Estimation is a skill our species mostly lacks. For some reason, the ability for our minds to use previous experience to anticipate future scenarios is rather poor. Ask a friend how tall they think a telephone pole is. Then ask five more. The answers will all vary widely. How many times do we have to see these ubiquitous road-side statues of our time before we better understand them? We can pass by a thing our whole lives and never comprehend the true shape and size of it. It is for this same reason, the poor estimation, that I am writing my last article today. I simply underestimated time.
In this space, the Baseball Blogosphere, we're no strangers to estimation. Often it seems as though all we do, all we can do, is estimate. We anticipate future outcomes to try to create current conclusions. We're pretty bad at it. In 2015 the Seattle Mariners were preseason darlings to win the World Series. By September the entire front office was gutted. A year earlier the reverse happened, and a top-heavy roster with a seemingly magical bullpen and an over reliance on Endy Chavez came just innings away from the postseason. We rarely predict the future correctly, and I am a victim of the same fault.
In March of 2015, Lookout Landing put out an open call for a writer. At the time I was preparing to head home for spring break, just before the final quarter of my graduate program, and I was in the midst of broadcasting my CV to all corners of the world. Wine waits for nobody. So, as mostly a joke and on a whim, I applied to write for LL. I submitted two papers I had just written on complex groups of aromatic compounds and a chapter of a book I've been working on for years. I wrote about what it was like to play baseball my entire life. How proud I was to see good friends and teammates wearing MLB jerseys. I honestly never expected to hear back.
The rest is the history of the last two years.
Scott Weber was brash, or desperate enough, to hire me based off a three-thousand word recap of a Spring Training loss where Erasmo Ramirez blew a three-run lead in the ninth to the Giants. The above comment marked my first recap of a 2-0 loss to the Angels on the second game of 2015. I read it in line for a coffee on campus at UC Davis. I think I laughed out loud. Of the thirty five or so recaps I wrote that season, the Mariners won ten. Baseball, more so than any other sport, has a way of reflecting our lives in a game. You can prepare all you like, but once you hit the "Go" button the show sorta runs itself.
As a Mariners fan firmly planted in my mid-twenties, I have been afforded very few euphoric moments by my Hometown Nine. There's The Bunt, which I can still feel as if it happened last night, there's the night Edgar did his farewell, Felix's perfect game, Ichiro taking the single-season hit record, and then a whole lot of nothing. In 2007 I witnessed what still might be the most chill-inducing several seconds of my life. On August 4th, on a beautiful San Diego night, my baseball team had a night off while playing in a West Coast championship series. Tickets were purchased months in advance to watch the Giants play the Padres. What we saw was much, much more than that.
At the time, Barry Bonds was undoubtedly my least-favorite player in the Non A-Rod category. Yet, there he stood, in the batter's box, having already hit 754 home runs in his career. I wish I could do justice for the scene. PetCo was packed to the gills, and my teammates and I up in the nosebleeds, along with tens of thousands, all stood and cheered as Bonds took the plate. For a man who was so widely detested by purists, and non-purists alike, the reception was like a returning general to Rome. You could watch the stadium flock towards the right field seats. Everyone was waiting for a swing and the crack of hard maple. Before he even took the batter's box, a standing ovation had begun. Watching Bonds hit 755, with the weight of what it meant, man, I'll never forget that. As a sixteen year-old kid, that was everything.
And I think that's why power is my favorite tool. To swing wildly in confident belief that you have found your spot and will hit your mark, as hard as possible, that is what baseball is to me. The long fly ball that leaves the yard. To push past the boundaries of the contest you have agreed to play. To, ever so briefly, defy the gravity which equalizes us all. I was fortunate enough to see Barry Bonds do that for the seven-hundred and fifty-fifth time, on an August evening in San Diego.
This site is a little monster to maintain, despite how it may appear on the outside, and the time it takes is unbelievably extensive. I know this better than most because, though I was named a Managing Editor only months ago, I've been helping to run LL in various capacities for the last twelve months. Together Nathan and I hired members of a staff that is vibrant, alive, beautiful. You have the pleasure of reading their hard work daily, and I'm so proud of the team, and the community, that we built. Being a part of Lookout Landing for the last two years has been an absolute honor and a pleasure. Being named Managing Editor alongside Kate was something I never really anticipated as being part of my path, but I am so very happy I was given the chance. When I first started here I was in the worst way. I am so lucky to be able to leave it in the best way.
So why leave something that has given me so much happiness? We are all flawed when it comes to estimation, but in this instance I sorely underestimated the hours in a day. Starting a business from scratch takes not just time from you, but many other things. No Boat Brewing Company is no exception to this rule, and while it represents the greatest effort towards any goal I have ever summoned, it requires the sacrificing of my time here. It is a sad thing and I will miss so many aspects of writing and managing here. I could ramble on and on, and already am, about what makes this place so beautiful but here we have baseball (or baseball writing) as another reflection of our lives. You have to be able to sacrifice who you are for who you want to be.
Here's the part where I say my thanks. I wouldn't be here were it not for the work of countless others but especially the great faith shown by Scott Weber, who hired me. Not only did he work his ass off to make this place what it is now, so strong and vibrant, but he's one of the best men I've ever met. Nathan Bishop who, when he first took over, told me, "I hope you'll stay because you say whatever you feel and it's usually random bullshit." You weren't wrong. Typically when we'd talk I'd ask him for his very worst idea. That was usually the article I'd end up writing. It was fun, light, and mostly about the Mariners. I cannot express how fortunate I was to be able to do that alongside one of my very best friends. Nathan is my brother, given to me by circumstance and the M's. This site has blessed me not only with both of their lifelong friendships, but also their incredible spouses and families. Friends like them affirm the belief that family is not only who is in your bloodline. I love you all.
I must also thank the tireless work of those who made it here before me, Andrew Rice, Brendan Gawlowski, Colin O'Keefe, Anders Jorstad, Michael Barr, Eric Blankenship, Matt Ellis, Jake Mailhot, Jose Rivera, Patrick Dubuque, and Peter Woodburn. To the talented Meg Rowley whose insight is always beyond my own. To all of you who have become so close to me. This list is populated with not only some of the very best baseball minds, but some of the most genuine, hilarious, and inspiring folks I've had the pleasure of knowing. It's amazing to think of the incredible talent that has existed in the two years I've been here. I'm so proud to call you all my friends, and to have done commune with you all around our little corner of the Internet. You have my heart.
I need to give special love to Kate for working with me, or mostly without me, these past two months. As the brewery demanded more and more of me, she's managed to take over more and more of the work here. The site is in strong hands. I want to also thank the members of the staff I was fortunate enough to help hire on in Grant, Isabelle, Ethan, John, Scott, Olivia, and Zach. The staff is so, so much more intelligent than I could ever hope to be. It's often said that you should surround yourself with those better than yourself. What luck that I was able to do so myself. You all have so much left to do here. I'm so excited to see it from afar.
Finally, I'd like to thank you. Thank you for listening. Thank you for critiquing and arguing. Thank you for entering conversation with me. Baseball, like anything meaningful, is enjoyed and seen by all folks in a different way. I would hope we don't watch it the same. That would be boring. Don't be boring.
One thing more.
Life is for the doing. It is for the bold, for the grinder and the adventurer. Playing small serves no purpose. Go boldly in the direction of your heart and do so with full intention of never going back the way you came. History has never been for the critics. It's for those who do. Who create. Not without fear, but without regard for it.
I want to leave you with the final stanza of Robert W. Service's Call of the Wild
There's a whisper on the night-wind,
there's a star agleam to guide us.
And the Wild is calling, calling...let us go.
My own Wild calls me. And I must go.
I hope we meet again someday soon, some sunny day, at a ballgame and in good cheer. I estimate that will be a very good time.