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Lookout Landing's offseason plans

We've got plans.

I have been writing about baseball on the internet for, oh god wow, four years now. In that time I feel as though I've started to get a feel for the rhythms of blogging a baseball season. Still, this is my first year doing anything like running a website such as this one right here and, occasionally, folks still surprise me.

The 2015 Seattle Mariners' season was abjectly miserable, from almost all non-Franklin Gutierrez and Nelson Cruz supported viewpoints. By early August on the season was completely over, not just in that familiar "The Mariners aren't making the playoffs" way but also "I cannot conceive of a reason to view this baseball game" kind of way. Like a 45-0 football game in the 3rd quarter, or 2/3 the way through The Hunger Games; anything worth happening had already happened, and yet there was still a lot of road to travel before reaching a destination.

I love baseball, but still I embraced the end of the season. I was feeling rundown and ready for a break. I assumed that fans felt similarly. Very quickly I realized that wasn't necessarily the case. Within a week of season's end I received dozens of sentiments similar to the one below:

The Lookout Landing Offseason Plan has a bit of a checkered history the past few years. In 2013 the staff put in an immense amount of effort and released this, one of the finer posts of any SBN site that year. Last year, for a variety of reasons, we did not do an offseason plan, and there was a lot of dissent.

Many of the issues that kept us from doing the plan last year persist today. If anything the voices and tone of the site have only further pluralized this season. This is, in my opinion, one of the great strengths of modern day Lookout Landing. However it does make having "A Voice" a challenging undertaking.

So with all that in mind, I just decided to do an open call among the staff. "Tell me your plan for the offseason" I said. Many have responded, and their contributions can be found below.


Peter Woodburn

To maintain sanity during the offseason, I find it quite helpful to have a steady and stable set of hobbies, or else it is quite easy to end up having your night brightened by the lights of a bar. So with that, I pretty much have two goals: learn how to play the mandolin, and get back into the groove of cooking.

I figure between those two things, I am improving my health through cooking rad things and improving my mental health because that is what music and playing instruments does. Cooking I can kind of do well already. As for the mandolin -- well let’s just say when someone asked me what my worst quality as a roommate is recently, I said you have to listen to me play incorrect notes as I learn an instrument.

The key for success this offseason is repetition and proper scheduling. Mandolin playing should come every night for at least fifteen minutes. Cooking should come as often as possible as well. I need to lay the foundation this offseason to be in proper shape for the upcoming season, armed with a set of new go-to meals and the ability to serenade myself and those around with me with the sweet tones of Bill Monroe and other old timey jams.


Jake Mailhot

This offseason, I'll be working on my 30 before 30 list. Do you have any good book recommendations? Movies? Beers? I hope you do because the success of this offseason will hinge on finding value in new ways. The old ways have passed on and we're entering a new era. I'll also look into pursuing some of the big ticket items on my list: watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens 30 times, climb a mountain, kayak across Bellingham Bay—you know, the spice of life kinds of things. Come March and April, I hope to have a well rounded roster of items checked off my list, just in time for next season to begin!


Andrew Rice

The off-season is a time for reflection and growth. A time to briefly contemplate the previous year, take stock, and decide what improvements should be made moving forward. After spending several hours engaged in deep thought, I have determined that I should implement the following three-prong approach this off-season in order to address some of my current shortcomings.

First, I will read a crap ton of books. The last few months have been a grind and I haven’t spent nearly enough time hittin’ the book room (some rubes refer to this as the library). I will give 110% to ensure that this issue is addressed moving forward. In addition to tackling the recently released work of some beloved authors (e.g., David Mitchell), I plan on revisiting the work of some old favorites (e.g., Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Richard Brautigan, and Yasunari Kawabata).

I also intend to adopt a super rigorous and top-of-the-line running schedule to work on my aerobic conditioning. This will involve running FIVE kilometers THREE times a week at speeds approaching EIGHT miles per hour. I hope to be in the best shape of my life by the time spring rolls around.

Finally, I would like to make sure that all five of my tools are operating at peak performance. (For those who don’t know, the five tools of a competent baseball blogger are having a firm understanding of relevant stats, possessing an adequate social media presence, being able to accurately and instantaneously gauge the temperature of a take, maintaining a good sense of humor, and, most importantly, writing things that are good and not bad.) With this in mind, I would like to upgrade my laptop computer; however, I need to be mindful to set aside sufficient funds for airfare/gifts for the upcoming holiday season. My decisions in this regard will likely be heavily influenced by how the electronics market shapes up towards the end of the calendar year.


Colin O'Keefe

I don't have any serious plans. I will probably overanalyze quotes from Dipoto, Servais, McKay and others here, but outside of Lookout Landing there's a couple things.

I signed up to run a marathon in June. The terms of service in signing for any marathon including telling people about it, so that's what I'm doing here. I have never run a marathon. I've never run ten miles. So yeah, good thing this offseason exists and can be filled with preparing for that. Unfortunately, the offseason/training also includes running the Seattle Half at the end of November.

The other thing I'd like to do is learn to lead climb. Like, rock climbing. I started climbing in a gym a little over a year ago using the easier top-roping, where a rope is slung over some point at the top of the wall and it's pretty straightforward. If you fall, you don't fall far. With lead, you string the rope as you go, clipping into these things like five meters apart. Even top-roping for a year, I haven't gotten to the point where every time I slip there isn't at least a small thought I'm about plummet to my death because of a faulty knot or something, so the idea of falling double the distance to the last clip is, eh, less-than-appealing. But that's going to happen.

Oh and skiing. I bought a pass to Snoqualmie/Alpental which, despite the challenging conditions, I love. I grew up night-skiing, and it's fun doing laps up there—whether that's groomers at Central or the infrequent-but-amazing powder evenings at Alpental. Here's to hoping nature somehow cooperates.

I should read and write more too. Hopefully at least one of those will happen.


Brendan Gawlowski

This offseason I'll be reviewing video of a bunch of 17-25 year old baseball players, and then I'll write words about them on the internet. I will also spend too much time watching Arsenal and the Huskies. Surprisingly, I have a girlfriend, who I will probably see sometimes too.


Meg Rowley

Offseason plans: I mean, where to begin? If I were Kyle Seager, I'd probably spend my time chilling in the squat rack and hahahah just kidding. I couldn't possibly live up to that... work ethic. What? This isn't a joke about Kyle's caboose. Don't work blue, guys. My offseason plans can best be described as:

1.     Read the collected works of Marcel Proust (What? It could happen.)

2.     Create the definitive collection of Kyle Seager GIFs, then hide them in a time capsule where no one from MLB Advanced Media can ever find them.

3.     Figure out a better way to quantify catcher defense. Wait, that sounds hard. Come up with a case for Mike's 2014 season. Wait, that sounds harder. Ok, maybe I'll just watch Bull Durham a couple of times.

4.     Can jam for the long off season. Do you can jam?

5.     Come up with more Servais/Bogar puns. There really could be more. Valar dohaeris: All men must Servais. This is my Servais.

6.     Hold auditions for my country western band Defensive Indifference.

7.     Construct a fort entirely of bobbleheads and rally towels.

8.     Pack for Spring Training.

9.     Unpack my Spring Training bag. I probably need some of that stuff.

10.   Rest.

11.   Spend time with family. Drive my family crazy with endless comments on what we're going to do with the bullpen. And catcher. And the outfield.

And lastly, keep entertaining you fine people with baseball silliness. Go M's.


Nathan Bishop

For the longest time I thought I was an extrovert. I love people - meeting them, talking to them, getting to know them, etc. People, like most anything in abundance, are easy to dismiss or skip over casually. But in my experience with a little effort almost everyone actually does have something interesting to say, provided they think you're listening.

However as age, children, and adulthood have mounted I have discovered that while I still love people, they do not, in fact, give me energy. Now any social interaction faced without a combination of alcohol and familiarity is something I can accomplish without ending the day almost entirely drained. Turns out solitude is where I find my strength.

So my plan is family, yardwork, and games. Despite now being in my mid-30's I still find catharsis in the escape of a good game, even one without a good storyline. If the systems in place are interesting and challenging, I can go elsewhere in my head, and there I find rest. Right now my wife and I are two months into trying to save the world in Pandemic: Legacy. The game has made me write on the board and tear up cards. It's a lot of fun.

Also I'm going to Leavanworth for the first time ever. I am hoping to snowshoe, build a bonfire, and hopefully convince myself to sign up for another marathon. A race is the only way I've found to commit to regular exercise. Plus I can't let Colin get all the glory.


Patrick Dubuque

I have a library at the back of our house. It's just a bedroom with no closet, floored in an attractive fake wood and draped in eight-foot Billy bookshelves crammed with beat-up paperbacks. It holds two easy chairs. I will not sit in them. Instead I will pace that laminate floor, circling slowly, bouncing slightly on the balls of my feet. It will be dark, and it will be quiet, save for the footsteps and my indistinct, futile whispers. I will sing Summertime, again and again, because I will be too tired to think of other songs. I will be too tired to do anything except count my footsteps in five-four time, reaching for the low notes only to release a gravely, toneless and shapeless sound, wishing I were everywhere, breathing with my neck, while the baby slumped on my right shoulder pushes its entire defenestrated existence through torque into my into my upper humerus, both of us wondering why, why now, why summertime in late night, in late November, why here. Eventually I will shift my weight, drop my arm a few inches to release the pressure, and the baby will cry. And I will shush, and begin to sing again. Fish are jumping, I will tell him, and the cotton is high.

Also, I'll be editing part of a book.


Matt Ellis

It's going to be a hell of an offseason this year, folks, and in order to get back to any notion of relevancy we're going to have to do a lot of work to bring the club back up to the standards of the halcyon days of '95. First, we'll be going to the gym more. I know, I know, "more," sounds like a bit of an anachronism--hell, we don't go to the gym at all. But as you're nearing 30 you start worrying about things like "back pain," and "joints," and you even occasionally have a "hard day" after drinking "too much" beer over the weekends. Harumph. Bullshit, I say.

But doctors orders are orders, so on to the gym it is. That's phase one. But on the other hand, you've got to be feeling good about what new GM Jerry Dipoto is going to be bringing to the franchise after years of malfeasance and inanity from Jack Zduriencik, even if you're gonna be sweating like an idiot in front of other people in public twice a week. That is why I will continue to "fav" tweets during the offseason as writers and bloggers describe what new teams the Baseball Men will be playing for, as well as the big expensive contracts they sign in the process. This "offseason," you may say, might not feel like an...offseason with so much going on! Ha! Best game in the world. Defense has the ball. Other man gets his turn at the plate. Base ball, folks.

Other activities I plan on doing to bide my time before Felix Hernandez throws out the first pitch of 2016:

1. Buy a new winter coat. I've been wearing these thin hoodies for like forever, and boy, buddy, it's just not cutting it anymore in this age of climate change and snow storms! Yeesh!
2. Take advantage of McDonalds serving breakfast 24 hours a day. I god. This is the world you always dreamed of as a child, and now it's here and you've done nothing about it! Gotta fix this problem ASAP.
3. Get drunk by myself and marathon the first three episodes of Ken Burns' Baseball until 3am before racking up $200 on my credit card from Ebbets Field Flannels ( I will actually do this, unfortunately. I'm not even kidding. It happens every winter, and there is nothing I can do about it.
4. Acquire a Masters Degree. This is also actually going to happen.
5. Complain about at least one free-agent signing from the new Dipoto regime. I mean, what kind of offseason would it be without registering completely unwarranted ire against a process you are by no means qualified to critique simply so as to make yourself feel better about the whole thing? Why else do we even follow sports?


David Skiba

They always say, "Love finds you when you least expect it."  This is without a doubt the dumbest thing I have ever heard.  Love finds you when it is most inconvenient for you to do anything about it.  Love is a many-splendid thing, lifts us up where we belong, makes us act like we are fools, et cetera, et cetera.  However, the off season coincides with the Winter and Fall months.  It's nice to have someone to share in sorrow with.  I hate the cold.  These are typically dark times where most musicians go off to the nether regions to write sonnets by candlelight and most couples sit directly next to me while I'm having a nice peaceful dinner alone.  Small plates do not have to be shared.  I can make my own decisions and how about another bottle of wine.  Thank you.

What I'm trying to get at is that this off-season I will spend my time cultivating an aura of being inconvenienced by Love such that it finds me, unwittingly knowing I am quite ready for it to come.  I figure I'll spend most of my time walking through used book stores looking for the most-medium worn copies of books about repairing fax machines, stained glass art, and whatever Jodi Picoult novels I can find (some reading is purely for pleasure).  On top of that, I'll go to coffee shops and order whatever comes with not only whipped cream, but also sprinkles on top of that whip cream.  I'll start muttering to myself, scribbling circles on paper all while wondering aloud why I "Can't make them with corners?!" and I'll probably walk through the park with three exotic birds I rent from friends.

This, this sounds like an interesting man, not what I actually am.  Imagine coming across this person, so confounded by things none of us speak of.  You'd want to give him your love, you'd find him an interesting person to spend the dark months with.  But man, it seems like you'd be just an inconvenience.  Such is my plot.  There is only so much steak tartare one person can consume before you look at the empty chair, and blank space of the table and wonder, "May I crack the yolk?"

Otherwise, I'll hopefully write a few new chapters in my book, finish cutting an album, make some wine, spend some time in Snoqualmie, and do some open-pit cooking.  Every breath is just a bonus.  But, what do I know?  I still don't know what love means.

(Ed's note: This is love, David.)

David Trumbo