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A difficult goodbye

Posted: December 25th, 2015 | Dugout Chatter, Featured, Sports & Fitness | No Comments

By Jeff Praught | Dugout Chatter

While I realize with Jeff’s byline above you are probably expecting his words to follow here, but unfortunately that won’t be the case. Jeff — who has been at the helm of this column since Sept. 14, 2010 — tendered his resignation this week.

Yep, after more than five years committed to a bi-weekly sports column, he’s done. So I’ll take it from here

Truth be told, he tried to quit a few months ago but I — his editor — begged him to stay, even if it meant just one issue per month. He begrudgingly agreed, then took a little time off.

I was eager to see him back in the saddle for a couple issues, but after writing a moving tribute to a beloved friend who passed away suddenly last month [see “A standing ovation for #PressGateBruce,” Vol. 6, Issue 25], Jeff threw in the towel with me for the very last time.

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Praught (far right) and other friends of Mike Petracca show their support. (Courtesy J. Praught)

In the five-plus years Jeff has tendered this column, he’s tackled topics in a wide range of areas and proven that his knowledge of sports reaches across all platforms.

Jeff’s column has included features on major league baseball and its players; predictions of an entire MLB season; many annual predictions of the NFL season; his random thoughts on the Chargers and the Padres; several “looks back” on the year of sports; and he’s even shared his personal feelings regarding MLB’s broken Hall of Fame process and how people treat referees.

Jeff has also written features on local women’s tackle football teams; and various LGBT sports clubs that he’s not personally interested in, including rugby, skiing, tennis, wrestling and swimming.

More often than not, Jeff’s column has provided play-by-play coverage of the local LGBT-centric basketball, flag football and softball leagues he loves so dearly, especially for games during an annual tournament or playoff series.

Jeff has also told some very poignant stories about several people in our local sports community that mattered to him — #PressGateBruce, Roman Jimenez, David “Mona” Valenzuela, and Mike Petracca, to name a few — the latter who suffered a brain injury earlier this year when a bat, accidentally thrown during a batter’s swing, connected with Petracca’s head some 100 feet away. Jeff handled each of their stories with such comfort and care that he made them matter to us, too.

It is important to note that Jeff has written all of these columns while not only juggling a full-time job that required long hours, extended work weeks and various required special events, but also while serving on the board — and even as president of — various local sports organizations; often more than one at a time.

This man lives and breathes sports and he has always shown up. Always.

I wish him all the best in the next phase of his career (he recently received two quick promotions at the sport-related job he adores) and hope I will continue to see him knocking around town at his favorite watering holes.

It has been my pleasure to work with him on this paper.

Thank you, Jeff, for your dedication and mastery of the game.

Please take a moment to tell Jeff how much you have enjoyed his column by writing him at dugoutchatter@gmail.com.

P.S. Though it will be almost impossible to fill his shoes, I am now accepting applications for a sports writer.

—Morgan M. Hurley is the managing editor of SDCNN and the editor of Gay San Diego. She can be reached at morgan@sdcnn.com.

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