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Hi. How are you?

Although I suspect that I'll drop by to post something (assuming I'm welcome) at certain zeniths or nadirs during the upcoming season, I'm writing this post right now to let you all know that I have decided to resign my proprietor and administrative positions with The Crawfish Boxes as of Friday.

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Now, the repressed minimalist within me is once again tugging at my coat sleeve, suggesting that, having come to the point relatively quickly for a change, maybe I should leave things at the 55 words above and hit the road.

I almost did. But I've never been one to use 50 words when 500 would do almost as well, and such is the case here.

First I must say this: I enjoyed my time at The Crawfish Boxes. I most especially enjoyed the camaraderie in the game threads. I enjoyed sharing some of the great moments in team history with people just as enthused about them as me.

Do you remember where you were when Jason Lane caught the flyball that took the Astros to the Series? Or where you were when Luke Scott hit for the cycle? Or when Jeff Bagwell's last ever RBI won a game vs, the Brewers? Or when Biggio had FIVE hits in the game during which he notched his 3000th hit? Or when Woody Williams led the 'Stros to their 30th all-time 1 - 0 road shutout, and only the eleventh time in team history when a) they were held to one run, b) were held to less than five hits, and c) were held to no extra base hits?

OK, I don't expect you to know that last one. And I ain't too sure myself. But on those others, believe me, I know where I was. I was blogging with friends at The Crawfish Boxes. Quite apart from everything about Scoop and Excel and writing itself that I learned while blogging here for the last three years, and quite apart from some of the things, that, well, weren't so much fun, it's those kind of moments that I'll remember most when I consider my time at TCB.


But let me also be frank. When, a couple weeks ago, I first told Tyler Bleszinksi, SBNations' president, and the man who recruited me into the network, about my decision, I wrote that ". . . blogging daily during the season takes a vast amount of energy, and as I consider the upcoming 2008 season, I just can't find it."

Larry Borowsky over at Viva El Birdos suggested that the problem might be burnout, and I won't argue with that. When Tyler brought me on board, he told me it would be a lot of hard work, and if anything, he understated matters. While I still think that introducing features unseen elsewhere like the Game Hero, and the minor league standings, and the crazy graphs and charts I kept was essential in my effort to differentiate TCB on the web from a host of other alternatives you as readers have, in the end such efforts were not sustainable for me over the long haul. Even after I invited StrosBro to co-blog, I still found myself beginning to resent the demands on my time that the site was making.

And that ain't no way to be.

But while I had given some thought to maybe leaving this offseason, and had even mentioned to StrosBro that I might be moving in that direction, it was, to be very honest, The Mitchell Report and its fallout that cinched the decision for me. I've gone on at tiresome length elsewhere, so I'll keep it brief here, but let me that I find the team slogans that talked of "Good Guys" over the past few years rendered just a little laughable, knowing what we now know. And the cynicism with which the Tejada deal was made has literally devastated me, because now I know ownership was complicit, too.

I wrote long posts here and elsewhere defending these people from cynics, and I'll be honest: I feel like a naive fool, I feel like digging my head in the sand where no-one will see me.

I've loved baseball and most especialy the Houston Astros for 21 years, and I'm sure I'll figure out how to keep loving it. If I step back some and just do some thinking for a time, switch off the ESPN, get away for a bit, I'm sure I'll come to some measure of clarity of thought. But right now I feel bitter.

And that ain't no way to be.

More to the point, though, I feel disconnected from the mainstream view on this whole steroid thing. It's been made clear to me that the people who come here want to read about baseball and the Houston Astros; they don't anymore want to simply shake their fists at the sky in anger: They wanna talk 2008 Astros baseball.

But even though I know I should do so, I can't let things go.

And that ain't no way to be.

Not when the site had attracted an audience distinguished by both its intelligence and its graciousness. During my time with the site (which included, and always will include as I look back in future years, the first World Series appearance in Astros history), I was over and over again struck by the idea that the readers here knew much more about the Astros than I did. To my credit, I think, I spoke of that a few times, and emphasized I was just a schmuck with an opinion. Thanks for reading my site anyway.

And thanks to site stalwarts littlevisigoth and saylinara and StrosDux (wherever she is) who helped prop the site up when it just wasn't all that well known. As I leave, and hand proprietorship of the site over to StrosBro, the site is in pretty good shape. It ain't no Bleed Cubbie Blue, and never will be, but it has found a solid niche. That niche would not exist without the support of those early readers. So double thanks to them.

One good thing about all this is that StrosBro is both eager and enthusiastic about continuing. As I said to Larry, "[h]is intelligence and enthusiasm and low bullshit-tolerance will serve him well." Unlike myself, StrosBro has kept up with the news on the upcoming SBNation 2.0, and I know he looks forward to bringing you a new season with new players on a new platform. And I am sure he will continue to do what you've seen him do so well over the last year: tell you what he thinks about the state of the team, in plain English.

StrosBro had asked me what I was gonna do with all my free time, and I guess I can speak of that for a sentence or two in my one last burst of self-indugence. First thing is that Melanie's now got seniority enough at her job where she's now got Sundays off. We actually saw two musicals over the past two weekends; but in short, I want to spend more time with her. I've also got the Astroland website that I for the most part neglected while I was prattling on over here. My goal is to list every damned baseball card I've got on the site, and do it before I'm 50 years old, when I'm gonna sell the whole kit and kaboodle, and hopefully bring in enough from some collector even more lunatic than myself to take a nice trip to someplace far away with Melanie.

And--breaking my revelry, back in the here and now where trips to a distant land are still a dream--a friend of mine who, to use Roger Clemens' phrasing, "doesn't give a rat's ass" about baseball has been bugging me for the last couple years to start a music blog. I told him maybe when I was done with Crawfish, and now I might just do it: write 3 or 4 paragraphs about this or that freaky and obscure song once a week or so. It won't be big time, not like The Crawfish Boxes, but it could be fun. If I do get started, I'll be sure to come over and beg Stros Bro for a link.

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Thanks again to all who ever read or commented. It was not only a pleasure; it was illuminating.