For a guy who makes his living as a professional writer, I don't know a whole lot about quality writing. This is one of the reasons I don't like to self-identify as a writer, not that "blogger" is any better. But I do know that, when reporting news, you're supposed to lead with the substance. This is why they call it the "lead", or the "lede" if you want to seem smarter. With that in mind, my lede: this is my final post for Lookout Landing.
I've thought about writing this post a bunch of times before. I thought about writing this post when I interviewed for a job with a baseball team. I thought about writing this post when I interviewed for what turned out not to be a job with a baseball team. I thought about writing this post when I applied for a job with an area brewery. I thought about writing this post during ordinary downtime, and I thought about writing this post during my most stressful, latest nights. I always figured this post would have to be something sensational, but the more I think about it, the more I think that isn't necessary. That would be nothing but a masturbatory exercise, and nobody ever masturbates on the Internet.
The bottom line is that it's time to cut back. When I left Baseball Nation, that was because there was an opportunity for me at FanGraphs. I'm not leaving Lookout Landing for another opportunity. I'm just going to do less, and this has absolutely nothing to do with SB Nation or Vox Media. This was one of the first blogs in the network, launching in January 2005, and this network gave me an opportunity to turn a hobby into something more. This network trusted me, this network took care of me, and this network gave me my first full-time job as an Internet writer. This network is going to continue to grow and it's going to accomplish spectacular things, and that progress isn't going to stop just because they're down a Mariners blogger. I don't know where I'd be without SB Nation, and I owe those guys more than I can express.
But I started blogging about the Mariners in November 2003, when I was a freshman in college. Since then, almost every day, I've written about the Mariners. Since then, every regular season, I've stayed up to watch Mariners games and write too much about them too late at night. That's nine regular seasons of midnight recaps -- nine negative run differential regular seasons -- spanning the entirety of my adulthood to date. It's time to see what it's like to be an adult without that responsibility. It's time to try to become more of a well-rounded person. (#YOLO) You know what I don't know about? Lots of things. I'd like to start changing that.
This place was, for a while, a true labor of love. In conversation I'd refer to LL as my baby, and I couldn't dream of giving it up. When I graduated, I told myself I wanted to see where writing might go before I applied to more school. Writing took me to writing for a living, and I remember the phone call where I was offered an actual job. I was in San Diego, and it was raining, and I was in the parking lot of some company that wasn't my company. I actually screamed. My hobby was going to turn into my work.
But that comes with its attendant upsides and downsides. LL has been a side job, but it's felt a lot like my regular job. When you turn a hobby into work, you sort of lose the hobby. For a while, LL hasn't served as a hobby; it's served as an extension of what I do, and it's at the point where that's just become too much writing, too much baseball. I haven't had time to develop other hobbies. I know that I could still run this place, but I know I've never been less motivated to do that. I don't see that turning around with the season around the corner.
I'm not going to abandon Mariners writing entirely. I don't think I'm capable of that -- the Mariners are still my favorite team. I'm just going to do less of it, and beginning at some point in the future, I'm going to be doing it at USS Mariner instead. By cutting back, I think it might start to feel like a hobby again, and it was USSM that inspired me to start blogging in the first place. I'm sure I had the option of cutting back and staying here, but I didn't want to take a reduced role on my own site. I'll write about the Mariners at USS Mariner, and I just won't write as much. I won't write recaps unless I actually feel inspired. And I'll focus more on my day job, and on other pursuits.
I'll still be on Twitter, although depending on legal things I might have to start up a new account. I'll let Matthew speak to his own situation. And Lookout Landing will continue to exist -- it will be placed in the capable hands of someone. The search is ongoing, and I'm only peripherally involved. If you'd like a shot, send the network an email, I'm sure they'd like to hear from you. This is still going to be the same website as before. It's just that all of the words will be different.
To be honest, in this age of taking on more and more responsibility, it is absolutely terrifying to willingly and intentionally do less, in a professional sense. I don't know what this is going to mean for my career. Some time back I remember reading about a guy who was going to go off the grid for a calendar year. This is a guy who had been making his living on the Internet. I don't know what happened to him. I have no way of knowing whether this is the right move, but this feels like the healthy move, and you have to look out for #1. Life is about more than work, and though that's presently less true than it's ever been in America, I'm not exactly gunning to be a millionaire. I just want to scrape by and be happy and this is an attempt to see what this is like.
You guys have been amazing. Amazing and supportive and numerous, and if it weren't for you guys, I'd be doing something completely different. This was a big part of my identity, and you guys have been a big part of this. I can't thank you individually, but please close your eyes and imagine that I'm doing just that. Through this site I've met some incredible people and some incredible friends. I look forward, now, to seeing them more often. I look forward to hanging out with some of you and just watching a Mariners game, without having to think about what I'm going to write in an hour. I look forward, basically, to mental freedom, and all of its implications. Or I guess many of them. Some of them might be scary.
In conclusion, Johan Santana won the Cy Young Award in 2004 and 2006. In February 2008, the Twins traded him to the Mets, and the Mets promptly signed him to a contract worth nearly $140 million. In 2008, Santana would finish with a 2.53 ERA in 34 starts, finishing third in the Cy Young voting. On June 23 that summer, Santana pitched against the hapless Mariners. Though the Mariners had Felix Hernandez on the mound, they also had a 26-49 record, worst in baseball. Santana worked a scoreless first. In the second, however, he loaded the bases with two outs, yet the pitcher spot was due up. Felix Hernandez closed his eyes when he swung at Santana's first pitch. He drove it to the opposite field, and it carried over the fence for a grand slam. In 2008, when Johan Santana was still Johan Santana, Felix Hernandez got him for a first-pitch grand slam. That doesn't have anything to do with my announcement, but, holy fuck.