Tag Archives: More Than a Fan

Questioning Fanhood

Sometimes, I wonder if I am, indeed, more than a fan. After all, I moved away from the city where all most of my teams reside.

The more I do this stuff, the pods, the writing, the live radio show, I wonder if it actually makes me less than a fan. After all, I’m taking on a stance of less subjectivity. In fact, if all the dysfunction and failure to see my teams reach the pinnacle doesn’t take away from my fanhood1You know, of the Cleveland teams., I’m not sure what will. I’ve come the conclusion that only an obligation, by way of occupation, the whole “no cheering in the press box” will deter me from the tears of joy. Who am I kidding? Cleveland only offers tears of agony.

My father once watched a childish demonstration2I’m not proud to admit he’s witnessed many of these immature displays, mostly when I was an actual child., and in the interest of full disclosure, it wasn’t that long ago that I pouted over a Phil Taylor offsides penalty that reduced the Browns chances of victory from slim to none against the Ravens, that begged the question, “I don’t know why he still cares so much”. I do care, and sometimes it brings me shame to show that, but it always defines my character. We see it so much, why do we settle for this shit show that is the Browns? My answer is simple…I ain’t got no place else to go. Could I shut down shop, and just root for the local Cardinals? Of course, I could, but it’s my decision not to. I don’t want to show my middle finger to my friends and family back home; I’d rather poke my own eye out3In the interest of full disclosure, I should reveal I like the Cardinals.  Living vicariously through my local friends, I’m thrilled with their current success.

I could take the cop out, you know, that the “real” Browns left in 1995 and they aren’t coming back. Had I left before this ridiculous knock-off stepped onto the scene, maybe I’d have grounds to do that, not for the approval of others, but for inner-peace, but I don’t go that route.

Putting the Browns on the back-burner for a moment, they’re only a fraction of the agony of my fanhood. I have more history with the Indians, and I marry myself to them more than I probably should. I remember taking on the unfathomable plan of what exactly it was that I would do when they finished the job in 2007. It wasn’t even a matter of “if”, and that was before they’d put away the Yankees in a best-of-5, even before they took a seemingly insurmountable 3-1 lead over Boston in the best-of-7 in the American League Championship Series, where actuality revealed a much crueler fate for the Sons of Geronimo. I’d gotten married that summer4Ironically, it was on a weekend that saw the Tribe swept by the very Yankees they took down in the playoffs, but I spent more time thinking about renting the tuxedos and limousines to celebrate the Indians’ first World Series win since 1948 than for any of the particulars of my own wedding. There was going to be champagne, and there wasn’t going to be any concern for sustaining employment. I don’t know if it’s accurate to say a state of depression followed, but I promise a very un-Christian period of hatred for all-things-Boston culminated from that point. I have a very dear friend from Cape Cod, and quite frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t kick my ass to the curb in the aftermath of that ALCS and subsequent Red Sox sweep of the Rockies in that World Series, but he’s a fan too, so I’m pretty sure got it/gets it.

If you think it’s just Cleveland, you’d be wrong. I’ve grown an affinity for a few of my new home’s local teams, specifically the Phoenix-turned-Arizona Coyotes. After Game 7 of the NHL’s 2010 Western Conference Quarterfinals, things got weird with me and Detroit. I was a little more numb when the Winged CCCP swept my Desert Dogs out of the 2011 Stanley Cup Tournament, but when my hockey team actually started advancing in the playoffs, my hate, and I don’t use that word lightly, shifted to the Kings of Los Angeles. Phoenix had grown on me.

By 2013, I was a partial-season ticket holder with the Arizona Diamondbacks and a full-fledged Arizona State Sun Devil Football season ticket holder. That was the summer that Ian Kennedy put a pitch in Yasiel Puig’s earhole, which included a subsequent brawl that was the flashpoint for the Dodger ascent and Arizona’s fall to the bottom of the pack, a fall they’ve yet to fully recover from.

By the time the Dodgers clinched the National League West at Chase Field that September, I had such a low opinion of that organization, and all of Los Angeles, that the news/rumor of a few Dodgers players draining the main vein in the center field pool had me feeling like Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

I guess the point is, I don’t know how to do casual. I’ve adopted my wife’s Northern Illinois Huskies, and I sometimes feel guilty about not being all-in, not hating Toledo and Western Michigan head coach PJ Fleck5Fleck was a great receiver at NIU when they first stepped on to the national scene, behind the great running Michael “The Burner” Turner, earlier this millennium.. I guess I’m getting there, but I’m pretty far in for a guy that spent the early part of his adulthood just paces away from Kent State, with friends at MAC schools in every part of Ohio.

I think leaving Ohio is as much to blame for my passion as being from there is. I feel like I have some sort of obligation to serve as an ambassador, while 2500 miles from the place I called home for so long. I don’t know how to be anything other than passionate and loyal; while it destroys any hope for normalcy in my life, I feel it can be quite the virtue. If I’m a genuine sports fan, but fake at the other things I do in life, I’m exposed as a fraud.

With Yours Truly, there isn’t anything fraudulent to be revealed. I’m the genuine article, even if it means admitting that I’m not proud. Browns fan? Duh. Tribe fan? You know it. Cavs fan? With or without LeBron, you know I am, and I’m unapologetic for being so against him and the possibility of a return for four years, until it happened. If I want to leave a legacy of any sort, it’s that I root for the home team, just like my father in my love life. He says, if you like her, I like her.

It’s a front of the jersey thing. It says Cleveland, Phoenix, Arizona, or whatever’s important to me, I’m on board. Being a fan is cool; never be ashamed.

I never claimed to be brilliant, but I think that’s a principle that gets you through life, whether that concept is subject to scrutiny or not.

References
1 You know, of the Cleveland teams.
2 I’m not proud to admit he’s witnessed many of these immature displays, mostly when I was an actual child.
3 In the interest of full disclosure, I should reveal I like the Cardinals.  Living vicariously through my local friends, I’m thrilled with their current success
4 Ironically, it was on a weekend that saw the Tribe swept by the very Yankees they took down in the playoffs
5 Fleck was a great receiver at NIU when they first stepped on to the national scene, behind the great running Michael “The Burner” Turner, earlier this millennium.

If You’re Reading This, It’s Already Too Late

If anyone objects to this union, speak now or forever hold your peace.

Yeah, I didn’t exactly give anyone the chance to do that.  It was one of two requests I asked of the Justice of the Peace that officiated our nuptials.  The other, I stole from Spaceballs.  We required the short, short version for our outdoor mid-summer Phoenix wedding.  While I’m on the subject, allow me to tip my proverbial cap to Jen, my bride of eight years.  Without her blessing to do this, we wouldn’t be here right now.  As an act of gratitude, I may even unload the dishwasher or take out the trash.

For some reason, I’ve been trusted with the master key to all of More Than A Fan, and I have to tell you, this is all so surreal.  I keep expecting to wake up and I’m actually waiting for someone to yell at me, to tell me what I can’t do.  Don’t get me wrong, the ‘ghost’ of Josh Flagner will linger in my head, and it will haunt me if get out of line, but that isn’t my intention.  In fact, my intentions are not a priority these days; my obligations are.  Let me break those down.

First, it is paramount that we keep the lights on.  I laughed about it in BASEketball, when Squeak went to turn off Doug and Coop’s gas, but it wasn’t very funny when the natural gas ceased to flow in my own residence.  You’d think you could live with it, especially on nice spring days, but a week of ice-cold showers and painful shaves had me changing my tune.  It’s a good excuse to grow a beard, but my mind hadn’t gone there.

I learned from a friend, who had little money and no power, how to rough it with easily bought neighbors, an extension cord, and a power strip. Unplugging the TV, to open an outlet, to plug in the coffee maker, to heat up the water to shave, well, that’s no way to live.  It’s obviously not how you run a website.  Keeping the lights on, in this figurative sense, it requires money, so you’re going to see advertisements and we might even do some things we’re not proud to do (but, hopefully not).

Next, I have an obligation to these fantastic writers, as well as our loyal readers.  A glance around More Than A Fan reveals that Matthew Kline always sees something that could use tweaking or fixing in sport, Jared Andrews knows the peaks (present-day Blackhawks) and valleys (historically, the Cubs) of being a Chicago sports fan, and what a time for Britt Zank to be waxing poetic about his beloved Kansas City Royals!

Our resident Canadian, John Poulter is writing about and talking about his hometown Toronto Blue Jays at the right time.  Let’s see how all of that plays out.  When we get to football season, Jared may be slightly less elated to speak on the tragedy that the Chicago Bears have become, compared to the suddenly-inspired, Joe Maddon-led Cubbies.  Outside of Arizona, there can’t be too many folks longing for the cold days of winter, but maniacal hockey fans probably have their countdowns down to the hour by now.  Though his Maple Leafs are so cursed, they might as well be Cleveland’s fourth team, John still makes his way to the Air Canada Centre more than a few times a year, come win, lose, or shootout.

They do play their fair share of hockey south of Ontario, and our hockey staff has you covered with opinions from Anaheim to Boston, and everywhere between.  As for me, my biggest NHL interests reside in the desert, specifically in a small-time city that generally seems not to care about at least one of its major professional sports franchises.  Never a dull moment with the drama surrounding the Coyotes, my favorite hometown team.

It’s weird to say it and a little awkward to see it typed out, but Phoenix absolutely is my hometown.  I’ve been here 14 years, later this month.  However, if you know me at all, you know my birthplace and long-time home is a seldom-respected city of yesteryear in Northeast Ohio, known as Cleveland.  As More Than A Fan and I are brought together once again, I remember our common bond, we were both born in Cleveland, as was the site’s founder.  Deny it, as anyone might, that’s our home base.  It’s where our original readers come from, and in February 2013, Daniel Zaleski and the rest of management decided those readers had earned their own page.

The voices at MTAF: Cleveland are different from what they were in the beginning, but the tone is the same.  We’d be speaking out of turn to evaluate fan bases, but I personally understand the dedication of those fans, near the shores of Lake Erie.  In some cities, the night ends when the games end.  The 2-1-6 is different; they’re talking Browns on the 4th of July and the discussion about a 7:05 Indians game could well into the AM hours of the next day, both online and on the airwaves.  We cannot understate how the Cavaliers are overwhelmingly the best team in town at the moment, but they aren’t the only basketball team in downtown Cleveland.

A few blocks from the Quicken Loans Arena stands the once state-of-the-art Wolstein Center, and while crowds are a far cry from what they used to be for Vikings basketball, the entire Cleveland State Athletic Department remains near and dear to the heart of the many alumni that reside in and around the city.  I cut my teeth on underdogs and upsets when the ’86 hoops team knocked off Bobby Knight’s 2-seeded Indiana as a 15, and rooted hard for this mid-major that’s never lost an Opening Round game in the NCAA tournament, as they went toe-to-toe with Butler in the Horizon League, before Butler bolted for greener pastures a few years back.  For everything else on Cleveland’s only Division I athletic program, I defer to our own Bob McDonald.  He is the decided authority for all-things-Cleveland-State.

I’m the one who decided that, so take that for what you will.  The bottom line is, for our readers from Cleveland to parts unknown, we know you have options.  We owe you good content for following our crazy views on the wide world of sports, and we need to deliver it on a consistent basis.  If that does not happen, I have failed in my role.

On that note, my last obligation, or really, my moral imperative is to take care of (MTAF Founder) Josh Flagner’s baby the best way I know how, by treating it like my own.  He has an actual baby to take care of now, so he should appreciate that.  Josh, I promise not to drop this thing on its head, feed it paint chips, or let it be a Brian Hoyer fan.  All kidding aside, if there’s a better way for “my” More Than A Fan to pay homage to Josh Flagner (and co-founder Lisa Pitz) than to recognize their charitable efforts, I don’t know what it is.

Off the webpage and in the community, philanthropy is a big part of our mission statement.  I want More Than A Fan to be more than a place that simply houses brilliant, unfiltered sports opinion, but good-standing members of society.  This team should demand that of me, as well as of themselves.

We aren’t just more than fans in these parts.  We hope to be more than readers, writers, editors and publishers, but a community that takes care of one another and looks out for our own.  Together, we make More Than a Fan a place that we can all be proud of, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, ’til link-rot do us part.

This Isn’t Goodbye

When dawn breaks on September of 2015, I will no longer own or publish More Than a Fan. This is either news, or not news, depending who you are. For me, it’s a long, fun chapter of my life wrapping up. Just like any good chapter, the story for the next has already started.

MTAF Full Size Logo
The logo that started it all.

According to LinkedIn, I’ve been at More Than a Fan for four years and eight months, since January of 2011. Let me tell you, A LOT has happened since 2011. I’ve climbed the ladder at the day job, gotten involved with some wonderful non-profits trying to change the world, proposed, gotten married, and had an unbelievably wonderful daughter. These are all boring, real life things.

Chisenhall, Kipnis, and Pomeranz May Be Welcome Party Crashers was my very first post on More Than a Fan. I’m surprisingly not embarrassed by words I wrote almost five years ago.

I really only started writing about sports a few months before that, for a site called 90 Feet and Running – that doesn’t exist anymore – for a sports network notably run by women – which doesn’t exist anymore – under an editor who doesn’t write anymore. Life comes at you fast. Especially on the internet.

Before Lisa Pitz saw me tweeting about the Indians and asked me to write about their minor leaguers for her new website, I… I don’t even know what I was doing in 2010. Whatever it was, I’m sure it was stupid. The real story is there was absolutely NO proof I could write about the Indians in 2011. Keeping me on as a writer has to be proof that she spent much of that year drunk. Honestly, I probably did, too.

Our combined alcohol consumption leading up to the 2011 Indians season notwithstanding, I had the time of my life writing about the Indians back then. It truly was a dream I didn’t know I had. Thank you, Lisa.

I was wrong about Manny Acta, though. Damnit. Acta’s Chance to Be the Man.

At some point, there has to be a fast forward on this story. I’m terrible at remembering dates and details, and no one really wants to hear a blogger doing Al Bundy victory laps about a website. I have to get ONE in, though. I mean, I wrote the words “Irving will be a cornerstone” in my first ever NBA column leading up to the 2011 NBA Draft. Thank God my Enes Kanter prediction was wrong.

The Diary of A Lottery Fan and A Cavalier (Not) Mock Draft

I tell people all the time that I’m terrible at dates. I have no idea when so many things happened, it’s downright embarrassing sometimes. I don’t remember when, but I know it wasn’t long before Lisa stepped down in her role on More Than a Fan, and I took over the whole endeavor on my own.

Well, on my own isn’t fair.

Ryan Isley made his debut in June of 2011 with a column about Luke Fickell, Terrelle Pryor, and The Ohio State University. Then Stephanie Metzger popped up later in the same month trying to push Grady Sizemore and Fausto Carmona (he was still Fausto back then) out of Cleveland. 

I can’t possibly shout every MTAF writer out, but Ryan and Stephanie were around so close to the beginning that it’s very possible that this thing wouldn’t have gotten off of the ground without them. Thank you, guys.

There’s some fog settling in on Memory Lane. I know Matt Kline and Hayden Grove were both first year hires, but that’s all I got. Besides, there’s no way anyone wants to read a list of writers getting sappy thank you notes. Every new word that graces these pages is as important as the last. Every word lent weight to the logo in the header, and, indirectly, to my reputation. There’s no thank you big enough for that.

It’s with all this gratitude in the air that I’m stepping aside. The time is ripe for growth, both for me personally and for the More Than a Fan family of websites. The last few months have seen Campus Pressbox and Four Lights FM step out from underneath the MTAF umbrella and thrive under the leadership of Damien Bowman and Seth Merenbloom. Now, it’s time for the site that started it all to be led by fresh eyes and take the next step.

Jeff Rich is the man with those fresh eyes.

I’ve seen Jeff write, manage, recruit, and launch a website from the ground up. I trust Jeff to take the time I haven’t been able to take and make decisions that I haven’t even considered to continue where I left off. That’s the best part of this whole thing, Jeff will be better than me.

As for me, while I will be giving up my editorial and ownership responsibilities here, I’m going to spend this football season getting back to what started it all. I’ll be spending evenings trying to sound smart on a sports website.

My weekly NFL pick’em column may start off a little rough, but hopefully I’ll be able to round into form by the time Josh McCown is in a wrist brace and watching Johnny Manziel start football games.

It was an amazing run. I made new friends, important colleagues, and I have years of great stories. To every writer and every reader; thank you.

Semi-Farewell to More Than a Fan

Well, the time has finally come. After just about two wonderful years, my “full” time role at More Than A Fan is coming to a close. As I begin a chapter anew as the Assistant Sports Director at BuckeyeTV- Ohio State’s television network- I will still be posting intermittently and will still be hosting Time and Change for the duration of Ohio State’s basketball season, but my thrice-or-twice weekly musings will be coming to an end.

For nearly two years, I’ve opined and whined on these hallowed pages and in doing so have been incredibly blessed with an opportunity that few could dream of.

I’d first like to start the seemingly endless but completely necessary thank you’s with More Than A Fan’s fearless leader, Josh Flagner.

Josh, you’ve allowed me to do just about anything I’ve desired in the realm of journalism over the past two years and it was truly an opportunity I’ll never get again. Most wouldn’t have put that trust in me, or anyone else for that matter, but you did. I know that decision changed my life and I hope that decision changed More Than a Fan for the better. I certainly think it did.

I owe just about everything I become- which may be something, but may also be nothing- to you. Thank you really isn’t enough. As I watch this website grow into a multi-faceted empire, it’s a testament to the man that you are. I’m truly in awe of this fortress you’ve built and I’m truly blessed to be a part of it.

While it was almost just you at the start, there was certainly another guy who came a long and played just as big a role in the maturation of More Than a Fan as anyone. I owe that man so much as well.

Damien, thank you for taking me under your wing. Upon the moment we met, you were always there for me, continued to teach me and included me in just about every way possible. You’ve helped me as much as anyone and have been there every step of the way, should I have needed anything. Again, thank you doesn’t really say enough.

You’ve certainly taken this website to the next level along with Josh and again, it is truly a testament to your work ethic and diligence. I have no doubt that as long as you are on the staff, More Than a Fan will continue to grow in leaps and bounds. Who knows, at this rate, maybe I’ll be along for the ride in the future as More Than A Fan becomes a national powerhouse… I hope you’d still have me around then.

Dan and Jeff, it’s a shame we didn’t get to work more closely than we did, but I’m so lucky to say I’ve worked with both of you guys in any capacity. Part of the reason I’ve loved working for Josh and Damien is that they understand who to bring in to make More Than A Fan a better place. When both of you were on board, I knew things would take a significant hike in the right direction. Congrats on all of your successes and I’m supremely confident, now that you’re on board, that More Than A Fan might have the best group of editors on the planet.

To my fellow writers, while Josh and Damien and Jeff and Dan are absolutely great, it is you guys who make the site what it is today. While it would be an incredibly fun activity to take part in, the daily lives of the fearsome foursome above don’t constitute what gets this site going. Instead, More Than a Fan runs on your hard work, your creativity and your analysis. It’s you guys and your incredible capacity to put out entertaining and intellectual work week-after-week that keep this site afloat and keep it’s popularity very, very high. I know that putting in all of this time and effort is incredibly hard to do without compensation, yet you guys do it with a burning passion that we’d never see from those who are paid. It has been an absolute pleasure writing, editing and talking with you on this journey.

Finally, to you, the readers of More Than a Fan, thank you, thank you, thank you. Gosh almighty I can’t say it enough, thank you enough for all of your unending support. At times you’ve been critical of my ideas, but in each and every instance you’ve been there, helping me each step of the way. From my first ever post on the site to this, my last of my regularly scheduled posts on the site, you guys have been here reading away and supporting young, naive up-and-comers like myself. When I said that the writers at More Than a Fan are the life bread that keeps everything afloat… I lied. Without a readership, More Than a Fan would be nothing. Without you, More Than a Fan doesn’t exist and More Than a Fan certainly doesn’t reach the tremendous heights that it has today. Thank you, thank you, thank you… a million times thank you… for reading, listening to and watching my work over the past couple of years. Your input has only helped me to become a better writer and has certainly helped me to cope with the challenges that come with putting myself out in the public realm. You all are really, truly amazing.

As this chapter takes a different turn, because it’s not quite over yet, I can’t wait to see what new things await in the near future for More Than a Fan. This website is truly something that I was/am incredibly proud and honored to be a part of and I hope that will only increasingly become the case as time goes on.

Josh, Damien, Jeff, Dan, fellow writers and readers of More Than a Fan, when I’m back in Cleveland (or if you’re ever in Columbus) for an extended period of time, we all have to grab some beers (I’ll be 21!). While you guys may not enjoy a young whippersnapper like me, I have certainly always enjoyed being around you.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this very special MTAF family. It’s been a journey for which I’ll be forever grateful.

 

More Than a Fan September 2013 Update

We did it.

I often refer to the More Than a Fan  editors and writers as family, and I really feel like that description is accurate for our group. Sure, we’ve called each other names[1. Often. In public. Sometimes even sober.], but we always come together well to represent ourselves and MTAF.

The way we work together is the main reason why it’s so exciting when our family grows; and it has grown by leaps and bounds in the last couple of weeks. Not only has MTAF added some new writers, we launched TWO WHOLE NEW WEBSITES, making Labor Day 2013 the official birthday of the More Than a Fan Network[2. I’ll forget this birthday just like I forget every other birthday. Sorry, Mom]!

So, without further ado;

More Than a Fan – Boston

MTAF Boston is focused on Boston, but will ostensibly be the East Coast wing of More Than a Fan. If you’re wondering what is going to go on over at MTAF Boston, check out Mike Pellegrino’s phenomenal welcome to #MTAFBoston.

The only places left where you can read unfettered sports commentary are smaller websites like ours, where the authors aren’t beholden to the opinions of their bosses, their image and ego, their access to media-savvy players, and their pocketbooks. That is my impassioned plea for why you should frequent this website right here – because we’re on your side. ~ Mike Pellegrino

Here are the specifics:

MTAFBoston.com

Editors:

Matt Kline – @TboneMTAF

Mike Pellegrino – @MVPellegrino1

Columnists:

Pat Hack – @PatHackMTAFBoston

James Taylor – @JTizzle1010

Tim Powers – (This guy doesn’t have a twitter, either.)

PJ Hebert – (No twitter again. I’m beginning to think Boston is under a rock.)

More Than a Fan – Wheels

MTAF Wheels is the Motorsports wing of More Than a Fan. They’ll be writing about NASCAR, F1, Indy, and anything else on wheels. Want to know about the NASCAR silly season? Wondering how Ferrari is going to do at Monza? Looking for links that take a hard look at racing’s technical side on writer Will Tyson’s masterful blog? MTAF Wheels will quickly become the first stop on your Motorsports reading list.

Official URL

MTAFWheels.com

Editor

Damien Bowman – @damienbowman

Writers

Dana Green – @contreegirl417

Ryan Isley – @Isley23

Will Tyson – @theWPTFormula

Shay Hazen – @SHAYZEN

Sam Klein – @sklein31

I’m Excited

Seriously, I’m so excited that I made that a header. I’m also grateful. I am very thankful to Damien and Hayden for running the place during the few weeks around my wedding and honeymoon, and also to the rest of our writers for not giving up the fight even when I wasn’t around to write alongside them. I’m also especially indebted to Damien for putting in a lot of keyboard time making the MTAF Network possible.

One thing you’ll notice is that we have a few writers from MTAF that are also going to be working extensively on MTAF Boston and MTAF Wheels. Don’t worry, you’ll always see their headlines on MTAF, and they’ll be back on the mothership[4. I’m blatantly ripping off the nickname people use for ESPN. Hey, THEY started somewhere, too.] whenever they want to be to write about things that aren’t Motorsports or Boston related.

MTAF Boston and MTAF Wheels aren’t quite 100% yet, but after a soft launch on Labor Day, we just couldn’t hold the content back any longer. The More Than a Fan Network is already building momentum, and the last thing that we wanted to do is break that momentum just because we haven’t quite decided on where to put a footer widget or piece of artwork yet. We invite you to come, bookmark our sites, and grow along with us. You’re a sports media reader, if you have something you’d like to write, an idea to contribute, or even art or pictures you think would look great on the MTAF Network; reach out to us. My phone is always on[4. My wife just rolled her eyes in agreement.]

As always, thanks for spending your time on More Than a Fan. We know that time is the most valuable thing any of us has, and we will keep working hard to give our readers their money’s worth.


More Than a Fan June 2013 Update

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted an update about More Than a Fan to our readers; so long, in fact, that I probably have to introduce myself.

Hi. I’m Josh Flagner, and I’m the Publisher of More Than a Fan.

That’s a heady term for a guy like me, but I’ve been told it’s true. In my eyes, all I’ve done is build what I think is a cool playground and go looking for cool friends to play in it with me.

In the beginning, I was so intent on playing that I let some of the playground go.

I never stopped looking for new writers and tried my hardest to stay in tune with our mission of purveying quality opinions instead of dropping news briefs, but we got a little stagnant after a while because, and this is the thing I didn’t know right away, there’s SO MUCH more to owning the playground than just playing.

For the eternally patient folks out there who enjoy my work and our podcasts, you’ve noticed that both of those things have been fewer and farther between lately. Regrettably, that’s by design. I’ve cut our podcast schedule back to monthly (from weekly) and I’m writing on a whenever-I-can basis.

I know that sounds selfish, but there’ are three big reasons for this change; I’m using my time to focus on rebuilding the platform, making sure we have a solid presence on social media, and bringing together the best group of writers I possibly can.

So, I’m spending my time trying to make sure this is the best damn playground around.

To wit; Hayden Grove is now an Editor at More Than a Fan.  Under my wandering eye, Hayden will be manning our social media platforms and doing pretty much everything else I tell ask him to do.

But it’s not only Hayden and I doing work.  We’re ALL doing work.

The More Than a Fan Players:

(These are all Twitter links. If there’s one place to get to know us, it’s probably there.)

That’s all twelve of us, which is two more than you knew about. That’s right, MTAF is finally BREAKING NEWS!

Megan Benveniste and Michael Hattery are brand new to More Than a Fan, and we’re extremely excited to have them aboard! They’re so new, in fact, that neither even has a column posted yet.

The players closest to Megan and Michael’s freshness are Jack Docal and Dan Zaleski (DZ). They’re both doing great work already. Joe Swinko will be continuing his outdoor series, Chris will probably post a sob story about the Pirates soon, Mike absolutely owns NBA analysis, and Kyle has been keeping up with Cleveland teams through the prism of a Baltimore resident. And I’m sure you all know Matt, Hayden, Ryan, Damien, and I by now.

The writers here on More Than a Fan are what makes the website something that you can’t get anywhere else. Sure, everyone has opinions, but this mix of personalities is unique. And, frankly, this mix has really ushered in my renewed focus to making sure that the group we have is able to be themselves, say what they want, and do it all on a platform that’s worth their time.

And it’s working! The growth on More Than a Fan has been fantastic! I mean, we’ve been having ——- view months, with ——- unique visits and ——— hits! (A gentleman never tells) Unique visitors is the most important, views is damn close, and hits are pretty much a fantasy number that includes every bot, spider, and Peggy from USA Prime Credit that indexes or spams your site. What those hidden numbers tell you is that we’re not going anywhere.

I’ll be writing and podcasting more often again before you know it, but until then, know that I’ve had the honor of assembling an awesome team to keep you all informed and entertained. These writers make my job easy, and hopefully your jobs enjoyable. (But only read us when you’re on break!) So, follow all the More Than a Fan Players – don’t forget the official @MTAFSports account – and spend some time getting to know this group.

You won’t be disappointed.

 

 

 

 

MTAF on More Sports With Les Levine Tonight

Just when you thought it was safe to turn on your TV, More Than a Fan‘s own Josh Flagner will be on “More Sports with Les Levine” tonight from 6-7 pm EST. For those of you in NE Ohio, that’s Time Warner Cable channel 26.

Tune in to find out if Josh is as awkward on TV as he is on radio   as he is on Twitter  as he claims.  We’ll try to post a link to the show if he doesn’t embarrass us after it airs.

 

In the meantime, you can follow Josh on Twitter, follow MTAF on Twitter and friend MTAF on Facebook.

MTAF on CSF Radio Tonight at 7pm – 9 pm EST

 

Join More Than a Fan’s Josh and Ryan on CSF Radio tonight at 7pm – 9pm EST.  Got something on your mind?  Want to yell about the Browns? Chat about the Urban Meyer to Ohio State rumor?  Call in and get it off your chest:  216-939-5220  and hit this link to listen in:  http://csfradio.com/morethanafan

 

You can follow Josh and Ryan on Twitter:  @RailbirdJ and @Isley23 and show More Than a Fan some love on Facebook.