Monday, August 7, 2017

Happy 6th Blogiversary WTHB!!!

One year ago I celebrated my 5th Blogiversary by posting my thoughts below the break. Not a lot has changed. This will be the 6231st post that's gone up over the six years. I'm now over 200 player interviews in, having posted interviews with around 164 players (with a few repeats), give or take. A quarter of those (41) have now made their major league debuts with the latest being J.D. Davis, a third round draft pick, and Troy Scribner (for the Angels), a non-drafted free agent. As much as I love J.D. (and I do), I'm more proud of myself for identifying something special in Scribner and thinking, correctly, that he had a real chance despite not ever being considered a top prospect. I love nothing more than finding those guys who can succeed despite the odds against them.

One thing that did change over the last year is that I got really burnt out. I almost quit the blog numerous times, and if it weren't for Dustin's immense contributions, there would have been weeks at a time with no posts. But, thanks in part to getting laid off from what had become a difficult and stressful situation, I'm feeling better than I have in a long time. Of course, being unemployed (or as I prefer to call it, semi-retired) did put a crimp in my travel plans, but between points and miles and road trips, I'm still managing to get around a bit.

And I plan to continue to write about prospects, despite having a first place team full of stars, simply because I love it and I love them. My recent trip to Quad Cities resulted in so many interviews that I'm still transcribing them two weeks later. That happens to me often because, once I get there, I find I want to talk to everyone. I want to get to know everybody. It gives me life. It makes me happy. I hope to keep doing this as long as I'm physically able to do so. And I hope that is the case for a long, long time.

I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point, the players' stories became my story. And I couldn't be happier about it.

>>>>>><<<<<<

Five years ago today, this innocuous post went up. 5901 posts later, a lot of things have changed. I no longer use my database for much more than keeping track of birthdays. My twitter handle changed from the genderless @whattheheck57 to @JayneWTHB when I realized that most of my readers had zero issues with a woman writing about baseball. I started spending less time on the stats side of things and more time getting to know the players. And I finally had to stop posting every single day (as I had for the better part of four years) because I decided that I needed to sleep occasionally. (My deepest gratitude to Dustin Nguyen for having my back and keeping things running smoothly!)

Some things haven't changed. I still like to look at the big picture. I don't care so much about what a player does in one game as I do about what he does over time, the trends and tendencies, whether he is moving forward or falling behind. I also still make mistakes and I always will. I strive for accuracy, but time is not always my friend, and sometimes there isn't enough coffee in the world to sharpen my wits. And I still largely write for my own entertainment, about the things that I'm most interested in.

But the one thing that has changed more than anything else is the depth of talent in the Astros system. Back in the day, I was hard pressed to find very many bright spots. Now I find it difficult to keep up with all the talent. Over the past five years, I've conducted ~184 interviews with ~148 players (in addition to dozens of interviews with coaches, managers, front office personnel and others). Of those 148 players, 31 have now made their major league debuts, and another two or three dozen more from that list will likely do so in the next five years. I no longer have to search to find the silver lining.

I do not know where the next five years will take me, but as of right now, I plan to keep traveling, taking photos, and talking to minor league players, coaches, managers, fans, writers, broadcasters, agents, scouts, front office personnel, clubbies, groundskeepers and whoever else will talk to me and then writing about it. I will write about upcoming star prospects, but I will also continue to look for under-the-radar players, players with great stories, underdogs and the next wave of young talent. And I hope to continue making friends and making memories. Thank you for continuing with me on this journey!

George Springer, Jayne Hansen and Rafy Valenzuela
August 2012 - Lancaster, California

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