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It’s time to say goodbye

After seven years, I’m leaving The Good Phight.

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

In June of 2011, I traveled into NYC for an evening and met up with some fellow displaced Phillies fans. We drank and had fun at a Philly sports bar, and watched the Phillies beat the Marlins in extras. Sometime during the night, at least three beers in, I walked up to Peter Lyons, the managing editor of The Good Phight. I said to him “The blog I write for is dying, and I need somewhere to write about the Phillies. Please blog-dopt me.” A week later I was on staff, and 18 months after that I became managing editor.

And now, after seven and a half years and hundreds of game threads and recaps and player reviews and breaking news stories, it’s time to say goodbye.

After freelancing for Yahoo Sports for over two years, they’ve offered me a full time position, and I’ve decided to take it. I’m delighted and overjoyed for so many reasons. Sports writing was a side hustle for me for years, something I did to have fun and talk to other Phillies fans and maybe make a little beer money. Now it’s my full time job. I work with exceptional people at Yahoo Sports and I’ve learned so much from all of them. I’m honored that they want to bring me aboard and make me part of their team.

But that also means I have to leave The Good Phight. Today is my last day as managing editor of this glorious website. So despite all my happiness, it’s a little bittersweet. Without TGP and the incredible people I’ve worked with, I wouldn’t be where I am now. This site, and all the people who write for it, are a huge part of my life.

And now here comes the part where I thank people. Thanks to Phrozen for taking on the mantle of moderator and doing a better job than I ever could have done, or imagined anyone doing. Thanks to Wet Luzinski for bringing his humor and joy to everything he does — I feel lucky to have experienced it, and I wish I had even 1/10 of his creativity. Thanks to Paul Boyé for lending his voice to the TGP Twitter account, and for jumping back into the world of low-paid Phillies blogging with barely a second thought.

I’m so grateful for the original triumvirate of TGP, Peter Lyons, David S. Cohen, and dajafi. Their guidance was so helpful in the early going, and knowing they were behind me meant so much.

I’m grateful for Jay, his daily minor league updates, and his responses on Slack that always, always make me laugh. I’m grateful for Victor, his sharp prospect analysis, and sharper deadpan. I’m grateful for Ethan and his bubbling positivity. I’m grateful for The Smarty Jones, who joined us just this year and made my life so much easier with his willingness to write recaps with his inimitable sense of humor. I’m grateful for schmenkman and his endless capacity for Phillies stats and knowledge, and for Cormican and his opinions on Phillies prospects and death metal. I’m grateful for TGK and Cole, who have generously given given readers much-needed perspectives on the Phillies and baseball. I’m grateful for previous staff members Chris Jones, Matt Winkelman, Eric Chesterton, and Trevor Strunk for giving their time and lending their talent to TGP, even for just a little while.

Thanks to each and every commenter. Many of us never agreed, but I always respected your passion. Commenters give a site like this a life beyond what the writers write, and I’m grateful to all of you for choosing to make TGP part of your daily lives.

Thanks to John Stolnis for bringing his passion and hustle to TGP, for jumping on board when I proposed a podcast Patreon, for being talented and dependable and for always being a sorely needed voice of reason. I’m constantly in awe of his ability to juggle all the things he does because he does them all so well.

And more than anyone, I have to thank Justin Klugh. There aren’t enough words in the English language for me to thank him appropriately, not enough greeting cards or bouquets of flowers or skywriters or beribboned boxes of chocolate to convey how much his assistance and friendship has meant to me. Without him, I wouldn’t be here. I would have quit years ago when I was being crushed by doing the work of the blog and my old full time job. His humor made difficult times easier. His writing makes me wonder why anyone employs me instead of him, and it drives me to be better at my craft every single day. I spent my early years as managing editor trying to get Justin to join up, and I’m glad I kept relentlessly bugging him. There is no question in my mind that TGP would be worse without him, and it will be better in the future with him at the helm.

(A few additional people I need to thank: my parents, who never once questioned my decision to take the leap into sports writing, and urged me to do what made me happy. My sisters, who don’t care about baseball at all, but who always tried to care for me. My grandmother, who loves talking to me about the Phillies, and who trusted me enough to tell me about her crush on John Mayberry Jr. My grandfather, who passed on over the summer, and whose love of the Phillies will echo in our family for generations. Michael Baumann, whose endless support and cheerleading helped me more than he knows. And my fiancé Sean O’Rourke, for supporting me emotionally and financially as I tried to make a go at sports writing. We met because of TGP, and four years later he proposed to me in the Phillies media room. Without TGP, we wouldn’t have been possible. And without him, my career wouldn’t have been possible.)

It’s hard to describe how much TGP has meant to me. Being part of this site has been one of the defining experiences of my life. I met several of my best friends in the world thanks to this website. I met my fiancé. I became a national sports writer. I became a better writer, a better manager, a better baseball fan, a better friend, and a better person.

I’ve gotten to write about some of the most important figures in Phillies history. Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz. And guys who are the opposite of that, like Dom Brown, Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix, AJ Burnett, Joe Savery, Aaron Harang, David Herndon, Chad Qualls, Mike Fontenot, good lord this list of shitty Phillies players is long, I’m just going to stop here.

While I’m sad about leaving, I’m not sad or worried about the blog. I’m leaving it in the most capable hands, and the Phillies have so much in store for us in the future. Plus, I’m not leaving the internet. You’ll be able to find me on Twitter, ranting about the Phillies or whatever else catches my interest on any given day. I’ll still be on Hittin’ Season and Continued Success, because if I didn’t have a place to yell about the Phillies, I would probably shrivel up and blow away. And you’ll be able to find me on Yahoo Sports five days a week.

It’s not lost on me that I took over managing TGP in 2013, the first losing season in a string of losing seasons, and I’m leaving just as the Phillies are poised to make a splash in the free agent market and put that kind of losing firmly behind them. During my entire tenure as managing editor, the Phillies were truly in first place for 39 days. 39 days out of six years! And even though 2018 showed progress and promise, the Phillies team I ended with still has a whiff of the Phillies team I started with. It’s fitting! So fitting that in late August, in the midst of the collapse, I started to wonder if the universe was sending me a message: that I needed to move on in order for the Phillies to move on. The job at Yahoo Sports came up just days later, so maybe the universe was sending me a message.

Part of me wishes I had gotten to write about a team that won at least half of its games, or a team that was legitimately in the division or wild card race until the very end. But the teams I covered had to exist so the Phillies could build a better future. Not all times with a baseball team can be good times. Someone has to care when the team sucks, and even though it was hard work, I was glad to be there.

Thank you for seven and a half incredible years. Go Phillies.