A simple chime to signal an incoming e-mail. And while the news release that caused it wasn't entirely unexpected, it still set me back for a moment or two as I read the exit notice of a pair of "New" Timbers' originals in Jim Taylor and Bobby Howe. With Timber Collin Romer jumping ship to the Blazers a few weeks ago, the '06 club is definitely going to have a different feel.
For the five seasons I've been with the team, the constants have been JT, Bobby, athletic trainer Tony Guyette, Gavin, Benny, Winters and myself. I haven't talked to Tony yet, but by the time training camp rolls around next spring, the majority of that group could very well be history.
Bobby was easily the best interview of any coach I've had to work with throughout the course of my career. A broadcaster's dream, I could ask him one question and he'd give a three minute answer covering every thing I wanted to know. I think his departure will be good for his health and happiness in the long run. I've often wondered (this season in particular) what it must be like for someone of his soccer pedigree to suffer through USL First Division travel. I know a lot of people may have disagreed with some of his personnel decisions and tactic over the years, but I have no doubt that his tenure was good for the organization.
That holds true for JT as well, and I was happy to see that he will still be an advisor to the club in the future. Nowhere will you find a hipper GM in professional sports (with Boston Red Sox GM Theo Epstein as the potential exception) than JT. The fact that he was able to withstand 126 different ownership groups in six years speaks volumes about his value to the team. But more importantly, who's going to burn me CD copies of the latest and greatest alt-rock albums? Jim, my iPod will never be the same.
If you're reading this post with a beverage near by, join me in toasting the two biggest Timbers' fans of us all.