If you’re at all familiar with my career, you know that it’s been a series of years-long periods of waiting, punctuated by changes and opportunities that have popped up more quickly than I could’ve imagined. I won’t bore you with examples, but I’ve found myself in another of those times of change. Some of the twists and turns have been great to share with the people here at FanGraphs. I got engaged last weekend; the book that Eric and I wrote is now at the printer, set to come out in April. But others have been harder. This one is hard. I have accepted a job at ESPN, which I start this week. The move completes a circle of sorts that began when I worked there under Keith Law during the 2012 season. I’ve said goodbye once before, but that doesn’t make it any easier now. FanGraphs is a special place, filled with special people who have been there for me when I needed them the most.
There are a lot of people I’d like to recognize who helped me get to this point. David Appelman and Dave Cameron come to mind first, since they brought me to FanGraphs. The first time, it was a chance to prove myself on the big stage; the second time, it was after I’d chosen to leave a bad situation with the Braves. They were excited to welcome me back when I wasn’t sure what my career would look like or where it would go next. It is impossible to overstate how much that meant to me. I’ve never had a bad thing to say about this job, this place, or the management here. It’s the perfect place to work in a lot of ways.
Eric Longenhagen has been my co-pilot this second time through and is one of those forever friends who I found later in life; I’ll always be thankful that I did. I’m sure he’ll do a great job in his role without me, but we’ll also see each other plenty, too. Meg Rowley has done an amazing job running the site, gracefully editing my words, being a great forever friend in her own regard, and, perhaps most importantly, advising me through my kitchen remodel and the workshopping of my worst tweet drafts. The list could go on forever, but there’s one other person who must be mentioned here. Keith Law has been a great friend and mentor and gave me my first chance to write words that people, both inside and outside the industry, actually read. I have huge shoes to fill at the Worldwide Leader.
I’ll leave the terms of my exact role and focus at ESPN for their press release. I’ll have more to share in the coming weeks as I get on-boarded, like what I’ll do to take the place of my weekly chats here. I’m in Bristol right now and am excited for this new challenge and to work with a new, talented team.
I think it’s appropriate to close with what I first told the people mentioned above about my decision: I am two-thirds excited about the new role, and one-third bummed that I am leaving such a great place that had done so much for me. Long live this amazing baseball blog.
Kiley McDaniel has worked as an executive and scout, most recently for the Atlanta Braves, also for the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates. He's written for ESPN, Fox Sports and Baseball Prospectus. Follow him on twitter.