Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
by Derek Smart
1) An abrupt change or step, especially in method, information, or knowledge
2) A late 80's/early 90's cult television series starring the execrable, Scott Bakula
I took one of those earlier today, and since no matter how often I call out, Dean Stockwell never materializes in my living room, I'll have to assume this day's events fall under definition the first. But more on this later: I have some biographizin' to do.
I was born and raised in Portland, OR, and like so many people without easy access to a Major League team in the 80's, I became a Cub fan through the wonder of cable television, hopping on board in 1983, just after Harry Caray and Ryne Sandberg. I've been so blessed/afflicted ever since.
I'll digress for a moment, and since I came to my fandom through television, relate my favorite Harry Caray moment. I can't recall the year, but the game taking place was between the Cubs and the Atlanta Braves. At this time, the Braves were still in old Fulton County Stadium, and as my baby-addled brain remembers it, there were some advertisements on the outfield walls, or at least in the same camera view. The Cubs were at bat, the man at the plate lofted a ball to right, and as Harry called the play, his eye happened to catch one of the billboards (I'll let you do the voice in your head):
It's a high fly ball to right....HEY! I didn't know they had a Hooters here!
Ahhhhh, memories. Anyway, I got lucky in 1993 when the only graduate school that accepted me happened to be in city of my team, the city of Broad Shoulders, the city of Chicago. I've been here ever since, and I make my home in town along with my lovely wife and gorgeous seven month-old daughter. Contrary to logic, proximity has done little to aid me in acquiring tickets to Wrigley.
Despite being a Cub fan for many years, I think of my awakening as a baseball fan taking place sometime in 2001, when I read my first Rob Neyer column. I came late to the revolution, but once the spark was found, the fire burned eternal. Bit by bit I came on other sources of wisdom, and in time I happened here. I loved it. Loved reading a site exclusively about the Cubs, loved Christian's writing, loved the vitality of the community.
When I started my own blog in the fall of 2003, I simply wanted an excuse to write, and the Cubs provided ready subject matter I was passionate about, ensuring that my interest would remain piqued. I had no expectation that anyone would read - I hoped, but never expected. Then one day, I noticed that a link to my site had been added to The Cub Reporter. I was thrilled, ecstatic, I thought, "Dear God, I've made it!"
Boy was I wrong.
I've now joined what I consider to be one of, if not the elite conglomeration of baseball writing talent on the internet, and I'm deeply humbled by the fact. I can't say yet that I belong with this group, only that I'll do my damnedest to be worthy of them, and more than that, to be worthy of this community. Thank you Christian, thank you Alex, thank you to all the A-B team for this wondrous opportunity. I look forward to learning and growing with the great writers and readers that gather here.
But more than that, I look forward to the December meetings, to pitchers and catchers, to Opening Day, and to that most glorious of moments, that pinnacle of joy, the last out of the World Series squeezed in the soft glove of a man wearing blue pinstripes and a hat with a Big Red C.