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Then/now: What were you doing when you joined OH?

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Since there was no game last night, I thought it would be fun to do a little then/now segment. So, what were you doing and maybe how old were you when you found OH? Then maybe tell us what has changed since then and what you are doing now! I'll start though most know!

Then:

I was a 26-year old brand new US Army Warrant Officer when I created **Tony's Orioles Hangout** in 1996. This one page web page that was designed with an HTML book on my ISP's 500k of space was mainly so I'd have an excuse to talk about the Orioles and their minor leagues. I had two kids and lived in Ft. Bragg, NC.

Now:

I'm a 44-year old, US Army retired, owner and operator of Hangout Ventures, LLC. The Hangout now gets close to 2 million page views a month and I count some of my closest friends as people I met through the Hangout. I have three kids now, one who finished college at Towson University last year and another that's going to wrestle at the University of Maryland this fall.

The Hangout is a huge part of my life obviously. It has allowed me to have access I dreamed about as a kid to players and coaches, allowed me to scout for an AL team, and has enabled me opportunities on TV and radio. But most of all it's given me the opportunity to develop this community into something that means so much to so many on a daily basis. Although my kids will always be my true legacy, the Hangout has been my mark so far in this life and I'm hoping to see it grow even more in the near future.

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I had just recently retired - back at the turn of the century - when I found you guys and before all the bells and whistles that we now enjoy here.

Then:

I was 55 years young (I can hardly remember 15 years back). Being a newbie at retirement, I was searching for things to fill my empty space without work to occupy my days. This was an oasis of sorts with lots of banter back and forth, and the Orioles were starting their long downward spiral into mediocrity. We were debating the pros and cons of Matt Riley, Roberts vs. Hairston and how to return the Orioles "brand" to significance as a team. Sports Guy and Bigbird were the straws that stirred the drink.....weams? He was selling cars....

Now:

I am long over the hill with mush for brain. I retain my love for snarky humor and frivolity. This place has become a whirlwind of sabermetricity and a happier place with so many facets to escape into. Retirement is also a whirlwind of activity and forgotten memories from the day before but it's all good. Carry on Tony, weams, Drungo and Co! Keep bringing it 24/7! BTW - my current avatar is what I see every morning during the summer so no complaints!

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I'm not quite sure when I first "found" Orioles Hangout, but I think it was in 2000 or 2001 when I was scouring the internet looking for any information I could find about the Orioles' minor league players. I visited the site from time to time after that, but never realized there was a message board here until 2003. So, I'll start there.

Then:

I was a 46-year old lawyer, busy with kids ages 13, 10 and 7, running around to little league games and soccer games on the weekends and posting my opinions about the Orioles on the AOL message board, which was essentially non-moderated and increasingly dominated by trolls. I stumbled on to the OH message board one day in September 2003 and never looked back.

Now:

I'm a 57-year old lawyer, still living in the same house, but my kids are pretty much grown -- my 24-year old daughter graduated college and is working, my 21-year old son graduated college and starts grad school this fall, and my 18-year old son graduated high school last week and starts college this fall. So, I'm about to be an empty nester with even more free time to obsess about the Orioles. That's a scary thought.

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I knew the Hangout existed and maybe had checked it out once or twice, but never really come back much. I was a regular poster and reader of a very similar site devoted to Virginia Tech sports (techsideline.com) and spent a lot of time on the TSL message boards. But that was because in my daily life I didn't have many people to talk Tech sports with. I didn't think I needed a site like that for the Orioles becuase everybody I worked with and spent time with were Oriole fans, of varying degrees of knowledge, so I talked O's all the time at work and with friends and didn't need an outlet on the internet to find people who shared my interest. It was much harder finding Tech fans (especially real Tech fans who could converse intelligently and knew who the backup linebackers are or could dissect the terrible offensive playcalling with some degree of knowledge). But I didn't think I needed the internet to find O's fans to hang out with, so I rarely came to this site.

But one Saturday night in January, the O's made a trade to acquire Kris Benson, and I wanted to see what people thought about it. So I came to OH and got involved in discussions on the message board... and never left. It quickly became obvious I would be making > 500 posts so I became a paying member. And I've been here ever since.

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I first started posting here in 2005, as a high school junior. I went to college, tried my hand at journalism (and got a 2nd place national award in sports commentary for one of my articles), and graduated with a CS degree. Next week I finish my third out of four years of medical school, and I'm currently engaged to be my college girlfriend, a chemical engineer who brews beer for a living.

Edited by square634

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I was trying to find another person or group of people to talk O's baseball with after my brother passed away in 2007. Guess I still am!

It's strange, as much as I love baseball, not a lot of my other friends like it like I do, or they aren't specifically O's fans, and my other brother is a life-long Red Sox fan.

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I first started posting here in 2005, as a high school junior. I went to college, tried my hand at journalism (and got a 2nd place national award in sports commentary for one of my articles), and graduated with a CS degree. Next week I finish my third out of four years of medical school, and I'm currently engaged to be my college girlfriend, a chemical engineer who brews beer for a living.

I love seeing this kind of stuff. From high school junior to 3rd year of med school! Quite a difference and congrats.

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Then...

I was fresh out of college, selling mortgages and making a lot more money than an irresponsible 23 year old should ever make. Thankfully, I understood that interest payments on student loans are BAD. Never got a new Mercedes thankfully, but I did climb outta debt pretty quickly. I found the hangout, thought the banter was interesting & rather entertaining, then dug a little deeper into what this place actually was and started learning a lot about baseball I certainly didn't know prior.

Now...

Well now, I obviously have it all figured out.

Bob, what do you see on those hungover 11am wake up mornings?

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I first started posting here in 2005, as a high school junior. I went to college, tried my hand at journalism (and got a 2nd place national award in sports commentary for one of my articles), and graduated with a CS degree. Next week I finish my third out of four years of medical school, and I'm currently engaged to be my college girlfriend, a chemical engineer who brews beer for a living.

I dont know if I'm more impressed with how your education has progressed...or the fact you are engaged to a brewmaster

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Then: I started posting here in 2006. I was working at an accounting firm in Bethesda, and I was relatively immobile after breaking my leg and having surgery. I was really bored and just rooting around on the Internet and looking for somewhere to talk with fellow Orioles fans. I found OH, and it really helped me pass the time when I did not have much else that I could do.

Now: I am essentially doing the same job, but with a different firm, now in Charlotte, NC. My life is essentially the same, other than moving to a new city, getting a little older and losing some hair. But on the bright side, I feel like I am a much more knowledgeable fan because of the Hangout and many of the people that I have interacted with throughout the years. I thought I knew a lot about the game when I first came here, but I have learned a lot from people much smarter than I am. Sometimes I just sit back and read, sometimes I engage in a discussion, but I almost always feel like I am learning something.

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To be honest, my post was mostly an attempt to brag about my fiancee ;)

She is not technically a brewmaster yet though. She has been a plant manager in brewhouse and chips & finishing, and now does some process control/improvement

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Summer 2008: I was just turning 24, two years out of college. My girlfriend dumped me in the winter, so I was living alone in our previously shared Little Italy row home (the nice ones that replaced the Flag house projects). I had been working for a year at a life insurance company in Mt. Vernon doing entry level admin work. I've been an Oriole fan my entire life, but didn't really become a fanboy until about 2005, when I started following the sport closely and going to a lot of games.

Six years later, I own a home in Fells point and live with my new girlfriend. She's a physical therapist and works in Federal Hill. I'm turning 30 in August. I'm at the same company but moved downtown into the Transamerica building after a merger with them in 2012. I now work in Medicare compliance.

I play trivia every Tuesday night at Hightopps, I have a BSSC softball team, and I consider myself a beer connoisseur of sorts.

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Summer 2008: I was just turning 24, two years out of college. My girlfriend dumped me in the winter, so I was living alone in our previously shared Little Italy row home (the nice ones that replaced the Flag house projects). I had been working for a year at a life insurance company in Mt. Vernon doing entry level admin work. I've been an Oriole fan my entire life, but didn't really become a fanboy until about 2005, when I started following the sport closely and going to a lot of games.

Six years later, I own a home in Fells point and live with my new girlfriend. She's a physical therapist and works in Federal Hill. I'm turning 30 in August. I'm at the same company but moved downtown into the Transamerica building after a merger with them in 2012. I now work in Medicare compliance.

I play trivia every Tuesday night at Hightopps, I have a BSSC softball team, and I consider myself a beer connoisseur of sorts.

I'm not going to lie, your username concerned me when you signed up. In my defense, I was in Iraq at the time. ;)

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Then (October 2005):

I had recently moved to the Bronx from an overpriced apartment in Manhattan. I wound up getting a place right around the corner from the old Yankees Stadium. I was teaching History and Economics for NYC Public Schools and things were relatively decent in my life. I had just met a group of Orioles fans in NYC to complement my group of Red Sox and Yankee friends so I wouldn't be outnumbered during our OPACY road trips. It was a great time even though the Orioles had collapsed in spectacular fashion that season. I really miss that group of guys. When I discovered the OH, it was if I'd found a secret community of hardcore Orioles fans. Despite all the crazy arguments, I've really enjoyed reading the posts.

Now:

After teaching in NYC for 6 years, I decided to take a chance on my life dream of being a working Hollywood screenwriter and left my stable job and wonderful social life in NYC and moved to Los Angeles in September of 2008. I moved to LA right after the Writer's Strike of 2007-2008 and didn't realize how incredibly horrible it was going to be to get established. After 4 years of struggling, my I published my first graphic novel in 2012 and then got work on the rebooted ThunderCats series as well as one of the new Transformers series. Since then, my graphic novel won a Glyph Award, and this year I've been nominated for an Eisner Award, the comic book industry's equivalent to the Academy Award, for my writing. While the money isn't there, the critical acclaim is making a difference.

MSK

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