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Sports Commentary

March 15, 2012
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Moving on to digital pastures

By Sean Keeler

After more than a decade in Des Moines, Keeler to head to in Kansas City

Overall, the good outweighed the bad, all told, even if the bad was expensive, embarrassing or both. I met the love of my life here. I got married here. My son was born here. I bought my first home here.

I was audited here. I was sued here. I flipped my car here — on I-80, during one of those miserable February ice storms — and rolled it into a ditch. Much to the chagrin of a few athletic directors, I managed to walk away from the wreck.

I’m walking away from this one, too, albeit more slowly. If you’re reading this, by now, you’ve heard the news: I’m officially outta here, moving on to digital pastures with the folks at Fox I hate goodbyes, but what the hell: After a decade, it’s true — this town really does start to grow on you.

I’ll miss Shane Goodman and the folks at Big Green Umbrella Media who reached out and offered a hand after I’d been hit by a shovel and tossed into an open grave.

I’ll miss Principal Park.

More specifically, I’ll miss the view of Principal Park, at night, in August, from the roof at Mullet’s, a glorious cascade of neon and water.

I’ll miss the first football weekend of the fall.

I’ll miss el Bait Shop.

I’ll miss those Consumer Credit of Des Moines commercials.

I’ll miss Billy Joe’s.

I’ll miss the priceless look Keri Gavin gave the camera as she sat in a Polk County jail cell.

I’ll miss Doctor Love, Belfast Johnny and the brain cells you never get back.

I’ll miss the wings at Jethro’s.

I’ll miss 80/35.

I’ll miss Rachel Pierce’s Twitter feed.

OK, maybe not.

I’ll miss the Raccoon River Dog Park.

I’ll miss Blues on Grand. Because somebody has to.

I’ll miss The Flying Mango, and the heavenly whiff of brisket that reached out and tickled your nostrils from four blocks away.

I’ll miss running into Leonard Houston at the Windsor Heights Hy-Vee and reminiscing about the good old days.

I’ll miss talking to Andy Fales, who’s even more hysterical and clever when the cameras are off than when he is on television.

I’ll miss “Sound Off,” and the platform it’s become for Chris Hassel’s prodigious talents.

I’ll miss the popcorn at Cooney’s.

I’ll miss Keith Murphy, who introduced me to my wife. True story.

I’ll miss John Walters, the consummate professional.

I’ll miss Eric Heft’s insight, Bobby Hansen’s candor and Dolph Pulliam’s boundless enthusiasm.

I’ll miss Gary Rima, for being Gary Rima.

I’ll miss the golden days of daily newspapers, never to be seen again. The objective journalist has been shouted down by that 21st century creation/abomination known as the fan-pundit, who now stands on almost equal footing. You’ve grabbed the microphone with both hands, like a drunken Will Ferrell during a wedding toast, and have no intention of giving it back.

But the revolution has not gone without bloodshed. It’s a wonderful time to be a fanatic; maybe the best time ever.

By the same token, it’s never been a lousier time to be a scribe.

“We are all dinosaurs,” a mentor told me last year as my ego bled, “and ‘Jurassic Park’ is fiction.”

Former Des Moines Register columnist Donald Kaul, one of my heroes, said it best, back in 2007:

“And now, God save us all, we have the Internet, which has not merely damaged journalism, it has atomized it. It turns on its head the old journalism slogan: ‘You are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own set of facts.’ On the Internet there is no distinction between fact and opinion. In that atmosphere, there is no such thing as journalism.”

Of course, he writes for the Web now, primarily. In a few weeks, I’ll be joining him. And frankly, I can’t wait. CV

Former Des Moines Register columnist Sean Keeler is hitting the road. You’ll soon be able to read him at, and You can still follow him on Twitter via @seankeeler or reach him via email at

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