Yankees fantasy correspondent Mick Doherty was waived by ESPN.com because he refused to accept changes to his handshake contract. After four years, covering two teams with his often brilliant prose and occasional baseball wisdom, for the "reward" of a byline and a free fantasy game, MED deserved better.
Though I'm not very happy about it, or how it was handled, I posted a new Jays column today instead of tendering my resignation. I made a commitment I'm going to honour, but the gig won't be as much fun without Mick, and suddenly, it feels like my last year.
Doherty once a week is better than most writers every day, which ESPN forgot. They apparently had a "replacement" standing by, and pulled the plug on Mick's final piece after it was on the site for just a couple of hours. It is reproduced here, because it's my site, and I can:
Fare-Thee-Well, Yankee Fans and Roto GMs
To better serve the thousands of fantasy baseball enthusiasts who count on ESPN.com correspondents for key local information, The World-Wide Leader will soon be presenting a new Yankee scribe who can commit to more than once-a-week and relevant breaking news updates. Rumor has it the replacement might even be an East Coaster, meaning he or she can pick up local sports talk radio and telecasts, which can be hard to tune in here in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
ESPN.com has consistenly brought excellent correspondents on board this project, including (but not limited to) current authors John Gizzi of the A's, Kent "Coach" Williams of the Jays, Don Miller of the Rays (A's, Jays and Rays ... hmmm), Brian Abbott of the Tigers and Scott Lucas on my old beat, the Rangers, as well as former contributors Chris Trimmer of the Indians and Thor Kolnes of the Marlins. So whoever ends up in this spot next is bound to bring you terrific information.(Just noticed that all of the above except Thor have double letters in their names. Not sure what that means. But it's fun to point out.)
The spring training reviews of print fantasy publications will still conclude, as promised last week, with a look at the Sports Weekly annual insert, which is usually the best single source in print as you head into a draft or auction. The final review will appear on The Batter's Box, the baseball blog hosted by the Jays' Williams, now at its new address: http://www.battersbox.ca.
A few final thoughts ... Jeff Weaver: yes ... Nick Johnson: no ... Hideki Matsui: above average, not an all-star ... Robin Ventura: old ... Jose Contreras: wait on it ... David Wells: turn the page ... Mariano Rivera: be sure you have Steve Karsay ... Other questions? They've probably been covered in one of the six previous posts to this space since the turn of the new year, but of course, things are always changing.
An archive of those six posts -- and actually, of more than 110 columns posted since 2000 -- is available at http://dellepro.dellhost.com/doherty/sports/ESPN/. I'll leave the e-mail questions to my successor, and please note that the "RotoYanks@yahoo.com" e-mail address will be discontinued at the end of March. My heartfelt thanks to the more than 250,000 readers who've accessed my correspondence in the last 3+ years -- even those of you who started your e-mails "Dear Moron" -- and please feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Excelsior!
And so ends an era. Give the new guy, David Leon, credit for his initial paragraph:
Before I introduce myself as your new Yankee Correspondent, I must first say a word of thanks to my predecessor, Mick Doherty. While I've never met the guy, he seems like a real class act and has left very big shoes for me to fill. I thank him for all of the resource information he provided to me and the advice that he offered. Mick did say goodbye in his last post dated March 13, but unfortunately it was erased by ESPN when I took over last night. In a nutshell, he thanked you all for reading and sending your emails.
David's a nice young man, but he's no Mick Doherty. Fortunately, there's only one of those, and for better or worse, he's appearing sporadically at a Batter's Box near you, for the same pay he got at ESPN, minus the fantasy game. At least we appreciate him.