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!”