It’s easy to take something good for granted when it becomes an everyday part of your life. Whether it’s a job, a relationship, a routine, whatever. Sometimes you don’t realize how good a thing is until it’s suddenly not there anymore.
For me, Let’s Go Tribe is that thing.
If you aren’t aware, I’m one of the few Tribe fans who frequents this board that lives out in California. And I’m definitely the only writer this far out west (which was a big help to my fellow writers when the Tribe traveled to California. I could stay up to write a recap at a reasonable 10 PM as opposed to an unfathomable 1 AM). For the most part, this cross country partnership has been beneficial to all of us listed in the masthead at the top of the page. And I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to live and make a living on the west coast. With that being said, 2020 has brought about an unfortunate circumstance for me personally.
If you aren’t up to date on the local state politics of California, I don’t blame you. But for the purposes of this piece, here’s another SB Nation article that helps explain the situation. Basically, due to a new independent contractor law in California, freelance writers (such as all the ones employed by Vox Media) are restricted to just 35 submissions per calendar year. As LGT is a baseball site and baseball has 162 games per year, 35 submissions is a comically small number of submissions. It’s not feasible to operate within those limited confines without violating the new law. Because of this, Vox Media is transitioning all of the California-based sites (think Halos Heaven, True Blue LA, etc.) to sites run by a small group of full-time employees as opposed to the sprawling network of freelance writers. Overnight, hundreds of brilliant content creators across multiple different sites suddenly saw themselves pushed out of work.
This law impacts anyone who lives in California. Which meant that the sites that got hit hardest were the California-based sites since the majority of their contributors were in-state. But it also impacts our little corner of the internet since, as mentioned above, I live in California.
This will be my final official piece written for Let’s Go Tribe.
When I started college in 2012, my buddy (now best friend and groomsman at my wedding next year) introduced me to Let’s Go Tribe. He was a regular over at Halos Heaven and he thought I’d enjoy the Cleveland version of the site. I absolutely fell in love. There was this vibrant community of Tribe fans from all across the country coalescing on one site to share a love of baseball, specifically Cleveland baseball. 3000 miles away from Ohio, I had found a community of fans who shared this new passion I had rediscovered after having been away from baseball for years. I couldn’t stop visiting. And commenting. And learning (I remember being ecstatic at the Johnny Damon signing...how young and dumb I was).
As the years went by, the team got better, more people found their way to LGT, and our former Managing Editor Jason Lukehart (creator of The Maddux) brought me on board to share posts to the LGT social media. I wasn’t writing a ton (I remember one of my first fanposts came after a particularly bad Chris Perez outing), but I felt like I was really a bigger part of LGT and I enjoyed it.
As Jason passed the torch to our current fearless leader, Matt Lyons, Matt asked if I wanted to write. And I really wanted to write. Jason gave me a chance to be a part of the team, and Matt gave me a chance to really flex my creative muscles and create. Our team pioneered some of the Facebook Live videos that started to be adopted by other SB Nation sites, and it was cool to see our team creating something so unique and having so much fun with it. That creative freedom and ability to experiment and create was all facilitated and encouraged by Matt. I’ve heard horror stories of other Managing Editors on other SBN sites, but thankfully, LGT has been blessed with two great ones in my time here. I’m thankful to both Jason and Matt for keeping me around and letting me be a part of this wonderful community.
I’ve never been a huge fan of my own writing. I try my best, but with the exception of the piece that means the most to me, I much prefer reading the incredible work produced by Matt, Brian, Matt, Jason, Chris, westbrook, woodsmeister, Merritt, and Blake. Seriously, I don’t think our average users realize just how smart, funny, and talented these guys are. Their work made me want to learn more about baseball. It made me want to watch more baseball and understand the nuances and intricacies that are lost on the average fan. From a professional standpoint, they made me want to be a better writer. The one silver lining, for me personally, is that LGT is still in incredible hands even with my departure.
Lastly, thank you to all of you for reading and commenting on my pieces. Whether it was a news and notes link dump, a series preview, a game thread, a recap, or anything in between, the fact that folks were reading the words I typed and felt compelled to engage with one another meant the world to me. It made me feel like I really have a place in this community despite not having lived in Cleveland for over 20 years. I’m hoping that I can be a more active community member despite not writing anymore (well, I can still write if I choose. Vox is rolling out a program called “Community Insiders” for folks impacted by the new CA law so I can still write on the platform. I have my own thoughts about this but they don’t matter much).
As much as we can bicker and argue and disagree, it all stems from a love of this baseball team that has connected us all. I sincerely hope that we all get a chance to celebrate together after a world championship sometime soon. I can’t think of a more deserving fanbase than ours.
Now go extend Francisco Lindor.