Baseball Toaster Fairpole
Baseball Toaster To Be Unplugged, Disassembled For Scraps
2009-02-02 20:56
by Ken Arneson

If you've been paying attention lately, you've noticed that Baseball Toaster has had a bunch of its knobs and switches and dials and wires fall off in recent months.  Today, with the largest part of our engine leaving to join the Los Angeles Times, we are officially sending the Toaster to the scrap heap.

We'll leave the casing intact--the archives for the blogs that are not being redirected elsewhere will remain online here indefinitely. But after tomorrow, we will cease publishing new blog entries. A few days after that, we will close up comments. The Toaster will then be left here, frozen in time, a snapshot of an era that has passed, until it one day finally rusts away.

The cliches that baseball players spew when they retire are all true and appropriate here.  Thanks to all my teammates.  Thanks to the fans.  We've been through deaths and births and triumphs and disappointments together--you've been like a family to me.  The only thing I can think to say that would differ from a typical sports retirement speech is, "Bite me, Russian spammers."

Here's a list of where the Toastmasters are scattering to:

New locations (Updated 17 Dec 2011)

New blogs, but not just sports

Reply hazy, try again

  • Mike Carminati (Mike's Baseball Rants)
  • Philip Michaels (Catfish Stew)

Tearful retirement speeches

  • Derek Smart (Cub Town)
  • Score Bard (Humbug)

Yes, I am retiring from baseball blogging, as well.  But not before I post one final, epic, monster-sized (so large I had to alter my database structure to accomodate it) Catfish Stew blog entry on Wednesday, my 43rd birthday.  I'm going to get it all off my chest, leave it all on the table, use up all my fuel, and then I'll have nothing left to say or do but send myself off to the junkyard, anyway.  It will be the last post here on Baseball Toaster.

After that...see you around.

Comments (80)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2009-02-02 17:01:03
1.   underdog
Posted this in Jon's DT announcement, but to repeat: Thanks Ken, and company, for keeping the Toaster going so well for so long, I'll miss the simplicity of this place. Don't be a stranger!

And I'll miss the Griddle, too, Bob. :-(

2009-02-02 17:01:19
2.   Gagne55
No more Griddle :(
2009-02-02 17:07:50
3.   fanerman
I love this place and I'm going to miss it. The Toaster is like my internet home away from home. Thanks for everything, Ken.
2009-02-02 17:08:46
4.   Bluebleeder87
I'm speechless. :o|
2009-02-02 17:14:28
5.   Sam DC
And still in Beta.
2009-02-02 17:14:33
6.   Calyankee
Thanks, Ken, for all your good work!
2009-02-02 17:23:33
7.   ToyCannon
Thanks Ken, you put together a great group.
2009-02-02 17:23:58
8.   Eric Enders
I feel like I was punched in the gut. And that's not a complaint, but a compliment as to how vital this site has become. I'll miss it. Thanks, Ken.
2009-02-02 17:30:48
9.   Ken Arneson
I am literally right this second watching the sun set. It feels oddly metaphorical, for some reason.
2009-02-02 17:34:03
10.   Bob Hendley
Thanks Ken. Bye Bob :(
2009-02-02 17:41:58
11.   EricNus
Thanks for everything.
2009-02-02 18:03:22
12.   thinkblue88
Thank you for creating the Toaster.
Also, good luck to you sir.
2009-02-02 18:05:50
13.   Chyll Will
Good times, man. Good times...
2009-02-02 18:16:57
14.   Humma Kavula
As someone who was around for Humbugardy, I must say that I kept hoping that Humbugardy II would someday come around.
2009-02-02 18:23:22
15.   trainwreck
I am a sad panda.
2009-02-02 18:26:22
16.   trainwreck
2009-02-02 18:36:47
17.   Bama Yankee
Thanks for all the hard work, Ken. The Toaster will be missed.

Bob, sorry to see the Griddle go as well. After the last two years of just missing out on the Griddle's NCAA Tourney Contest title, this was gonna be my year (I was really looking forward to that set of steak knives).

2009-02-02 18:45:01
18.   jjf3
I was not much of a commenter here (I think maybe 2 or 3 over the last few years), but allow me a brief "this sucks"!

I don't even root for any of the teams you've communally covered (though I had a brief childhood awe of the A's), but this was always a great place to come on a daily basis and take the pulse of a wide array of fandoms, viewpoints, and differing opinions, linked by one common theme - the love of baseball. You know, America's pastime, and all that...

This being both life and the internet, it was bound to ultimately be ephemeral, to one day rust away, but, dammit, I loved the communal aspect. And I'm not sure if it was the writers or the commenters (I suspect the former), but this cyber place had a feel that is/was different from other sites that attempt to "create" a larger community by adding new voices. I'm an Astro's fan, and you never felt a need to create/find an Astro's blog to bring in, and I sure didn't care.

This was bound to happen one day, but knowing that doesn't make it any more fun.

Best wishes to all of you, in life and/or any new endeavors.


2009-02-02 18:55:09
19.   dianagramr
Sigh ...

Thanks for everything Ken ....

2009-02-02 18:55:50
20.   DXMachina
Thanks, Ken. I really enjoyed this place.
2009-02-02 19:12:00
21.   Greg Brock
This has been an amazing place. Thanks for everything.
2009-02-02 19:15:50
22.   mike eff
you guys were the pioneers. we'll miss you--thanks for everything!
2009-02-02 19:21:51
23.   El Lay Dave
Thanks Ken for a great experience. The gathering place was top-notch and the interface simply user-friendly. Thanks for providing the forum that resuscitated my expiring interest in baseball.
2009-02-02 19:23:20
24.   Daniel Zappala
Thank you, Ken. Your work has touched a great many lives.
2009-02-02 19:48:48
25.   Tommy Naccarato
I can't help to think that retiring this thing is a huge mistake. Why not put Timmerman in Jon's spot for game to game coverage as well as his thoughtful insight?

Who knows how much longer the LA Times will even be in existence, and honestly, I can see Jon moving on to bigger and better things past the LA Times...

All my best,
Tommy Naccarato

(and should you feel the need to respond by email,

2009-02-02 19:57:13
26.   mbtn01
Sorry to see it come apart. I very much liked the content and the layout. Thanks!
2009-02-02 20:12:02
27.   StolenMonkey86
I'll miss the community, the format, etc. While I'll be sure to check everyone else on their new sites, I'll miss seeing those who are leaving. Catfish Stew is some of the best stuff I've ever read.

Godspeed, and it was nice while it lasted.

2009-02-02 20:21:05
28.   Jason in Canada
thanks ken... really sad to see it go...
2009-02-02 20:40:11
29.   Sox Fan In NYC
i'm just sad I didn't discover you guys earlier. Godspeed.
2009-02-02 20:42:36
30.   Johnny Nucleo
I'm sad. You did a great job Ken. Salutations.
2009-02-02 20:51:32
31.   singledd
Still the most readable format on the net.
Good luck Ken... from a Bronx Banterer.
2009-02-02 20:56:35
32.   fordprefect
I'm away from this planet for a few years and see what happens?

-Human beings. Hmph.

Seriously Ken this was my favorite site. Game chats were like having a bunch of my best friends in the living room watching the game and cracking wise. Thanks for the memories.

2009-02-02 21:32:53
33.   thelarmis
thanks for everything, ken! the toaster - bronx banter, specifically - was the first and only board i've ever joined. i really loved it here. i'll miss the griddle and hope to see many of you over at the new cardboard gods.

take good care and all the best! - thelarmis

2009-02-02 21:36:06
34.   RIYank
Thanks, Ken,
The Toaster will always be to me the birthplace of baseball blogging. I'll raise a glass -- a toast to the Toaster -- at Bronx Banter's new digs, and a special one to Fairpole and the Griddle, too.
2009-02-02 22:03:45
35.   fordprefect
Oh, and Ken?

One last thing.

Thanks for introducing me to Swedish.

Now if you could just introduce me to a lissome Swedish model.....

2009-02-02 22:12:40
36.   Andrew Shimmin
Thank you Ken. It's been a pleasure enjoying the fruits of your labor (and for free!), lo these many years. Best wishes in all your future endeavors.
2009-02-02 22:26:28
37.   dkminnick
What a sad day. Thanks for building this place, Ken. And as I said on the new DT/Times site: They should hire you to straighten out their blog world over there. Yours is the easiest blog to read and use that I have ever seen, by far. Hope to see you over there soon.
2009-02-02 22:28:14
38.   Strike4
I've always known I'll be a wreck when Vin Scully retires, but the end of the Toaster hadn't even occurred to me and so sheesh, now I'm all shook up. My second Scotch is in hand already, next will be breaking out some Jackson Browne and Kurt Cobain. It's reliving the night of my favorite girlfriend telling me she's leaving. There may be others that come along, but for now, there's just the dull achy void of loss. Too new to feel permanent yet, just the sense that whatever replaces the Toaster in my life will not be as impactful. Thanks for all your work, I can't imagine all the hours you've put into this. It's been your dedication that's made this site so special.
2009-02-02 22:41:58
39.   68elcamino427
Thanks for a place that put alot of fun into my heart.

You all did a great, great job. I will miss this place.

2009-02-02 23:52:14
40.   Linkmeister
Ken, you put together a good site (portal?) and attracted a whole bunch of talent to populate it. Thanks for all the good work.
2009-02-03 02:58:01
41.   dodger fan in hong kong
I was not expecting this - at all. Not surprisingly, the news really saddens me. Ken (and all the others), thank you for this community. You need to know that this community has stretched across the globe, including me from the tiny corner of Hong Kong.

All the best in going forward.

2009-02-03 05:10:21
42.   Gen3Blue
Woke up this morning, forgot and went to Toaster---it still seems unreal.
2009-02-03 05:48:38
43.   Shaun P
14 Here, here!

Good luck Ken, and thanks for everything. Drop by the Banter every so often and let us know how you are.

I'm going to miss this place.

2009-02-03 06:53:24
44.   Raf
Thanks for everything, Ken. And thanks bloggers, in my short time here at the Toaster, I've learned quite a bit. Enough to change my stance on Walter O'Malley.

Thanks everyone.

2009-02-03 08:16:10
45.   vockins
This was a great resource. Thanks for all the work. I'll miss it.
2009-02-03 08:16:17
46.   Sushirabbit
As always, a day late and a few bricks short... just wanted to add my Thanks and Praise.
2009-02-03 09:01:52
47.   standuptriple
Say it ain't so!
I was first attracted by The Banter, but even when they left I still visited daily. I really enjoy all the perspectives and usually intelligent thoughts from all the writers and commenters. If I had any skills or initiative I'd set up a halfway house for all the Toaster orphans.

Best of luck to all,

(stranded @ third)


2009-02-03 09:20:37
48.   Peter
Thanks for everything, Ken. Quality writing with intelligent commentary made this my favorite baseball site. It's sad to see you go.
2009-02-03 11:17:33
49.   LAT

Thank you for creating a special place. I'm sure it has been a lot of work and emotional sweat to get it to where it is. Kind of like sending the kids off. You should know it was and will be appreciated for a long time to come. There is no other place I know of where such kind, bright and pleasant people are led by a merry band of intelligent and thoughtful writers. This site will be sorely missed by all who visited.

2009-02-03 12:36:42
50.   MC Safety
I'll miss this place.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2009-02-03 12:40:14
51.   Ranma

I also want to express my gratitude to you for creating a cozy and intimate place for intelligent and bright people to simply express their views in a civil manner. While I may not have conversed with you directly your efforts here were very much appreciated from my end. I wish you all the best in your much deserved break/retirement and possible future endeavors. Thank you very much for creating a little slice of online heaven.


2009-02-03 14:19:06
52.   Bluebleeder87
I'm gonna miss this place. a lot of great memories.

asta nunca.

2009-02-03 14:40:08
53.   Ember Nickel
It's been an incredible honor to participate in this. Thanks to the entire community.
2009-02-03 16:13:25
54.   Jim Hitchcock
Ken, it'd be nice to think the toaster could be reincarnated on short notice. It really is the best.
2009-02-03 16:24:36
55.   Ken Arneson
54 Well, Jim, I'll leave that possibility open if the LA Times' parent company falls into Chapter 7 bankruptcy instead of Chapter 11. But I'm sincerely hoping it doesn't come to that.
2009-02-03 17:09:05
56.   al bundy
Ken, thanks for everything. I wasn't even an A's fan but very much enjoyed reading your blog.
2009-02-03 19:33:17
57.   3rd gen yankee fan
It's the way of the web. Ken, thanks for everything. I can't tell you how happy I was when I stumbled upon this place about 3 years ago. It was home, and homey. Thanks to all the blog maintainers -- I learned a lot, and laughed a lot. And thanks to my fellow posters, even the Dodger fans. What a blast. RIP Jim Dean.

Finally, one last time...

red sox suck!

2009-02-03 20:00:28
58.   Inside Baseball
Thank you so much for all your work in making this such a special site. I am very sorry that it is coming to an end but I wish you and everyone involved nothing but great games and amazing comebacks (especially).
2009-02-03 20:03:31
59.   FirstMohican
You guys executed the way you knew how to execute.
2009-02-03 20:42:28
60.   rilkefan
Dang. I always found this a very readable and commentable site. Good luck going forward.
2009-02-04 00:10:06
61.   claybeez
Thanks, Ken, for providing this valuable corner in the (faux) world for a great baseball exchange. The Toaster will be fondly remembered.

All the best to all the bloggers and their crews!

2009-02-04 00:33:03
62.   pericos
38 Ahem


I stumbled upon Cardboard Gods about a year and a half ago, I can't remember how exactly I came across Josh's prose, but I was hooked from day one. From the moment I realised there was a site beyond just these musings on baseball cards, that there was further and equally thoughtful discourse going on all around about a variety of teams - nay, not just teams, whole local cultures - I made a point of visiting multiple points a day. To get a handle on the pulse of fans in towns whose teams I'd always appreciated, despised, loved, enjoyed, and frowned upon was an absolute delight. My baseball life has been enriched being able to visit the Toaster, and my daily read won't be the same without the wander through the writings of this band of neo-Hellenists.


I have to admit, the last couple days have been a whirlwind for me and tonight was the first time since the weekend that I'd had a moment to catch up with the Toaster. To find that 'it's all over' comes as a shock and more than just a tinge of sadness. I'll read as many of the extant blogs as possible, but how could it possibly be the same?!

Patrick in Vancouver

p.s. Bob please save the Griddle!!

2009-02-04 06:59:28
63.   Fuller R
Happy Birthday Ken, and thanks for Baseball Toaster. Warm regards and Best Wishes for the future.
2009-02-04 12:22:30
64.   Jeb
So sorry to read about this. The toster was a great interface for people to discuss baseball and life. It will be forever missed. I'm kind of proud that my post was the 1,000,001th object on here.
2009-02-05 11:40:09
65.   Ken Arneson
Final Top 100 standings of objects created in the Fairpole database:

Rank    Count    Name
001    71620    Bob Timmermann
002    44819    Jon Weisman
003    23203    underdog
004    19472    D4P
005    18230    trainwreck
006    17173    Alex Belth
007    16160    Cliff Corcoran
008    15945    Bluebleeder87
009    15827    bhsportsguy
010    14491    Greg Brock
011    13798    Eric Stephen
012    13784    natepurcell
013    12796    Eric Enders
014    12546    Andrew Shimmin
015    10935    Steve
016    10557    ToyCannon
017    10235    regfairfield
018    10044    RIYank
019      9977    Mattpat11
020      9925    Marty
021      9863    williamnyy23
022      8320    Ken Arneson
023      8174    Gen3Blue
024      8164    randym77
025      7993    Xeifrank
026      7927    Icaros
027      7886    JoeyP
028      7758    Sam DC
029      7713    yankz
030      7556    OldYanksFan
031      7531    El Lay Dave
032      7104    Tripon
033      6972    weeping for brunnhilde
034      6910    King of the Hobos
035      6887    scareduck
036      6842    Mike Carminati
037      6766    Zack
038      6707    fanerman
039      6689    monkeypants
040      6311    Shaun P
041      6140    KG16
042      5908    Vishal
043      5734    rbj
044      5734    LAT
045      5707    Chyll Will
046      5578    tommyl
047      5543    Uncle Miltie
048      5506    overkill94
049      5496    dzzrtRatt
050      5044    Daniel Zappala
051      5028    StolenMonkey86
052      5004    mehmattski
053      4933    Scott Long
054      4570    blue22
055      4372    BklynBmr
056      4313    JL25and3
057      4247    Josh Wilker
058      4168    pistolpete
059      4153    Linkmeister
060      4074    cult of basebaal
061      4054    Humma Kavula
062      3914    Mark T.R. Donohue
063      3894    Jim Hitchcock
064      3870    Alex41592
065      3808    Stormer Sports
066      3716    Sliced Bread
067      3643    Benaiah
068      3498    GoBears
069      3474    das411
070      3421    LogikReader
071      3254    cargill06
072      3200    Gagne55
073      3185    thelarmis
074      3144    Suffering Bruin
075      3092    Simone
076      2944    Schteeve
077      2924    Jim Dean
078      2849    dianagramr
079      2828    CanuckDodger
080      2787    silverwidow
081      2764    Gold Star for Robot Boy
082      2729    seamus
083      2707    bigcpa
084      2555    Kevin Lewis
085      2542    nick
086      2519    C2Coke
087      2508    Disabled List
088      2485    capdodger
089      2455    Bob Hendley
090      2406    Curtis Lowe
091      2404    Howard Fox
092      2397    Will Carroll
093      2389    SF Yanks
094      2363    sporky
095      2358    JeremyM
096      2357    Fearing Blue
097      2315    wsporter
098      2289    sanchez101
099      2266    68elcamino427
100      2230    gpellamjr

2009-02-05 12:17:53
66.   kinbote
66 I was hoping to see my names in light just once. I coulda been somebody . . .
2009-02-05 12:18:27
67.   kinbote
65 66 And I can't even do THAT right. {sobs}
2009-02-05 12:21:42
68.   fanerman
#38! Nice.
2009-02-05 13:37:22
69.   underdog
Don't show this to my boss or girlfriend. ;-) I need a life.

Thanks for the memories!

2009-02-05 13:56:43
70.   arborial
65 Wow, congratulations Phenomenal Smith
2009-02-05 15:11:40
71.   yankz
Wow, I haven't commented here in what feels like years, but thanks for running a great site. Definitely one of the best around. Glad to see I cracked the top 30.
2009-02-05 15:16:59
72.   Daniel Zappala
#50 is not bad for someone who rarely participates in game-day chats.
2009-02-05 16:33:36
73.   Jim Hitchcock
Wow, that is cool.
2009-02-05 20:44:31
74.   Bluebleeder87
all I can think of while looking at the list is the quality of all the commenters...

i was just this goofy idiot, it's o.k. at least I can say I was part of it. :o)

2009-02-05 21:55:22
75.   thelarmis
73 hey, you took my spot! ; )

man, i'm gonna miss this place. well, i already have been missing it since i followed the banter over to our new digs.

thanks again for everything, ken. all the best!!!

2009-02-06 07:37:32
76.   Sushirabbit
My handle is sushirabbit, and I'm a toasterholic. I'm in denial. But, I'm wide awake.
2009-02-06 16:40:57
77.   Bluebleeder87

tell me about it... except I'm having withdrawal symptoms.

2009-02-06 19:41:02
78.   Ember Nickel
The "Baseball Toaster was unplugged" note on the sidebar should read 2009, no?
2009-02-06 20:53:01
79.   Ken Arneson
78 Oops, yes, thanks.
2009-02-13 00:44:50
80.   Ken Arneson
The rest is silence.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.