Running a website is hard. I’ve never done it, but what I have done is stay up until four in the morning writing about Hector Noesi.
One time he entered a game in the 12th inning to give up a walk-off home run to Coco Crisp, and it earned the Mariners their first loss of the entire season. That team would later go on to miss the playoffs by one single game, and it was in no way Hector’s fault, but nevertheless I still think about that pitch sometimes, late at night, when I’m falling asleep, or at least trying to. That is what it’s like to write about baseball on the internet. I have done that.
I published my first Lookout Landing post on June 22nd, 2013. Appropriately, it was a recap of an achingly banal loss to the Oakland Athletics in a season that saw the Mariners oscillating between eleven and ten games under .500. Since then, I’ve written a few more posts that have either been utterly embarrassing or worthy of a slight, momentary lapse of reason that could allow me to believe that a few of them were interesting to someone else. In five years, I’ve gone from writing five recaps a week to five a season. I’ve moved across the country and put on pounds and gotten married, and I’ve shared these times with you all. I’ve watched Henry Blanco and Thyago Vieira, and I got yelled at on Yahoo!’s front page. I’ve made some incredible friends and upset others. You can guess where this is going and I’m here to tell you it’s true.
First of all, I want to say thanks. Maybe you told me I was a jackass in the comments, maybe you said a nice word on one of the linked twitter cross-posts the network demands. But more importantly, you read, and I did my best to give you something useful to look at because lord knows these god damned fools with the hats don’t do that very often.
I want to thank Scott Weber, who answered a long-shot email written in response to Jeff Sullivan’s farewell post not realizing that those three mouse clicks would change my life in ways I had then yet to comprehend. I want to thank Skeebs, Andrew, SG, Woodsy’s suit, and José. Folks on twitter. My new BP family (find me there!). Hank Jepsen, Harold J. Dalton, and baseball movies. Patrick—a heart with a pen I keep finding sold out at every store I visit in an attempt to find my own. Meg Rowley, who is always there with an open line to talk about grad school, the bullpen, and everything else which doesn’t fall under those categories. I want to thank Brendan’s advice and book recs, and I want to thank anyone who has hung out on my yearly visits to Safeco. I want to thank everyone I’ve ever shared a byline at this website with, and I want to apologize to Colin for that time I got toasted in the ‘Pen and gave you an awkward hug, because afterwards you somehow still decided to be my friend. I don’t want to thank Stefen Romero, but in some stupid way, I guess I should.
I want to thank my peers currently writing this site, as you transition into one of the most consequential offseasons this franchise has ever faced. And Kate—thank you for allowing me to stick around, even just if in spirit, for one last season. Saying goodbye isn’t like ripping off a bandaid with clenched teeth, it’s a leaf blossoming brown.
And, to Nathan Bishop: I may have started writing about baseball because of Jeff Sullivan, but the only reason I stuck with it is because of the environment you created which allowed me to flourish. You have done more for the culture of this franchise and fandom than you will ever know, and I am honored to call you not simply one of my closest friends but someone I strive to be more like each and every day.
It has long been my dream to break Lookout Landing’s No Politics Rule, so in the spirit of things I will end my tenure by giving my own version of Jon Stewart’s final monologue warning us of political bullshit to come:
We often say “there is no wrong way to fan,” and outside the fact that you shouldn’t just turn EVERYTHING into a verb, that sentiment is true. For most of my adult life, the Mariners have been bad. And that seems likely to not change any time soon.
Now, we won’t all agree on the veracity of the previous sentence. But skepticism—or, pessimism, whatever you want to call it—shouldn’t be seen as an end in itself. Rather, it can be a healthy approach to following a team that has more often than not let you down (and the only way some of us can keep tuning in to this circus). Look up at the top of your browser. That logo up there is not simply an in-joke to make people feel bad for what we are forced to regularly endure on our television sets—it is a reminder that there is absolutely no reason whatsoever that your baseball team should ever win a game. But sometimes they do.
In 2008 Felix Hernandez stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam off Johan Santana, at the time one of the game’s best working pitchers. Right then, and over the next couple of seasons, it was one of those moments that kind of forced you to contextualize all the hours of meaningless baseball you had foisted upon your eyeballs knowing that sometimes, maybe, possibly...somehow, despite all odds...something wonderful might happen. And holy fuck, was it was wonderful.
But today Felix Hernandez is on the wrong side of thirty, and may be wearing an elbow held together by bubblegum and fraying dental floss. Over the next couple of years, I hope you never forget that sorrow, in hindsight, only functions if there is something which it amends.