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Changes at the Crawfish Boxes

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There’s a new management team.

“I wouldn’t want to be a part of any club that would accept me as a member.” W. C. Fields

Dear Friends,

Bill Metzger here. (bilbos)

It is with great great joy and excitement that I announce that I have been appointed the new Managing Editor of the Crawfish Boxes. To be honest, for me to receive such an honor doesn’t seem real. It seems like an awesome responsibility, one I truly don’t deserve, but I will do my best every day to serve you, my fellow devoted Astros fans and dear friends.

When I was a kid, when a guy named Mickey Mantle was Mike Trout, there was a Saturday TV show I never missed called Wide World of Sports. They always introduced the show with the line “the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.” As a Houston sports fan since 1980, like many of you, I’ve known my share of the agony of defeat. But finally last year, my first year as a TCBer, we Houston baseball fans finally got to experience the thrill of victory. Experiencing that with you made it even more thrilling.

Though it is just a kid’s game, for some reason baseball can stir our deepest passions. Somehow we perceive certain truths embedded deep within this childish game of stickball. Those of us who share this experience with one another on this website, who share our mutual love of the game, our joy when our favorite players succeed, our pain whey they fail, we have a special bond, a unique, invisible friendship that comes from this shared experience. Know that I share that bond with you.

I hope that together we can foster that kind of community by respecting and understanding one another. Let us always remember our common bond, even in the midst of engaging, vigorous debate. Hey, that debate is part of the bond too, but’s let’s never forget we are all Astros fans.

Here’s a little bit about my personal story.

My Story

I played baseball from the time of my earliest memories growing up in Northern Virginia. Once while sleep walking I got caught imitating the high kick style of Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichial. I practically learned how to read from my subscription to Sports Illustrated, although my favorite team, the Washington Senators, seldom made its pages. If not for calculating my batting average after every Little League game, I probably never would have learned my multiplication and division tables.

Although my early dreams of being a big leaguer never happened, I have umped, and when my two boys were old enough, I managed their teams, gave them batting practice every day, and paid out the ass for all their damn lessons.

I am currently 61 years old, married once for 33 years, have an MA in History, which I teach to high school and college students. I was a Russian linguist and MI officer for the Army Reserves for 20 years, and until last year I moonlighted as a DJ since 2002.

Being a part of TCB brings it all together for me, my love for baseball, my love for writing, the chance to be creative and analytical at the same time. Everything I have done and will do for this community is a labor of love and joy. That’s the only way to approach it.

I want everyone to know that I am fully aware that there are way smarter, way more knowledgeable, more experienced baseball analysts here at TCB than me. Having just arrived on the scene here at the Crawfish Boxes just over a year ago, I know I am still very early on my learning curve. I see my job, not as the font of Astros Truth, but the one who encourages and facilitates the spread of knowledge from those who actually have the knowledge, and to foster a vigorous, intellectual, and respectful discussion about all things Astros.

Which brings me to my plans and vision for the Crawfish boxes.

My Vision for the Crawfish Boxes

There is no denying that since Ryan Dunsmore, and his cohorts like Clack, Chris Perry, and Jason Marbach, became less visible or completely absent from this site last winter, a huge void was left here that is almost impossible to fill. Issa Cook and Marshall Oelman were given the difficult and unenviable task of repairing that damage, and now that task remains with me and our current staff. I would like to thank all those who came before me, but especially Chris and Jason for all their mentoring and support, of which much was, and still is, needed.

When Chris took one of my early fanposts front page, I’ll never forget how he protected me like a mother bird from all the negative commenters who wanted to steal the young hatchling from the nest. For that and many kind words, thank you again.

I was reading articles from the Crawfish Boxes years before I became a member. I noticed that the articles on the Crawfish Boxes were the most sophisticated and creative to be found. Given the losses we have suffered, it might be a long climb to get back to that kind of analytical sophistication, but that is the long term goal.

I want the Crawfish Boxes to be the one and only stop you make to find all things Astros. Though the staff is limited, we will try to bring back the daily Crawfish Boils where you can get your best Astros news directly from the Crawfish Boxes. We will continue with Game Recaps, Game Threads, Minor League news, and of course, spirited discussion within the community, which hopefully further educates us all. And yes, we will do our best to provide sophisticated analytics. For us writers that is the most time consuming but rewarding part of our jobs.

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I HAVE TO SAY.

This community is not some names hidden behind some icon on the Masthead. THIS COMMUNITY IS YOU AND ME AND ALL OF US. The brain power in this community is massive. We need more people willing to share their knowledge with the rest of us. We need more fanposts. I will be very liberal about posting those to the front page. Besides me, we only have a staff of four. That is not enough to serve you the way you deserve to be served. The sabers among you especially, we welcome, we beg for your contributions. Share your knowledge and enrich our understanding. I want the Masthead to be full of the names of our great baseball minds.

Many of you spend hours a week writing comments. Organize your thoughts, polish them a bit, and publish them with a banner headline where a thousand or more readers will see them. It’s quite a head rush really, a lot of fun. Do it regularly and get on the staff. There’s even a little money in it, but regrettably, if you’re only in it for the money you will be disappointed. I do it, and everyone on this current staff does it, because we love it. Try it yourself, you might too.

I plan on creating discussion threads of current interest. Like, Should Carlos Correa move from clean up, just to illustrate.

I also plan to post topics for fanposts. This is actually an SB Nation initiative, but is exactly in line with my hope to get more writers active here. The best submissions will go front page.

So to repeat: THIS WEBSITE NEEDS YOUR HELP. Please help. It is possible for me to hire some outside help, but this is OUR website, and the best writers who understand us and are part of our family ARE ALREADY HERE. COME FORWARD.

Even if you can’t write an article, even if you all you can do is make an occasional Crawfish Boil or Game Recap, it frees up the rest of us. I might have some money for someone who would commit to making Crawfish Boils every day. If you would like to talk about this with me, my email address is next to my name on the Masthead.

I would like to say a little bit about our staff. It is small, but I am proud of each of them.

The Staff

Jimmy (AstrosFuture) will continue his superb reporting on the Astros Minor Leagues. We at TCB are the elite of the Astros fanbase, and the elite want to keep track of the future. Jimmy keeps us posted. He’s like the sun; there every morning, he gives us illumination, and maybe just because he’s so consistent, we take him a little for granted. Not me bro, nor any of your many devoted readers and followers.

Chris Kyle (Ckuno) a loyal and beloved member of TCB since 2015, joined the staff last June and has done a wonderful job on our Game Previews, breaking news and editorial pieces. He has generously offered to add some Crawfish Boils to his work load.

Scott (Astrobot) Strickland (Scottydouble) is the newest member to TCB and has only been on the staff a month. His two articles were excellent. He is an experienced newspaper sports writer, Doctor of Psychology, and uses advanced analytics in his profession, and in baseball analysis. He grew up in Houston and is a long time Astros fan.

I spoke at length with Scott and am excited by his attitude and his knowledge. He will produce a few analytical pieces every month, Crawfish Boils, and whatever inspires him.

Which leaves me with our newest staff member, but longtime and beloved TCBer, Brian C, (HebrewHammah). Readers here have no doubt noticed his enthusiastic and prolific recent production, a model I hope others in the TCB community will follow. Also fine and pertinent analysis. Welcome HH.

This is a Core Four that I can be proud of, and a strong foundation to build on.

TCB community: Help us build.