Thursday, May 27, 2010

Closing Time

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?


J.R. Ewing said...

Cue the speculation of a Favre-like unretirement...

Sorry to hear, I really enjoyed hearing an educated opinion of sports from a location other than Texas and MSM markets like New York and Boston.

I'll trade you my Austin Kearns autographed baseball for one of those Bonderman cards :).

Nick said...

Thanks for all the info and entertainment. My work weeks always stunk when there wasn't a post to set aside and read to give me a break from the day to day garbage. I'll miss it.

Michael C said...

Sucks that you're closing up shop. This was the best (... and only) sports blog by a non-professional writer that I regularly tuned into, and frankly it's better than some professional ones.

As for Bondo, he's lucky that one game where he was really bad got canceled due to rain or his stats wouldn't look near as good. I'm not sold on him being a guy we can count on yet, but I definitely trusted him more than the recently departed Dontrelle.

redhog1 said...

Say it ain't so....any chance we can convince you to change your mind? You're on my top 2 Michigan Bloggers of All Time list -- and not just on April 1st. Aside from my weekly MGoBlog recap, what will I be left with now.....Drew Sharp?!?! Ah, the misery. Anyway, you've earned the oppty to do whatever you wish -- onward with success, my friend!

Jake said...

Thanks for the sentiment, guys. It depresses me, Dave (J.R.), to find out exactly how much my Bondo collection is worth. Apparently, it's currently on a 1:1 ratio with Austin Kearns signed memorabilia.

Michael C. and RedHog1, I really appreciate the words. They validate what I've done here. I really enjoyed (and will enjoy for the next four weeks) having you guys as readers.

Nickel, glad to hear I was a beacon of hope for you in the middle of your work week. All I can think is that your work weeks must have been REALLY bad! lol! Consider us even for all of the times you had my back on typos/errors/ and straight-up lies. I especially liked it when you caught them within 10 minutes of me posting before anyone else noticed them.

As for changing my mind, I won't close the door on a comeback for good because there is always a chance that I'll realize six months from now (Favre-style) that I made a mistake. For now, though, it's most definitely the right time.

Joe said...

Your "Anatomy of a Michigan loss" (both 1 and 2) literally changed the way I look at Michigan football. As has been mentioned I looked forward to your posts every week.

Will you be frequenting any message boards in the future? UMGOBLUE? MGOBLOG? GBW?

I for one would really hate to lose your perspective on all things Michigan football.

Eric said...

Thanks for taking the time to write the blog. I can tell it was time-consuming, but the content was excellent. I'll miss checking it every few days. Good luck.

Jake said...

Joe, thanks for the kind words. The "Anatomy" posts were written within the first couple months of this blog. That seems like forever and a day ago. I sure wish the transition would've gone smoother from LC to RR but I think it was time for a change and I'm glad Bill Martin had the cojones to think big. It's just too bad how it has turned out for so many reasons. I try not to post on message boards for my own sanity. The internet is notoriously bad at conveying sarcasm and tone. I've found it best to just avoid sharing comments all together. However, I read message boards quite often including all of the ones you mentioned.

Eric, thanks pal. Hearing positive feedback makes this whole thing worth while. I put a lot of time and effort into writing what I hoped to be interesting posts. It's great to hear that I succeeded.

Jim, what a compliment! Now I feel all sorts of guilt for ruining your blog consumption. Seriously, though, I appreciate the words. I dig your questions so I'm going to make them my post topic for the week. With only a few posts left before I hang it up, this will give me a chance to maximize content. Thanks for the inspiration!

Lord Byron said...

Noooooooooooooo!! You're a fantastic writer with a lot of great insight. I like JR Ewings post, "Cue the speculation of a Favre-like unretirement..."

In fact when fall rolls around. I'll bet you can't help but write about Michigan football.

writings in your blood. that'll never change.

So when you go back to writing a few from time to time after June 30th, that means I won the bet, I'll send you a Lakers t shirt.

thanks for all the wonderful post over the years!!

Jake said...

Thanks for the kind words, Byron. You've always been complimentary. In fact, you've been so complimentary over the years that you are responsible for 34% of my self esteem. I'm not going to close the door on a return completely. If someone offers me what the Vikings offered Favre ($12 million), I'll un-retire.


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