So, this is it.
Since the onset the 2011 season, I have called Royals Review home.
Needing additional shoulders to help bear the weight of a thankless, low-pay load writing about a then-terrible baseball team, site founder Will McDonald added Max Rieper and myself to the ranks of a masthead that featured him (and his brilliant writing), the brilliant Jeff Zimmerman, and my favorite baseball firebrand, Scott McKinney. I may be forgetting who was writing here exactly when, but I think it was the five of us.
After two years of writing at a long-since defunct site of my own, I relished the enlightened, delightful, and larger audience Royals Review afforded me. I viewed my inclusion on this masthead as an honor.
I still do. I always have.
I loved writing for this audience [ed: imbued with the powers of The Kool-Aid Man, Josh shatters the figurative fourth wall here, jumps through your screen, grabs You by the lapels, and screams:], YOU. Will’s brand of writing had drawn in a community that played toward what I hope were my arguable strengths. Getting to stand on the shoulder of a giant and write to the community he’d built through his work was a delight.
For this, I’m forever indebted to Wil
l. You’re still missed.
In the eight years that passed, the Royals were bad, OK, fantastic, disappointing, and unimaginably terrible. Over that time, Royals Review saw a slew of great writers come and go. Will. Jeff. Scott. Craig Brown. Clark Fosler. Joshua Ward. Tyler Drenon. The actual Kevin (Ruprecht). Patrick Brennan. im_not_that_bright. Connor Moylan. Many more I’m forgetting.
While my natural disposition was probably better suited for writing about a team of Yuniesky Betancourts, Chris Getzes, and Willie Bloomquists, I got to write about some pretty thrilling 2014 and 2015 teams. Some of my best writing—at least writing not incorporating Mike Moustakas’s fantastical Greek background—probably came during those playoff runs.
The Royals are back to playing very bad baseball, passed out in the fetid gutter with discarded half-eaten
7Eleven [ed. branding retracted] convenience store hot dogs, wet cigarette butts, and refuse of unknown but surely disturbing origins. In other words, my wheelhouse. They are so bad, in fact, that I could easily write this all off and simply say that they are not worth my time. That brings ‘worth’ into the equation, though. As I saw maybe $500* come into my hands from my work on this site in the days before Max ran this site—a period of time that can be measured in years—I’d like to say it’s not about them being ‘worth’ my time. But it sort of is.
*That’s a much more generous estimate than you’d know.
This entire endeavor just does not make sense for me anymore. Really, it hasn’t for at least three years now. I moved to Los Angeles more than three years ago to chase the writing dream while knowing NO ONE in the industry. I kept going through the motions here when I
probably definitely needed to train my focus on other writing projects, including but not limited to championing the artistry of Mandy at every corner of the internet.
In times when I wasn’t toiling away in the freelance film/TV production world, I had free time to do this. However, I could certainly have spent that free time in ways that could have been moving me toward that nebulous something. Trying to wedge this in when I was working twelve-hour days (or worse) on productions was another untenable thing entirely.
If the work here could conceivably yield pay commensurate to a real job (even a low-paying one), this might be a different story, but as Deadspin loves to remind us, this is not such a venture. The billions of dollars in network valuation go to the investors. The proles see what little trickles down. Ç’est le capitalisme. Since The Athletic (obligatory subscribe here, save 25%, and give me ten Amabucks for old time’s sake) and FanGraphs do not seem to be hiring people to concoct fake player histories, stoke the flames of fear about those dastardly Russians, the St. Petersburg Devil Rays, or pen highly stylized game recaps (though I’d posit they both should be—bring back NotGraphs), it just doesn’t seem as though there is an avenue in which a person with my very particular set of skills can make a living writing about baseball.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a writer—someone who makes their cheddar putting word to paper/screen. That cannot be done here.
For me, writing about baseball on the whole wouldn’t seem to present those opportunities.
This is my last post at this site. It has to be. I have tried and failed to psych myself up to pull the plug for four seasons now, ultimately bailing because I love the community here. But all this time spent here has come at the expense of the scripts I need to be shaping, the Nic Cage books I need to be writing, and the novels I need to be pounding out.
The site has always been in good hands with Max, whose output here frankly shocks me. I don’t know how he does it. I can’t wrap my head around how much time it must take him to run this site, and his presence on social media is absolutely responsible for making Royals Review into what it is today. The other Kevins will continue doing what they’ve always done. Really, nothing I ever wrote drew traffic here anyway. I was niche.
As your mother always told me, there can be only one. It ain’t me. I’m turning in my badge and keys. I’ll never again recuperate in the Royals Review sauna. I’ll never again commit word to screen about this team in this space.
The bath is drawn.
The candles flicker.
The dulcet tones of Sophie B. Hawkins emanate from the boombox teetering on the edge of the tub.