A friend of mine from college — to whom I’ll refer as “Justin,” largely owing to how that’s his name — went to a dinner party at the Chelsea Hotel shortly after he graduated in 2002. He was surprised to find, among the guests of said party, Arthur Miller — as in the actual Arthur Miller, who wrote basically every play you’re required to read in high school.
“I seriously never thought of him as a real person,” Justin said about the experience — which sentiment I invoke here on account of that’s more or less how I felt about Rob Neyer before making his acquaintance at a meeting of the Northwest chapter of SABR in 2008, I think it was. In fact, “making his acquaintance” might be the incorrect phrasing. More appropriate might be “imposed myself upon” or “harassed in word and deed.” In any case, until that point, Rob Neyer had only existed for me as a popular and beflanneled internet evangelist of sabermetrics — someone, like Arthur Miller, with whose work I was quite familiar, but with whom I never expected to actually interact.
Owing to a series of events that are mostly the product of luck, I’ve had the opportunity to become something like close with Neyer — close enough such that not only (a) I have the privilege of receiving a birthday card (such as the one pictured here) from him, but also that (b) he willn’t feel entirely as though I’ve violated the terms of our friendship by rendering the receipt of said birthday card into a post on the absurd internet site of which I’m the editor.
Here, for the benefit of the reader, is a photo of the envelope of Neyer’s birthday card — with addresses obscured for Maximum Privacy™: