Don’t call it a comeback. I’ve been here for years.
Rocking my peers. Putting suckers in fear…
That’s right, I hope y’all enjoy obscure pop culture references from the 90s because you are about to get a weekly dose of them along with lukewarm takes on the Rays season, hackneyed sports analysis, random thoughts on life and bad baseball metaphors.
As you may have noticed (although I highly doubt you did), I took a big step back from sportswriting last year. After 15 years as a sports reporter, I needed a break. I lost interest in just about everything, especially sports. A big part of that came from losing my biggest fan when my dad passed suddenly last April. Without him to talk about baseball on our daily commute through traffic, I started watching less and less of the games. My new job, my first real 9 to 5 gig I’ve ever had and my first non-journalism job in nearly two decades, took up most of my focus. I was still teaching media courses at the local college at night and trying to balance being a decent father myself. Toss in a bout of depression, a touch of alcoholism, a handful of general everyday stresses and sports just seemed so unimportant even though it was pretty much the epicenter of my entire career to that point.
I ended up walking away from my part-time gig working for MLB.com over the summer. I let my fantasy teams slip into oblivion. I hardly watched anything sports related, with the exception of taking a road trip to see a Royals game against the Marlins in September and having a couple of the baseball playoff games on in the background.
After nearly six months of shutting myself off from the world of sports, I realized there were parts that I really missed. Things like just being a fan of the game. You lose a lot of that when you write about sports in order to pay your bills. I definitely missed writing for fun purely because I enjoyed doing it.
I missed cracking jokes. The kind that would make my dad laugh on the other end of the phone. I missed studying the pitchers and breaking down their mechanics. Second guessing pitch selections and losing myself in the absurdity of grown men playing a game. As screwed up as things have gotten in the world, we could all stand to lose ourselves in something trivial.
I started thinking about when writing was truly fun. For those of you who have been around the Tampa Bay market for a long time, you might remember how I got started as a blogger at Creative Loafing. That online column, Views from the Cheap Seats, carried over with me when I moved to the Tampa Tribune. I used to have so much fun with that. I really didn’t have any central theme other than being a way to kill time as I waited for the end of the late night desk shift at the paper to end. It was usually just a random collection of thoughts on sports and pop culture, sort of like Tom McEwen’s old notes column, of which I always had the fortune of having to decipher as his personal copy editor, only with slightly more snark and pop culture references less than 20 years old.
So with a little encouragement from the editors here at the Scrum, I’ve decided to resurrect the spirit of the Cheap Seats as a weekly notes column. Every Friday, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the Rays and baseball in general. I’ll also be including whatever random musings cross my mind so expect some randomness on music, movies, coaching youth baseball, sharks, fishing, politics, food and life in general.
In many ways, this column will fill the void left behind by the missing conversations on my ridiculously long commutes. I want to have a conversation with all of you now. We’ll start with baseball and see where it goes. Hopefully, I can make you laugh along the way.
Cuz Momma said knock you out…
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