On Saturday, WHYGAVS turned four. I'm not entirely certain why I feel like the fourth birthday for a blog is such a big deal, but it seems momentus to me for some reason. Regardless, I wanted to mark the occasion a bit and thought I'd do a quick retrospective. The first words that ever appeared under the "Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke?" header were these words right here:
Seeing as how I spend 90% of my time thinking about, watching, or listening to the Pittsburgh Pirates, my thoughts and ramblings about them are really to long to fit into an AIM profile, so they will go here from now on. This is whole thing is really more for me than anyone else, but since I'm a nice guy I'll share this with everyone. This way in the long run we can all look back and point out all the places I was right and Lloyd McClendon was wrong, and all the places I said things that made me look like an idiot (more often than not). Feel free to share this with anyone you please, just let 'em know where it came from. Since we're in the infantile stages here, things will probably change around a bit until I figure out exactly what I'm going to do with this space, but hey, as a college student I'm a master of procrastination. At least I can focus it into one place here.
I was exactly what I said I was; a bored college sophomore looking for ways to kill time and not study for Organic Chemistry. This lead first to the birth of WHYGAVS and second to the first C of my life. There wasn't much in the way of readers back then, but a few followers popped up early on and kept me going. This is what WHYGAVS looked like for much of its first year:
After some time, I decided that maybe a Pirate blog should be black and gold instead of just black, so I learned some very basic coding skills and started turning things gold. I think at some point the links also became gold, but I can't find evidence of that in the Internet Wayback Machine.
Much to my surprise, WHYGAVS really began to grow in that second summer and inevitably, people started complaining about the black background. I finally caved and instead turned the entire blog into a hideous, jumbled, bright yellow mess that looked like the tragic love-child of ESPN's old Page 2 design and a 1970s era living room.
For some reason, people kept reading through the template disaster of the summer of '06 long enough for me to realize that my blog was a hideous-looking disaster, and when Blogger came out with some new templates, I finally got things into good working order.
If you ask me, that's a pretty kickass looking blog, and WHYGAVS stayed that way until Derek from Bloguin made me the proverbial offer I couldn't refuse, paving the way for my move from Blogger and to the site that you all see now.
But the important part about this post isn't the look back on the old versions of WHYGAVS, it's this part at the end where I thank each and every single person that reads this site for doing so. Exactly four years to the day after I started blogging, I was sitting in a press box with a press pass, watching the two best prospects in baseball go head to head in Durham. On April 11, 2005, I don't think I could have even possibly imagined a scenario that lead to that, but here we are. The truth, though, is that that's not why I write. I write because WHYGAVS has shown me that there are other Pirate fans out there just like me, who remember what I remember and who care as much as I care. I've never admitted this on here before, but I came perilously close to closing the blog down after my move to North Carolina in the dark days of the end of the Littlefield era. In the end, I just couldn't do it because I honestly felt like it would let people down. I kept going and sure enough, Littlefield was fired soon after and I haven't looked back since.
So thank you for all of the times we've agreed and especially for all of the times we haven't. WHYGAVS has made me a smarter, better baseball fan and a smarter, better Pirate fan because everything I write has to be up to the standards of not just myself, but of all the smart fans that read. If I could, I'd thank each and every one of you personally for four great years. Here's hoping the next four see some wins.