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November 9, 2009 at 1:42 pm ET
7 Comments
Chalk As Favre: or Yes, I’m really UNretiring four days later

Favre-like, I rise up from the ashes of my literary self-immolation.

(Predictably, some might say.) Before I get into why I’ve changed my mind and decided to unretire, I feel like I should further explain why I retired last Thursday.

And for at least a few hours there, I really did think it might be a real and permanent retirement.  I was seriously ready to shift my B&C focus to college baseball and write stories about the LSU Tigers going to the White House and getting dumped off on Joe Biden.  Now, I’ll admit when I guaranteed that I’d retire if the Yankees won it all this year, I already had a quick WWF/Favre-like unretirement in mind as an out.  But I was surprised by just how disillusioning the Yankees “winning” actually was.

So what you got in the retirement announcement were some of the things that set me apart make me such a fantastic professional baseball writer: raw emotion, moral indignation, a light touch of humor and/or hyperbole.  So while it wasn’t the most eloquent or accessible piece I’ve ever written, I did feel like I owed everyone something.  Like my drunken ramblings after the Phillies appeared to beat the Devil Rays in the World Series, I feel like if I’m going talk as much shit as I do, I have to throw something up and take my lumps. (Note I correctly predicted in that October ’08 post that the Phillies would repeat as NL Champs, but some people only want to focus on when I’m wrong.)

So why am I coming back, and so soon?  I really was touched by the many nice things that were said about me after the announcement.  I was reassured that a lot of people share my sentiments about the Yankees and the need for reform.  And I still feel needed as many people still seem to miss my many cogent points.  And once I decided I was definitely coming back, I do try to only be Attention Whore Light, so I didn’t want to drag things out any further.  After all, Bugs&Cranks is a serious baseball humor website, not a silly baseball humor website.

So a few things I want to clear up:

First, Craig Calcaterra posted about my retirement on his excellent Shysterball.  One of his commenters, MatthewA, wrote: “I’m pretty sure he’s just burnt out from a time-consuming and (presumably) unpaid hobby that virtually requires the resources of a full time job.”

Believe it or not, I’ve actually have been paid real money for my professional baseball expertise and insight.  I was going to be giving up a lot of that cash by focusing on college baseball instead, but it felt like the right thing to do at the time.

Calcaterra himself wrote that the reasons I cited in my retirement post were “simply baffling. He’s been blogging about baseball for less than three years. None of the factors he cites — high payroll teams having advantages, steroids — came onto the scene anew during that period.”

To me though, Major League Baseball has gotten drastically worse from 2007 to 2009.  My first year at B&C, 2007, was a glorious year for the game.  It saw Barry Bonds heroically overcome adversity and become the game’s all-time HR king, and a scrappy Boston team won its second title in four years, despite playing in the same division as the Yankees who had a 33% bigger payroll (a $56Million+ advantage).  I don’t care about steroids — I care about consistency.  And that’s why things really turned to crap in the 2008 World Series — why have rules against performance-enhancing drugs if players can play in the postseason and serve their suspensions at the beginning of the next season?  Finally, the advantages of high payroll didn’t seem as egregious when the Yankees were doing worse and worse every year, as they did from 2001-2008.

The Yankees winning is terrible for baseball if it leads to the same feeling of inevitability that marred baseball from 1996-2000, or the NBA during the Jordan threepeats.

The Yankees “winning” this year is especially hard to fathom because most of their players still seem past their primes, overrated, and only marginally above average.  They only had three all-stars this year, and Jeter and Rivera being on the team was more of a lifetime achievement thing.  But they had enough depth and luck to cover for their many shortcomings, and they were very fortunate that the Red Sox and Devil Rays both had down years.

And is anyone even talking about the AP report that most of the Yankees were high on Ecstasy?  Well, Nate Silver said,people still do ecstasy?” but other than that, I’ve heard nothing.

And one more thing, will people please shut up about the Minnesota Twins.  Yes, they make the playoffs but they never go anywhere in the postseason.  The teams they compete with would be a distant third in payroll and wins if they had to play in the AL East.

It’s good to be back.

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7 Responses to “Chalk As Favre: or Yes, I’m really UNretiring four days later”
  1. Cam Martin says:

    Awesome. I knew the freaking Yankees were rolling on X all season. Explains Cano’s wild fluctuations and goofy-ass smile after he makes fielding errors.

  2. Tony A says:

    You talk about the “inevitability” of ’96-2000, you should have been around in my formative years, the late ’40s to early ’60s…If it hadn’t been for the ’56 Reds causing me to realize how much fun BB could be, I probably would have abandoned the sport entirely. As it is, I only follow the regular season, pretty much ignoring the post season to this day…

  3. Bob Tomlinson says:

    Your argument is so muddled, so ridiculous and so poorly constructed that it’s hard to imagine anyone reads you on a regular basis. Truly surprising. My goal is to never be linked here again.

  4. dude abides says:

    Tampa having a down year in 2009? Save one year, their entire existance has been down at best. As I said before, more BS, both in the mere existance of this post and its content.

    • Franklins Tower says:

      Given that Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg cares more about money than winning, I would doubt we will see the Rays even near the post seasongiong forward. Not that I’m saying ex-Goldman Sachs partners care more about money than baseball. That would be heresy!

  5. James says:

    So you’re not the same Dave Chalk that played in the Angels infield from 1973-78? That’s too bad. I really wanted to have you write about the year you had a career high 5 homeruns in 1974. Oh well… I’ll keep reading you never-the-less. Oh and welcome back.

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