A funny thing happened during my three-month hiatus from sports writing, which strangely enough began with walking away from the only job I had ever wanted as a sports-obsessed kid growing up in Buffalo: I realized that I still loved the work. My beef in recent years was with the industry.
The short story: I was uncomfortable with the direction of newspapers in general and my former newspaper in particular. Fortunately, I was able to enjoy the summer and experience an emotional cleansing that was a long time coming. The past three months have been liberating.
My next venture is with The Sports Xchange, a wire service that has been around for three decades. It’s expanding its clientele to include the Maven, a Seattle-based website distribution powerhouse that was averaging (note to potential advertisers) about 100 million hits per month. Yes, per month.
(UPDATE, 2:17 p.m. Aug. 29: We are pleased to announce that we are returning to 1270 The Fan. We'll be live on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon starting Tuesday, Sept. 4. Be sure to tune in and call 716-270-1270)
You didn’t think I would quietly fade into the distant past, did you? I haven’t gone a single day without somebody asking me about my future. Of course, I’ll be joined by Jerry Sullivan, the longtime columnist who has covered Buffalo sports for the past 30 years - and counting.
We have assembled a one-stop shopping center for all things Bills, giving fans local perspective that comes from two veteran journalists who understand Buffalo’s heartbeat and the Bills’ impact on the community. In addition, our comprehensive coverage will include news, features, columns, photos, video and more from various media outlets that cover the Bills.
The potential is limitless. Our challenge isn’t beating other newspapers so much as providing an aggregation of coverage. Why search various sites for information when everything you need can be found in one place? We should be viewed as a smorgasbord for #billsmafia without the hefty price tag – or any price tag.
Here’s the best part: It’s FREE.
Allow me to say that the community’s response to my departure was touching and greatly contributed to my decision to continue writing. I was born and raised in Buffalo and have spent nearly my entire life connected to the local sports scene. My hometown is an amazing place with heart and soul and passion rarely found in other cities.
Ask Andy Dalton.
Nobody needed to remind me that Buffalo fans are among the most resilient in sports. But they shouldn’t be taken for fools, either. They watch the games. They know the score. They deserve an honest assessment rather than some soft, sterilized version that has been designed to paint a happy face for the sake of selling subscriptions.
You know what sells in Buffalo? The truth, even when it’s tough to swallow. Give it to them straight. I always understood that fans' anger toward me was frequently an expression of their frustration with their teams. Just know that we’ll also be there when the Bills deserve praise, too, or as Sean McDermott says, when they “earn the right to win.”
Here’s a little secret: Since I was a boy, I’ve fantasized about writing a column about a Buffalo team winning a championship. The Bills appear to be going in the right direction even if the results this season suggest otherwise.
I've watched Josh Allen enough to see he's going to be a handful in the NFL once the game slows down in his head. Tremaine Edmunds is a terrific young talent who could blossom into one of the league's top linebackers. They seem like humble kids, too, and could be perfect fits for Buffalo.
You had to know that Sully, who was named best columnist in Buffalo weeks after his column was taken away, would be riding shotgun. When we’re not bickering like an old married couple, we’re joined at the hip. We believe that we’re greater than the sum of our parts.
Love him or loathe him – and believe me, I’ve been on both sides – Sully is going to bring his usual literate insight, mixed with his crankiness and humor. The difference with us now is that we'll be unharnessed by stodgy practices of an outdated industry that lost its way. Meanwhile, readers suffered.
The Sports Xchange and its clients are committed to building the best on-line media brand in the world. It has spent millions of dollars on technology that will allow us to perform faster and better than ever. Now, you’re getting us and content from across the country. You couldn’t cancel your subscription if you tried.
Did I mention it’s FREE?
Folks, this is going to be fun.
We’re looking for increased engagement. If you’re not happy with us, let us know directly in our comments section. There’s a good chance we’ll respond. Or you can start a conversation on your own. If you see something we missed, please pass it along. Interaction and healthy debate will be encouraged. Humor is going to be applauded.
Now you know the answer when asking about latest venture.
Is it our only venture?