Yes, I have a new job. Welcome Brian McTaggart.
June 1 is going to be a big day for two people — me, as I will begin my new post as the Astros’ Senior Director of Digital Media, and my good friend and colleague Brian McTaggart, who takes over as the Astros beat reporter for MLB.com. I couldn’t be happier for Brian, whose knowledge of and familiarity with the Astros through his five years covering the beat for the Houston Chronicle will surely make the transition smooth and quick. He’s highly respected by the folks he covers and I am sure you will enjoy his daily coverage on Astros.com and MLB.com.
I say that with a touch of sadness. I’ve been covering this team since the very beginning, way back in 2001, when no one was sure if this web site thing was going to work, or have staying power. I continue to be astonished with what we’ve done over the last eight years and what a smashing success MLB.com has become. That’s a testament to my coworkers, from the out-in-front reporters to the behind-the-scenes support staff. It’s a huge, huge operation and
I’ve never met more dedicated, hard-working people. Kudos to all of you.
I’ve heard from a lot of you already, and I appreciate the kind words and well wishes. There is a perception that I’m going away, slipping into desk-job oblivion — that could not be further from the truth. I’m in charge of pushing the Astros further into the digital age, where blogging, Facebooking and Twitter-ing [yes, I know it's called Tweeting, but seriously, I cannot seem to embrace that word] are where everything is headed. Consider me your fly-on-the-wall
observer, one with an all-access pass [within reason, of course] to places the club has never before shared with the public.
I’ll spend a lot of my time with the Major League team, but I’ll also visit and blog about the Minor Leagues as well. I’ll be at every home game, floating around all parts of the ballpark and sharing my observances through the various new media options we all have at our fingertips. I’ll also be with the team on many road trips.
I’ll have duties on the marketing and sponsorship sides as well, and I’ll be responsible for conveying information about community appearances, off-the-field events, ticket specials and promotional initiatives. The job description is still evolving, and I’m excited to see where this is headed.
I have no idea what goes on in the draft room on draft day, or the GM suite during the Winter Meetings, or the closed-door arbitration hearings. I’m about to find out, and in turn, so are you.
So while I’ve left MLB.com, I’ll still reside in a special section of the Astros’ web site. I’ll have more time to answer reader emails and of course, I’ll still post lots and lots of pictures on this blog, which beginning June 1, will be my main method of communication.
And to address something that most of you are wondering, no, I’m not going to lose my objectivity. One of the most oft-used phrases in baseball could not be more true: It is what it is. Baseball is an everyday rollercoaster ride of highs and lows, wins and losses, triumphs and controversies, and as a storyteller, I’ve done my best to convey my observances in a fair, unbiased light. That’s not going to change. That was established right away upon meeting
with the Astros about this job, and they understand that if readers don’t think they’re getting the real deal, they would have no reason to go to Astros.com.
That said, Brian McTaggart is the beat writer, and reporting the news will be his job, and his alone. I’m here to describe the process, to tell you what I see, to make you feel like you’re there, even when you’re not. When answering fan questions, I will be forthright and honest, as always. More than anything, I’m hoping I spend most of my time bringing you the personalities of the players and the team that you can’t get from simply watching from afar. The Astros are the first team to create a position like this one, and we’re all excited about where this is
going. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.