Aaron Schafer a.k.a the Red Baron is my favourite writer on VEB. I can’t bring myself to say ‘was’ even though it’s been several months since he posted an article. I came to VEB when it merged with the prospect-centric blog Future Redbirds, so it is perhaps no surprise that I enjoyed Aaron’s articles. However, it wasn’t just the fact that his writing focused on prospects that made me look forward to them the most; you can find more than enough prospect coverage now-a-days if you look. Aaron meant a lot more than prospect analysis to this site, I should think.
As I sit down to write this fanpost, I have the Wagakki Band playing in the background. They are a hard rock, folk fusion band out of Japan that combines traditional instruments with rock music. The Shamisen, Shakuhachi, Koto, and Taiko mesh surprisingly well with the bass and lead guitar. The lead singer mixes eastern and western styles of singing to make something truly original. It is eclectic and unusual, but the skill and artistry of the musicians really comes through, making it undeniably beautiful.
So too is the writing of Aaron Schafer. VEB has had many great writers. Some of which have gone on to professional writing careers, others who have simply left to pursue other goals. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think any of them had the longevity of the Red Baron. Certainly none of them gave us as many oddly off-topic tangents, interesting analogies, or wonderful turns of phrases. And even if his sometimes stream of conscious writing style wasn’t your cup of tea, one couldn’t deny the amount of research, consideration, and effort, often for little or no pay, that he put into his articles. I am a professional writer myself, though of the technical variety so the nature of the writing is quite different. Still, I know how difficult it is to produce both the quality and quantity of writing that Aaron produced during his time at VEB.
For the quality of writing he produced Aaron deserved more than what SB Nation provided him. If he set up a Patreon or subscription site, I would gladly pay a monthly fee to read his articles each week. I’m sure there are others that feel the same. On several occasions, I thought about replying to his articles to tell him that. But, I am at heart a lurker, so I never did. I wish I had now. I'm sure Aaron didn't write for the money, but as Peter Brand says in Moneyball, it's about what the money says. That you're worth it. And Aaron's articles were worth significantly more than whatever SB Nation pays.
Aaron has mussed openly about leaving the site before. And this sort of Irish goodbye somehow suits him, despite the fact that he was always one of the more verbose writers here. I hope I haven’t read the last Aaron Schafer article, whether on VEB or elsewhere. But if writing is no longer fulfilling for him, then so be it. It is not something you should do for others. I simply wish to say thank you.
Thank you Aaron for all the amazing prospect coverage, thoughtful baseball analysis, unexpected tangents, and great music recommendations.
I kind of doubt you will read this, but if you do, I want you to know how appreciated you are. I’m sure I speak for many others here when I say, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, I hope you are happy, healthy, fulfilled, and keeping your dick away from the toaster.