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It's late and I need to get some sleep. But before I turn in, I just need to offer a gigantic thank you to everyone who has responded to my campaign to cover spring training. The response I've received over the last 16 hours has been both overwhelming and humbling.
And I'm not just talking in a financial sense, though the response in that area has been staggering, as you can see from the embedded graphic. I'm equally appreciative, though, to all of you who have written to offer your support, either in the comments section of this site or privately through email. Many of you have never met me. Many of you have never even lived in Washington or have any connection whatsoever to the Nats. Your kindness has truly touched me, and I'm forever grateful for it.
I've tried to respond to as many of you as I can, but the inbox has been overflowing all day and I haven't been able to keep up. If I wasn't able to send you a personal response, my sincere apologies.
I do need to mention a few people by name, because they've played vital roles in making this happen and have gone above and beyond in the process...
First off, I need to mention C. Trent Rosecrans. Most of you probably don't know him, but he was actually the inspiration for this whole endeavor. Trent used to cover the Reds for the Cincinnati Post -- quite well, I might add -- only to find himself in a similar situation to mine when that paper folded altogether. He has since created a website that puts mine to shame: CNATI, which covers the Cincinnati sports scene the way it should be covered. Last month, Trent decided to start a campaign to send him to Goodyear, Ariz., for Reds camp, and his readers responded with the same kind of support I've experienced today. He's already surpassed his goal, but I know he's still looking for more help because he's actually got a staff at his site. Even if you don't contribute, make a point to check out the site because it's an impressive effort.
Second, I need to mention Brian Oliver of Nats Farm Authority, Steven Biel of FJB and Mike Harris, aka the NatsFanboyLooser. In addition to writing three of the most informative and most entertaining blogs in NatsTown, Brian, Steven and Mike have been instrumental in the launching of this site and of the spring training campaign. They've not only helped spread the word to their readers but they've also helped push me to give this thing a shot. In addition to being fine writers and baseball fans, they've been good friends throughout this process.
Third, I want to thank Keith Law of ESPN.com and Dave Cameron of FanGraphs. I've never met either gentleman before, but each made a point to get in a touch with me today wanting to spread the word to their readers, who have responded with the same kind of generosity exhibited by Nats fans. I'm grateful to both, as well as to several other sportswriter friends of mine who have been in touch today and offered their support.
And last, but most definitely not least, I must thank the real driving force of this whole operation: my wife Rachel. I've written about her a few times in the past, but it needs to be repeated: I wouldn't amount to anything without her. She has stood beside me throughout the ups and downs of the last two months, my strongest supporter by leaps and bounds. Anytime I start to question whether this really is a good idea, she immediately sets me straight and insists I go through with it. Whoever came up with the term "better half" most certainly had her for inspiration.
OK, enough sentimental stuff. Time to steer this blog back to its intended subject: baseball. I'll do that tomorrow (er, at this point, I guess later today) but I'll be sure to keep the running tally and link to the donations site up throughout.
Talk to you soon.