The 35th Street Road Show continued last weekend in Kansas City, as a group of friends and I took in Friday night’s Royals-Sox showdown. Mark Buehrle, we noted early on, had thrown a perfect game before and would do it again. And for a few innings, he did! And, I kid you not, Mark Buehrle throwing another perfect game was the only thing that could’ve made watching the White Sox play the Royals compelling in any way whatsoever. Royals-Sox, two horrible teams playing for an insanely lame brand of fleeting pride, the kind that just lets idiots in a parking lot yell at each other about whose team was worse for the past few hours. Think about it: if the Sox won the game, would they really have won anything at all?
And then of course Gil “The Expreche” Meche held them to one run while the Royals torched Buehrle. Scott Podsednik’s average, by the time all was said and done, sat at .313.
There are no words.
I had this idea of doing another epic write-up about the game, about the city, about the fans, something that would so perfectly describe How It Feels to be a stranger in such a strange land, because that’s always the fun of this site which, you may have noticed, had been quite neglected lately. And it occurred to me that maybe what this site needed was a good shaking-up, or a strange new direction. New features! New contributors! New grand visions!
Still, something about this train of thought brought about a heavier, sharper, more rattling notion: after three years, it was becoming less and less fun to rant about the bad day some stranger had at the office. It wasn’t something I wanted to do but something I had to. Lapses in posts started to instill guilt, rather than excitement; slowed schedules weren’t more free time, just that much more owed time. That is not a healthy relationship for a person to have with a website.
You could chalk it up to this year’s Sox, of course. You could say they’re just having a down year and every fan struggles at times like this, except it’s not that fandom has really gone away. I still root for this team, and I always will, even when they sign a 40-year-old Jim Thome this winter and build the 2012 team around Mark Teahen and his sweet new contract extension. And there’s always plenty to talk about even while the team is sinking: the hilarious idea of the impending fire sale, or freeing up room to take on a big free agent, or getting precious at-bats for the hotshot prospect . . . but it is a sad day indeed when payroll flexibility and big-league opportunities for questionable prospects are all we have left to cheer for.
If you don’t already do so, I encourage you to check in with Jim at Sox Machine, J.J. at White Sox Examiner, and the whole team at South Side Sox for your daily fix. The big guys are all well and good but with a team like this, in a city like this, it’s rare to hear a unique voice but my bloggers-in-arms bring it on a daily basis. While you’re at it, check out U.S.S. Mariner and 35th Street Superfriend Drew’s Ghostrunner on First Blue Jays blog. Crazy Yankee Chick, Goat Riders, Those Girls, really anyone listed in the right rail of this site is 100% approved and endorsed. I read a lot and, as a Sox fan, I hate a lot too. Trust me, these guys and gals are more than worth your time and interest.
That said, the site, physically, will remain intact. There might be some cosmetic changes down the line as it transitions from document to archive, maybe some prettying up and finally fixing some of the things that never got fixed, but it’ll be here for all the intense academically-oriented research I know it will someday fuel.
A big thanks to everyone who contributed a guest post, everyone who linked to this site, everyone who left a comment, got a chuckle, sent me hate mail, helped with technical advice, or in any other way was involved with The 35th Street Review. My words are empty with no one to hear them, my ideas useless with no one to challenge them, my plans pointless with no knowledge to execute them; you showed me how to get past those things, and for that I am forever grateful.
Most of all, thank you for reading. I know there were quite a few of you, some more often than others, some more vocal, some more famous and some goofing off at more well-known workplaces, but every single one of you made this worthwhile. A writer, they say, is only as good as his readers, and that is the only reason I ever dared call this site the best.
So that’s that. I think of some local hero’s final trip down the tunnel with a little left in the tank but still leaving on top and never looking back, knowing full well it’s always better to quit while you’re ahead than to stick around too long, my work and your enjoyment of it becoming a lesser version of what we both once knew.
I think. We’ll see. And, hopefully, so will you.
Thank you as always for reading,
editor, The 35th Street Review
May 20, 2010