End of an era: Neyer leaves ESPN

You no doubt will have heard the news by the time you read this post, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the fact that Rob Neyer is leaving ESPN.com after 15 years of service. I remember first reading Rob if not in 1996 when he began, shortly thereafter, as I have a vivid memory of inputting ESPN’s clunky old URL, ESPNet.Sportszone.com into my browser and wondering why they opted for such a goofy moniker. Of course, these were the pre-Google days of the Internet, which for all intents and purposes may as well have been 1,000 years ago, and I imagine a cybersquatter had the foresight to purchase espn.com early on, forcing the company to shell out the dough when it finally came time for entities to have true branded URLs.

At some point — I can’t remember when exactly — Neyer’s column was thrust behind the pay wall, and never seeing the utility in paying for content when I could get a close enough approximation elsewhere for free, that more or less marked the end of my daily dose of Neyer. However, as obnoxious as ESPN’s pay content might be, I do have to credit it for forcing me to seek out other, freer baseball-content vehicles, and this more or less led me to Bronx Banter back in 2004, which was my gateway drug into the world of Yankee blogs.

I became reunited with Rob’s work after he was available free of charge again via his terrific SweetSpot blog, and I would be remiss if I didn’t note that Rob was kind enough to link to Yankeeist two times during the past several months, the first time for our interview with Alex Langsam, and more recently for Matt’s interview with John Ellis.

While others will no doubt pen finer eulogies of the man who more or less paved the way for all of us currently blogging about baseball today — Jason’s moving tribute and Dave Cameron’s thank-you note are just two of the many that are popping up as we speak — consider this our thank-you to Rob for blazing the trail, and we look forward to following you wherever you end up.