Warning .... This Is Very Long!

Okay guys and gals .... I promised a bit more and here it is.

It has always seemed that in the past when I have tried to thank you folks for all that you have done and for what the site has become it gets all turned around and folks spend time offering me praise. Well finally it is my turn to get some things said!

I literally have spent the past couple of months trying to decide what was best to do for this High School Baseball Web. I did not want to sell the site; I’ve never been in this for the money. I could not ask any of the members that I trust the most to “take it over” because I knew that they probably would even if they did not want to do so. So finally I came to grips with just shutting it down.

My decision to close the site has nothing to do with health or money or problems with any individuals. I simply feel that it is time for the site to move forward, with a fresh face and spirit.

I have not cherished anything in life, with the exception of my family as much as I cherish this website (yes I know that sounds pretty corny, especially from a guy). I have made so many lifelong friends, folks that I would have never met or had the pleasure of learning from their kindness or wisdom. Where would any of us be without "Bubba", Fungo or HiwasseeVol?

Yes today I am going to name names and hope that I get them all included.
Lately I have been thinking about some of the original “websters” (before we had members). Folks like Cliff Hansen (Las Vegas) whose youngest son was killed in a car accident, and how we all felt that pain. About Lorrie Massett (Largo, FL), whose son was a legitimate first round draft selection until he hurt his arm and needed “Tommy John” surgery during his senior year of high school. Nick is in the Rangers organization still working to get his chance. I remember Brian Brewer’s struggle with a mystery illness and the touching story that his mother Meg wrote about that time.

We have shared so many wonderful times together as a family …. Draft day has become a family event here on the website. We also have not lost site of what is most important …. Making sure the next generation has good young men and women to lead. We cheer for academic achievement, social achievement as well as sports infamy. Best of all we can take pride when one of our “boys” does well.

How cool was it when Kris Honel was drafted in the first round and we all felt like we knew Mary Kay, Bob and Kris? Anyone else remember how great it was when we found out that Patrick Gaynor had received his commission to the Air Force Academy? I can still see Greg G’s grin from here!

Along those lines …. How special are the young men that can achieve both academically and athletically to a level that allows them to receive a commission to one of our nation’s military service academies? Chris and Corey’s (HotMama), Nick Hill (leftymom) from upper east Tennessee, Blake Nixon (eagle10’s son), at Air Force, and one of my all time favorite young men, Jeremy Stache (ahsbb’s son) from right here in my back yard. I can take some amount of credit for Jeremy and West Point. I mentioned him to Coach Sottolano at a showcase in Waco a few years back. Hope it helped!

What makes this community special? We have kids in professional baseball, some that have attended practically all of the Ivy League schools, Stanford, Duke and those that went the junior college route. We have players at NAIA, NCAA, divisions 1, 2 and 3. Our members are made up of doctor’s lawyers and Indian chiefs (okay I don’t know about the Indian chiefs) but we have a make up of the wealthy to the just getting by. I know of one long time member that lost his job for an extended period but would get to the public library in order to be able to log on and visit with all of us, he never let on that anything had changed. We’ve been thru some divorces and tragedies, we pray for one another like family and share our feelings openly.

When the early message boards started to take off I had no idea how to handle them. I had seen some that were run with an iron hand and stifled open debate and conversation, and others that were complete chaos, eventually dying by their own venom. It may have been a simple idea, but what I decided to do was pretend that I had invited everyone over for a cook-out and we would just talk ….. Treat the message boards like it was friends getting together at the ballpark. I sure got lucky with that idea …. I guess it has worked pretty well.

As for thanking and mentioning folks … first the Moms; I have no idea what caused me to realize that the ladies might like a forum of their own, but I am so thankful that it was well received and a success. Many sincere “thank you” to OUBsbMom, 02^04Mom, Orlando, NYMom, OriolesFan, amom, FutureBack.Mom, Dukes’sMom, PabbMom, TigerPawMom, QueenOfTheEvilEmpire, luvbb, Chill, Justmom, catchermom03, Mn-Mom, YourBasicMom, Centerfieldsmom, BK’sMom, TXmom, AParent, URKillingMeBlue, turn2mom, lafmom, Kungaloosh, Harbormom, MrandMrsbaseabll (1/2 anyway), 123Kmom, RHP05Parent, PAmom, Who’sOnFirst, denise, InfieldMom, 03Parent, CatchMm, Selena, and of course mrmom!

One of my favorite parts related to the website has been putting a face on a “screen name.” Over the past 7 years I have been luck enough to do just that. Folks like OPP, leftydad, Fungo, HiwasseVol, BamaBomber, Bizazz, Jolly Roger, backstop2, Hoop, 02^04mom, Orlando, jd-tennesseebaseballreport, TRhit, PGStaff, OPPjr, Bruce Mayberry, BeenThere, PlayersDad, Bighit (and little BigHit), Mr. RHP05Parent. I know I am missing quite a few here and that doesn’t include the folks that I knew before this website.

And of course there are some that I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting in person, but have developed a huge respect for, via their written words, folks that I hope to one day meet in person; TennDad, Catfish, Racab, redbird, jemaz, hokieone, OldVaMan, NYMom, Bee, cvsting, MWR-Va, BigWI, bbscout, itsinthegame, Who’sOnFirst, rz1, FrankF, Cobb8, TXMom, bna, TigerPawMom, justbaseball, mrmom, CaDad, Dad04, Seadog, matadordad, KellerDad, HotMama, FlippJ, Chill, CoachMay, Gloveman, and of course any of our other regulars. The folks in the previous paragraphs have made each day a pleasure. The site always has a way of making me smile (most days) our “characters” always seem to keep things interesting.

To the “showcase guys” Jerry Ford, Tom Rizzi, Jeff Spelman and Brian Rupe; My hat goes off to each of you gentlemen. Without each of you and your families and organizations I could not begin to imagine how differently so many young men’s baseball futures might have turned out. Of course each of you run “for profit” businesses, the last time I checked that was an accepted American value. But as I have grown to know each of you I began to understand that you were in the showcase biz because of a love for the game of baseball and ultimately for the players. Jerry and Tom specifically I thank you for all your help with this site. Folks …. Whether you believe it or not, these two gentlemen never once asked me for anything! All they offered was a valued opinion and support.

To the coaches, both high school and collegiate; So many over the years and I was always surprised by how many of you there were. I would continually be surprised when I would attend a showcase and a college coach would introduce himself and say that he was a regular visitor to this site. Some of the college guys still offer an occasional opinion and I will continue to protect their anonymity, for fear of violating NCAA rules! Ha

Finally to my “Jiminy Crickets” (my conscience) ….. I will never be able to thank these folks enough for all they have done for me and in many cases for your son’s as well. When I was struggling with an issue or deciding on a direction to take the site I could always call on them for advice. Except for this last one, that has been all me! Sometimes one on one, sometimes in a blanket email. And of course they would freely offer their opinions even when it wasn’t requested! 
HiwasseeVol – Wesley Lee
Fungo – Luke Bell
OnePlayersPop – Tom Duke
BamaBomber – Greg Legg (aka Bubba)
Leftydad – David Marshall

What a wonderful special journey this has been. Why I was blessed with such an experience is a question that I’m sure will never be answered, but to each of you …. This would have been a very boring place if all we had were my ramblings and opinions, heck even I get tired of those! WE have changed many young men’s futures and for that I am thankful.

P.S. One last little teaser ….. The site is not going away. I have found a true “sucker” and will make that announcement, possibly today or tomorrow.

And NO …. It is not “Rivals!”
Bob, "Former" Head Cook and Bottle Washer
Original Post
Wow! I am a relative newcomer, but that post blew me away. We may never meet, although it would be my honor, but please know that you are a hero of mine. This site is way more than the best baseball site in the world - it is one of the best sites period and extends well beyond the boundaries of baseball. My sincere and humble Thanks Smile
Bob:

You are truly a great man for America. It may sound a little corny, but it is totally true. Thank you for all you have done, I indeed hope to meet you one day (to say thanks in person) and I hope whatever the future holds for the high school baseball web that you will still be around from time-to-time to keep us all close to our roots.

Jim McDonald
Phoenix, AZ
Great news, Bob, as I wipe the tears away!!!

I hope to meet you one day as well. As I stated before, you will never know how many young and not so young lives you have touched. You will forever be in my memory and in my prayers.

Best of luck to you and yours!!!
Well, today may not be Thanksgiving, but I am sure that most of us are very thankful for that last teaser announcement. Thanks again for everything, Bob.

Also, in addition to my appreciation for the coaches that post here, I would like to add my thanks for the contributors in the Umpire section. Michael S. Taylor and Piaaump, to name two in particular, are to be commended for their efforts IMHO.
Bob,

In my case, all I can say is the pleasure was all mine! I also look forward to one day possibly meeting you. Best of luck in all your future endeavors.

A special thanks to the "sucker" biglaugh for stepping forward. You've got some big shoes to fill.

Frank
Bob, I have also noticed that we make it hard for you to say thank you. You get praised heaped on you and it is deserved. What I have gotten from this site is immmeasureable. I am not good at tail kissing, but for you I am puckering up.

All respect,

Eric L Ridener
Bob, As I have posted elsewhere, you are one of the people I've grown to respect so very much on this site. You're just simply, a great human being!! I know you're shaking that off, but that's one of the things that makes you great. I can't wait to hear your news - I'll be anxiously watching, but I am very appreciative that it will continue. Hope to still get to meet you one day!!
Bob,
Well, Sir, You get the prize!! Let's break out the champagne! It's time to party! party

Thank you so much for all you have done for all these kids (& us parents) You really created a huge family!!

Thank you for finding the "right" person to take over!
And best wishes in the future!

I, too hope we can meet one day!
Bob,

There is no way that any of us can repay you, for the advice/information/entertainment you have provided, for all these years.

I appreciate the fact that you have put up with my cranky rear end, while helping my son and I through the winding road called high school baseball. You are good man, and coming from me, that's quite a compliment. Smile

I enjoyed meeting you, OPP, Fungo, TRhit, Bama Bomber, Gloveman and several others. I've traded so many emails with BigHit that I feel we are cousins.

Sitting with you, Fungo and Tom Duke @ Baylor, in '01 was a hoot. Ya'll had a calming affect, on a nervous pitcher's dad.

If indeed the site will stay up, in some capacity, I am adding you to my Will. Smile

Your friend,
David Marshall
Bob,

I had just gotten over my empty-nester feelings - even though it's taken five years! Now the feelings are back again. I'll miss knowing you're watching over all of us. You will always be in my thoughts. Thank you.

Just wanted to mention one more invaluable webster - and wonderful friend, Mom Down Under. Without this site, I would never have met this amazing woman. I believe you and this site gave her strength and friendship when she most needed it. For this, I am indebted to you.
Bob,

Thank you so much from both me and my son Greg. This site helped us through the college search process and led us to several others,TRHit most prominent among them, who were invaluable to us. We will miss you and this site but are happy to hear that it will continue.

Thanks and good luck in all of your future endeavors.

Best regards,

Larry Robins
Thank you Bob for the past and for giving us back our future. I did not know how I would make it through 2 more boys and baseball without everyone here. One can't believe the wealth of information on here and we all have been blessed by your work. Thank you for your heart and soul, you have affected our lives and will always be in our thoughts.
Bob, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have through your website changed the lives of so many kids and their parents. Especially mine. When I "stumbled" upon this site a few years ago, it was like finding the holy grail. I couldn't stop reading. I sincerely hope we can meet in the future, and I have the opportunity to thank you in person. God Bless and good luck to you, Doug Fields
Bob,

You are certainly a credit to the entire baseball family on here, that's for sure.

Now, this site has given our HSBBW family instant access to baseball minds from all over the Country at our finger tips 24 hours a day 365 days a year, it's priceless commodity to the USA baseball community.

Thanks and best wishes and I know you won't be a stranger, stay in touch.

Thanks again !

CVSTING
Bob,

Thank you for this educational resource, communication/outlet and wonderful connection to the "family" of baseball....

For over a year I was a lurker, I read all your articles and then finally felt secure enough to post. Once I got over the fear/anxiety of that first post, I realized that the fear/anxiety was unneccesary as this is such a great community of people, even when we agreed to disagree it was a learning experience.

The most important lesson I have learned is no matter what the post/tone/debate we all have that 1 thing in common

THE LOVE OF THE GAME.

What a wonderful gift you have created/given to our baseball community. Those of us that are new and those that have been here for years have all benefited from this site and the appreciation of this legacy is evident in all the posts that have made there way onto the boards these past couple of days.

Thankfully, this site will continue under new direction* but the soul of the legacy will always be yours.

Thank you and best of luck/success to you and your family.

td

*I missed who/what is taking it over?
Bob,

I just talked to Jeremy...West Point had their graduation today. Before the graduation, the juniors received their pins, Jeremy is officially a "Firstie". He was as proud as a peacock. Could not wait to call home. He sends his best to you and thanks you for Waco and Eagleton.

Bob, I also want to thank you for your help and this site. Congratulations for doing such a great job. To make this site work, it came from the heart.

Again, Thanks, Rick
Bob,
this site started as a resource for me to educate myself about anything and everything baseball.

It did that and so much more! This is truly a site of generous, smart, savvy, funny, compassionate people who have been led by a true leader who has earned my respect and thanks!

Hope you become a regular poster in the "next chapter".

Thanks, Bob!

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