Hello, folks! This is Eric, your faithful FanPost Friday prompt guru and curator. The practice of FanPost Fridays is a somewhat common one throughout the SBNation network. When Kate asked me if I wanted to take on Lookout Landing’s effort in launching the series, I was excited to give it a shot even though I was unsure of how the LL community would respond. Our longtime base of readers, lurkers, and very active commenters is widely regarded throughout the network (and among ourselves) as smart, analytical, highly-engaged, self-policing, and generally as one of the better commenting communities on the whole dang internet (Shoutout to Sweezo for keeping the masses in line as our main benevolent mod, but also a general pat on the back to all the reguLLars for keeping up the standards that the community was built upon long ago). And yet, I wasn’t totally sure how willing our community would be to share their creativity and thoughts freely in FanPost form.
My concerns were quickly proven baseless as many quality FanPost Friday responses were submitted over the course of the 2018 season and beyond. Not every prompt I cooked up was a hit, which hey, I get it. I got a little weird and esoteric with them sometimes. Also, people are busy and don’t always have time to provide their thoughts in full paragraph form on our notoriously wonky FanPost story editor. Nonetheless, we ended up with so many good posts that I had to pare our staff’s list of favorites significantly!
So, hats off to you stalwart LLers out there and new folks alike for all your FanPost Friday submissions. We still have a good bit of time before Spring Training starts, so the LL staff picked their favorites of 2018. Take a look back to fill the time for these rainy winter weeks of no Mariners baseball and again, thanks for continuing to make Lookout Landing the one-of-a-kind hub of Mariners fandom, news, and analysis that it is.
FPF: No, really guys, I’m serious: Félix For Closer by Chris (from Bothell)
Chris didn’t need no stinkin’ prompt for this offseason heater. This came about during the recent offseason about-face by the Mariners front office from “no, no, we’re not rebuilding” to “haha just kidding, we are definitely rebuilding, bye Canó and Díaz!” Chris tapped into the zeitgeist a bit here with an idea so crazy it just might work! Wait, hold on one moment….(taps earpiece)
Bless @cougsgo for asking Jerry Dipoto what he thinks about Felix as a closer.— Brent Stecker (@BrentStecker) January 3, 2019
"I don't think much of it at all."
Chris, I regret to inform you that your idea may not have legs after all. Condolences. -Eric
Obscure History Division:
FPF: The trade that taught me how baseball works by Suburban Shocker
I loved this post for two reasons: I have had a bizarre fascination with the 1980s Mariners lately and stories of childhood baseball heartache are my aesthetic. Taking a trip back in time to the beginning of a forgettable decade of Mariners baseball, to the years after their birth, is a place we don’t often go in Mariners lore. Seeing it through the eyes of a kid trying to grasp the “whys” of baseball made it all the more compelling. -Amanda
FPF: The human snow delay by Sweezo
Sweezo thankfully took the bait on one of my stranger prompts and wrote about which Mariners players and coaches he would want to help him his football team win the Apple Cup. Sweezo is a Known Coug and he considered several large former Mariners to help his cause. He even dug up some old quotes from Al Martin on his alleged “football days” at USC. Thanks for getting weird with me, Sweezo! -Eric
FPF: “I want to be fearless” - Demi Lovato by BrittneyBush
Brittney’s post envisioning herself as the Mariners’ closer, complete with the bombastic energy of a Demi Lovato entrance song, makes me want her to be the actual closer for the 2019 team.
In a short, concise piece of writing, Brittney captured everything I love about the very concept of a closer. High-pressure situations. A literal need for confidence. Songs that slap. This FanPost was both a fun transformative exercise into what it would be like to actually record the final out for the Mariners, and a brilliant piece of writing containing the following passage:
As I stride to the mound everything disappears except the sixty feet, six inches between the rubber and home plate. The screams of 35,000 excited fans become an abstract roar and the beat of my favorite hype song dances in my blood as I focus only on the task before me.
I USED TO HOLD MY FREAK BACK
NOW I’M LETTING GO
I MAKE MY OWN CHOICE
BITCH, I RUN THIS SHOW
FPF: Death in Fire - Amon Amarth by Sweezo
I’ve waffled many times over the years as to what my closer entrance song would be, though I often go back to something in the vast genre that is metal (the intro to this Meshuggah song is still a solid option). Sweezo picked an excellent Amon Amarth tune in Death of Fire here, a band that has several thrashy, adrenaline-pumping songs to choose from - Coming of the Tides is another one I recommend. Metal as a whole is criminally underused in walkup/closer entrance songs, and I loved the shoutout to one of my favorite bands here. -Connor
Cursed Baseball Division:
FPF: Folks, let’s talk about Rick White by Sweezo
One thing that I appreciate FanPosts teaching me about are slivers of history I missed while living a cable and wifi-less life on the East Coast for several years. I wasn’t here for the 2007 Mariners, and I wasn’t here for Rick White, but Sweezo made sure that it felt like I had a front-row seat. It would have been easy to pick a prominently detestable Mariner, but Sweezo’s deep cut really added something to my knowledge of the team. -Kate
FPF: Baseball in Vancouver! by Jacob Wall
This topic came up back in July when MLB began earnestly discussing expansion in Vancouver, BC, or Portland, Oregon, both of which are ideas I vehemently oppose, but oh well. Jacob Wall, a friendly Canadian Mariners fan and noted non-fan of the Blue Jays, did a deep dive on how MLB would fare in BC, using numbers and real analysis even! Can’t argue with the numbers, I suppose. Give ‘em a team, Manfred. At least it might eventually lower Blue Jays road fan numbers in Seattle...maybe? -Eric
Best in Show:
FPF: Hanshin Koshien Stadium by KaminaAyato
This was probably overall the coolest and most specifically informative FanPost of the year. KaminaAyato, known softbaLL pitcher, gave his response to the prompt on “Best Non-Safeco Field (RIP) Baseball Experience” and detailed his trip to the famous Natsu Koshien Japanese High School Baseball Tournament is a wonder to read and digest. -Eric
Best Personal Story:
FPF: Sixteen innings of big-city independence by Thorky Catcher
Many of the best FanPosts this year came from prompts rooted in nostalgia, and this one from the “Best Kingdome Stories” prompt just takes the cake. Telling a story that weaves in all the best things about pre-cell phone era school outings and youthful freedom, poster Thorky Catcher takes us DEEP into our collective Kingdome memories -Eric
This Is Not an Elegy by AnaNicole
The relationship of a Mariner fan of any age to Ichiro is an incredibly complex thing. That’s as it should be; as the most unique star in baseball history, there were layers upon layers of his greatness, ability, personality, and mystery for us to unwrap. I remember reading this and immediately thinking that somehow Ana had actually managed to capture all of it: the glee at seeing something no one else could do on a baseball field, the anger at some of the twists and turns, the pride at his accomplishments even when he wasn’t wearing northwest green, and the bittersweet conclusion to it all, down to the just-foul line drive. As someone who wrote his own Ichiro tribute, I wish I could have done it this well. -Tim
Edgar is and was an all-time favorite of moms all over the Northwest. This is fact. -Eric
Nostradamus Division (Mallex is back!)
FPF: A decade of obscurity by CornholeThatDog
I can relate to this story on nearly every level. My Mariners fandom started in 2009. Before 2009, I was as baseball agnostic as it got. From 2009 onward, I could tell you, with obnoxious detail, how the following seasons went and who played a part in them. Sometimes I miss Sean White. Or Trayvon Robinson; man did I dream on that guy as a prospect. I miss the Jack Hannahans and Ryan Langerhans and Josh Wilsons of the world. Those guys were my first insight into the Replacement Level Player, but I loved them all like a parent loves their children. So this story rings true for me, because I will certainly remember those players and those moments. But most of all, I’ll remember that Cornhole called his shot on Mallex Smith breaking out in 2018, and he delivered. Welcome back, Mallex. And may you produce many fun memories. -Anders
Best Rundown of a Horrible Trade Division:
FPF: My kingdom for a Morse by IncredibleSulk
The analysis of poor trades is a well-trodden path, but it delights me in the same way historical What If’s and high fantasy lore fill me with fascination. Of course we know Mike Morse for John Jaso was a hapless deal, but what IncredibleSulk alludes to is that the fallout from the trade was a slow motion train wreck. Our entire community raged against the move at its inception, and if sentiments weren’t already souring towards Jack Z, this lemon of a deal puckered folks up real quickly. But it goes deeper. Mike Zunino’s rushed development, and the half-decade saga of his inconsistency derive directly from this foolhardy move. As Sulk concludes, there were more impactful deals by total WAR and productivity, but few sapped our spirits like this one. -John
FPF: March 30 Janus by Jerryskid
Jerryskid, LL’s poet laureate, gave his thoughts(?) on the Curse of the Trident Hats and it is a journey worth taking. One of these days, the team just might have to take your advice on this one. -Eric