Until Next Time, Friend

When this website was started by Mike McGehee, Danny Fowler and myself, it was truly on a whim. It was a Sunday afternoon and we were talking back and forth on Twitter, about the Rangers. We had probably had a few too many beverages as well, because we had absolutely no plan going into it. Our idea was to write a few articles about the team, maybe bitch about Wash a little and it would be seen by maybe 7 people, including the three of us.

Our initial plan, after developing it on Monday and realizing we had just spent $21 on a blank website was to give it a go for 6 months. If it was still fun after that time, then we’d go another 6 months and so on. That was it. That was the big plan. Then we actually thought about what we had done and decided to get a little more serious with the next plan, which was to write an article every couple of days, not get put on blast on Twitter for something stupid and see if we could actually get people to read our ridiculous ramblings.

Our first article was published with little to no fanfare, as expected, but we marched on. Mike wrote about emotional moments like Adrian Beltre’s 3 home run game at the Trop, Danny wrote about his utter disgust of CJ Wilson (yes, even back then we were piloting that plane) and I wrote about the match-ups.

We published something every two days, we didn’t write anything stupid, we were having fun and people were actually reading what we had to say. We gained a small, grassroots following and we added some really great people to take he load off of having to write everything ourselves. We brought Peter, Chris, Dan and Lindsey on board and our group was writing insightful stuff. Our following was gaining strength. Then it happened….

We wrote an article, which unfortunately the title escapes me & the author escapes me, but I do remember the (para)phrase that made it all happen:

The Rangers do not air their laundry, they make moves in surprising fashion. When a move happens, JD will let us know.

What happened was, Mike Rhyner of The Ticket read it. I linked it on Facebook, someone shared it and it got to Mike….somehow, someway. Mike was impressed enough to share the article and the rest is history…..almost.

The “share” by Rhynes reached a lot of people. One of those people was Scott Fitzgerald. Scott is the host of The Sports Shack on 1340 the Fan in Lubbock, Texas, and his show airs from 7 am to 9 am everyday. 

What Scott did was a pretty big deal. He took a chance on us and actually put our dumb asses on the radio. Every Wednesday for the past year and a half, we have gone on that station and talked baseball and primarily the Rangers with Scott at 7:20. We have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, whether it was Mike, Peter, Chris, Lincoln or any of us. Scott gave us our own dedicated time slot and he never deviated even when Kliff Kingsbury was hired at Texas Tech and he could have easily bumped us for a topic that his listeners wanted more than the Rangers and…..us. Regardless of ratings, we were asked to come on every week, no questions asked.

I remember vividly getting the email from Scott about coming on the radio. My first response when I looked at my inbox was, “Who is Scott Fitzgerald and what does this joker want?” Well, I was shocked when reading the email. It was our first request for a radio appearance, so it was a huge deal to us….it actually still is. I sent a text to everyone at SDI with varying degree of responses. Awesome, amazing and holy cow were among the common responses I received, along with a lone, “I hope this guy knows what he’s getting into.” It honestly seems like it was yesterday.

Sadly, today is the final edition of The Sports Shack. Scott is closing up shop and moving on to hopefully, bigger and better things. I realize this is not your typically everyday SDI article, but I felt the need to publicly thank my friend, Scott Fitzgerald. I know my mornings will be different, because I will not hear that familiar voice at 7 am say, “Good Morning Lubbock, Texas. How are we today?”

I don’t live in Lubbock, but I check in on that show at least 3 times a week on the internet. I don’t do it because I feel obligated, even though I should. I don’t tune in to make sure we know what Scott talked about before going on his show. I tune in because my friend is on the radio. And now he won’t be. I know most of you have never heard Scott on air. But if you did, I hope he made your day a little brighter like he did for us. 

Thank you, Mr. Fitzgerald for taking a chance on a little blog from DFW. I hope we didn’t disappoint you and we provided enough insight to your listeners. We, at SDI thank you for all you have done for us; the free promotions, the t-shirts and entertainment you have provided us over the last 18 or so months. We are honored to have been a small part of The Sports Shack.

Until next time, friend.

Patrick Despain is the CEO and Co-Founder of ShutDown Inning. He can be reached at Patrick.Despain@ShutDownInning.com or on Twitter @ShutDownInning
Patrick Despain
Patrick is a member of the IBWAA and creator of Shutdown Inning. He was raised him Arlington, Texas and grew up watching games on HSE and listening to Eric Nadel and Mark Holtz on the radio. He is a long time Rangers fan and never achieved his dream of being a bat boy. He know lives in Georgia with dreams of a Texas return.

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