Programming Note

When I started writing ShysterBall in the spring of 2007, the idea was to give myself a place to be where I could escape the stress and unpleasantness of my legal career, if only for the briefest of moments. As time went on, it began to consume more and more of my waking hours and, in all honesty, interfering pretty significantly with that legal career. No, I never dropped the ball on a case, but it has been a struggle. I mean really, how is someone supposed to prepare for an oral argument when Roger Clemens is testifying before Congress? I’d like to say that I eventually managed to find balance with all of this, but that would be a lie. My life hasn’t been in balance since at least 2006. Maybe earlier. Something has to be done. So I’m doing it:

I’m quitting the law. Starting November 30th I will be writing about baseball full time for NBC Sports.com.

Obviously this wasn’t a unilateral decision on my part. NBC has decided that they want me all-in on Circling the Bases, and that’s not the kind of thing you have to ask me twice. The people over there have been fantastic to me since I started moonlighting back in April. They’ve never censored a word I’ve written. They’ve never declared a topic off-limits. Their instructions to me when I started were to make some f*cking noise, and they’ve allowed me to do that non-stop since. When they asked me to do it full time, it was a complete no-brainer. I don’t yet know how it’s going to all work out — the enormity of this is just starting to sink in — but to say I’m excited would be something of an understatement.

Q: But Craig! Where am I going to go for my daily ATH fix come April?!

A: Right here. Well, to THT at least, because NBC has been good enough to allow me to keep doing ATH and posting it at The Hardball Times (see above about NBC being totally cool). It likely won’t be in ShysterBall, because the ShysterBall name is going to go into mothballs. Right now the smart money is on it appearing as a daily post at THT Live, but we’ll give you lots of advanced notice once the good Mr. Studeman and I figure it out. The upshot, though, is that everyone involved realizes just how valuable an outlet and how outstanding the readership and community is at THT, and no one wants to mess with a good thing. Day-to-day blogging will be at NBC, but ATH will continue to appear at The Hardball Times.

Q: But Craig! How can you subject yourself to the kind of abuse you get from the commenters over there every day?

A: I’ve learned a lot in a short period of time. I’ve also noticed a slight uptick in commenter quality as time has gone on. I credit many of you for that, as I have been seeing a lot of familiar commenting handles migrate over to NBC as the year has progressed. I hope that continues. And I’m sure that it can. None of you are the type who can’t handle more baseball in your lives, so I’m sure you can make a point to be good boys and girls and read your THT, and then come over to NBC to see what I’m up to.

Q: So, like, what does this all mean for you?

A: I don’t know. No shaving. Pants optional. Walking kids to the bus stop. Cheaper coffee. More time to go to the gym. Occasional cushion forts in the living room. I’m sure it’s going to be an adjustment process. I’ll ask Neyer what he does with his days.

OK, enough self-indulgent crap, we have almost a month to get all of that in. In the meantime, let me offer some thanks to some people.

  • Thanks Repoz, because without your generous links, no one starts reading ShysterBall in the first place;
  • Thanks Rob, because without your generous links, no one starts reading ShysterBall in anything approaching significant numbers. If I had a dime for every time someone has said “I found this blog via Neyer . . .” well, I’d have a shitload of dimes. Oh, it’s also worth noting that I’m not even writing a word about baseball without your inspiration;
  • Thanks Studes for taking the chance on me and making me a part of the THT family. The sketchy, ne’er-do-well cousin of that family to be sure, but a great family all the same. It took a lot to give my ramblings a sheen of respectability, but THT did the job;
  • Thanks Aaron Gleeman and Matthew Pouliot for suggesting me to the NBC brass when you were getting CTB off the ground last spring. Before then, the only thing NBC knew about me came via the copious amount of Markie Post fanmail I’ve sent in over the years, and the attendant restraining order hearings. It was nice to be able to make a second impression;
  • Thanks Jason, and Ron and Josh and Josh (the other one) and Jay and Sara and Mark and Scott and lar and Mike and Tim and Keith and Joe and every other member of the bloggy neighborhood who has linked to and been linked by ShysterBall, all of which has added immensely to the quality of the proceedings; and finally;
  • Thanks ShysterBall readers of both the commenting and the lurking persuasion. I could bring more bloggy noise than anyone, but it’s worthless if there’s no one there to read it. I’m not the statcounter obsessive I used to be, but whenever I’ve lost the will to write, I’ve checked in to look at the numbers. When I see people who have way better things to do with their lives click and click and click like you’ve been doing for so damn long, I’m reinvigorated.

    And away we go . . .


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    Jason @ IIATMS
    12 years ago

    Because you mentioned it, I have to share my Craig-related story:

    Back in November of 2007, Neyer was having an online chat when someone asked him what non-mainstream blogs he read.  He listed Shysterball.  As Craig’s link above notes, I wasn’t the only one to discover Craig that way.

    I emailed Craig to let him know that I liked his site and to pester him about holding down a job while blogging.  I had developed a pretty serious itch to launch my own blog and this was my tipping point.  He answered every email, being as helpful to a total stranger as he would to a lifelong friend, I suppose.

    A month later, I went live.  Like most new blogs, double digit visits were the norm in the first early days.  Then came triple digits.  Then came the first Shysterball link and soon after that, quadruple digits.  Wow.

    I had to ask Craig how to hyperlink, for Pete’s sake!  I mean, if that’s not as basic a thing as there is… yet he took the time to answer every question as my technical skills began to develop.

    Since late 2007, Craig and I have emailed hundreds of times, sometimes about nothing special, sometimes to feed each other stories, sometimes to share life’s moments, both good and bad.  It’s odd to consider someone I’ve never met a good friend, but Craig’s become one.

    Craig, in 2008, was linking to my Josh Hamilton/Matt Sosnick articles & interviews and that eventually resulted in my first Neyer/ESPN link.  I have that and every other Neyer/ESPN posting up on my office wall at work.  It’s out of sight for most, but not for me.

    And in an odd twist of fate, showing how Karma works, Rob Neyer selected my blog to be the Yankees representative for his new SweetSpot blog in his network for the 2009 post-season.  In November of 2007, I would have done a backflip just to get Rob’s attention in a chat and now, I’m working with him daily.  Craig’s at least partially responsible for this.

    The commenters here are as good as anywhere I have seen online.  Sure we have our slap-fights and pissy bickering, but overall, this is a great group of loyal and smart readers.  There’s no doubt we’ll all follow you to NBC. 

    Thank you, Craig.  And again, mazel.

    sirsean
    12 years ago

    Congratulations!

    Now I just have three wishes:

    1) Use some sort of identifier in your column titles at CTB so I know which columns are yours.
    2) Get them to include the full article text in my RSS reader so I don’t have to click through and get served a bunch of Flash ads.
    3) Get them to make the CTB website to work (well) on iPhones.

    Also, in case I didn’t mention it, congratulations.

    Eric Solomon
    12 years ago

    Kudos, Craig.  I am insanely jealous, but it is well-deserved on your part.  And great news for us (your readers).  Keep up the good work.

    The Common Man
    12 years ago

    Count me among those who found you via Rob’s keen recommendations, Craig.  This couldn’t happen to a better guy and I wish you and your family all the best.  Will Mrs. Shyster be able to handle the unprecedented level of baseball-centricness in the Shyster house?  Because it’s been a struggle to convince my wife that I should get to keep watching baseball even after the Twins have been eliminated.

    MooseinOhio
    12 years ago

    Incredibly great new … one less lawyer in the world. 

    Seriously, big congrats on the new gig as it appears you have not only found your true calling but it has found you. 

    Next time I’m in Columbus I’m taking you out for a feast at the Chef-o-nette.

    lar
    12 years ago

    Wow, many congrats, Craig! That’s some big and exciting news!

    When I saw the first few words on the post, I started to get a little bummed because I thought you were going to say that the state lawyering job just wasn’t leaving you enough time to blog anymore and that you would have to retire the site. I’m dang glad I was wrong.

    So now you get to buy your MLB Extra Innings package. How excited are you for that? And just how long did it take you to get there? 2.5 years? Not too shabby.

    Adam Adkins
    12 years ago

    Congrats, Craig.  What you are doing and what you have done is exactly what I want to become.

    Detroit Michael
    12 years ago

    Congratulations, Craig.  Although, you know, you might want to keep paying those bar association dues for awhile just to keep your options open!

    Jay
    12 years ago

    Incredibly awesome, Craig. You fought the law and… you won.

    Zach Sanders
    12 years ago

    Just goes to show that great content gets noticed, eventually.

    Congrats, Craig! I look forward to seeing more of you at CTB.

    I was one of the few who didn’t find Craig from Neyer. I didn’t find this blog until after he moved to THT, but have read everything from Shysterball in my RSS reader since. Better late than never, right?

    Jack Marshall
    12 years ago

    Congratulations, sir. Thanks for showing that if you follow your passion and do so with skill,determination, humility, humor and integrity,you can indeed make a living doing what you love…and then, of course, it isn’t work an more. I’m so happy for you, and wish you all the success imaginable. And you’ll have it, too.

    Dan Friedman
    12 years ago

    Many congratulations, sir!  I only started reading recently, but I’ve been constantly and consistently delighted, and it’s heart-warming to see a good, smart guy get rewarded for once.

    Josh Fisher
    12 years ago

    Kudos and congrats, Craig. You’ve been more help then you know in getting me started.

    Josh

    Josh Fisher
    12 years ago

    Kudos and congrats, Craig. You’ve been more help than you know in getting me started.

    Josh

    Dan in Philly
    12 years ago

    I am incredibly jealous.  You are living the dream the rest of us have.  Congrats, man.

    Levi Stahl
    12 years ago

    Congratulations, Craig. This is fantastic news, and a well-deserved success story.

    Alex
    12 years ago

    as an employee of a law firm, I can safely say, Craig, that you are living the dream of 9 out of 10 lawyers: reaching the day when you don’t have to be a lawyer anymore. Congrats.

    Kevin Tooke
    12 years ago

    Congrats Craig!  Finally a programming note that didn’t depress the rest of my day! 

    Seriously, awesome.  Can’t wait to see what this brings.

    TC
    12 years ago

    SOMEONE IS GETTING THE EXTRA INNINGS PACKAGE!

    Craig-

    Congrats, really.  I found ShysterBall in summer 2007.  You had killed a Sarah Schorno post on HuffPo, and I was e-friendly with Schorno and the Epic Carnival crew at that time, and so someone shot me the link to your post, so I could share their outrage.  I followed, read, and found myself agreeing with you.  And so, I stuck around, and you have become one of my very favorite authors, right beside Posnanski among baseball writers. 

    Part of me will miss the familiarity that comes with your modest readership.  I comment occasionally, and still recognize the handles of virtually every commenter.  I don’t know how possible that will be when a popular post gets triple digit comments instead of 40. 

    That said, it’s a small concession that I am happy to make to allow you to be a full-time writer.  I’m super happy for you.  A variety of blessings.

    -TC

    Beanster
    12 years ago

    Congratulations CC!!  You do a great job each and every day, and the full-time gig is well-deserved.  I’m glad our daily ATH fix will live on, and wish you all the best in your post-legal life!

    Patrick
    12 years ago

    Craig!  Congratulations!  That’s wonderful, super great news.

    I’ll miss Shysterball, though – The absence of accompanying photos makes it easy to read at work!  Circling the Bases is much harder.  Oh well…

    Good stuff.  Great stuff, in fact.

    Congratulations, Craig!

    cosmic charlie
    12 years ago

    Holy Cow!  My heart also sank as I read the beginning of what I thought was goodbye.  But instead, I think you just became my personal hero.

    D.J. Short
    12 years ago

    Well done, man!

    DXMachina
    12 years ago

    Congrats and best of luck with the full time gig.

    Jonathan (Virginia)
    12 years ago

    Congratulations Craig, you truly deserve this.

    Jeff
    12 years ago

    Congratulations!  I’m one of the many that read the start and said, “oh ####, what the hell am I gonna do now without Shyster.”  Incredibly exciting news!  Best of luck!

    Wells
    12 years ago

    Wow. Congratulations man!

    Wells
    12 years ago

    Also, could you please convince the folks @ Circling the Bases to put the whole story in the RSS feed?!

    mkd
    12 years ago

    Dude. This is awesome. Way to go.

    Pete Toms
    12 years ago

    What’s the expression?  Have the conviction of your dreams.?  Craig told me once that he believed the internet to be the last meritocracy.  Perhaps he has proven that.

    I date back to “classic Shyster” pre THT.  I abandoned my baseball blog in part because it was so AWFUL in comparison to his, (plus, NOBODY read it) but I always enjoyed Shysterball immensely and he has been supportive and helpful in my efforts elsewhere on the net.

    I’m kinda sad that Shysterball is ending, it was cozy and clubby.  I never got in the habit of reading CTB @ NBC but I guess I will.  I can’t leave the flock.

    Congrats Craig, you deserve it.  You’re smart, funny, humble and you worked your a** off,

    MatthewA
    12 years ago

    So Craig fought the law. Now Craig won. Wait, that’s not how it goes…

    Congrats, Craig. Bonne chance on the full time gig!

    Andy L
    12 years ago

    But wait, I don’t understand.  I thought you were “the worst writer” and “why does NBC let you keep writing this drivel?”

    I fucking love you, man.  I knew you when.

    Greg Simons
    12 years ago

    Craig, you’re like the curly, New Wave redheaded guy in “Say Anything” when he’s talking to Lloyd Dobler about dating Diane Court.  You give us hope.

    Way to go, Craig.  Congrats!!

    HP3
    12 years ago

    Markie Post?  I am with you, man! 

    Oh and congratulations; nobody likes lawyers much anyway.

    Hugh Lippincott
    12 years ago

    Not sure if I’ve ever posted a comment, but I’ve been reading since those first Neyer links. Congratulations, Craig (assuming I can call you by your first name), and good luck.

    dlf
    12 years ago

    Wonderful news.  Congrats Ex-shyster.

    Kevin R
    12 years ago

    Well, wow! Congratulations. Guess I have to set up an RSS feed for the NBC site then.

    Chipmaker
    12 years ago

    But what will we call ShysterBoy now? So many unintended consequences….

    What a year. Posnanski gets a seat with SI, and you’re hooking up with NBC full time. Now if only Mauer wins the AL MVP, we’ll have hit the trifecta!

    Sincerest congratulations, Craig.

    When NBC asks you to sit for an official portrait, consider actually doing the unkempt hair, five o’clock shadow, and tattered bathrobe look.

    JBerardi
    12 years ago

    Be honest, Craig. You’re just doing this to spite the legions of Yankee fans who told you to “get a real job” or whatever over at NBC…

    Seriously, congratulations. God knows we have more than enough baseball bloggers in the world, but Shyster has always a been smart, funny, and most importantly unique voice in the crowd. You absolutely deserve to be doing this full-time.

    James
    12 years ago

    As a fellow Markie Post fan, congratulations. What amazing, wonderful news!

    PS I’d love if things stayed under the “Shysterball” moniker here, if only for RSS feed purposes… If you want to get rid of the name, perhaps consider keeping it active “under the hood”, so to speak?

    Aaron Moreno
    12 years ago

    Congrats. I hope to someday become a lawyer and then stop being a lawyer.

    So, does this mean your gov’t gig is open now?

    YankeesfanLen
    12 years ago

    Ain’t it cool- Gonna have to dig up some old Letterman GE bits for your first (fully-paid) day.

    I happened upon ShysterBall in a I guess a silly way, judging by other’s remarks.  Was setting up My Yahoo page and ventured far enough to pick out a bunch of feeds (BBTF, Ballbug, THT, NBC MLB) then found your stuff on the right column, now go there everyday first.

    Believe it or not, with the season ending tomorrow night, was going to suggest a round robin post where we faithful commenters could kind of have a company picnic before the admittedly less than exciting Hot Stove Season. Some of the best ShysterBall came those afternoons when we’d go off on movies, music, corned beef sandwiches, ad infinitum (nauseum).

    But……onward and upward, Craig.  The quality of your work has made it through the crowd. Kudos to your work, past, present, and future.(Gives secret handshake)

    Joyce in Michigan
    12 years ago

    What…..no Thanks to Mom and Dad!?

    Craig Calcaterra
    12 years ago

    They get a personal thanks, Joyce. Although it’s going to be hard. For the past three years I’ve been telling the old man that I made partner at the old firm.

    Thanks for all of the kinds words everyone—I’ve been overwhelmed with emails and comments and everything else this afternoon. Aplogies if I don’t keep up, but you all know how I feel.

    Doracle
    12 years ago

    I’m really happy for you, Craig.  I’ve been (mostly) lurking for the past two seasons, and it’s been incredibly satisfying watching you hollow out this niche for yourself and grow as a writer.  I’m also happy for myself, of course, because this means more content for me to read.

    So all in all, congratulations!

    Paul

    jessica
    12 years ago

    congrats you won

    Sara K
    12 years ago

    WOOHOOOOOOOOO!!!

    Despite my English majoriness, I cannot summon words to adequately express the degree to which you deserve this and the degree to which I am thrilled for you. Brave that valley, my friend. No one blogger is better suited for the task of bringing snarky light to the CW-addled darkness.  😀

    Paul McC
    12 years ago

    Well done! As has already been said, you have achieved most lawyer’s ambitions – to stop being one!

    As I sit on the bus here in Scotland on the way to the office in the morning, I always get excited to see you having done a new post overnight – a far more fun way of keeping up with the baseball world than reading all the game reports oneself.

    Where else can you get Star Wars, Hitch Hiker’s Guide, Monty Python and the glorious game of baseball, with a sprinkling of law thrown in?

    Of course, the full time gig is really going to get the NBC commenters going, as, within a week, you will be accused of hating every team there is, including the minor league ones!

    Just promise us at least one Cap’n Jetes post a week – those threads are priceless.

    Well done – and I say that with the greatest of respect!

    scatterbrian
    12 years ago

    Awesome news, Craig.

    Andy H
    12 years ago

    Congrats Craig.  I’ve been lurking and reading your baseball thoughts since they were making jokes about your wife at baseball primer.  It’s been obvious you’ve wanted this for a while and I am glad for you that you made it.