I don't drink so I don't go to bars. But I like the idea of the local bar, where you can go watch the game and yes, where everybody knows your name. In many ways, blogs like Bronx Banter are on-line bars, community meeting spots, where a host of like-minded people can get together to follow, in this case, the Yankees. We get all kinds here, and I know that I often learn more from the comments section than I would from reading a newspaper. Sure, every so often the conversation will digress, but more often than not, I'd say Banter commenters are funny, enlightening and a good group to hang with.
I mention this because it was one year ago exactly when one of our regulars, the irrepressible, and often infuriating, Jim Dean passed away. Jim literally died in the middle of a Yankee game, sitting on the couch, with his laptop open to Bronx Banter. He was with us when he went, something that I take as a great honor.
Chyll Will, another longtime regular, had a terrific post on Jim the other day, which I'm taking the liberty of posting in full:
Jim Dean was a friend of mine, and I say that knowing that I never met him in person and that the only contact we've ever had was through Banter. There was something about his abrasiveness, his bellicosity and sarcasm that added interesting colors to his research and commenting. If there was anyone who created a picture of himself and everything he said through his words, he was certainly one.
I liked teasing him. He often would blast away at us with fiery, if sometimes off-the-mark blather about this player's statistics, that player's effort, the bumbling of the Yankees front office or, seeming to feel particularly jaunting, he would debate one or many of us. Well, debate is not strong enough... battle.
JD battled long and hard on a point he believed in, whether it was right or wrong. Sometimes it seemed like he battled just for the principle of it. But among other things, it was his passion for the Yankees and his quick response with sabermetric research that won the admiration of even his detractors. I am not nearly as good with numbers as he was, but if anything he was among the few that inspired a notion for me to learn.
I don't know in what regard he held me; perhaps he saw me as a trifle, or maybe he respected my sense of humor. I do know that we once engaged in a surprisingly straightforward "conversation" that led me us to understand more about each other, and perhaps more respect for each other. We didn't agree a lot of times, but we did (eventually) respect each other.
My point is, it's odd that one can develop a friendship with someone in an internet community, but as I've always said, Bronx Banter is like family. And JD was like a brother. A bad brother, sometimes, but family nonetheless.
Rest In Peace, Jim Dean.
Amen. Jim Dean is still with us in spirit. Wonder what he thinks of the Nady deal?