My first Yankees game was on August 5, 2001. I was just seven years old, which is likely young for many of the readers of this site, but I can say that I’ve now watched the team for nearly two decades, which is a lot of baseball.
When I was young, I read encyclopedic records of baseball statistics, checked the pitching matchups in the morning’s Newsday, and listened to 880 and the FAN. If the game was on the west coast, I waited until the last second before school to watch the score scroll across the screen on ESPN. So in a way, it was a simple fan experience. I didn’t have the YES Network until quite late so there was a time where the only vessel for enjoying were national games or on the radio, so John Sterling was always a familiar voice.
For those interceding years between that first game and adulthood, being a fan was really just... watching. I watched baseball for years on end without really taking a “deep dive” in the way I did for so many years on this site, and that gave me a strong foundation when I decided to do that.
That doesn’t mean I wasn’t numbers-oriented, of course. I was a diligent player in the few years I tried to crack it, but my fastball barely touched 60 mph when I was 12, and my bat was light. If I ever did have the talent to make the big leagues, my stature would be more like Jose Altuve than anyone else.
But I excelled in one thing when I did play. When I practiced throughout the summers I went to a yearly summer camp at my high school, and each lunch I hosted baseball trivia, which at that time wasn’t sabermetrics so much as asking who had 20-win seasons, batting averages over .375, and consecutive Cy Young winners. When I finished my tenure, the coach told me I’d work for ELIAS Sports Bureau. I guess you could say he was half-right.
When I reached young adulthood and college, the combination of internet availability (Twitter, MLB.tv, etc) combined with basic statistics and data science skills led me to sabermetrics and the writings of Michael Lewis, Bill James, Tom Tango, Jonah Keri, Ben Lindbergh, Dave Cameron, and Sam Miller. After reading them for so many years, and writing myself about sabermetrics, it’s surreal and exciting that I’ll hopefully be contributing to that same conversation.
Today is my last day at Pinstripe Alley, and this week I will be starting as the Managing Editor at Beyond the Box Score. I have been with this community for almost exactly four and a half years, and it was just as integral to my life as a fan as my first game, or listening to Sterling on the back deck. Except this time it came with a whole community of people who had these independent experiences, and could come together with a common way of thinking about baseball and the world.
Thanks to everyone who made that such a blast—to the collective Brett Gardner-for-Brandon Phillips breakdown, to the Astros Wild Card Game loss, to the retirement of Derek Jeter, to the endlessly exciting Baby Bombers-to-pennant-contenders pipeline we saw firsthand.
Thanks to Jason Cohen for bringing me on board to begin with, and thank you to Tanya Bondurant for being the post-Pinstriped Bible fearless leader. Thank you to Caitlin Rogers for being the best editor and Mark Teixeira lover, and thank you to Matt F. for the puns, and to Andrew Mearns, Kunj Shah, and Greg Kirkland for the endless baseball conversations and pork buns. And good luck to Tyler Norton in his own Managing Editor tenure, because this site is only getting better.
It’s not the end, because I’ll see you all again. You can still find me at BtBS, and I’m going to make it a habit to make sure that all team communities are one wider baseball community as well. We’ll always have Victor.