Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Monthly archives: February 2009


Fade to Black
2009-02-02 20:55
by Phil Bencomo

It hurts, any time you lose something you care about, something that's been a part of your life for years. It hurts, any time you watch as a community you love slowly fades away, as much by your own doing as anyone else's. You flog yourself with notes of things unwritten, things unsaid, with thoughts of what could have come to pass, with dreams of success left unfulfilled, and it hurts even more. But such is the way of the world.

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The Toaster's shutting down today, but Cub Town has been dead for quite some time. I joined Cub Town at scarcely 18 years old, bustling with enthusiasm for blogging about the Cubs. But sometime between then and now, the enthusiasm faded, though my support for the team never did. Blogging the daily minutiae of the team, which consumed most of my evenings in high school, lost its appeal.

I could diverge here and try to sort out exactly why my passion for that kind of writing dwindled, but that's of interest to no one, not even me. Try as I did, I could never get back to into it, which filled me with much angst for a time. But I've moved on...

* * * *

You see, I've got a very exciting project in the works. Exciting to me, anyway. It's not yet ready to be officially announced, but when it is, word should get around. And you'll see just what kind of writing I'm interested in these days.

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To close this final Cub Town post, I must offer my thanks: First, to Derek Smart, for asking me to join the finest group of writers I've ever been involved with; second, to Ken Arneson, for making this site possible; third, to the rest of the Toastmasters, for making me feel so welcome; and finally, to the readers, who make it all worthwhile. Thanks for everything.

And into the black we go...

So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish
2009-02-02 17:51
by Derek Smart

I'm not sure what to say today. This being over feels momentous, and pedestrian at the same time, because while I've been here seemingly forever, I've barely shown my shadow since mid-season 2006. The truth is, this day has been a long time coming, at least for me, and the fact that it has become official is merely ceremony: I'm retired from blogging, and have been for months, if not years.

At the very least I need to thank some people: Christian, for bringing me on board way back when; Alex, for being my partner when Cub Town first was born; Phil, for propping this beast up while I did everything in my power to passive-aggressively kill it; all my Toaster-mates for being brilliant partners and just flat-out good people; and Ken, for being the most gracious of hosts, for putting his heart and soul into making this joint purr like a kitten, and for doing all the remarkably pain-in-the-ass stuff that none of us would ever want to deal with, even if we had the knowledge-base to handle it.

Finally, of course, I'd like to thank anyone who ever stopped by here to read what we posted. We weren't always perfect, and we weren't always timely, but we hope we at least gave a smile and a place to share our mutual love of the game and our team.

Now, since this is my last post, I'd like to share the favorite thing I ever wrote on The Toaster. Oddly, it wasn't on Cub Town, but came from a round of Humbugardy that we played during the 05-06 offseason. We were all instructed to write the first paragraph of a novel entitled 'Tim Salmon in America,' and I think my entry was the best thing I've done here, which I could choose to be depressed by, but won't. In any case, here it is, the opening paragraph to my version of 'Tim Salmon in America.'

Laxminarayana Vishnuvardhana saw his turn was next. The line had been long, and the hot wait excruciating, if not unlike the lines and waits in Mumbai. He pulled out a worn, yellowing paperback. It was a book his brother had given him when he first arrived. He had said, "These pages contain all you need to know. Read them. Learn them. Know them in your heart. For here, in this book, is your new home. Here, in this book, is America." He gazed for a moment at the cover, slowly ran his finger over the word "Street," and turned carefully to the page he had marked with a folded corner. There was the name, circled in black ink. He would have only one chance to get it right. He had practiced it over and over again, speaking into a mirror, watching his mouth form the words, correcting little failures, and trying again until it was perfect. Perfect once. Perfect one hundred times. Perfect one thousand times. It would be who he was for the rest of his life. One doesn't skimp on re-birth, and now his time had come. The functionary gestured, waking him from his daydream. "Name please," she said, and slowly he articulated his response: "Tim Salmon." And so he was.

Thanks again, everyone. I hope you enjoyed being here as much as I did. As always: Go Cubs!