As the 2011 season comes to a close, it's easy to forget how much success we had this year. If you had polled BYB in April asking whether we would consider a division title and an ALCS berth as a successful season, the results would have been about as lopsided as a "Justin Verlander or Brad Penny?" question.
Now that we have no meaningful baseball to look forward to until March (we'll still have Arizona Fall League coverage!), it's fun to think back and remember the great moments of the 2011 season. From Justin Verlander's no-hitter to Carlos Guillen's swan song against Jered Weaver to winning the first division title since 1987, 2011 was truly a year to remember for the Tigers and their fans.
BYB, in particular, enjoyed a banner year in 2011. With his second full season under his belt, Kurt has taken the site to new and unimaginable heights. Al created an excellent podcast from scratch (don't let the rest of us fool you, it's all him) and Alli managed all the logistics of a second straight BYB meet-up in July. The rest of the staff has provided excellent coverage all season long, and we've even added a few new faces to the masthead (like this guy!). In short, we've got an incredible staff here, one that I'm extremely proud to associate myself with.
On a personal note, BYB became much more than "just another website that I peruse more often than I should" this season. Having moved to the DC area 14 months ago, 2011 was the first full MLB season that I have experienced outside of the state of Michigan. While I have a fair share of Michigan friends here in DC, having the community here at BYB to share my Tigers obsession with meant much more than I could have ever imagined. From being promoted to a moderator/editor to working with Al and others on the podcast (seriously, Al deserves all the credit in the world for that thing) to sharing random stories and jokes with other commenters in the game thread, BYB has been a heaping slice of home for a kid still trying to find his way in the big city.
For those that didn't have the pleasure of reading the site when Ian was the managing editor, I recommend that you take a look into the archives whenever you have a free moment. Looking back, it's amazing to see how far this site has come in such a short time. While a lot of this has to do with SB Nation's burgeoning popularity -- this year's trade deadline was the most heavily-trafficked time frame in BYB's history, and it's very well possible that the playoffs might surpass those record numbers -- much more of it is a credit to Ian, Kurt and the community that the two of them have created
As the regulars are well aware, BYB isn't just your average baseball site where anyone and everyone throws their immediate gut reaction into the slopfest of a comment section. This is a place where the conversations are intelligent and the people are genuine. It's a place that I've been proud to associate myself with and a place that I don't plan on leaving anytime soon.
Overall, I'd like to thank anyone and everyone that has contributed something to BYB this season. From Kurt busting his tail posting content everyday to anyone that's taken the time to type out a well-thought comment or two, you have made this the most enjoyable and rewarding season of Tigers baseball that I've ever experienced.