First, the good news:
I’ve launched a new podcast with longtime former VEB Writer and Site Manager Ben Humphrey, called Cardinals Off-Day.
Cardinals Off-Day will post a new episode every off-day during the season. I hope you’ll spend those breaks during the long season with us, taking a little time to reflect on what we’ve seen and what’s ahead for the St. Louis Cardinals.
You can subscribe wherever you get podcasts, but I’d also encourage you to do so on our substack. We do plan the occasional written piece to supplement the pod, and you’ll get all of those via e-mail when you subscribe.
That leads me to the other news:
This will be my last regular Wednesday post at Viva El Birdos. In the last year, I’ve moved from working largely freelance to a position as director of a film arts nonprofit I co-founded a few years back. That means less time to shout into the Internet void about the Cardinals, and this new podcast will be a more manageable commitment for me than to continue my weekly posts here.
My first post as a full-fledged contributor to VEB was back in 2014, considering Super Two status and the late, great Oscar Taveras. But I was a member of the VEB community long before that.
In fact, as I dig back through my earliest comments to this blog, it’s pretty clear I was always thirsty to be a contributor. The oldest comment I can find is from May of 2007 and it’s a whopping four-paragraphs long. That same year, I was already writing Fanposts, which back then were called Diaries, I believe.
This early Fanpost was about Adam Kennedy and refers to VORP, if you’d like a snapshot of how old it is.
Probably my post popular early contribution to the site was the imagined monologue from the skipper following the 2011 NLCS, “I’m Tony La Russa, bitch!.”
Those two early posts are a good indiction of the wide swath of material I would write for the site. At times, I waded into the deep end of statistical analysis. Other times, I focused more on what Dan Moore had called “liberal arts” pieces.
I created the Retro Birdos tag for Cardinals History posts, and a number of my favorite contributions were in that area.
One of my earliest Retro Birdos posts uncovered the story of Eddie Phillips, a historical oddity who I likened to Moonlight Graham. He was a September call-up for the Cardinals in 1953 who would only ever appear in the major leagues as a pinch-runner.
I always enjoyed the chance to look back at historical figures and events through our more modern lenses on the game - be they financial or analytical.
It was a longtime goal of mine to write this post about Dick Allen’s lone season with the Cardinals, and his pivotal place in the history of free agency. I dug back well before that to look at the Cardinal who was the earliest player to sue for free agency. This post considered how Darrell Porter became the team’s first true free agent acquisition.
On the analytics side, I looked back at how the impossible expectations set for J.D. Drew obscured what was an excellent career. I examined the truly unique statistical profile of Vince Coleman: The one-tool player.
But as much as I enjoyed dipping into history, analytics and finances, probably the pieces I received the most feedback on were what could best be described as “the weird shit.”
Starting in 2016, I began posting “Hot Stove Cooking with the Cardinals” during the offseason. If you search for that, you’ll find a number of recipes from Cardinal players and “Cardinal Wives” (as they’re credited) dating form the late 80s and early 90s. Some of them you should try. Others you most certainly should not.
At a certain point, I branched out into creating my own recipes. Who could forget the tasty and tasteful Yadi’s Bruised Berry cocktail?
Talking about the Cardinals is a thing I’ve been doing since I was very young, so it was great to have this forum to memorialize some of the best things from my childhood, be they video games like Baseball Stars or the 1987 Topps set.
For 15 years now, Viva El Birdos has been for me - both as a commenter and a contributor - a home base to connect with other folks who love this baseball team. I’ve met folks in the comments here who have turned into real life friends. I’ve met many more who remain just Internet friends, but I value them just the same.
I am grateful for and humbled by all of you who have taken the time to read what I’ve written and engage with me in the comments. That’s even true for those of you who have disagreed with me, but to a much lesser extent.
I also need to thank Ben Humphrey, Craig Edwards and Josey Curtis - the site managers who have each supported me here. I hope this community recognizes the Herculean effort it takes to keep this site going and the great work they have done, as did Dan and Larry before them.
This is not goodbye forever. Josey has graciously extended me an offer to contribute down the road in a less regular fashion, and I intend to take her up on it.
I look forward to continuing to talk Cardinals baseball with you all.