The hammer fell today and it hurts like hell.
Theyíre putting the olí baseball scribe out to pasture and if there are teardrops on your screen, well, thatís from me, just an old softie.
My run is over - 37 years of bliss, doing a job that wasnít a job. It was pure joy and pure fun.
And I wanted you, all my loyal readers and followers over the past 3 1/2 decades, to be the first to know. The run is nearly over.
The newspaper told me today that it will no longer cover the Cincinnati Reds the same way it has in the past, beginning next season. And donít blame the paper. It is the economic times and weíre all suffering. They just canít afford the more than a quarter of a million dollars a year to send me coast-to-coast.
The Dayton Daily News has been nothing but great to me. How many companies would keep a legally blind employee and furnish that employee with a driver and/or a car service to get him to and from games? The paper did that for me and it certainly didnít have to do it.
The DDN didnít have to do that, but it did and Iím so forever grateful, just as I am for the 37 years they permitted me to do what I love to do so much.
So it is off to retirement after this season ends. It isnít early retirement. Iím 68, soon to be 69. But it isnít something I want to do. I feel like I still have my fastball at the keyboard and can deal with the curves thrown my way.
I feel as if my fingers have been cut off, but the economic times are harsh and I understand and Iím not angry. I just feel as if something good has ended prematurely, something Iím not completely ready to accept, but must.
It was a great run and I thank all of your from the bottom of this decrepit old heart for feeding me the energy to keep doing what I love to do.
Iíll miss the feedback from all of you. Iíll miss going to the ballpark every day, seeing something every week that I never saw before. Iíll miss so many friends Iíve made doing this job. Iíll miss my peers in the press box and the so many people in baseball who have crossed my path and have been so great to me.
Iíll miss sitting down at the laptop every day and reporting on the Reds and major-league baseball. I would list them, but it would longer than George Carlinís list of words you canít say on television and even then Iíd miss too many people who have been part of my career.
Right now Iím on the back patio, enjoying a Tangueray and tonic with my beautiful and supportive wife, Nadine. Iím sure it is the first of many tonight, so I wanted to get this down before I became incoherent.
My miniature schnauzer, Barkley, is looking at me wondering why his old man is sniffling. Well, itís time to get out the old scrapbooks and read of better times.
So many times over the year, Iíve dealt with surly ballplayers who never saw hello until itís time to say goodbye.
Iíll finish the season covering the Reds and baseball, the last hurrah, then say my final goodbyes. Theyíre putting me out to pasture. I only wish it was center field.