Dear Mavs Moneyball friends and family,
I love you and I'm sorry to be leaving you. But I am! The reasons aren't important, or interesting.
The shortest and least boring version is this: as you may have noticed, Mavs Moneyball has been changing over the last few months! We've got more of everything. More writers, more news, more coverage, stuff for when you rise up and when you lie down. We've got schedules, masterminded by the lovely Rebecca Lawson, and long-term plans, executed by the lovely Tim Cato. It's good for the site, it's good for you. It's good for everyone.
It's just not...quite as good if you happen to be someone who mostly likes writing spur of the moment, meandering, often esoteric columns which might take someone a few days to get to. That's neither a good nor a bad thing, it's just the thing. For the new Mavs Moneyball I'm the old dude in the supermarket walking slowly in front of you with a shopping cart full of bean cans, taking up the whole aisle and making everyone feel depressed.
For the good of the site, it's time for me to put myself on an ice floe. It really isn't a bad thing. It's basically that plot in Sin City, where Bruce Willis' character dies saving the life of a young woman he once saved as a young girl. An old man dies, a young girl lives. It's just like that except, you know, for blogging. I guarantee this site will run more smoothly without me, and you will benefit. Things change, this is the nature of things. When you can't change with it, it's time to go.
But I will sincerely miss more or less all of you. (Not you, though. You know what you did).
My biggest regret in working for this site is only that I didn't get here sooner. I started writing here in the offseason of 2011, just after the championship run, and immediately started writing columns about how the Mavs HAD to keep Tyson Chandler. I believe Tim, Josh and I are the only holdovers from those days. It was a very different site then. We had those great DoH recaps, with the captions, and Joshi's pre-game analytics, but we also had literally hundreds of thousands of fewer readers. If I remember correctly, we'd get, you know, 19,000 readers a month on average. Now we get as many 500,000 visits a month, sometimes.
Obviously, I blame most of our success on Kirk Henderson's perpetual optimism, but I like to think I helped a little. As I got so much from this great community, I hope you feel you got something from me too. I certainly did my best, to be interesting, funny, honest when I thought it necessary and uplifting when it was time for that. But, of course, all of you did most of the heavy lifting.
There were dark times. I love all my co-writers, and will miss the email threads maybe the most, but there were times towards the end of O.J. Mayo-Darren Collison experience where we may have actively hated each other. There was an "eyes on the prize" crowd and an "oh god, everybody panic crowd." Things got heated, but we grew together. If we were all the same, it'd be a boring site. We've always taken our duty to try to tell the truth very seriously, not to sell you click-bait so we'd look better, not to toe any party lines. The result is a diversity of opinion that, I like to think, is pretty unique. In all honesty I loved fighting with you guys, and with my fellow staff members, as much as I loved not fighting. That's what being a fan is, I think.
Life mirrors art mirrors sports. The older I get, the more zen I feel about my ability to impact the world around me, and, relatedly, the ability of other people to do the same. There's a lot of sports writing, and reading, and commenting that comes from a place where the right person can simply get it done, whether that's a game-winning shot, or a free agent signing, or a trade. But I think now of all the draft picks who were supposedly a big deal who didn't pan out, all the big name FA signings that went nowhere and I think, you know, even the guys who supposedly pull it off don't often get what they want. The Mavs won more playoff games than the Houston Rockets this year, despite their Dwight and Harden heists. And where would the team be if they'd actually gotten Deron Williams now? For the last few months, as things got heated once more, I've been paraphrasing he end of Camus' "The Stranger" to everyone I talk to. Lay your heart open to the benign indifference of the universe, I tell them. I try, and pretty often fail, myself.
I think they'll do their best and I'll do my best and all of us have to do the best we can to stay lucky. I do regret that we never got to share the really good times, together. But I believe those times are still to come.
I can't tell you what basketball means to me. Though, I may say what I'm most proud of in my time here is that I have never stopped trying to tell you, I tried to always remember to tell you. I am proudest of those days when, even in some small measure, I succeeded. I tried to give you my heart, and write my best. Sometimes, I think I did it.
Sports are, and have always been, an insane thing for a person to care about. Between and October 30 and May 4, the Mavericks played 89 games in something like 189 days, or just a little fewer than one every 2 days. If your life isn't hard enough already that you want to give yourself at least the chance to go to bed angry once every couple of days for half a year, you're lucky as hell. Sports can kill you, but they can lift you up. Why would anyone do it?
I don't have a good answer, except that we do it because we all do it together. When we lose, we come here and bitch together, when we win we come here and celebrate together. All of my great Mavericks memories start with who I was with when it happened -- I suspect it always will be that way. I can tell you whose apartment, or house, who was there, and what it was like for every big Mavs playoff win since at least 2006, and in there is a lot of living, a lot of loves, moves, jobs, pain, and joy. There's some great stories there, and I'm sorry I won't get to share them with you. I can, at this point, mark much of my life by what the Mavericks were doing at the time. Even though I'm leaving here, I don't think that will change any time soon.
I have dedicated quite a lot of time to being with y'all, here, over the last few years. SBNation tells me I wrote 442 columns, and 32 more for SBNation Dallas when that existed. My first seems to have been an argument for re-signing Peja if he decided not to retire. Things do start in strange ways. This is my last one.
As it is, I would like to say, in the words old proverb-from Ireland, where, you'll recall, I was once a really terrible college basketball player, in one of my favorite stories I wrote for y'all -- may the wind be ever at your back. You'll still be able to find me one the net -- I'll be working at Crabdribbles.com for the foreseeable future, for example, and Ballerball.com has offered me a home for some of that fan fiction that some of you more or less liked, some of you thought was pretty weird, and others of you couldn't stand.
But this is our goodbye, and thanks for everything. This column could be forever in length, I have so much to say, and so many stories left to tell. But so it goes. We spend too much of our lives saying goodbye to things, but we win when we can do it with a glad heart. Adios, adieu.