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Women in Baseball Week: at the heLLm

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A brief moment of appreciation for our fearless leader

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Seattle Mariners Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images

If Kate knew about this article she’d likely ask that it be scrapped, but this is Lookout Landing’s second Women in Baseball Week and it simply would not be complete without some recognition and appreciation for our fearless leader, Kate Preusser.

To be a woman in baseball is to be competitive. Your drive to succeed must be unshakeable enough to withstand, well, pretty much anything imaginable - the threats, the undue skepticism, the constant questioning of your abilities, the baseless cruelty directed at you from all sides. It’s all too easy for that steely competitiveness to trick you into viewing others as threats, rather than allies, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth with Kate.

She’s not merely a champion of the underdog - a given, really, when you love the Mariners - she’s a champion of the outsiders, or rather, a champion of those who have traditionally been pushed to the outside. Under her leadership the masthead is the most diverse it has ever been, and the diversity of lives and experiences has subsequently produced an unparalleled diversity of content. There’s no one way to be a baseball fan and, as such, there’s no singular way to write about the game. The strength of Lookout Landing is that there’s something for everyone.

Kate believes that what we do here is “service journalism,” a phrase I initially balked at. Our “services” were just writing about an often bad baseball team, what good does that do? But as her vision for LL has grown, so too has my understanding of our service journalism. For better or for worse, being a sports fan is a significant emotional investment, and it can take its toll. Through her writing and editorial guidance, Kate has continued to ensure that the writing here helps fans find solace, laugh, and celebrate in equal measure.

And oh, what writing it has been. Somehow we have one of the best writers in baseball not just writing about our team, but running our favorite team blog. From her incomparable debut (which I maintain is one of the funniest things she’s published), to 57 days of #EdgarHOF, to her iconic piece on an iconic moment, to yesterday’s profile of Rebecca Hale, Kate’s writing has been an unflagging beacon of goodness amidst seasons of triumph and turmoil. Lookout Landing doesn’t have clubhouse access, so Kate has gotten creative - she’s leveraged our access to the Mariners minor league affiliates, and through increased coverage of the minor leagues we have been able to build relationships with many of the organization’s prospects.

This offseason Kate will become the longest-tenured managing editor since Jeff Sullivan. When she took control of the helm of this ramshackle ship she was understandably anxious about how to live up to the traditions of the past. Lookout Landing has a history deeper than most sports blogs, and few people value this space the way she does. There was an immense pressure to do it justice and, I imagine, conflicting ideas about how best to do so. Ultimately she chose to forge her own path and, should she ever choose to step down, her legacy will have been inspirational for myself and so many others.

I’ve always been proud to write for Lookout Landing, but there’s a unique pride that comes from writing for a baseball site led by another woman. We certainly don’t always agree (I’m sorry, but I still refuse to believe Tyler O’Neill will ever be good), but her support and guidance has had a profound impact on my writing and sense of self. Kate is my reminder, every day, that there is a place for my voice in baseball writing, and for others who may have once believed they did not belong.