I was looking back through my fanposts (nee diaries) on AN, just for old times sake, and apparently, all I've been good for are draft day threads and research, GoG scores, win expectation charts, and two DLDs.
I'll start with something which has to do with these current Athletics. It originates in a note from my 2006 Draft Day thread:
Trevor Cahill, RHP, Vista HS, Vista, CA. Could be a signability issue, since he's committed to Dartmouth, and that scholarship is worth a lot of money, plus an education.
However you lean on the Cahill debate, you must agree that has worked out well for us so far, hasn't it?
Meanwhile, tomorrow's (or today's) starting pitcher for the Arizona State Sun Devils against my USC Trojans is also on that list:
Michael Leake, RHP, Fallbrook (CA) HS. I think he finished 10-1, with a bunch of Ks, or something. Info is really scarce on him.
I'll know plenty more about his stuff tomorrow, but apparently he's a first round talent now. Maybe he's the guy that the signability issue should have been attached to. (And apparently he's really good. Has a 1.something ERA so far for ASU, and goes both ways, and that ASU lineup is ridiculous.)
This is not a draft retrospective. This might just be a peek back into my history with AN, which I'm told began officially on April 11, 2005 after a few months of lurking, when I was assigned the UID of 1887, and proceeded into a brave new world.
I can't say I've been following the A's too closely since I've been in LA. I know more about USC baseball than I do A's baseball at this point in the spring. Hell, I probably know more about USC women's rowing at this point. I couldn't name the rotation at this point, I couldn't give you a starting lineup, and I probably still think Crosby is going to start Opening Day, perhaps along with Chavvy. (oh... wait. Those are still possibilities?)
I still have a file somewhere deep in my backups called aliensANgame.xls, last modified September 15, 2005, the first season I was on AN. I don't know what any of the numbers mean anymore, or how to work the excel spreadsheet, or what VORG (value over replacement guesser?) means and how it was calculated. It apparently was a large operation, over 4 spreadsheets, with "averages" and more advanced statistics, all clumped into one file, for the purpose of ... I don't know, you tell me? 143 different people participated at some point, 40 of whom qualified for the title at the end of the year. The winner was HangMan (or perhaps easyraider), who I don't recall seeing on the site for years now. I don't think Alien made the switch to the new AN/SBNation either. What does this vignette have to do about? Nothing, I suppose. Maybe just a longing for the past, a wish for a time where I wasn't working about 20 hours a week over 20 units of class, neither of which is really daunting in the grand scheme of things. And I never did get the results for series #19 and series #22, so I guess, 3 1/2 years after the fact, we can officially call that the final standings. (and if you're wondering, this was the first GoG of 2006, of which I don't have stats for. The community became far two large for a two person operation by then... and this was 3 years ago.)
Maybe I just wrote all that because I just, for the first time, read the goodbye Monkeyball thread, and I yearn for the days of GoGs again, just without the work. And if you were wondering, it was a lot of work. If you really want the spreadsheet, I can send it to you. I can't explain it anymore.
The other thing I did was a direct ripoff of Lookout Landing: win expectancy charts. I don't know why I did them, but at the time, FanGraphs didn't exist to give you a simple little thing that everyone could access. As a result, stuff like this, which to be honest, was kind of amazing. Poor Bob Wickman. And seriously, when was the last time you saw "Kendall" printed that big, or "Kielty HR" in ... well, any capacity? And not only that, Jason Kendall did TWO good things on that fateful July day. (This one is still my favourite. September 4, 2002. The graph does not match how you felt that day, I guarantee it.)
I didn't do this very often, and I never intended to make it a regular feature or anything, so it never became one. It was just a fun thing to do, so I did it, and I had the time back during high school summers, so I could do it. Suffice to say, I don't anymore. It's possible that I'm writing this for me, not the community - no, I am writing this for me, not the community - and maybe I'm just unsure of what the future holds for me and just want to harken back to the past.
The days of FIRE MACHA NOW are over. The days of Barry Zito area code ERA trackers are over. Well, actually, they might not be, but still. I'll be honest, I miss the old AN. That's why I'm writing this. But I promise, there is a point beyond that.
I think AN would make a fascinating study for the growth and evolution of an online community, through the people involved, the legitimacy and clout of the operation, the little features and how they are received, how it is governed, etc. I haven't studied anything on the growth of online communities, but I have a feeling most are much the same, but the Web2.0eyness of AN and a relatively long Web2.0 history are interesting.
Maybe I'm not in tune with AN anymore. I'll be honest: all I read now are game threads, and even then, it is quite rare. I'll lurk once in a while; if I want to talk MLB, I'll come here. I don't read the DLDs anymore, however fun they may be. The last DLD I did was June 24, 2006. It seems forever ago. This is my first fanpost, or whatever it's called now that they're not called diaries. I'll probably need to go back and edit this because I don't know the difference between an intro paragraph and an entry body, and it's just perplexing.
Maybe you're reading this and thinking that I'm just trying to shove in your face that I've been here for four years and I had an ID number in the 1800s, and signed up some few thousand people before you, and thus, I'm better than you. I promise you, that is not the case. In reality, I'm just as new as you, at least to this iteration of the community.
I'll admit, this has the smackings of a meta-thread. Maybe it is one.
I'll end with this: all communities have a hard time at some point. No community is perfect: wounds take time to heal, conflict takes time to resolve, or perhaps will never be resolved. Community changes. It changes incessantly: hourly, weekly, monthly, yearly. If, like (with few exceptions) we wish for, and there is a parade in downtown Oakland come October, the community will change with success; with barren times, the community also changes, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. Strong communities will overcome challenges, whether internal or external. AN is, I hope and believe, strong enough to overcome.
We may not talk about kRaZeE bAnNiNg WaNdS and lemurconkers anymore, and Jay Witasick in a tube top and jokes about height may no longer be understood by most of the community, but new inside jokes are spawned all the time, and although I'm no longer privvy to them, someone is, and someone will respond, and it will grow. The community is still alive - just evolving and changing all the time. If the community is still alive, it can and it will overcome, move past the struggles, and continue to grow.
The light at the end of the dark tunnel can be seen. Baseball: the kind played outside of Arizona and Florida, without the ping of aluminium, the kind with wood bats, playing perhaps through falling snowflakes in the North, or at legendary stadiums of hated traditional powers, or perhaps just at home, the Coliseum, where trough urinals await - it is baseball, Oakland Athletics baseball, that brings this community together. Allow it to do so, so we can enjoy the successes and wallow in the failures of the season together, and hope that there are many more successes than failures over the course of 2009.
If you've gotten all the way down here and actually read it all, or any of it, really thank you. I'm not sure why you did it, and I'm not why I wrote all this, but I felt like writing. But truly, I appreciate it.
This took me about 3 1/2 hours to write. As a college student, I promise you there were lots more things I could have done those 3 1/2 hours. And yet, it was strangely cathartic, and it's fun to just write. Maybe you don't find it appropriate for a post, or maybe you just didn't want me to go on and on about me, myself, and I, and if you're reading this so far down, it's unlikely that you didn't want to read it, but if you found me elitist, annoying, self-centred, or just a boring writer, I'm sorry.
... and now to say something completely different and off the wall: Dedeaux Field down here at SC has trough urinals, just like the Coliseum. I've begun equating trough urinals to baseball. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not, but they are one and the same.
Before I say other dumb things, this is the real end.
Let's Go Oakland!