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August 28, 2014

Prospects Will Break Your Heart

Pain Don't Hurt

by Jason Parks

As is often the case, internet-specific farewell addresses come off like award show acceptance speeches, complete with the sandpaper tongue stroking of all intimate associations of note, a solipsistic sandwich of fake meat, imitation cheese, and vinegar-based spread, delivered to you as consumable and delicious food despite the fact it was never intended for you to [actually] eat. I want you to eat this farewell. This farewell is for you. From the heart, I want to thank the readers of Baseball Prospectus for their curious eyes and minds, for embracing my peculiar brand of communication and pushing me beyond the assumed limitations of the medium. This will be my final article for Baseball Prospectus.

It was an oddly crisp morning back in the fall of 2007, and I stood in isolation near a roped off section of grass, premature for a backfield bullpen session scheduled to occur later on in the day. My senses were calmed by the familiar smells of a fresh mow, the slight flavor kick of nearby infield dirt atomized into the air, and the tepid gas station coffee that tasted like a cruel mix of tap water and motor oil. Solitary in my thoughts, I embraced the void around me and accepted a professional summons that would alter my life from that moment forward—and in that moment of emotional quarantine, I never felt more comforted in my life. Baseball.

Seven-plus years, several hundred articles, and several hundred thousand miles of travel later, I have finally arrived at the professional destination I started traveling toward on that backfield morning, and I am proud to announce that I have been offered and have accepted a scouting position with the Chicago Cubs. Needless to say I’m both humbled and honored to join such a storied franchise, a team rich with tradition and sorrow, one on a special trajectory with special hands now steering the ship. I will be disappearing into the shadows of my dream profession, moving my life and my understanding and supportive wife to the baseball landscape that is Arizona, where I will evaluate talent at the pro, amateur, and international levels at behest of the heads of those respective departments. Basically, this is a dream job that even my dream job couldn’t dream of.

We’ve reached the point in most speeches where the actor digs deep into his bag of industry acquaintances and pulls out a collection of notable names with notable punch, and the sermon carries forth with poetic vigor for the hungry masses to enjoy. We can go ahead and skip this part of the speech. The specific individuals that have pushed me in the past are the same ones that continue to push me in the present, and their significance exists beyond any words I could possibly throw together on a page. I remind these people of my appreciation whenever possible, and to give them spotlights for the sake of the platform doesn’t seem appropriate given the gravity of their meaning to me. They know who they are. They know what they have done.

Several of the aforementioned persons of significance are members of the Baseball Prospectus Prospect Team, a loyal group of hard-charging talent evaluators who were born with baseball in their blood and radar guns in their hands. I’ve never been more proud of anything in my life than the collective work we’ve put out over the last few years, and detaching from the daily prospect debates and discussions will be the most difficult aspect of my new path.

Over the following days, weeks, and months, Joe Hamrahi, Nick Faleris, Chris Mellen, and the rest of the team will continue to deploy the most thoughtful and intelligent prospect content available on the internet, with familiar names stepping up into larger lights, and unfamiliar names stepping into a new familiarity. Long before I joined Baseball Prospectus I was a fan of Baseball Prospectus, and given the impact personnel involved with the development and delivery of the content, I will continue to be a devoted reader of the site. (Hopefully these kind words are enough currency to warrant a comp account…….. What do you say, Joe?)

This is the point in the speech where the loquaciously pompous actor gets the strings treatment, a not so subtle reminder that the allotted time for loquacious pompousness has come and gone, and those that hung on every word have now moved on. To the readers of Baseball Prospectus, whose eyes and ears have bonded together to aid in the structural significance of my spine, I thank you for that collective strength and security. To all others, you know who you are, what you have done, and how I value your continued contributions as I move on to the next phase of my professional life.

See you at the fields

Jason Parks

Jason Parks is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jason's other articles. You can contact Jason by clicking here

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