On Tuesday, in the early hours of the morning, staff writer Tim Cantu passed away.
He was 32 years old.
There’s so much anger barreling through, splintering out into breathtaking shards of pain. Anger that our universe has lost one of the best men imaginable, that his five children have to spend the rest of their lives without him, that he - the most optimistic of us all - won’t be there to celebrate with us when the Seattle Mariners win the World Series.
Of all the way that Tim was exceptional, the thing I admired most was the way he seemed to balance his life. He was a lawyer who was married to a true gem of a woman, with five young kids, a love for golf and cooking meat, and devoted to his faith without judgment of others. And somehow, within all of that, he carved out the time to talk and write about our silly baseball team, in a way that never felt hurried or put-upon or anything less than the very best thing he could be doing at that moment.
It’s a small comfort when an artist dies, that their work, their vision of the world, lives on. For all that we miss Tim already, I’m grateful his voice will always echo through LL.
He’d been a community member for years, but made his front page debut with what would, unsurprisingly, become his niche: A clear, concise and sneakily witty explanation of one component of baseball’s complex legal jargon. Come for the detailed layout of the Luxury Tax, stay for the hilarious dek (and bonus sneaky link).
In that vein, he covered:
- What to Make of the Mariners Lease Negotiations
- The Arbitration Process - Contract Negotiation for Senior Rookies
- Contract Tendering and the Arbitration Process
- It’s Not Collusion. The Players Just Need New Labor Lawyers
- A Profile of Mariners Deputy General Counsel Melissa Robertson
Tim’s work on Dr. Lorena Martin’s case was exceptional. detailed, unbiased and comprehensible, despite the layers of complexities the coverage posed.
He also played a major role in forcing the resignation of disgraced now-former Mariners president, Kevin Mather. Tim was swift on producing a transcription, and had the foresight to download and save the entire original video, which he was able to repost publicly after the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club took it down.
Beyond sharing his legal expertise, Tim had the statistical acumen and creativity this site has long been known for. Some highlights include:
- How to Build a Playoff Bullpen in Seattle (“It’s like Build-a-Bear, but they only get one outfit.”)
- Statcast Swing Take Tool Debuts
- Popups and Misadventures: Some of the Least Likely Mariners Hits Since 2015 (“This one would very easily be an out, except the Rays had an extreme OF shift on for Motter, which was really smart on their part, since this is actually the only ball he ever hit to the opposite field in his entire career (Do not fact check this thank you we are a volcano blog).”)
And he was funny. Damn was he funny.
Everything from a forgettable Spring Training game (“I will end it there and apologize for the shortened ‘cap, necessitated by a backing up sink that made me miss a bunch of the game. I got the sink clear, though. I’m in the best plumbing shape of my life.”) to a mid-June clunker was made better with his writing.
Did you ever want to learn about the etymology of “Cerberus”? Or perhaps considering a jaunt up to Ladnor? Tim wrangled it all together in this 40 in 40 on James Paxon.
He blessed us with his stalwart stances on cornhole, such as: “A dad plays cornhole on unfinished plywood, or not at all.” And “ You play it on MDF or plywood because that is what our forefathers would have done at Valley Forge. Don’t embarrass them.”
He interviewed Tim Kurkjian and shared amazing stories about Ichiro.
He made us weep in a story about triumph after loss.
And oh, could that man ban with a flourish.
He was the epitome of a team player, too, lending stalwart analyses and devastating burns to countless series previews, breaking news blurbs, roundtables and recaps.
Just as we treasured him, he treasured this community. From Thanksgiving of last year:
“You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.
I don’t know that I’ve ever felt the impact of Bart Giamatti’s seminal essay like I have this fall. No, the game didn’t exactly begin in the spring in the way it usually did, and we had to wait through the early summer for that oldest of baseball traditions—the labor dispute—to resolve, but this fall, when the game stopped? I felt it so deeply. Knowing that ahead of us lay increased disease, oppressively cloudy and damp days, more stay-at-home orders, fewer places to get out and see with your spouse or your children—I knew as the innings wound down on the season that, LIDOM or no LIDOM, I was going to miss baseball and summer like never before.
So what am I grateful for? I’m grateful for my fellow staff members, who have been wonderful friends to me through a little Mariners and a lot of hope; I’m grateful for silly and serious baseball stories, new and old; and I’m grateful for this community, which, baseball or no baseball, is a genuinely fun place to hang out on an internet that has fewer and fewer such places. Whether we’re bickering in the comments about which of our second basemen is best or hoping together that we’ll land our next Robinson Canó in free agency, Lookout Landing is a wonderful place to be with a wonderful set of voices, writers and commenters alike.
No matter what this winter brings, I’ll see you all on the enclosed green field of the mind.”
Thank you, Tim, for sharing so much of your light and life with us and our little corner of the internet. We’ll miss you forever.