Friday, February 26, 2021

Astros County: November 2008 - February 2021

Over the past 12.5-ish years I have run this here blog. It initially was a blog for me to react to EVERYTHING that happened to the Astros, as it happened. I had a job that allowed me to do this, mostly unimpeded. Evenings were more difficult, but during the day the flexibility was there for me to keep a pretty close eye on the Astros. When we lived in New York, it was a way for me to keep in touch with something from Home and made me feel like we didn’t live so far away. We moved from New York to Nashville in 2009, had a (long-awaited) kid in 2012, and Astros County kept chugging along. Just part of a daily routine.

In 2014 we moved back to Texas, I switched careers, and that ability wasn’t exactly there anymore. Can’t stop teaching about the French Revolution to weigh in on the Astros trading Mike Foltynewicz and Rio Ruiz for Evan Gattis, and so it became more of a LinkStop in the mornings or evenings (depending on what was going in for me at school or with my wife and daughter). This was fine, no one seemed to mind. I disabled the comments, which made things a whole hell of a lot better on my end.

But putting those links together, in an effort to be thorough, started to take more and more time. It’s not out of the ordinary for a Hot Links post to take up to two hours to put together. That’s too much. I could scale it back, I guess but, again, routine. And I am a creature of my routine.

Except I need to shake up my routine. I have a lot on my plate at the moment between my lovely, understanding, sympathetic wife, our rapidly-growing daughter, and work/students/other duties as assigned. I’m really trying to write a book on Andrew Jackson’s 1833 tour of New England, and I’d much rather do that than worry about how Alex Bregman’s hamstring feels (I didn’t mean that, Bregs, please be okay and win an MVP this year). I’d like to watch an Astros game just to watch it, without feeling compelled to take notice of SOMETHING that I could point out or write about that night/early the next morning.

There’s also the whole social media aspect of it. We all follow the same people. You don’t need me to link to every article on Astros dot com, or everything Chandler Rome or Jake Kaplan or FanGraphs posts related to the Astros because…you can just do that on your own. My voice and opinion isn’t even that important. I’m just a history teacher. I never played baseball beyond backyard stuff, I don’t have any particular insight to impart that you can’t think of on your own. I just have a borrowed Stathead login to Baseball-Reference and something approaching institutional memory. I don’t have any sources. The one source I did have doesn’t work in the front office anymore, and he never told me anything, anyway. So what’s really the point? With a decent enough Twitter list, you can create your own Astros County. Hell, I’ll even unlock my Astros Media list so that you can follow everyone I’ve leaned on heavily for Hot Links.

The polarization of society, the inability to agree on basic rules for humanity, the constant nut-kick of a news cycle, is just too much for me. So I’m going to head out. I’ve spent most of the week off of Twitter and let me tell you, I encourage that. Maybe I’ll find that I really miss the blog and come back a little bit, but I doubt it. I’ll definitely tweet like a maniac should this book ever get finished and encourage you to pre-order it. While I’m obviously not a “material benefit” kind of guy (quit working in museums to go teach public school, for instance), there’s not much juice coming out of a whole lot of squeeze.

I will forever appreciate the real-life friendships that have grown out of keeping the blog up, and I’m not abandoning those. I’m just stepping back from pouring hours of work into a blog that I started when I was 28, and now I’m 41. The Twitter account will stay active, and I’ll keep the AstrosCounty dot com domain active just in case researchers come across it and want to collectively scratch their heads. I’ll still do Lima Time Time and Michael Bourn Identity. But I think this is it. After 12 years, I’m hanging it up. At least I’m eligible for the Hall of Fame, provided I don’t post for five more years.