And Now It’s Time for the Happy Recap

by Jason Epstein

Following every Mets victory, the franchise’s late, great radio voice, Bob Murphy, would exclaim, “And now it’s time for the happy recap.”

After just about four years of contributing to Right Field, this post is my happy recap. Frankly, there’s a pretty good chance it will be the final post for the blog, too. I may be the last man standing here, and heck, there’s no shortage of sports-related banter over at The Corner. After discussing the future with Rich, I anticipate contributing longer pieces in the weeks and months to come and hope that you’ll continue to read my prose.

It’s been a blast. Doing public-policy work is frequently mind-numbing, and writing about sports has proven to be a needed elixir, even as it has enhanced my writing skills. (I suspect that a fair number of NRO readers feel the same. There’s only so much Obama, Boehner, and Mitt one can endure over the course of a week.)

I’ve submitted posts whenever the urge has arisen, drafting entries from Nationals Park, Zucker’s bagel shop on Chambers Street, the Pilot gas station in South Jersey (often boasting the best prices on 93-octane in the region), an aisle seat on JetBlue headed to sunny Long Beach, an inter-city bus in the Baltics, the Caffé Nero in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş neighborhood, and just last week, my hotel room in Cairo.

In Right Field’s first month alone — Opening Day 2011 was the date of the maiden post — I was opining (and frequently kvetching) about, among other things, the pricing of beer at the ballpark, those who read too much into small sample sizes, fans cheering forceouts, naysayers who blindly assumed the Pirates front office had no interest in winning, and the value of the Triple Crown.

Since then, I’ve been accused of:

  • Focusing way too much on MLB at the expense of the NFL or NBA (“Guiltyyyyyyyyyy!”);
  • Being a Mets fan (yup, since 1974);
  • Being a Yankee fan (How dare you!);
  • Bad-mouthing Derek Jeter (breaking: “way overrated” and “no-doubt Hall of Famer” are not mutually exclusive);
  • Bad-mouthing Jeff Francoeur (a super-nice guy, to be sure, but also way overrated);
  • Inundating readers with evil stats that take away all enjoyment of the game (“Who’s Fabio?”);
  • Being a loony left-winger (preferring a player’s union to an owner-run cartel is hardly evidence of socialism coursing through one’s veins), and, of course;
  • Doggedly defending A-Rod and other PED cheats (eh, not really, but I do find some of the outrage to be beyond the pale and occasionally wonder why amphetamine use in the decades before steroids attracts comparatively little hand-wringing).

Nonetheless, I always enjoyed the back-and-forth.

So thanks to Rich, a degenerate Yankee fan but heckuva friend, for inviting me to contribute.

Thanks too to Nick Frankovich, the tireless editor of 98 percent of my submissions. (Let’s Go Tribe!)

But most of all, thanks to you for reading and sharing your thoughts with me.

Görüşürüz!

(That’s Turkish for “See you on Opening Day.” Well, sort of.)