Get up, get up, get up, goodnight. - Mike Shannon, following a Kolten Wong walk-off home run (I think it was Kolten Wong, as always I could be wrong)
This is my last post at Viva El Birdos, or at least my last post for awhile. We recently welcomed a new member to our family and spare time is not my friend right now. When I was a mere lurker on this site I always admired the time and commitment the writers had to be putting in to produce such quality work, and after stepping in as a writer for about the last seventeen months that admiration has grown tenfold. The editors, writers, recappers, podcasters, you name it, here at VEB work extremely hard - often at the expense of free time - and I hope that doesn’t go unnoticed.
First and foremost I want to thank Craig Edwards for taking a chance on me when I didn’t have too extensive of a baseball writing resume to speak of. If you read Craig’s work here and also at FanGraphs or ESPN, you’re probably aware that he’s one of the best baseball minds there is. To call all of us lucky to have him as site manager here at VEB would be a huge understatement.
I started writing here in December 2015, the same week as Ben Markham and John Fleming. Ben analyzes the game as well as anyone. (I mean, did you read this?) And John is an incredibly gifted and creative writer. Few could have delivered a tone as pitch-perfect as he did in his widely-circulated column on why the Cardinals should host a pride night. It was both a challenge and a privilege to join alongside two people who set the bar as high as they did.
Heather Simon is the one constant at VEB, someone I’ve grown used to reading every day. She’s often the voice of reason, too. Several mornings I’ve still been upset over a stupid Cardinals loss - and there have been a lot this season - and then there’s Heather providing some needed perspective with a funny or touching story. Ben Godar is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Cardinals history - I’ve learned a lot from his columns. And I always appreciate how excellent of a writer he is every time he makes the same point I wanted to hit only he’s able to drive it home in 500 less words.
It would be a fair estimate that 90 percent of my prospect knowledge comes from this site. That was true before I started writing here and it remains that way today. VEB is where I first heard the names Paul DeJong, Jack Flaherty, Alex Reyes, and so on. That’s due to the hard work and expertise of the Red Baron, as well as the contributions from Josey Curtis, Ebo, Nick Cichielo, and all the others (I truly apologize if I forgot anyone) who provide the daily farm reports.
Like Ben Markham above, the recently-departed Joe Schwarz analyzes the game in a way that I can’t, but I always enjoyed learning from him and he was always helpful to me every step of the way. I wish him well and look forward to reading his stuff at the Intrepid STL.
Lastly, I suspect compared to a lot of the readers I was a bit late in 1) discovering VEB; and 2) developing an interest in the type of baseball statistics that go beyond what’s often heard on a regular television broadcast. So when I stumbled upon this site circa 2011 (along with Jonah Keri at Grantland) when I began exploring the world of advanced stats, it was like a godsend. What I found was accessible and intelligent writing about the team that I’ve loved and followed longer than any other and no place online that I was aware of at the time could compare.
I’m biased, and I now know there’s a lot of great Cardinals sites out there, but that remains the case. You won’t find a better place than Viva El Birdos. That’s a credit to Craig, all of the writers mentioned above, all of the past writers and contributors, and also the readers. Look no further than the comment section as well as the Fanposts to understand just how knowledgeable this community is. It was an honor to be associated with the site even for a short while, and I will certainly miss it.
Also, I included the “or at least for awhile” caveat in the opening paragraph because Craig has offered me the opportunity to return in some capacity if and when my schedule becomes a bit more manageable and for that I am grateful. But until then, I want to extend a big thank you to everyone who is a part of this wonderful community. I had a blast.