I saw my first major league baseball game when I was six years old. It was a Cubs-Phillies game at Veterans Stadium. I don’t remember a lot from that night. But one moment has stuck with me over 14 years later.
Ryne Sandberg stepped to the plate and hit a long, arching drive into the dark Philadelphia night. The ball hit the top of the center field wall and caromed back into the field of play. The near home run ended as a triple for Sandberg.
It was a memorable night. I watched my namesake and favorite player hit a triple. I watched in awe as he warmed up with the donuts in the on-deck circle.
Over the years, I watched the Cubs just as closely. I was watched Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire in the great home run chase in 1998. I watched Kerry Wood blow away hitters with his fastball. I watched the 2003 team win the division and nearly make the World Series behind Wood and Mark Prior. I watched Sandberg take his place in Cooperstown. And I watched Sweet Lou revive the Cubs in 2008.
I am a die-hard Cubs fan. Every spring training, I hope this year is “next year.”
I have also been writing about the Cubs’ biggest rival, the St. Louis Cardinals, for over a year. I read about the Cards daily. I wrote objectively or with an honest opinion. Only a few readers knew I was rooting for the so-called enemy while I was writing for Redbird Rants. I rarely mentioned being a Cubs fan and I never let it get in the way.
So, why would a Cubs fan write for a Cardinals blog for over 12 months?
I am also an aspiring sports journalist. And I love the game of baseball. I saw this blog as a chance to practice being objective while writing about baseball on a daily basis. I hope that I achieved that goal. It has been a great experience. The site grew from a few readers a day to a small, but loyal readership. I met Cards fans through email correspondence and shared their stories in fan profiles. I had the opportunity to interview former players. These are all things I will never forget.
But after a great year, I have decided to step down as the lead writer at Redbird Rants. I no longer have the time necessary to get the quality content up every day. I will remain as a contributor, posting a few times a month and I hope you’ll still stop by from time to time. Ray DeRousse will be taking over for me.
Thank you to everyone at FanSided and to everyone who read this blog during my tenure.