You Talkin' to Me? Farewell appearance for a Talkin' head

From: Gonzalez, John

To: Ford, Bob; Fox, Ashley

Subject: So long, Buttons

 Sad day here at Page 2 HQ. After 18 months, our MVW, Robert Ford, is taking an indefinite leave of absence from Team Talkin', though he'll continue to write his column for the page that precedes this one.

No set topic today: Let's reminisce a little about the way we were and our favorite Talkin' moments of the past. 

From: Fox, Ashley

To: Ford, Bob; Gonzalez, John

Subject: So long, Buttons

It is a sad day, indeed. Sad for me in particular, but that's not the point of this, is it? Bobby has been the voice of reason in the storm. You call him senior, I call him experienced. You call him Buttons, Brett Myers calls him Lefty. His stories, especially about Barkley, are unmatched.

And now, he's gone from Talkin', just like Sheridan before him. Who's next there, Gonzo? This is your baby.

From: Gonzalez, John

To: Ford, Bob; Fox, Ashley

Subject: So long, Buttons

I'd like to be next, Ashley, but that seems unlikely after the conversation I had with Cohen. He hates me for reasons I don't understand and has put the Talkin' cross on my shoulders. It's painful.

 My favorite memory was last year in Detroit for the Final Four when we did that ridiculous, unwieldy Tournament Talkin' where we started with five writers and Cohen eliminated one each day until only one was left at the end. Not surprisingly, I was the last man standing (again, he clearly has it in for me). I asked Bob how I should conduct a solo Talkin' on the final day, and he suggested that I pretend to be some of the staffers and write as Fake Ford, Counterfeit Cohen, etc. . . . And I did. Because I'm a rube and I fell for it.

Not surprisingly, the editors back at the office didn't get it. I spent a good three hours on the phone explaining the concept. The whole time, Bob just laughed and smiled. He has an evil sense of humor, but it will be missed.

From: Ford, Bob

To: Gonzalez, John; Fox, Ashley

Subject: So long, Buttons

My favorite Talkin' memory was when we discussed the reality show about the Phillies' bullpen and I had a throwaway line like, "Sitting in a major-league bullpen is like being in a bus station for three hours every day with people who are dumber than the average traveler." Ha, ha. Next time I was in the clubhouse, the relievers took exception with me. They had taped the damn thing on the lockers. I told them that Talkin' was like pitching. Every now and then you throw one you'd like to have back. They got that.