Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
One Of Our Own
2008-07-27 07:28
by Alex Belth

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?

2008-07-27 07:58:35
1.   seamus
I don't think I'll forget that game when Jim suddenly stopped posting. We didn't know he he passed until a month later. I miss hanging with y'all but probably still won't be around much just yet. I'll drink a toast to Jim Dean later tonight at the bar. He sure loved to banter that guy did.
2008-07-27 08:29:36
2.   RIYank
It was the game with the Orioles, the one after the afternoon finish of the suspended game.

Jim and I had a heated dispute over John Sterling. But it was a fun dispute, and I believe Jim thought so, too.

2008-07-27 08:47:24
3.   Yankee Fan In Boston
Jim Dean was a character. He was always entertaining and I still imagine his responses to moves (or non-moves) made by the team. (When Posada went on the DL this season, I wished that we could get one last lecture on the importance of back up catchers from the man.)

I remember following a discussion here one afternoon that seemed like any other when Jim Dean's wife stepped in to deliver the news of his passing. It felt as if I had been sucker punched in the gut.

That day (along with Alex's heartfelt and poignant recollections of his father) really drove home just how special a place this is, and the group of people who spend their time here that make it feel this way.

I will also raise a glass to Mr. Dean tonight, and to all of you.

Thanks to Alex, Cliff, Emma, Bruce, Will and everyone here.

2008-07-27 08:50:16
4.   tommyl
0 I still remember being surprised at my own reaction and how upset I got when I found out about Jim. At the time I actually went back to that game thread and read his comments right up until the last one. I was upset, sad and surprised I could be that upset about someone I had never really met. Here's to Jim, and to the rest of you here, know that even when I disagree with you I still value your opinion and your friendship.
2008-07-27 09:35:12
5.   3rd gen yankee fan
I'll raise my glass to Jim Dean too. I remember wondering what happened to him after that game, it wasn't like him not to be around. I miss him. Salud.
2008-07-27 10:18:46
6.   a O
It's funny that you should mention this because sometimes I think that I'm going to die at my computer. Given how much I work, I'd say the odds are good, but hopefully not for some time.

I didn't know Jim or really any of you guys, and I haven't lived in NYC for almost 25 years now, but I'm an avid Yankees fan and I have been reading the blog since the beginning of this year. There does seem to be a good community here. I read frequently, but I only post sporadically.

Nevertheless, I'll drink one for Jim, who sounds like a guy I would have liked.

And I'll take this opportunity to introduce myself. I'm a lawyer and avid cyclist in Portland, OR. I lived in NYC as a kid. My first Yankees game was one of the 1978 World Series games. I've been a fan ever since.

I get a kick out of people talking about how the team "always" wins - people throw that word around way too much - because there weren't a lot of important wins from 1982 to 1995, which was most of my first 15 years as a really die-hard fan.

My greatest claim to fame with regard to the Yankees is that I was once lucky enough to be Scott Brosius' psychology professor at Linfield College here in Oregon. He is a nice guy and a hell of a handball player. I can see why he could pick it so well over at third.

Anyway, it's nice listening to a group of knowledgeable baseball guys talk about the game and this blog is yet another good example of why traditional media is getting supplanted. RIP Jim - see you in the ether!

2008-07-27 10:59:15
7.   bobtaco
Jim Dean would probably be tickled about the trade. He never was very high on the return for RJ, and particulary didn't really care for Olhendorf.

Although, I remember him still saying he could change his mind on him, with a "I'll still believe in you 'Dorf".

2008-07-27 11:09:02
8.   RichB
Jim was on about the bench all the time. He would have been raging all year about the terrible showing they've had. He probably would have liked the trade, if for no other reason than it's an improvement. But, I doubt he'd be jumping up and down about Nady or Marte.

Cheers to Jim!

2008-07-27 11:33:44
9.   Shaun P
Jim was also a big believer in getting a decent back up catcher (BUC). I can only imagine what he'd say about the current Molina-Moeller combo.

I'll raise my glass too, at the start of the game tonight.

2008-07-27 11:36:49
10.   rbj
RIP, Jim. I'll raise a glass to you during tonight's game.
2008-07-27 12:16:01
11.   Sliced Bread
Nice job, Chyll.

Bang the blog slowly for ol' Jim Dean. He left it all on the field, and in these pages.

2008-07-27 13:12:12
12.   yankster
I remember the moment the letter from his wife was posted and not being sure if it was real.

I actually thought more about Jim at the end of the season and went back to read some of his postings. I was thinking how there was no off season for the Deanster.

He didn't like the Wright for Britton trade and predicted a bust. Is Britton's DL stint a confirmation of his perspective?

I'll raise a pint tonight for sure.

2008-07-27 13:49:54
13.   Bama Yankee
Nice work, Chyll. I miss ol' Jim Dean. After Andy Phillips got released, Jim would always point out that David Robertson would be the next "Bama Yankee". He usually updated me on David's stats and progress in the minors. Jim would be proud to see what Robertson has done with the big club so far.

RIP Sausage Man...

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