So, I’m minding my business this afternoon when I see a tweet from the Hickory Crawdads congratulating me on having the No. 4 blog among PRO writers covering minor league baseball.
I. WAS. STUNNED.
I sent a tweet out with the question, “Who the heck knew I said anything worth reading?”
I stated in my introductory post last summer that there are a lot of people much smarter about baseball than I am, and I will always believe that. I watch the games, talk to people, and generally try to share with people something about the baseball team playing in Hickory.
Some of the folks reading my blog just want news – any news – about their loved one playing in most cases far away from home at Hickory. They share links of my stories with family members and friends about a hometown hero they watch grow up and that is taking the first steps of their hopeful march to the Nirvana that is the major leagues.
Some of the folks are Rangers fans wanting first-hand accounts about the latest prospect that is just starting out, or the player that finally put it together. They envision the day the player gets a callup to Arlington, or if traded, to places like Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York, Chicago and so on. Part of the fun of following prospects is to say, “I knew him when…”
Some of the folks are local fans from the area wanting more news about the Crawdads than I have space for in the local Hickory Daily Record. This is our town’s pro team – one of only 160 towns that can say that about minor league baseball – and we here in the Hickory-Metro take pride in the Crawdads. They’ve had a deep connection to this community for 23 years now and there’s a pretty neat history to this franchise that I try to provide for readers.
But for me, I write about baseball in Hickory because the game is a part of me. I’ve loved the game since I was a little boy. I was never good enough to even play for a team more advanced than a backyard pickup game in Riverdale, Ga. Being able to write about baseball and be involved in the game in this way is something that, as a child, I never dreamed I could realistically do. Who gets to do that? Well, in a small town in North Carolina, I do. And what fun it is!
I am thankful to the players and Rangers player development staff that allowed me access to the clubhouse and to what’s going on during a special season that ended with a league championship – something I never thought I’d get to see up close. I am indebted to the Hickory Crawdads staff, especially Director of Media Relationship Aaron Cox for their support for the writing I do. I am grateful for the readership that I have and for the people who pass on links for others to read. Your comments and kind words are accepted with all the heartfelt thanks I can express.
Lord willing, I’ll be at L.P. Frans Stadium for the 24th season of Crawdads baseball – my 14thas a fan, employee, scorekeeper and beat writer. I look forward to the ride that is the 2016 season.