to retire this baby. I’ve thought about hanging it up at various points in the past but I never felt comfortable until now. I wanted “no regrets” and reaching the five-year mark assures that.
I’d like to thank my readers who surprised me time and time again by coming back. I appreciate your patience in the beginning when I was largely unsure of what I wanted this to be. I also appreciate your patience as I figured out how to write. It wasn’t always pretty but I’ve grown considerably as a writer from where I was five years ago. While it was my passion for sports that got this thing going in the first place, it was my readership that gave me the drive to put out a quality product. I’m not going to win any awards for excellence in writing but I like to think that I wrote some things that made people think. Without a vested readership, that never would’ve happened. I thank you, sincerely. It has been a pleasure to be a part of your weekly internet consumption and I take pleasure in knowing that, even in just a small way, I’ve contributed to the enjoyment of your lives.
I’ve had many readers and reader comments over the years and those were instrumental in fueling my material for the blog. I’d like to thank the following readers specifically for making this blog a part of your jaunt around the internet landscape…
Michael C., Redhog1, J.R. Ewing, Scott-O, Chensk, Lombaowski, Jeff in Cols, Dan, Jim, Lord Byron and the Steady’s, Eric, the Gaver, Tony P., Matt S.,Section 16 Big House, Kyle C., NickO, Big Ben the Giants fan, Robert Paulson, Hwood, Rat, Chris of Dangerous Logic, Mayur, Dieterface, Bojo, Sabir, Shawn, Justin S., Yale Van Dyne, Kyle C., Bill, Luke, Christy Hammond, Eric, Danny, and Seth.
I’d also like to thank my family—even the ones who have had no interest in any of the topics I’ve written about J--for humoring me and following along for five years. This has been an enjoyable experience and I’m glad I did it.
My last post will be on June 30th.
I’ll be taking a break from my usual literary marathon this week. In its place, I’d like to bring attention to an old friend. It’s a topic that I wrote about on a number of occasions during my maiden year as a blogger. I’ll begin with a sad tale of misfortune. In 2004, I was so convinced that Jeremy Bonderman was embarking on a glorious, Hall of Famer caliber career that I invested in 105 of his autographed rookie cards over a period of four months. My rationale was grounded in logic—or so I thought. At the time, Bondo had just come off a season in which he hurled two complete game shutouts over the final five weeks of the season. His ERA over that span was just 2.33 to go along with a 1.05 WHIP, and a .195 BAA. Did I mention he was only 21? Just in these last couple sentences I’ve almost convinced myself that I should’ve bought even more than I did—but I digress. I thought I was getting way ahead of what was sure to be a mad rush for Bonderman rookie cards but as I painfully and mercilessly and endlessly found out, I was simply lining the pockets of 105 random strangers with eBay accounts. I wonder how many giggled as they packaged up the cards and sent them my way. The sad thing is that I was laughing at them for parting with such obvious gold for such a reasonable price. The great Bondo Experiment of 2005 ended in fiery disaster. It was a colossal blunder on par with any and all of Matt Millen’s worst mistakes. The other two players that I considered loading up on exclusively were Justin Verlander and Hanley Ramirez. Their cards were going for more than Bondo’s so I thought my bang-for-buck was going to be higher with the “sleeper.” You get what you pay for.
Bondo’s career nosedived the minute I decided that my collection was complete. His ERA+ from 2005-2009 was an unspectacular 98 and his WHIP was an even more unmoving 1.38. After missing most of the past two seasons, it looked like he was headed towards pitching obscurity and early retirement. He entered 2010 battling two other pitchers for Detroit’s fourth and fifth rotation spots. Nobody—including me—thought that he had anything left to offer a team badly in need of reliable pitching at the back end of the rotation. As it turns out, I was just as wrong about that as I was about Bondo’s Hall of Fame future in 2005.
Aside from one miserable start at Seattle in mid-April, Bonderman has been brilliant this season. His ERA is 3.78 which would be, by far, the best of his career. His WHIP is 1.21 which would also be, by far, the best of his career. He has given up just two home runs in 47.2 innings and has a K/9 rate above 8.00. If we remove the debacle in Seattle in his second start of the season—just his 2nd road start since June ‘08—then Bondo has posted a wicked 2.47 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP in eight starts. Not surprisingly, the Tigers are 6-2 in those starts.
The window for Bondo to pile up Hall of Fame stats has long been closed and, consequently, so has the window for Bondo to save my personal finances. What’s not over, however, is the window for Bondo to become a good major league pitcher. That wouldn’t put money back in my pocket but it sure would give the Tigers a fighting chance in the Central Division. Isn’t that really all that matters?