Four years ago, I got an e-mail from Jamie Mottram asking if I’d like to help AOL launch their MLB FanHouse. I was 22 years old at the time, just about to graduate from Duquesne with my degree in Biochemistry. I’d been blogging for almost two years, but never, ever considered that it was something I could get paid for.
Today, FanHouse is officially shutting down as AOL has farmed its sports content out to The Sporting News, and looking ahead to a baseball season without FanHouse is a really strange feeling for me. Over the past four years, I’ve worked with some incredibly smart and talented baseball bloggers, writers, and reporters, I’ve learned more than I could’ve imagined about a game that I always thought I knew everything about, and I’ve written some things, both on my own and in collaboration with others, that I’m beyond proud of.
It’d be easy to be bitter today, but the truth is that FanHouse gave me some great opportunities to both write about baseball and learn how the sport is covered by the men and women on the other side of the blogger/reporter divide. I really wouldn’t trade any of the last four years for anything.
I could go on forever with people that I should thank (Mottram for hiring me, Tom Fornelli, my brother in arms at the MLB ‘House from beginning to end, the rest of the original MLB ‘House: Eamonn Brennan, Ryan Corrazza, Larry Brown, Matt Watson, and Metstradamus/Mullet; the Dugout guys, Matt Snyder, Josh Alper, and Will Brinson who came along a bit later in the blog game; John Ness, for not only letting me write whatever I wanted to write but encouraging it, no matter how weird or obscure it seemed; our MLB Editor Andrew Johnson, who always saw the value in the voice of the fan, even after the site became much more based in reporting than opinion; Jeff Fletcher and Ed Price for jumping right in with the bloggers; the hockey guys that I worked briefly with during the playoffs one season particularly Bruce Ciskie, even though he’s a Brewers fan; and a million other people who I’m sure I’m forgetting.
I don’t know if I’ll ever get to do something like FanHouse ever again, but I know that I’m a much better writer today thanks to FanHouse and all of the people who made FanHouse possible. Thanks to everyone who made it happen. I sincerely wish all of you nothing but the best.