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Mariners blog

Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

July 15, 2007 at 7:23 PM

Back to the future

I’ve enjoyed your thoughts on Manny vs. Ichiro down below. Even the ones who think I’m out to lunch, no problem. For “Karen” you’re right. Youkilis is the Greek God of Walks. Did you know he isn’t even Greek? “Anna” in Serbia may be closer to being Greek than Youkilis (or not). He is of Estonian and Jewish descent. I guess Billy Beane just saw that his name ended in “kilis” and went crazy. I grew up in a Greek neighborhood in Montreal. Lots of my friends had similar sounding names. By the way, anything Moneyball? I’ve read it backwards and forwards. If you check the afterword of the paperback version, Michael Lewis does his best to go after me and colleague Richard Griffin for suggesting the Blue Jays might want to become more international (like the current Mariners and the Blue Jays of a bygone era). Oh well. Our careers survived. Bet you mine lasts longer than GM J.P. Ricciardi’s does in Toronto as he scrambles to rebuild an international scouting network he decimated the first four years of his tenure.
The one thing I did not want to do today was disparage Boston Herald writer Tony Massarotti by linking to his story. Tony and I broke into baseball writing at the exact same time in 1998 and he is not “lazy” as someone wrote. The exact opposite. The guys in Boston work extremely hard and are the first to target players and team executives who don’t measure up. I respect that greatly. There are too many writers in this business who cozy up to their respective teams out of fear they’ll lose access. That doesn’t happen in Boston very often. So please, just because I didn’t agree with Tony’s conclusion, do not take it as a sign he is lazy. Nothing could be further from the truth.
And no, he did not write me angrily. I doubt he’s seen this. I just have a personal pet peeve about paid media writers who bash other writers as sport. Not talking about fan sites or blogs. Paid media writers. There are several of them who never venture into clubhouses, but like to sit at their computers and take pot shots at hardworking baseball writers because they didn’t have an extra five hours to sit and crunch the latest trendy stat. I don’t want to become one of those writers. That is not the purpose of this site. Baseball writing is a very tough job for those who try to do it well and there is always room for improvement.
Had a chance this weekend to chat with two longtime acquaintances. One was John Lowe, the fine national baseball writer for the Detroit Free Press. The other was Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated.
Michael will always hold a fine place in my memory because I first started reading him more than a quarter century ago when he was the sports columnist for The Gazette in my native Montreal. Years later, in 1989, in my second year of university, I got to do a one-week internship at The Gazette and worked in their sports department. It was then that Michael suggested I accompany, or “shadow” him covering a hockey game. I remember the night vividly. I sat in awe and watched him turn phrases in mere minutes on his laptop that I could not hope to duplicate in hours. It takes years and natural talent to write like that. Later on, he took me down to the dressing room of the Montreal Canadiens. For a kid growing up in Quebec, that’s like a fantasy camp tour. The thing that shocked me the most about it was how close in age the players were to me. They seemed a lot younger than they’d looked on TV.
I wound up working at The Gazette full-time in 1991, in the news department, saw Michael occasionally. Then, he left for SI a couple of years later and we’d rarely crossed paths since until this past weekend. Over a pressbox dinner a couple of nights ago, we discussed Montreal, where he still lives. We talked about switching countries to work (he is an American and went through the same immigration challenges I did when he left to work in Canada). We also talked about blogs. He does a blog. I could not believe it. But he does. His is a lot shorter and less frequent than mine (scroll down to find it) because he has to pour every ounce of energy he has into writing longer pieces once a week for the magazine.
My job is a lot more daily. We talked about that and the challenges of doing the longer pieces and investigative features I have enjoyed doing over the years and still want to do more of here in Seattle. In one way, I told him, I see this blog almost as doing a featurish column every single day. Different challenges.
I had a conversation with Lowe, of the Free Press, a couple of nights ago as we were both among the last to leave the ballpark. Why? We both do blogs. He enjoys writing more about his “passions for baseball” in his blog and then finds it easier to keep it all straight news for the paper. An interesting take from a longtime newspaperman. These are both veteran sports writers I’m talking about and they both are doing blogs. I am more convinced than ever that this is the wave of the future. Not the same for all of us. But we are all coming to grips with the realities of the modern media age.
I wish some folks would think about that the next time they blindly accuse media types of being dinosaurs and out of touch. They are not. They are all wondering what the future holds and many of them are doing something about it.
Hope you’re all having a great Sunday evening.

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