Getting called up to the bigs

Friends, it is will enormous pleasure that I can finally share the news that has had me on pins and needles for the last few weeks:

It’s About The Money, Stupid has been selected by Rob Neyer and ESPN to be a charter member of what will be a new blog network on ESPN.com known as ESPN.com‘s SweetSpot Blog Network! IIATMS has the distinct honor of being the sole blog representing the New York Yankees in this network throughout the 2009 Playoffs, and hopefully into 2010 and beyond.

The network is set to “officially” launch on Monday, October 5th, but we’ve been given permission to share the news today.

When I started this blog in December 2007, I had a fairly modest goal: Get ten people who I didn’t know to regularly come back and read what I had to say. And now, today, I have been called up from the minors to have a cup of coffee with the big club. Absolutely mind-blowing. When I started, as awkward as a newborn fawn, ARod had just re-signed with the Yankees, following an equally awkward opt-out during the 2007 World Series. During a debate with my Dad and brother about why he’d come back to the Yanks after having a miserable three years in New York, the answer was “It’s about the money, stupid. It’s always about the money, even when they say it’s not. It always is.” And the blog was born.

My mission statement, if you will, has always been to deliver the most unbiased view of the Yankees around. Like any good mission statement, it’s not something that’s readily achievable, but something to strive for. You will not find blatant homerism here. I hold the organization to the strictest of standards and will not hold back any criticisms of the ownership, management or the players if their actions warrant. I’m a Jeter fan, but I am also not above calling him out or being critical. Same goes for any other player wearing pinstripes, or working for them.

Over the last few months, I have chosen to broaden the reach of IIATMS, filling in the holes that I couldn’t fill in myself. I’ve added three contributing writers, each of whom adds a distinct strength and color to this site. Tamar has been deftly handling the daily recaps and will continue to do so for every game of the playoffs. Brendan has been our “advance scout”, giving us series previews. He’s already working on a series of look-ins on the key Tigers players (like this one) the Yanks will be facing. Will is our resident pitching and stats guru… at least until some MLB front office wizens up to his ways and hires him full time. His recent posting on the Amazing Phil Hughes is just a sample of what he can do and what we can expect out of him as we go forward. I’ll continue to do whatever else needs to be done.

As we all know, following the Yankees is a crowded place, making this all the more special for me. There are so many talented writers out there who I have become friends with, most via email/Twitter/IM, all of whom share the same passion for delivering their points of view in their unique ways. I’ve learned a bit from all of you. Thank you. I welcome your ideas, critiques (only if they are positive), advice, camaraderie. We all are competing for the same eyeballs and it has always been my modus operandi to act as a colleague first and a competitor last, whether it’s sharing links, hyping stories or sharing potential advertising partners.

One other thing that I continue to enjoy is the give-and-take with you guys, my readers. I have my IM’s on all day, email at my side, now Twitter and even Facebook. I love the discussions and debates and encourage you to be even more active in the comments and in the forums. I don’t want to preach; I’d rather us share ideas. There are other places to go if you want to be told what your opinion should be. Not here.

I thought about listing those who I’d like to thank, but that’s a long list. You know who you are. Thank you. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least acknowledge Craig Calcaterra, aka Shysterball, who allowed me to ask dumb questions (“how do you hyperlink?“) and was first to link to me. Ironically, it was a Neyer chat from 2007 which is how I stumbled upon Shysterball in the first place. Thank you, too, to Rob for putting your faith in me.

I can’t yet point you to the URL of where the network will reside, or tell you even what it will look like. ESPN and Rob Neyer will have some news/PR coming out on Monday that I’ll make sure to share as soon as I get it. Until then, keep tuning in to Rob’s SweetSpot as you otherwise would.

I will also be adding an ESPN SweetSpot blogroll to the right-hand side of the page so you can check out the other sites. I won’t list their blogs here in case they haven’t shared the news with their readers yet. Suffice it to say, it’s a stellar group and I am honored to be amongst them.

With that, I have to pack my bags and catch a plane. Can’t keep the big club waiting.

IIATMS overlord and founder. ESPN contributor. Purveyor of luscious reality.