"It does not matter if you are rich or poor, it's the people you know or whom you are acquainted with that makes your life what it is, for better or for worse. This is very apparent when you lose someone." - Uncle Woodrow
Jim Dean was a friend of mine, and I say that knowing that I never met him in person and that the only contact we've ever had was through Banter. There was something about his abrasiveness, his bellicosity and sarcasm that added interesting colors to his research and commenting. If there was anyone who created a picture of himself and everything he said through his words, he was certainly one.
I liked teasing him. He often would blast away at us with fiery, if sometimes off-the-mark blather about this player's statistics, that player's effort, the bumbling of the Yankees front office or, seeming to feel particularly jaunting, he would debate one or many of us. Well, debate is not strong enough... battle.
JD battled long and hard on a point he believed in, whether it was right or wrong. Sometimes it seemed like he battled just for the principle of it. But among other things, it was his passion for the Yankees and his quick response with sabermetric research that won the admiration of even his detractors. I am not nearly as good with numbers as he was, but if anything he was among the few that inspired a notion for me to learn.
I don't know in what regard he held me; perhaps he saw me as a trifle, or maybe he respected my sense of humor. I do know that we once engaged in a surprisingly straightforward "conversation" that led me us to understand more about each other, and perhaps more respect for each other. We didn't agree a lot of times, but we did (eventually) respect each other.
My point is, it's odd that one can develop a friendship with someone in an internet community, but as I've always said, Bronx Banter is like family. And JD was like a brother. A bad brother, sometimes, but family nonetheless.
Rest In Peace, Jim Dean.