RAB: Origins

RAB: Origins


(Al Bello/Getty)

Contemplating the end of RAB, I thought of its origins. Why did the three of us come together to create this site?

Ben covered the basics in his own farewell post so apologies if I’m covering known ground. But this is the story as I remember and can document it.

In 2006 we were all writing on our own blogs — The Sporting Brews, Off The Facade, In George We Trust. At that stage in the evolution of blogging everyone read everyone else’s blogs, so we were all familiar with each other’s work. Ben and I both started new jobs in the second half of 2006 and were posting less frequently than we had previously. When Ben asked me to join him on Off The Facade, which was part of a network and much bigger than my puny operation, it was an easy yes. And so it began.

After a few months things were going well, but not exceptionally well. The network was having some technical issues. We felt a little stifled in terms of what we could write. On a Wednesday in mid-January, Ben emailed:

I’m getting really sick of all of this [network] server downtime and I am not against the idea of taking our writing elsewhere.

A few hours later in the same email thread, a name was born. Ben again:

I’ve always liked tying in River Avenue to a Yankees blog. It’s more out-of-the-box than Pinstripe Something or Bronx Anything. River Ave. Blues is what I had going…

Two weeks later Ben and I still hadn’t made a decision, but we’d talked more about setting off on our own. In the middle of an email thread about something completely different, I wrote:

Re: breaking off. We need to set a deadline on a decision for this. Say, by March 1. I’d actually like to get Mike A. on board…

That was February 2. It took maybe a day to get Mike on board. At that point it was all technical: how quickly could we buy web hosting, set up the site, and start publishing?

The answer was just over two weeks. On February 20, Mike kicked it all off. About an hour after he christened the site, he sent this in an email.

I’m not in the writing business, nor do I have any desire to enter into it, so it’s really up to you guys.

Good call, Mike.

Later in the week I was enthralled by how many people actually visited the site:

252 unique visitors yesterday, 242 today, 405 total — not too shabby for the first two days in the office.

The blog grew. It grew and it grew and it grew. It grew to levels we couldn’t even imagine when it launched. Had we kept at it, I daresay it would have continued growing. But that passion faded years ago, as anyone who’s been reading since the early days can tell you. If this farewell doesn’t seem very emotional, it’s because I moved on long ago.

And so I close the RAB chapter of my life with some gratitude:

Dad for basically everything: my Yankee fandom, encouragement of my writing pursuits, and constant readership. In those early days, when barely anyone read or commented, Dad was there to support us.

Ben, Mike, and Jay for friendships that extend far beyond River Ave. Blues. Y’all were at my wedding, we were all at Ben’s wedding, and it’s reassuring to know that we’ll see each other long after these doors close.

Jonah Keri and Jay Jaffe for using their relatively prominent positions to help spread the good work that independent bloggers were doing back in the day.

Keith Law, Rob Neyer, and Peter Gammons for the little praises that sent more readers our way.

JP, Steve H, James K, Stephen, Brock, Hannah, Larry, Moshe, Jamie, Eric, Matt W, Katie, Betsy, Sung-Min, Steven, Dom, Matt I, Bob, Ashley, Derek, and countless infrequent contributors for helping us maintain our high standards for content both in quantity and quality.

All of you who found us over the years. I’m fairly certain we would have kept this thing going through at least 2011 without the level of readership that we attained. But boy did y’all keep us motivated. Thanks for stopping by.

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