I didn’t know quite what I was getting into when I started this blog on Feb. 14, 2009. But after 4 1/2 years, and more than 1,500 posts (not counting hundreds filling in on the Mariners blog), I’ve grown quite fond of this place, and all you crazy kids. Thanks for providing support, ideas, and passionate feedback, both positive (mostly) and negative (hello, Pedro Calderon. Truthfully, I never minded a dissenting voice, and you have been steadfast in your beliefs). To all of you who let me know how ill-informed and off-base I was on whatever was the topic of the day…Thank you, sir (or ma’am). May I have another?”
If this sounds like I’m breaking up, well, sort of. As some of you may have seen, I’m making a dramatic career shift (not sure why they used a mug shot that dates back to the Clinton administration). I will be joining Jerry Brewer as one of the sports columnists at the Seattle Times, with my first offering coming on Sunday. It’s an exciting move, one that I’m eager to tackle. But one of the necessary by-products is that I no longer will be solely focused on baseball, as I have been for the past, gulp, 17 years at the Seattle Times, and, double-gulp, more than 25 years overall.
If there’s one thing I hope came through during my time here, and especially on this blog, it’s my deep, abiding love of baseball — the history, the lore, the nuances, the controversies, the statistics, the people. But this is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up — especially after I crossed covering a no-hitter off my bucket list last season. Thanks, Felix.
I’m going to miss being around the Mariners on a near-daily basis. The team may be struggling, but there are a lot of talented, hard-working, well-intentioned people in the organization who deserve a better fate. I’m also going to miss the close association with the Mariners press corps, despite their near constant mockery of my foibles (admittedly, I provide plenty of ammunition). It’s a great bunch who, more often than not, helped transformed what can be a stressful and time-consuming endeavor into loads of fun. Covering sports teams has a unique dynamic in that your competitors often became your closest confidants, because you are in almost constant contact, particularly when travel is involved. You still battle for scoops, but that doesn’t diminish the friendships that develop. So to Ryan Divish, Greg Johns, Shannon Drayer, Tim Booth, Todd Dybas, Brad Adam (and beat-writers emeritus Jim Street, Larry LaRue, Bob Sherwin and Kirby Arnold), not to mention my esteemed colleague and friend Geoff Baker (and before him, Bob Finnigan), thanks for the camaraderie, and the laughs. And that goes for the many people in the media I didn’t mention, but thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks also to Randy Adamack, Tim Hevly, Jeff Evans and Kelly Munro of the Mariners’ PR staff (as well as the departed Fernando Alcala) for all the great information and help they’ve provided over the years.
In my new position, I hope to bring the same level of inquiry to a multitude of sports, issues and personalities. But, alas, there is no longer going to be a call for me to operate a blog devoted to baseball issues. That is not to say that I’m done with blogging. That will work itself out as I grow into this job. For now, the Hot Stone League is going into hiatus, but rest assured that I am not. You’ll find me spewing opinions three times a week, or more, in the Seattle Times. And I plan to do plenty of baseball commentary, so I’m sure I’ll be hearing from many of you in the future.
It truly has been an enjoyable journey, one that I’m glad we were able to share. Til we meet again, a sincere thank you.