This is personal, so please forgive the self-involvement. I’m about to start doing a little more work for ESPN, and a little less work for this newspaper. This creates more than a little discomfort for me. Mama Herald raised me, and I love her. Professionally, she gave me all that I have, and that’s a love and appreciation that will not die until they bury me forever somewhere here in South Florida.
You know the only thing I’ve ever wanted professionally? To be the sports voice for South Florida. I’ve wanted it since I was riding around Miramar with a bike and a basket, throwing newspapers on lawns. I still remember looking up into the press box at the University of Miami’s baseball stadium, at columnists Edwin Pope and Greg Cote, and thinking that was the very top of the world. It delights me to think about that now, at least partially because it delights me to know how old that must make Cote feel.
I’ve never had any desire to leave Mama Herald, and have always told people that there is only one thing that could pull me away: Something that makes me more Miami. That thing has never existed, so I’ve never left. But it is about to exist. ESPN is creating it, and maintaining it will now be my full-time job. Soon, it’ll be housed in a radio and TV studio on South Beach. Need to thank the president of ESPN for that. And Miami. And this newspaper. And you.
Writing, you should know, is really lonely. It is the most fulfilling thing I do, but also the very loneliest.
I’ll still do it for this newspaper, when moved, when it matters, when LeBron is chasing something, when my neighbors need to be heard and shared, but I’m going to be working on more communal projects with my family and friends. That’s one of the many things Miami has taught me to value more as I’ve aged, the daily laughter you find and share in a place that feels like home.
I do a little daily television show on ESPN2 with my Cuban cartoon father and some friends, in a kitchen meant to look like 1980s Hialeah (which is kind of 2013 Hialeah). I do a radio show with my friends on 790 The Ticket and 104.3 FM that is about to be national on Oct. 1, but will continue to be in and for Miami.
I’m not interested in being recognized in an airport in Pittsburgh, and I’m not interested in talking about the shortstop for the Seattle Mariners. I’ve told ESPN that I’m going to continue to write and talk about the things that matter to me and Miami, and that’s what ESPN wants.
Back when I was a paper boy, all I ever wanted to be was the sports voice for South Florida.
Mama Herald raised me to be it, and now ESPN will help that life’s work echo from sea to shining sea.
This isn’t about me leaving Miami, rest assured of that.
This is, as always, about bringing Miami with me.