Here I am again, writing a season-ending message to you, my followers, as the Blues fall short of the ultimate goal. While there is clearly disappointment, it was also one of the longer runs in team history. I wasn’t really ready for it to end, but were any of us? I think I could see the writing on the wall, and started to resign myself to the looming exit. That’s helped to take the edge off the depression that manifests itself following the Blues demise. Nobody will be completely happy until the Cup parades down Market Street. The monkey is clearly still heavily on our backs at about the size of King Kong at this point, but still you can’t deny it was a good run. I’m guessing a lot of you will be expecting a stroke-inducing diatribe on this season here. You’re going to be surprised.
For all the "Debbie downer" takes I give on the aggravating things this team does, taken in whole we should be pleased at how this season ended up. Particularly given the injuries this team faced. We won a lot, we found out we have some talented rookies, and had a good - if not nerve-racking – playoff run. But don’t be confused. I’m still upset it’s over so early. I’m still not happy that this team lacks that certain something that motivates them to use their talent for a full game, every game. I‘m not satisfied by a long shot. Still, these guys made strides to that end this year. Many changes will be coming this offseason. Players will definitely be on the move, if not the coach. Stay tuned.
So that sums up the season for the Blues. I want to clear the air a bit on a couple of things regarding this account.
First, I get a lot of shit for being negative. I prefer to call it realistic, but let’s not quibble on words. I’ve gone off on folks. Sometimes specific folks and sometimes just generally. These folks from the "optimistic" crowd (who try to shove sunshine and rainbows up my ass) seem almost hell-bent to tell me I’m not a "real" fan who "supports" the team. I’m not trying to be a dick, but I just don’t need your judgement about what kind of "fan" I am. I invest obscene amounts of time, money and emotion into this team. You want to blindly believe that everything is awesome, all the time? Great. You do you, I’ll do me. The unfollow button is on the top right. Don’t question my fandom or dedication to this team. Ever.
Also, don’t lose sight that this is a parody account. Sure, it’s a bit of a misnomer, and that makes it the weirdest parody account you’ve probably ever seen. Obviously, it’s run by a real person, a person who injects himself into the parody, and it makes it hard to separate the "real" from the "parody." There’s a lot of shtick done for effect, because, honestly, "angry guy" frequently = funny. Also, it’s therapeutic. I prefer to describe it like this. Hitch’s Hat is essentially a massive amplification of my personality. I feel deeply for this team. Those feelings manifest themselves as a roller coaster ride of emotions. From the highs to the lows to the twisty circular shit in the middle, you all ride the season with me. Many, many of you "get it" and I appreciate your support.
Second, many folks have asked about what’s going to happen to "Hitch’s Hat" in the semi-likely scenario that Ken Hitchcock is not back to coach this team. The short answer is I don’t know. Here’s the longer answer for you guys. I CAN tell you I will certainly be back, with any potential name change TBD. I’ve thought about it a little, but frankly I think any potential name change will come organically. If there’s a need, I sort of feel it will just hit me based on circumstances. It’s just too early to know what a potential new handle might look like. Hell, I think we all thought Hitch was gone LAST year, so no guarantee he’s gone THIS year. It’s not automatic that it will be "The New Coach’s X". Hitch’s Hat was born out of a viral moment and unique circumstance. I’m not sure to just name it after a new coach will have the same meaning or punch. The good news is all you have to do is keep following. I’ll give plenty of notice and reminders of what the change will be when the time comes.
I love Twitter for instantly sharing my takes on the Blues, good and bad. Additionally, as many of you know, I also write frequently for St. Louis Game Time, the fan-run magazine sold at every Blues game (Please consider buying/subscribing next year for great content.) I’ve also started using Periscope when appropriate to bring content on events to you guys. Clearly you guys identify with my takes on the team or the topic du jour. Overall I think these formats work best for providing what I do best; Giving smart-ass comments. Sure, there’s sometimes fights and disagreements. Usually these resolve with digital hugs. Or unfollows. No harm, no foul.
I want to wrap up by thanking you guys for following me. It’s a hell of a lot of work running this thing, sure. Probably more than most of you realize. And while I have yet to find a way to have this provide me a lavish lifestyle, I have many other rewards that come with running this account.
Foremost among these is the kind words and positive feedback that I get on an almost daily basis. Ultimately, if you guys aren’t enjoying the content, what am I doing here? But from the number of likes and retweets, and those who actually take the time to thank me or let me know you enjoy my contributions, it seems like I’m doing something right.
Clearly a tangible measure of popularity is follower count. I’m proud to say I have more than tripled my followers since our last playoff exit. The only way this happens is with your support. Retweets and mentions to your followers is the only way this grows, so again, thank you.
I get great satisfaction from these digital interactions. And sometimes the stars align and I actually get to meet some of you. This last year in particular I have met so many new folks. I’ve made many new friends and acquaintances. Mostly over alcohol, but not always. Games, bars and Blues events have all been venues for meeting you guys. Frankly, sometimes it’s overwhelming and hard to comprehend that people want to meet a dude with a coach’s hat Twitter account. But it’s awesome. Everybody has been so cool. Well, except that one dude who called me a dick in a tweet then unfollowed me because apparently I didn’t spend enough time shaking his hand or something. It’s not always perfect, but it’s overwhelmingly positive.
In addition to meeting "regular folk", I’ve gotten to have some other great experiences by building relationships with "insiders". As this thing has grown, I’ve apparently gotten some "notoriety" within the Blues organization. Not all positive, as you might expect given the criticality of some of my comments. That said, I have built some positive relationships. Baby steps, right?
The most notable experience gained from these relationships (that I can talk about) would obviously be pressing the goal horn at a Game 3 of the Dallas series. I’ll remember that forever. That was directly attributed to relationships built stemming from running this account. And again only thanks to your support. I’m increasingly becoming looked at as a conduit and voice of a segment of the fan base. I do hope that I can continue to build these relationships and experiences not only for myself, but for the benefit of my followers. I enjoy being able to share Periscopes, pictures or words for events that not every Blues fan has access to. I haven’t always had this kind of access, but always enjoyed when someone would share their experiences with me. It increased my love for the team, and hopefully my sharing adds to yours.
So that’s it for the 2015-2016 season. Sure, activity on Blues Twitter overall will decrease some, the Hat included. That said, the offseason should be active. We have the Winter Classic and obviously lots will happen during the Blues 50th anniversary celebration. I’ll be around adding my brand of humor and insight into these events as they unfold. Will next year’s edition get another long kick at the can? Who knows, but we’ll take the ride together. Enjoy your summer, thanks for following, and Let’s Go Blues!