Thank you

A story:

Ten years ago right about now, I was a columnist for MLB.com, based in New York. I’d never worked a beat before, never spent any significant time in a clubhouse before. I was 27 years old and definitely punching above my weight class, so my superiors decided that perhaps I could use some seasoning. The company had an opening in St. Louis, and it seemed like a good fit.

Three weeks after my first conversation with our editor-in-chief, I was on a plane to West Palm Beach, covering my first Spring Training on the Cardinals beat. I had no clue what I was doing. I was totally untrained, and should have been more nervous than I actually was. The idea, I thought, was to get two or three years of seasoning, then get back to columns.

Two or three years became five, became eight, became 10. I met my wife (and her cat) and then we got married (not to the cat). We got a dog and bought a house. I made friends. I learned just how hard and rewarding it is to cover a beat, and learned a great deal about being a professional. I covered two World Series champions, three MVP seasons, and at least two future Hall of Famers. I started tweeting and blogging. I covered two player deaths — two too many.

And now, after 10 seasons in St. Louis, I’m leaving the beat, effective next month. As of the Winter Warm-Up, I’ll be handing over the reins to a really talented, dedicated replacement. I assure you the beat will be in excellent hands, and the announcement on who is taking that job will follow this announcement closely. You won’t have to wait long, and you won’t be disappointed in the choice.

As for me, I’ve been promoted to a job I’ve dreamed about for a long time, serving as a national writer/columnist (title to be determined, actually) for MLB.com. My wife and I will be leaving St. Louis within the next three months or so (the exact time frame remains a bit flexible), bound for New York. I’ll still be writing baseball, I’ll still be working for a company I absolutely love, and I’ll still be in St. Louis sometimes. But this job, this consuming, amazing, overwhelming job, will soon be in someone else’s hands.

The main thing I want to say, as I head east and transition to a new role, is thank you. Thank you to everyone who has read Cardinals.com and read this blog. Thank you to everyone in the St. Louis media, and in the city, who has been so good to me.

Thank you to my wife, Erin, for patience, support, dedication and general amazingness. None of the rest of this matters nearly as much as you, and I try never to forget that.

Thank you to Joe Ostermeier, R.B. Fallstrom and Dave Wilhelm, who gave me guidance when I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Without your kindness, patience and direction, I probably wouldn’t have lasted two years, never mind 10.

Thank you to Derrick Goold and John Marecek, who have become two of my best friends and who have helped keep me sane over the years. Each is as good as anybody around at what he does, and Derrick in particular has made my work better every day by upholding an extremely high standard in his own work. This market is lucky to have them, just as I’m lucky to have them as friends and colleagues.

Thank you to Rick Hummel and Joe Strauss, two of the best in the business, who set a standard that I strived to match. Thank you to Bernie Miklasz and Frank Cusumano, who have promoted me more, and spoken more kindly of me, than I could ever deserve. Thank you to Brian Bartow, Chris Tunno, Melody Yount, Terry Rodgers, Jim Anderson and Brad Hainje for always being good to me no matter how much I asked of them. Thank you to Stephen Norris, Conor Nicholl, Daniel Berk, Lee Hurwitz, B.J. Rains, Michael Bleach and Austin Laymance, who gave the best they had as associate reporters, committed to making Cardinals.com the best site it could be. Thank you to all of the players, coaches, front office people and manager (yes, I covered one manager in 10 years) who treated me with respect and courtesy.

Thank you to the many other friends I have made, both in the press box and outside, who have made Erin and me feel at home. We’ll miss all of you. And anyone I didn’t name, it’s because I’m forgetful (surely you know this) and not because you’re not important.

I’m ready, and excited, for the next gig. It’s what I’ve been seeking for years. But I’m also more than a little sad. This has been not just a rewarding job but a defining one. Y’all have humored me when I’ve gone off on tangents, kept me honest when my work has slipped, and always reminded me that I have this job because people care about the team I’ve covered. It’s a job and a period in my life I will always treasure and will never forget.

I’m not entirely sure how to wrap this up. I never really covered Jack Buck. He passed away in my first year on the beat. But I do know that I can’t say it any better than his sign off, so here goes:

“So long, for just a while.”

Thanks, everybody. I’ll miss you. Stay in touch.

-M.

66 Comments

First La Russa, then Pujols, now you? How much can a town be expected to take?

Seriously, we will miss you covering the beat. I’ve always appreciated your interactions with the fan base, especially the blogging community. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors!

Congrats on the promotion. Cards fans, like myself, will definitely miss your game recaps and the like while covering the beat.

Matthew,

Thanks for your excellent coverage over the years. You’ve become a stable voice behind the team that many of us live and die with. While some try for over-the-top reporting to appeal to the SportsCenter generation, you kept it real. Coming from a fellow journalist, as well as a fan of your work – thank you. Good luck in your future endeavors.

Thank you for your fine coverage of my ballclub. You made me a better and more knowledgeable fan. Best of luck in your future endeavors. I look forward to your writing on MLB.

Congrats! We’ll definitely miss you covering the beat.

Congrats, love your work

Really enjoyed your work and it was pretty obvious to me that you shouldn’t remain a beat writer for much longer. It’s a well deserved promotion and best of luck.

Thanks for keeping me up to date for the last few years. I will definitely miss the tweets, and the blog. Good luck with your future endeavor. Be sure to keep tweeting.

You will be missed. You’ve been a part of my daily routine for a very long, long time. Congratulations on your new job!
–Jeff

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Thanks Matthew for all you have done for Cardinal Nation. Congrats on the promotion and good luck in your future. It was an honor to read the blogs and tweets. You will be greatly missed

You’re the best Matt! Good Luck, I can’t wait to read your columns in your new position. Congrats!

Sad news for the Cardinals beat, great news for baseball fans everywhere else. Selfishly, looking forward to having you around the office a little bit more. Congrats!!

On to a well deserved new life chapter! Your coverage of the Cards was stellar and you will be missed. It’s OK if I continue to follow you on Twitter, right?

Had no idea you were from NY. Years ago i had a co-worker who kept telling me that he knew someone who wrote for mlb.com. His name was Jim Holderman. Could it be? Are you the friend he kept referring to?

Matt you’ll be greatly missed ..especially by me, who has appreciated your responses to my numerous inane questions and comments.. Best of Luck ..you are a talented and professional writer who will continue to earn the respect and “friendship” of your readership. Those who will be more exposed to your writing are in for a treat ..

Enjoy !!
Oh & Merry Christmas to you and Erin …

Nice going, Leach! Congratulations. The good old days of covering our teams in the NLCS and celebrating at White Castle are some of my greatest memories. You’ll be fantastic in the new gig – good luck! Footer

Congratulations and we’ll miss your insight!

Congrats & thanks for all your work Matthew! You’ve been amazing for Cardinal Nation. Best of luck!

Congratulations on the promotion, you will be missed. I am just happy that you aren’t moving to Anaheim!

As one of MLB.com’s datacasters in STL, I’d hoped to get to know you a bit better this next season, perhaps even bring you an illy coffee, but so much for that! Congratulations and good luck, Angie Hull

Congratulations, Matt. Sorry I didn’t get to know you better than outside the BBWAA dinner and meetings. It’s sounds like a tremendous gig you’re going to and maybe you can let us know how they do the BBWAA dinners up in New York so we can make ours just a little better than it lready is. Wishing you nothing but the best of luck … Myron

St. Louis will miss you. Congrats!

Matthew, you’ll really be missed. Don’t think you can be replaced on the STL beat. I live in Brooklyn, so I know you must be excited to return to NYC… but speaking as a Cardinals fan, you have been a true privilege to read, watch, and listen to. Thanks for all your hard work.

Well dang! Another major loss to Cardinal Nation! Congratulations on the promotion. Keep your head down and your eyes open in New York, and when you get tired of the big city, come back to the big little city. You will be missed.

Really enjoyed your work. Although now living in the on the east coast, your reports kept me feeling like was right there, in St.Louis, with the team. Good luck with the new gig!

I agree with these other guys…first Tony…then Albert and now you!! You bring to life the life of the Cardinals and I am excited for you but sad for us, Cardinal Nation. We’re like family, we Cardinal Nation types, we share in the rejoicing and the sadness as well!! Hoping for the Best for you and Erin and hope you enjoy New York!! May God Always Bless you in all that you do!!! ~Danny~ aka Cardfan20

Congratulations and good luck. I will still expect to see some music discussions every now and then via your column or Twitter. Either will do. Cheers.

I’ve really enjoyed your work on Cardinals.com, and I’m sure I’ll be a huge fan of your future work as well. Congratulations on the well earned promotion.

Congrats on the promotion! It is overdue and well-deserved. I’ll keep following you and look forward to more well written and thoughtful baseball insights from you in the future. Good luck!

‘Atta boy, ML. Hell of a job here, and good luck in the big apple, friendo.

Thank you sir for a fine job that you have done. We baseball fans here in St. Louis are grateful for your service not only to Cardinal Nation but to America’s past time!

Ex Army SGT
Timothy Boren

Congratulations on your promotion! It’s well deserved. We will miss you in St. Louis. You did a great job while you were here.

Hey Cards, how about a woman writer to replace the irreplaceable Matthew Leach? (Diane raises her hand to volunteer.)

Matthew Leach,

We all knew this day would come. The kid would finally get the call to pack and head to the big leagues. Cardinal fans around the world have been extremely blessed to have such an enormous talent covering their team day in and day out. Thank you and Godspeed in your endeavors.

Grats on the new job – over the years yours has been, imho, the most relevant opinion on all things Cardinals baseball. You will be missed greatly!

YOU WILL BE MISSED!!

Love your writitng so this is a mixed blessing for an NYC Cards fan.

Good luck to ya and see you in the city!

I feel like I’m losing a brother from another mother. The subtle humor in your tweets was always entertaining, and your comments on minutia like ballpark music seemed like you were reading my mind.

Good luck to you in NYC, brother, and thanks for all your contributions in STL!

Will definitely miss your work. Good luck in the nationwide news!f

Matthew,
Like many of your readers, I got to know you through Twitter. I’ll still be following you to see what kind of tidbits you’ll offer up. I moved from my home in Jackson, Mo., in 1991 and I still miss it. I’ve been in Kentucky since. I’m sure you’ll feel the same way years down the road about the time you spent in Stl. Good luck to you and God bless you and your family.

Congrats and great work! Looking forward to what you’ll bring us in the time ahead!

Are you leaving because of the new dress code policy in the press box?

I don’t consider that a promotion,having to move to NYC–but I hope it is salary wise, for you. I will miss your intelligent, reasonabe anbd fair coverage of the Cardinals.

congratulations on your well-deserved promotion, matt. a fine writer, a good journalist, and an excellent analyst – you do it all. also, anybody who lists tanya donelly as among his favorite musicians can’t be all bad. i hope you and erin find good friends in NYC.

the dude abides, but now on a national stage.

Their gain, our loss! It has been a treat reading your work. Onward & upward!

No sir, thank you! I have been a Cardinals for as long as I can remember, and a fan of yours for 10 years. You have brought a candidness to beat writing that is seldom seen. I applaud you for never drinking the water and always being honest, tough and fair in your coverage of the birds on the bat. We will miss you covering the Cards, but I for one will be seeking out whatever it is that you are writing about next.

Good luck in all that you do, and take good care of that cat, dog and especially your wife.

RyanButler

P.S. if you haven’t, be sure to check out all of Butch Walkers music. Amazing singer/songwriter and I believe right up your alley!

Matthew,
Your coverage of the Redbirds, pictures from the press box, observations of the music scene and sensitivity to the needs of the fans will all be missed. Congratulations and best of luck in your new endeavors.

With all due respect, as a 50+ year Cardinal fan, my favorite memory of the 2011 David Freese performance is the two out, two strike triple that tied game 6. Unbelievable! After that, the Cardinals could have won the game in a variety of ways — obviously a Freese home run was the most amazing, but the triple was the biggest play (along with Berkman’s two out, two strike hit to tie), so it was Freese’s tieing triple, not the home run that should be remembered the most.

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good luck in new york. i hope your replacement is as professional as you

CONGRATS MATTHEW—-GOOD LUCK!!!

You have done a fantastic job here. Congratulations on your new job. It is well deserved, but you be missed in St. Louis!

It has been awesome reading your work for the past decade! Of course you will be missed, but there is so much that you can go out and achieve further than St. Lou. Easily one of the best beat writers in all of MLB. Thank you!

Matthew,

it’s been a pleasure reading your work all these year. ST.Louis, the Cardinals & the rest of us fans all across the globe are far better because of everything you’ve brought to us. i am so sad to see you leave, you will be greatly missed. but congratulations on the promotion & full filling a life long dream. the big apple just got a lot better place.

don’t be a stranger. you’ll always have a place to call home here in Cardinal land. thank you again & congrats. good luck & God bless.

A bit late to the party here, but I’ll second, third, …, fifty-fourth what everyone else has said. Thanks for ten great years, and we look forward to hearing more from you in your new gig.

I can’t believe it has been ten years. Seems like you just joined on. I have loved how you have covered the Cardinals. Your blogs have been great and very informative. Some of the best times I have had during your time in St. Louis have been when I was reading your tweets during a game. I think I replied to your tweets twice and remember getting a reply from you both times, and the traffic wasn’t light as I recall. On another occasion, I was passionately disagreeing (via comments on your blog) regarding a particular subject (an off-season issue a couple or three years ago). You stepped in, appreciated that we were keeping it civil, provided information and very respectfully acknowledged my position, even though it was clear that I was in the minority. (I guess I still am on that one). Anyway, for me, your descriptions and just general discussion of what was going on at the stadium–and your accessibility–(via tweets) made me almost feel like I was there experiencing the goings on and having a discussion with one of my friends–especially during road games where the game environment isn’t as familiar as at Busch. And, the timely news/information, and again your accessibility on your blog, too, made me feel like I had pretty direct access to the club house. Your laid-back approach is definitely unique and really made me feel perhaps like more of a part of Cardinal Nation than just another fan. Congratulations on your promotion!! I’ll be praying for you and your wife as you move on to your next endeavor!! Thank you Matt!!!!

You’ve been great as someone covering the club and to all of us here. Enjoy NY! Me, I’d kill for some H&H Bagels…
Alan

THANK YOU, Matthew Leach. Thank you for being a great cardinals beat writer. Thank you for being interactive and extra-informative to us Cardinals fanatics. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to our beloved organization.
Best of luck in the Big Apple. I will miss communicating with “The Dude” about Cardinals baseball. I will be following you in your career, and if/when you start a new blog, please send us a link/

Matt – Thank you so much for all your hard work over the years. You are a really sharp guy and I always looked forward to hearing your opinion. Good luck with the new gig.

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You’re one of the few reporters i actually looked FORWARD to hearing from. Gonna be sad to see you go, but hopefully it works out great for you, and maybe whoever is replacing you has learned some tips from you and will someday be just as good as you have been the last 10 years. Thanks for everything.

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We’re going to really miss you. Not only were you a great reporter but also had good taste in music. Please don’t become a Yankee fan!!

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Congratulations, Matthew. We’ll miss you and your outstanding beat coverage. Looking forward to linking to your articles from your new “beat”! Best wishes to you and Erin.

Congrats! You made keeping in touch and up to date with the Cards so enjoyable, seeing I’m mired here in Cubland. I looked forward to your insight and knowledge that I believe we have all taken you for granted, seeing that now you are leaving. I will miss your music list, and love the title of you blog, I’m a golf coach! Good luck in NYC!

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