- The truest thing I ever wrote in the three and a half years I was privileged to be here, was also one of the worst. On August 22nd, 2015 my friend, and the remarkable, incomparable recap-artist Matt Ellis came to Safeco Field. We all went, to the point that no one was around to recap. The Mariners lost, which was perfect, to be honest. I got very drunk, and wrote this sloppy, trainwreck of a recap, because no one else could. But this part, I got right:
One day, tomorrow or 10 years from now, the Mariners will be good. We will have a lot of fun, we'll cry, we'll cheer, and we'll scream ourselves hoarse. But that won't be one tenth as special to me as when we all got together at Safeco on a Saturday night to watch yet another bad Mariner team lose like idiots while we all had the time of our lives.
- My favorite thing about baseball is its depth, and richness. I know of no other sports, perhaps no other activity, that provides a wider breadth of possible engagement to more people than this silly game. It meets the young and old, sick and healthy, American and foreign, wherever we are when we come to it. It serves as a shared family legacy, an escape from poverty, a lifelong hobby, a place for mathematicians and poets to walk, if not arm and arm, at least astride each other.
It is a game that can be taken in so casually, with the utmost nonchalance. Its pace and rhythms allow the space for your words, your conversation, your wandering focus. It will still be there, whenever you decide to circle back. Maybe that beautiful crack will sound out, and you'll be forced back in a way that doesn't feel rude, or harsh; a grateful interruption.
It is an ocean we cannot find the bottom to, no matter how deep we swim. It's a game with history extending a century and a half, and we still, no matter how much we look at, probe, poke, twist, warp, and examine it, cannot reveal all its secrets. In a world so well mapped, so well known, there is such a freedom to knowing our game can inspire so many great minds to bend their efforts to finding more, to understanding it.
It is every bit of both these things, and all of the space in between. I have spent my entire life loving baseball, as a casual, emotional youth, and as an obsessive, (slightly) less emotional adult. Whoever I was, wherever I was, baseball has met me, and shown to me whichever part of itself I needed most, at that time. It is, I am convinced, the single greatest game we humans have ever devised.
- For myself, finding the connecting point between people and the game was my joy. Watching so many, and so diverse a group of people learn to love the game, or appreciate it, consider it, and intake it in perhaps a slightly different way than before, was a daily pleasure. The community of Mariner fans is one the most positive, thoughtful, giving, and genuinely loving groups of people I have ever known.
- This is the part where I say my thanks. Being the managing editor of Lookout Landing was a dream come true for me. It was something that I never aspired to, because aiming high is not a trait inherent in me. But it was something that I loved, every day that I did it.
I could never have done it without Jon Shields, the first person read something I wrote and tell me it was good. He gave me a platform, and years of friendship and encouragement.
Scott Weber, my predecessor, my counselor, and my very good friend. David Skiba, the ball of energy and pure humanity who kept me afloat during so many days of exhaustion. Patrick Dubuque, the great thoughtful, tirelessly giving presence. Matt Ellis, a voice of such imagination and creativity I still cannot believe he wrote so many words for us for so little. Jose Rivera, perhaps the single kindest, most selfless human being I have ever met. He made all of our ridiculous fever dreams so much better than they had any right to be.
Every staff member who ever agreed to write with and/or for us: Meg Rowley, Brendan Gawlowski, Kate Preusser, Ethan Novak, Zach Sanders, Olivia Hummer, Colin O'Keefe, Michael Barr, Grant Bronsdon, John Trupin, Isabelle Minasian, Andrew Rice, Scott George, Eric Blankenship, Anders Jorstad, and Peter Woodburn. Every single one of you brought so much talent, creativity, thoughtfulness, and kindness to our site every single day.
A huge thank you to Justin Bopp, who tirelessly advocated for us and the site, who took a chance on me, and provided nothing but thoughtful encouragement during my time here.
There is no Lookout Landing without Jeff Sullivan, and Matthew Carruth. Though I do not know either of them well, my respect for both is as deep as my debt to them. Thank you.
My thanks to the Seattle Mariners, particularly Nathan Rauschenberg, and again Colin O'Keefe, for being so welcoming, collaborative, and fun to work with these past few years. I cannot believe you both do what you do, and do it with a smile.
For the tireless, exhaustive, indispensable work of CapSea and Sweezo, my two mods, I am so thankful.
To all the media members who made our site feel welcome, and maybe a small part of the landscape of covering this team: Ryan Divish, Greg Johns, Gary Hill Jr., Shannon Drayer, Bob Dutton, Angie Mentink, Brad Adam, Chuck Powell, and Mike Salk. A very special thank you to team broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith, who shared so much of his time, and energy with us. Never leave us, Aaron.
Thank you to you, our readers. Every day you engaged with us, be it to cheer, yell, agree, disagree, critique, thank, or otherwise. The daily experience of creating for a thoughtful, thirsty, engaged audience is every writer's dream. I hope you know how much we appreciate you, whether you commented, tweeted, emailed, or simply read.
Mostly, my thanks to my family, who allowed me chase a dream for two years, at immense sacrifice of time and energy. I am a very fortunate man.
- I have to go now, this will be my final post on Lookout Landing. I have just one final thought. In his withering critique of the leaders of modern atheism (yes, we are touching on religion. I'm sorry. I never was great about following rules), Sam Kriss writes:
All these falsehoods are beautiful, tiny, glittering reminders that the world can be something other than simply what it is; we should nurture them and let them grow. Instead, they’re crushed, mercilessly, in the name of a blind, stupid, pointless truth.
There is an application in there, I believe, to how we approach baseball. It is the Sport of Letters; the one whose shape, repetitious nature, and vast swath of easily quantified data has an inherent appeal to the analytical mind. But no analysis of the past, of trends, of deeper and deeper understanding of data, can fully account for the truth, and of baseball's great gift: We cannot know. All of our knowledge, our yearning for information, can only serve to strip the game away to a cascading chain of probabilities. In the end, the game will always be simply this:
The pitcher looks in, gets the sign, nods, winds, and throws. We lean in, we always will, no matter what. Because we do not know.
May we never.
Go Mariners. Bonum, verum, pulchrum. See you at a game sometime.