Back at the start of 2010, I did some Mariners related resolutions. And in search of a blog post after too many days without one, I figured I could dust off this clichéd idea. Yes, there are some repeats because well they were good intentions back then and still good intentions today. Realistically, I might have a better chance of keeping these resolutions than I do any personal ones. Like I'm really going to eat healthier. I'm a sports writer.
Never tell fans what to think
I will let you in on a little secret … I’m not a baseball expert. There I said it. And I’m not afraid to admit it.
Do I know a lot about the game? Yes. It’s my job. But to sit here and proclaim that my knowledge or understanding is significantly greater than a die-hard, well-read fan would be ridiculous and a lie.
My buddy Kenny gave me some good advice a few years ago – never tell fans how to think or how to feel.
At the time, I kind of shrugged it off. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was right. And even then, I still found myself doing it on the blog, in chats, on the radio or on Twitter.
It’s not my place to do that. It’s not my job to do that. It's certainly not done no purpose. I want to offer up opinion or analysis. I will gladly participate in debate. I can and will certainly disagree with faulty logic or poor information. But that’s different than telling people what to think.
Part of what makes baseball such a great sport is the ability to look at the aspects of the game, the business and the decisions in different ways.
Some people believe in bunting, others do not.
Some fans want the Mariners to spend on every free agent that they can, while others want to build up the organization by draft and development.
Being in the position I am in, I’ve developed certain beliefs about the game. The level of access we get gives me some added information and insight into it as well. But that doesn’t mean I’m always right. It’s never that simple.
So don’t expect me to be a condescending, know-it-all genius. You can expect me to be fair, logical, pragmatic and open to any and all discussions.
Be a fan of baseball
Notice, I didn’t say be a fan of the Seattle Mariners. One thing that people often forget as a journalist I have to remain unbiased. It’s something I take pretty seriously. Now obviously if the Mariners are winning and playing well, fans are coming to the games and people are talking about the team, it makes my job much easier and more enjoyable. But I usually remain emotionally detached. I’m good at it … just ask my ex-girlfriends.
That being said, I can, and will be, a fan of baseball. I think it’s a great game. And I want to see it do well. As writers, we are all fans of good stories. More importantly, we are fans of getting write about those stories.
So if I find them out there, I’m going to share them with you via twitter and on the blog. There will be no shortage of baseball.
Write one long Mariners takeout story
Throughout the course of spring training and the season, I will probably write enough words and sentences to make you sick of me. There will be smaller feature stories and such. But one large story, a takeout as we call them, would be ideal. I did a large story on Eric Wedge a few years ago when he got hired.
They are fun to report and write. Just have to figure out whom to write about and convince them to be a part of it.
Put up a blog post six out of the seven days a week
Obviously, keeping this resolution will be a little easier once spring training gets going or if the Mariners make a few more moves. But there’s no excuse to find something to post, whether it’s analysis from last season or some look into the future or even something fun.
I plan on doing “Answers to your questions …” and I’m thinking of doing a chat once a week during spring training. We’ll try to make it a variety of things. Nobody wants to read my blatherings every day.
No mocking Chone Figgins or Miguel Olivo on Twitter or the blog
How long do you think this will last? Maybe 24 hours if I’m lucky. Still, Figgins and Olivo are gone. And that’s a good thing. So why relive their underwhelming exploits? Well, I guess comedic value. But the jokes aren’t nearly as fun when they aren’t around anymore. I’m going try my best to keep it to a minimum.
But like Olivo behind the plate, sometimes a few just get by you.
Never miss a Felix Hernandez start
So last year, I was up in Seattle covering UW’s morning football practice. And after practice I headed back to Tacoma to write my story for the day. I knew there was a Mariners game that afternoon. And normally, I stop at Safeco and work from the press box, especially when Felix is pitching. But for some reason, I thought Jason Vargas was pitching that day and I decided to just go back home and avoid traffic issues. Instead, Felix Hernandez was on the mound that day and threw a perfect game. If I’d have just stuck to my resolution, I would have seen perfection in person. It’s a good reminder of just how special Felix’s starts can be and why you shouldn't miss them.
No more press box hotdogs
I think I say this every year and eventually I always cave. But since I’ve started doingthe charity hot dog eating contest at Safeco Field every Fourth of July
, hot dogs have become basically repulsive and nauseating. About the time, I finally get around to the idea of consuming them again; I participate in the contest, make myself ill and never want to see one again.
Compile a playlist of players’ walk-up music
I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with this idea. But when a player comes to the plate four times in a game and you hear that same song four times, it becomes very noticeable. I’m also interested as to why they choose which songs. Is there personal meaning? Is it just preference? Is it what’s playing on their iPod? Some songs are good … “Vivrant Thing
” by Q-Tip for Brendan Ryan. Some songs are awful … “El Teke Teke” by Crazy Design featuring Carlito’s Way
for Carlos Triunfel. My walk-up song from my days in Dickinson is above. It's cool. There is no debate.
I’m going to put together a song list on Spotify of not just Mariners, but all players. Don’t have Spotify or know what it is? Well, you better find out. It’s great.
Go over 144 tweets in an hour
Remember this? I can’t forget it. It was one of the more surreal experiences I’ve had in my life - Eighteen innings of baseball and being blocked from Twitter for over usage. Don’t think it won’t happen again. I’m cursed by extra innings games. But 144 tweets in an hour? I don’t know if I can replicate that type of production again.
Go watch the Tacoma Rainiers play if I get the chance
The Rainiers could have a pretty damn good team to start the season. There’s a good chance that three or maybe all four pitching prospects – Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, Taijuan Walker and Brandon Maurer - being in the starting rotation. The team will also have Nick Franklin and Carlos Triunfel at the middle infield positions and maybe even Mike Zunino at catcher. That’s a lot of talent.
For me, I feel like if I’m going to talk about or write about prospects, then I damn well better see them play more than just once or twice spring training to have any sort of opinion about them.
So if I can make a game in Tacoma, then I’m going.
Have fun, dammit
I have a pretty cool job. Yes, it can be a grind. But I get paid to write about baseball for a living. I’m going to sunny Arizona for two months of spring training when it’s cold and gray and rainy up here. I get to go to Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to be doing this. So if you ever hear me complaining or whining about my job, feel free to remind me of my good fortune.