During July of 2014, Fox Sports launched an affinity site called Just A Bit Outside, centered around baseball and their new MLB digital writer, Rob Neyer. Just A Bit Outside, nicknamed JABO, ran content from Neyer and several of Fox’s other baseball writers, including Ken Rosenthal, Jon Paul Morosi, CJ Nitkowski, and Fox personality turned Dodgers coach Gabe Kapler.
But JABO lasted for barely more than one regular season before it was shuttered. On Wednesday night, Neyer published the final post on the site entitled Farewell: What’s left of Charlie Faust. Neyer searched for and eventually found the grave of Faust before shutting JABO’s doors for good.
If you’ve read this far, I’m grateful. It’s not often that a big-time website publishes a story about a long-forgotten and –neglected grave, for the simple reason that the subject has limited appeal. So I’m grateful to you for reading, and I’m grateful to my employers for allowing me to publish nearly whatever I’ve liked here.
I’m also grateful to everyone who’s written for this site, including my co-conspirators Ken Rosenthal, Jon Paul Morosi, C.J. Nitkowski, Gabe Kapler, and Steve Hofstetter, not to mention contributors Cee Angi, John Baker, Dan Epstein, David Golebiewski, Jeff Katz, Owen King, Bob Klapisch, Anna McDonald, Erik Malinowski, Ben Mankiewicz, and Meg Rowley, along with our many friends and collaborators at FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus. I just wish I’d been able to find all of you more readers.
Oh, and I should mention Jeff Garlin, who never wrote for this site but did give me one really enjoyable hour at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market a couple of years ago.
I’m pleased to nominate Charlie Faust for the Wing of Amazing, where he would join (in my mind) luminaries like Bo Jackson and Jamie Moyer. But I’m sorry to report that this is the last JABO post. In the short term, I’ll still be writing occasionally for FOXSports.com’s MLB page. In the near term … hey, who in hell knows? Life’s short, but somehow we’re living longer and longer all the time.
Perhaps we should have seen the writing on the wall when there wasn’t a special JABO-themed telecast during the 2015 Postseason this year like there was during the 2014 Postseason.
We’re seeing more outlets begin to dedicate fewer resources to this specialized content. It started with Sports on Earth, and continued with Grantland. ESPN is still pushing forward with Five Thirty Eight and The Undefeated, but it wouldn’t shock me to see those sites eventually get the ax too. Meanwhile, Fox still has Outkick the Coverage in the fold (for better or worse), and Jason Whitlock’s J-School is also somewhat under their banner… for now, of course.
This seems like an effort to streamline all coverage from one sport under one banner – and that’s fine, it’ll help clear some confusion. But to me, it also seems like a way to remind the writers they’re not bigger than the overall brand, just like ESPN did with Bill Simmons.