My goal when I first started this blog was — no joke — merely to eclipse Pete Rose’s record of 4,256 hits.
218,668 hits later, and I’m absolutely amazed.
There are so many thank you’s in order, I don’t even know where to start. I suppose I should do it in the order that I do things during a normal day during the season.
I generally get to the ballpark 3-4 hours before the game, and I walk through the front office to do so.
The Thunder front office genuinely feels like one big family — sounds corny, but it’s true — and I’m happy to feel like a small part of it. Thanks so much to Steve Rudenstein and Josh Landsburg for all of their help this season. The blog wouldn’t have been as good without their help, so thanks for that.
Bill Cook deserves a special thank you, because he’s been putting up with my crap on a day-to-day basis for five seasons now. I can honestly only think of one time that I covered a Thunder game and didn’t spend a minute or two chatting with Bill in his office on my way out to the field…and I didn’t really know what to do the day I showed up and Bill wasn’t there. He too has been incredibly helpful, and was very supportive when this blog was in its early stages.
Thanks to Eric Lipsman for his support…and for always having Chase and Derby around. I still remember getting licked and trampled by Derby on numerous occasions throughout the season — probably worth noting that Chase and Derby are both dogs at this point, I’d imagine.
And while both are now in greener pastures — Bowling Green-er pastures? — I’ve got to thank Brad Taylor and Greg Coleman for all of their help and support as well. It’s also been good getting to talk to Will Smith, and I’m sure I’ll get to know him better next season.
There are too many other people in the front office to thank them individually…whether it be Ashley Kresky, whose workspace was right inbetween Steve and Bill’s, meaning she had to hear me make a plethora of idiotic comments…Erin Leigh, who sold me many a ticket to add another Thunder bobblehead to my collection, or Mark Zangara, who also made a wise choice in his favorite NHL team…it was a pleasure to interact with and get to know everyone in there on a daily basis.
After making my way through the front office, I’d head out to the field, jump over the wall and make the trek out to the press box.
It was always an interesting place to watch a game from…and it wouldn’t be have been that way without the help of Pete, the stats guy, who had to deal with me asking about the play(s) that I missed. Or David Fenster, the WIMG sports director who has been kind enough to have me on his show. Or Steve Cornell, Dave McDonough, Dave Schofield, Rudy Jones, Josh Norris, John Nalbone, and everyone else I’ve enjoyed working with this season.
After getting set up in the press box, I’d go down on the field to watching batting practice. Afterwards, we’d either hold court with Tony Franklin on the field, or speak to him in his office.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say anything negative about Tony, and there’s good reason for that. He’s been a pleasure to get to know over the past few seasons, and hopefully I’ll get to speak to him again next season.
After speaking to Tony, the clubhouse would open, and another group of individuals that certainly need to be thanked are the players.
I don’t even want to take a guess at how many collective hours they were kind enough to give to me, whether it be for on the record quotes, or just chatting off the record. Regardless, I never had a problem dealing with anyone this year, and it’s just a testament to the great group of guys that was in the home clubhouse throughout the season.
After coming back up to the press box and updating the blog, I’d try to take some time to answer e-mails and check the comments and see if anyone had linked to anything I’d written and so on.
It’s here where I should thank Chad Jennings and Pete Abraham for their help and support throughout the season…both were very willing to send some people my way throughout the season, and having met both of them, they’re both great people as well.
To anyone else who linked to stories I’d written this year — especially the guys at River Ave. Blues, who sent plenty of people over here throughout the season — thank you so much for your support.
And of course, a special thank you to the New York Yankees organization, specifically their media relations department. I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m not a Yankees fan…but the Yankees are such a tremendous and professional organization, it’s really hard to say anything bad about them. I can’t even begin to say how much I appreciated them letting me to come up to the Stadium every so often to write features on former Thunder players. Trust me, Mike Ashmore needs the Yankees a lot more than the Yankees need Mike Ashmore.
After all that, I’d generally go down to the field and take some pictures. But I’d also talk to a lot of the fans at the ballpark, answering some of their questions about the team, but also getting the opportunity to know some of them as well.
And this is where the biggest thank you’s come…to you guys, the readers of Thunder Thoughts.
Like I said at the beginning, I never, ever thought that this blog would become as wide-read or popular as it has. And that has very little to do with me, and a lot to do with you guys.
Thank you so much for continuing to come back to this blog, for your friendship, and for all of the kind words throughout the season.
I can’t begin to tell you how nice it is to feel appreciated, so to come into work every day and feel appreciated by not only the readers of this blog, but the front office and players as well…it was a really special season for me, and I want to thank everyone for being a part of it.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com