Dr. Strangeglove: Saying Goodbye

Posted by Michael Baumann, Fri, December 23, 2011 11:00 AM | Comments: 20
Dr. Strangeglove, Posts

In June 2009, when I was trying to find a job after graduating college, I started writing for a small Phillies blog run by a longtime friend of mine, Paul Boye. He wasn’t doing much with it, I figured, so why not let me on board? That site, The Phrontiersman, trundled along for a while at about 1,500 hits a month for seven months. We each probably posted about twice or three times a week, and it was fun, but we knew that only a couple hundred people read our posts. That site served the purpose of helping Paul and me find our voices as sports commentators, all the while developing this strange sort of comedy double act, with me playing the role of Groucho Marx and Paul as Margaret Dumont.

In January 2010, I wrote a post trying to project the Phillies’ history if they’d kept Scott Rolen. MLB Trade Rumors linked to it, and the site blew up. A couple weeks later, Paul called me at work, saying this site called Phillies Nation had gotten in touch with him and wanted us to move over and write for them. I couldn’t say yes quickly enough, and for the past two years, I’ve written anything from a short poem about Cliff Lee facing the Mets to 2,000 words on attending the 19-inning game against the Reds this year. Over 23 months, we’ve been on a journey together, you and I, that’s featured both emotion and logic, with a touch of confrontation thrown in.

Today, that journey comes to an end. This will be my last post as a member of the Phillies Nation staff.

I know that in the scheme of personnel moves this winter, my leaving for Crashburn Alley is hardly Pujols-to-Los Angeles, but Pat’s asked me to put something together on my time here. I thought about trying to explain what goes into this site, maybe tell a funny story or two, but instead, I thought it more appropriate to let you know why I think this Phillies Nation is so great.

Being a writer for Phillies Nation has become, strangely, part of my identity. It’s given me an opportunity to grow as a writer to the point where I’m embarrassed by some of the things I wrote at The Phrontiersman, or at The Daily Gamecock in college. Writing at Phillies Nation is a deeply social experience, not just because of the people you meet (though that’s pretty cool; after having had a few at a tailgate last summer, I declared Pat Gallen “the sexiest man in the Phillies blogosphere”), but because whatever you write is going to get immediate and passionate feedback. As a group, there’s a lot of badgering and debate over (the aptly named) Yammer as Pat tries like an overwhelmed shepherd to get everything covered.

Speaking of which, I need to express my appreciation for the people I’m leaving behind, and frankly, so do you. Brian and R.C. don’t do much baseball writing as such, but what you see is possible because of their hard work. They made the transition from “no one reads what you write” to “lots of people sort of read what you write and want to kill you” easier than expected.

I leave here confident that the site will continue to thrive, thanks in no small part to an incredible stable of writers who do the heavy lifting for no pay and less praise. Jay is unique among bloggers I’ve known in that he’s carved out a niche for himself, gotten access, and made himself into the foremost expert in his area through old-school reporting. He does a difficult job with verve and panache. Corey gets statistics, he gets controversy, and he can write. I suspect that in my absence, most of your internet vitriol should be directed toward him. Kieran, Amanda, Jonathan, and Ian are the reason you have a place here to gripe, as their news and analysis posts keep this site populated with the very latest, which is what sets Phillies Nation apart. Then there’s Pat, whose leadership and hard work keep Phillies Nation spinning on its axis. Not only is he one of the most underrated sports voices in the area, he’s a charming person, a good friend, and an inspiring leader whom I’ll miss working for.

The point is, we don’t appreciate my now-former colleagues enough for the great work they do, which sustains our discourse and has allowed me to sit in a corner and spew my bullshit for 23 months.

The defining memory of my time at Phillies Nation, however, will be the comment battles. We’ve gone back and forth, you and I, on Domonic Brown, Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard….actually, pretty much everyone who’s put on a Phillies uniform in the past two years except for Chase Utley and Roy Halladay. I think we can all agree that their excellence is beyond reproach. I’m sure there are many of you who will greet my departure with celebration, but frankly even the negative comments have pushed me to write better, argue better, research better, and think more creatively. So while I won’t miss the flame wars, I’m probably better off for having had them, and I hope you can say the same.

So while I’m excited to work with Bill, Ryan, and Paul over at Crashburn Alley, my going there is bittersweet. I’ll miss the helter-skelter of slamming out an unclaimed gameday post at 6:30 p.m. I’ll miss the excitement of having two people writing posts that analyze the same topic and coming up with completely different conclusions. The past two years have been exciting, fun, and challenging, and most of all, gratifying. Phillies Nation, as much as any of its competitors, is an inclusive community, one that I’ve been proud to call home. Now that the time has come to move on, there’s more than a small part of me that’s filled with sadness at what I’m leaving behind.

Thank you all for your kindness and attention for the past 23 months. I’ll see you around the internet.

Most importantly, continue to read and support Phillies Nation and the fine people who work here. I know I will.

Avatar of Michael Baumann

About Michael Baumann

Michael Baumann has written 229 articles on Phillies Nation.

Michael is a graduate student at Temple University who lost his childlike innocence when, at the age of 6, his dad let him stay up for the end of Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. Unsettled by the Phillies' recent success, he has threatened over the years to leave the team he loves if they don't start losing again, but has so far been unable to follow through. Michael spent 4 years as an undercover agent in Braves territory at the University of South Carolina, where he covered football and soccer for The Daily Gamecock before moving back up north. He began writing for The Phrontiersman in June 2009 before moving to Phillies Nation in January 2010.

  • Posts: 1048 EricL

    Avatar of EricL

    You mean no more posts equating Ruben Amaro to Soviet General Secretaries of the 1970s?



  • Posts: 0 Larch Sarum

    Uh … Bye? See you two Internet sites down the road?

  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    Best wishes on your new endeavor. We will miss you . Take care.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Your “Dear Commentariat” piece was definitely one of the best things i’ve ever read on this site … and it produced some of the best back-and-forth between the regulars that i’ve ever seen …

    ***(How does OPS matter if Todd Helton ranks 10th all time… higher than Mantle, DiMaggio, Musial) **** etc…

    Don’t be a stranger- I enjoyed your work here, and loved having to use the Merriam-Webster webpage so often – to add new words to my vocabulary after reading your stuff

    Good Luck!

  • Avatar of The Original Chuck P

    Best of luck at Crashburn Alley… your commentary will be missed.

    I’ve seen a lot of writers come and go at PN. At this point, it’s getting easy to identify who will stick… not a knock on you or this site but I always thought that you might end up somewhere else. You’re a terrific writer and you have the ability to generate debate in your own way. There are professional analysts that come at you with all sorts of data from different angles and there are guys that just prefer to shoot from the hip. I think that both types of writers have their proper place in the baseball blogosphere but your writing style has a decent mix of both. We have all seen your writing mature throughout your tenure here and I think you’ve figured out who you are… I remember a few posts you did early on were met with an excessive amount of venom. I’m glad you stuck with it because the site benefited from having you on board. There is no doubt in my mind that you’ll be great at Crashburn Alley.
    Don ended it exactly how I would have ended it – good luck and don’t be a stranger.

    As for the rest of the crew at PN – thank you for doing what you do. This site is different than most because there is such a loyal following… the regular crew has grown and evolved throughout the years but many of the names have remained. It’s like a dysfunctional family at PN – vastly different and sometimes maligned but at the end of the day, we bleed the same blood and can usually rally around one simple premise… LET’S GO PHILLIES!!

  • Posts: 5434 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    All the best to you MB. Thanks for all your hard work.

  • Posts: 0 Ajay

    Thanks for all you hard work. See you over at CBA!

  • Posts: 0 800812

    I always looked forward to your pieces, and enjoyed them thoroughly. You’re talented, with a dash of smartass (ok, maybe a bit more than a dash). It’s a good mix, and invariably produced provocative, informative content. PN is the loser, here. Good luck at CA.

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Ah yes, your farewell to the troops. Wait a second……I don’t get it. Why can’t you write for both sites? Is their a non compete clause somewhere?

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    This reminds me of when Spiro Agnew resigned.
    Only it was more important.
    Donny will pick up the slack.

  • Posts: 129 Amanda Orr

    Avatar of Amanda Orr

    Best of luck Michael! Keep up the great work with Crashburn!

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    I am going to invent a name for myself.
    Maybe AFW is enough though?

    Dr Douchebag who thinks the world of himself?

    Nah Dons still here.

    Dr second to none?
    Well with Michael not here anymore only Donny can be perfect all the time.

    I got it.
    Dr. Perfect waiting for Donny to tell him how stupid the commentators are.

  • Posts: 0 Bob

    bring back Tim Malcolm! He was the best writer this site has ever seen. He wrote about what we wanted to hear!

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Spiro Agnew! hahahaha. Good stuff. Mike forgot to tell us to “win one for the Gipper”. The article did smack of self importance. Hey, I gotta call it like it is. Now Mike is probably gone be a good writer but I think he was a little…umm…esoteric…..for a baseball blog. Intertwining the Phils with the history of mid 20th century Communist Russia was pretty wild. “A” for effort young, sir!

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 1148 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    As usualy i am sorry to see you go, though we often disagreed, i really like disagreeing. your insight will be missed, and though sometime long winded you always backed up your opions with solid logic. good luck and do not be a stragner. Even AFW managed to post something differnet for the first time in two years and he did not even mention Howard by name or just the contract.

  • Posts: 2005 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    Hey Mike – best of luck to you and I too hope to see your imprint on this site once in a while!

  • Posts: 2897 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Michael…. even though I have to say that you aren’t my “cup of tea” when to comes to writing styles and that your pices sometimes came off as arrogant….all the best to you. As a “regular” on here I read 99.9999% of the articles that are posted and your stuff DID cause me to think (and get annoyed) quite a bit.

  • Posts: 549 Brian Sr. of CO

    Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

    That was always one thing that made this place interesting too. The thought of what am I going to log-on and see Mike post today that made little to no sense. Oh well. We always have some of the “Commentariat” LOL. Regardless…Good luck.

  • Posts: 77 branderson925

    Avatar of branderson925

    Good luck with your new endeavors, sir. Yeah, I bashed your articles a lot and one thing to take away is that I hope you didn’t take me too seriously. Yes, I could always tell when it was an article by you (I never look at the by line until after reading the article) No offense, but I can’t say I will miss you around these parts. Not a fan of your style of writing, while some consider it creative I can not share with them that sentiment.

    However, I shouldn’t be bashing at a time of farewell. Good luck.

    -PS Is Crashburn considered higher on the food chain than the Nation? I for one only read this blog for Phils stuff and feel it is far superior to any competitor.

    PPS. Pujols to the Angels? More like Drew Carpenter claimed off of waivers by the Padres. Haha. Sorry!

  • Posts: 0 ครีมหน้าขาว

    Would you go on the anniversary year.

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