Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Lazy Sunday Saying Goodbye


Though that title may lead you to believe that I’m finally going to weigh in on the dismissal of Manny Acta from Thursday, it actually refers to someone else exiting stage left, as I’ve decided to walk away from writing about the Indians on these Interwebs on a permanent basis.  While I know that I took some “time off” last off-season and there will be those that will only believe there will be permanence to this when they fail to see 3,000 words from these fingers flying at them every couple of days, the time for me to move on from this endeavor has arrived.

Maybe you could posit that this is the product of the apathy that has set in around the fanbase regarding the organization, particularly after seeing a fanciful alternate universe presented (tongue firmly in cheek) this week by AC , but the greater truth is that I’ve reached a point in my life in which this no longer fits neatly – or even messily – into any part of it.  I suppose that I could continue on in some fashion on a part-time basis, but (as you may have noticed) I generally either go all-in (inexplicably finding 4K words on bullpen usage) or simply pull the band-aid right off.

So as the band-aid is torn off, the end has arrived for me, some 7+ years after sending out the following e-mail to 11 of my buddies, prior to the 2005 season:
That question of “Too much time on my hands?” is particularly fun to look at in hindsight as each of those 11 people (plus me) have seen their lives change drastically from that time and the evolution of my life and the involvement of this website is something that I need to stop intertwining.  Interestingly, that missive was saved by the person who set up this site (Tim Bennett…or “t-bone” as he’s known in these parts) on a laptop over beers and wings one night at the Lakewood Winking Lizard and, after a site redesign a few years later by Joe Popa (a Tribe fan in Chicago who worked in Graphic Design with my sister), this place evolved into a corner of the Internet that I hope attempted to inject logic, analysis, and humor into following our Cleveland Indians.  Starting with the days in which I used to write as “Pat Tabler” as my nom de plume (before a cease-and-desist request from Bob DiBiasio, who was somehow afraid that people would think that the REAL Pat Tabler was pounding out thousands of words on Ben Broussard and Jason Davis on a bi-weekly basis) through the evolution of this site through these last 8 seasons, we’ve had happy days and sad ones, hopeful days and dark ones, but as Tribe fans we always soldiered on, connected by our complicated collective love of baseball and our (sometimes misguided and often unrequited) love of our Tribe.

Realizing that this is a place that many come to parse through the happenings at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, with a particularly major announcement coming earlier in the week, you can read this enlightening piece from B-Pro’s John Perrotto, in which he interviewed the now-deposed Manny Acta for some insight.  In it, Acta says (in part) that, “When people say pitching and defense wins championships, it doesn’t mean bullpen and defense…when people talk about pitching and defense, they mean starting pitching, too, and our guys haven’t stepped up and gotten it done this season.”  Or you can read the piece from SI.com’s Jay Jaffe that listed Acta as on the “hot seat”, with Jaffe positing that, “there’s little debate that a team with a young core featuring Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera, Michael Brantley and Shin-Soo Choo should be more competitive”, then going further to say that, “Antonetti and club president Mark Shapiro bear some of the blame for the dismal showing, but it’s not on them to keep players engaged on a day-to-day basis…such a slide may suggest that the players have stopped responding to Acta.”  And that last bit is something that’s interesting to consider given Castrovince’s nugget that “several hours after the news of his dismissal had gone public, Acta had only heard from one of his players offering condolences” as it goes back to whether the talent on hand was flawed on the development of that talent was lacking or both.  But that will all come out in the wash, as will the new manager for the Tribe – be it Sandy Alomar without the interim tag or with Terry Francona stepping back into the managerial fray – and I’m not going to be doing the one doing the laundry anymore.  Because my days of dropping block quotes between run-on sentences flush with too many parentheticals and dashes that would make my any English teacher I’ve ever had shudder have ended.    

That said, realizing that this place has evolved into something that I have grown very proud of and want it to continue as a small corner of logic and thoughtfulness in an ocean of overreaction, vitriol, and worse, The DiaTribe will continue as Al Ciammaichella has agreed to captain this ship on a full-time basis, with the idea that some other people may come on to help Al from time to time because…well, because this is a lot to handle for just one person at any stage of their life.  Be assured that Al will continue the high level of analysis and writing (spreading his wings from just writing about the Minors) that he’s exhibited here in the past and – if others were to hop aboard – they would be equally impressive as I’m not about to water down the level of discourse that I like to think that has been achieved here.

This has been an amazing experience as I’ve met countless people through my writing that I now count among some of my closest friends and I’m constantly humbled when I meet (in real life) a reader who recognizes my name, casually asks if I’m the Paul Cousineau that writes about the Indians, then spends the next 20 minutes talking Tribe with me.  Whether it’s happened at a wedding (in front of The DiaBride, who stood there…mouth agape) or at a tee-ball game for my oldest son, where his coach professed to be a regular reader, I’ve been nothing but amazed that me putting my pen to paper – so to speak – those 7+ years ago allowed me these opportunities and this experience.

Though I’ve never been the most…um, interactive writer (and even in the Twitter Age, there is something about limiting my thoughts to 140 characters that I still am unable to do) on the Internet, the contributions of the serial commenters and the e-mails that I get from readers brought me great pleasure as it afforded me the opportunity to engage with a very smart, very tuned-in faction of a fanbase that I’ve lost hope in too many times to count, thinking that they’d been dumbed-down by the coverage by the mainstream media of this team and the blood-sucking vapidity of sports talk radio, too eager to focus on the negative and not to enjoy baseball for what it is – a diversion that is meant to provide an escape and some level of enjoyment, even if the performance on the field makes that difficult at times.

Ultimately though, sports – and specifically for me, baseball – is something to enjoy and to appreciate.  And while disappointment is burned into our DNA as Tribe fans, that sense of enjoying a game as simply a place to lose yourself for a short time is at the heart of my love for this game and for this team.  And that enjoyment, that love, that passion that I think came across in my writing, is the same love that I hope to pass on to my children, the way that my parents did to me.  And that’s where my true passion is – and always has been – with my wonderful and growing children and with my loving and lovely wife (who has been called The DiaBride to her face too many times for me to count), who encouraged me throughout this endeavor, never asking that I take a break or that I stop writing about the Indians (still) because she knew how much I enjoyed it.  With my children getting older and getting (more) involved in their own sports and with my (real) job growing in wonderful ways that I would have never dreamed possible, the time has come for me to get my enjoyment from the things that please me most – my family and then…somewhere WAY down the line, the Indians.

That’s not to say that I’ve given up on this team or this organization as others have (particularly as of late), just to say that I won’t be banging out thousands of words as my catharsis for watching this game.  Those thousands (maybe hundreds) of words will instead be articulated with my family down at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. 

So I hope to see you there sometime soon, I thank you for reading the thoughts of a slightly-obsessed (never at a loss for words) former member of the Little Indians Fan Club, and, as always, Go Tribe…

30 comments:

smaynor said...

All I can say is that I am sad. My Sunday coffee will never be the same.

Unknown said...

Farewell Paul. Finding this blog as a lowly tribe fan in California was a revelation. Reading you has been a favorite part of my Sunday mornings and mid-week work days ever since.

Thank you for the time you put into this. You have made a difference to those of us who logged in to read and discuss our favorite team. You are all of the good things about being a fan.

sjwebber28 said...

Wow, Paul, I was not expecting to wake up to this article this beautiful Sunday morning! Your writing will be missed. You have done an amazing job over the years. Thanks for the mention in the article. It was a bitter sweet article to read on my wife's birthday.

You are doing it for all the right reasons, so again thank you and congratulations on the 7+ years of great work. I will continue to read Al's writing, he does do a nice job. Enjoy the family and GO TRIBE! Hope to see you around the neighborhood.

Take care and we'll talk soon.

Scott W.

Al Ciammaichella said...

I was expecting this, and it still hit me like a ton of bricks.

Logan said...

Incredibly sad to read this. Best of luck and health to you and your family as you move forward.

With or Without the H said...

Paul, thank you for the years of service to Indians fans. You gave us so much joy each and every Lazy Sunday for so many years. God Bless!

Cleveland Fan said...

Paul,
I said it last year and I'll say it again. Enjoy your family, they are way more important than this blog. But, be sure we will all miss you greatly. I'm glad that you are leaving this in Al's hands, as I'm sure he and others, as you said can carry on the high standards that you have set. I do hope that once in a while, you will weigh in with a "guest" article just so we can have your opinion on what is or should be going on with our beloved tribe.

Rich said...

Thanks for sharing your love of the Tribe. Your words will be missed with my Sunday coffee. Good luck in your future endeavors.

Ryan Richards said...

Paul,

Thanks again for all that you've shared with us over the years. To say you'll be missed is a massive understatement.

Best wishes for you and your family.

CLohse said...

'Tis the way of the blog to bubble up and, eventually, burst. One can but admire it while it lasts.

Glad to have been a reader for many of the years you've been hammering out opinions on the Tribe. I hope you'll continue to enjoy discussions on bullpen manufacture, prospect handling and platoon splits as you focus on some other priorities in life.

Jason said...

Paul, you're really going to be missed. I discovered the Diatribe a couple years ago and it has become a part of my Sunday morning ritual. Thank you so much for sharing your writing with us these past few years. Best of luck, and enjoy every minute of time with the family, these kids grow up so very fast.

Jason said...

On one hand, I am really going to miss reading your posts. On the other, I am happy for you as it is clear that you are putting Tribe fandom in its proper place in your life. It's important and a lot of fun, but as families grow and life changes hopefully obsessions with sports diminish.

Thank you for the regular doses of sanity. I know that you're leaving the blog in great hands too, but it won't be quite the same.

Elia said...

Paul, you and I have followed a similar paths. I'm far from Cleveland now and don't make it "home" as much as I'd like, but all the same. We grew up with the same 1980s Indians teams, we were the same age for the 1990s Tribe teams and had kids about the same time (mine are almost 7 and 5). In an effort to find some decent writing on the Indians, I found you near the beginnings of this blog. I have been amazed, given how my life had changed over this time, that you were able to keep putting in 10,000 words each week. I know that my attention span has waned.

Paul, I wish you the best and will miss you horribly over the next years. As someone else mentioned, your articles on Sunday morning were always saved for last. I hope some day we meet in person.

Al, I wish you a lot of luck in continuing this blog and will look forward to your musings when they show up in my RSS feed. If I can help in any way, please say.

MTF said...

Thank you for all of your thoughtful posts over the years. I will greatly miss the chance to learn from your perspective, and my Sunday mornings have had a big hole blown right through them. Best of luck with your family and career, but (selfishly) I hope we see you cannot resist the temptation to sometimes weigh in with a couple thousand well crafted words!

KB said...

Wonderful news, not for me but for your fantastic family. Best wishes, and enjoy the additional time you'll be able to spend with your children. Many blessings and wishes for continued successes.

Cy Slapnicka said...

its been fun, even if this post's links made me go relive the FALL of 2007 again. although, i'm disappointed we won't have a discussion on the great fall beers of 2012 this year.

cheers bud,

Adam said...

I am pretty sure I know exactly how you feel. Good luck, and maybe we will meet at some Tribe or Ignatius related event in the future.

Clecago Joe said...

Thank you for all the information and entertainment you have provided to us through the years. My knowledge of the Tribe will greatly diminish in your absence.

Commitment to family comes above even the things we love to do, so this is more for Al and others that will take the reins...this morning, just before reading this post, I was on another blog that covers my much under-reported college football/basketball (think small B1G) where the two writers were reluctantly asking for donations to keep the site going. I had my credit card out without hesitation. If this site is ever in jeopardy of shutting down, please ask for voluntary donations first. I think you would be surprised at the results. I have always thought you guys should be paid for what you are providing us all.

Unknown said...

Hey Paul

I can't say I've ever had the pleasure of meeting you but I always found your writing to be well informed and made me think in different ways about my favorite team. Best of luck in the future.

doby14 said...

Thanks, Paul.
Our lose is your family's gain!

David Jackson said...

I've really enjoyed your blog throughout the years Paul. The internet just got a lot lamer.

Hopefully someday when a charismatic group of winners in Indian's uniforms develop, you'll come back to the keyboard.

jcocita said...

Paul,

I don't comment on articles or blogs ever, but I have been religiously reading your posts for about two years now and wanted to express my thanks for your hard work. The thoughtfulness and passion that you've applied while dissecting my favorite sports team has been much appreciated. Best of luck and thank you.

Coin said...

Thanks! I've enjoyed your work out here, as an off the reservation undocumented alien living in Red Sox nation. Best wishes for the family, day job, and whatever else your future holds.

Jim

Hyde said...

Best of luck, Paul. It's safe to say we have different perspectives about the Indians organization, but this blog has always been a great read.

Unknown said...

I understand and applaud your decision, Paul. Your insights will be missed by Tribe fans everywhere, but one has to answer when real life beckons.

Paul Cousineau said...

Thank you all of you for all of this.
I'm humbled and amazed by the outpouring of gratitude and encouragement that I've received here and elsewhere.

Thank you...

PO13 said...

Paul,

What a classy way to go out, and knowing you through your writing there could be no other way. My enjoyment of the Indians has only grown as I enter my late twenties, as I've finally realized that baseball (and sports in general) are meant to be fun and not something that leads my life. I just enjoy watching/reading about the Indians, win or lose, and this blog has only added to that enjoyment. Best of luck to you and your family, and thank for adding joy to my love of the Indians, and the city of Cleveland.

-Pat

Adam said...

Paul, Thanks for all the hard work. You will truly be missed. I would like to dedicate this poem to your memory.

A Fond Farewell

It is in fact truly summer’s game,
It crosses boundaries rich and poor, young and old aplenty,
Oh why did Skinner have to stop Kenny?
The Yankees, the Angels, the Red Sox they spend and they spend,
While the Indians value every penny,
Oh why did Skinner have to stop Kenny?
Some years are agonogizing and hard to stomach,
Other years like ’95, ’97, and 07’ bring heartbreak to many,
Oh why did Skinner have to stop Kenny?
As Tribe fans we are conditioned to wait and wait,
Wishing for a championship on the shores of the Lake,
But we soldier into the future,
Waiting for that one special day,
A World Series Championship would be the best of any,
Oh Why did Skinner have to stop Kenny?

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