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

July 25, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Treating baseball too much like real life

Sitting here in New York and thinking about what I was doing 10 years ago this month, staying at the Marriott World Trade Center for two weeks pre-9/11, I thought I had a pretty good grip on perspective.
Then, this morning, came this gut punch from Dave Cameron, the founder of USS Mariner:
Last week, I was informed that I have Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a particularly nasty member of the cancer family. History has given my doctors all kinds of data about cure rates and life expectancy, and statistical analysis is helping them decide just what kind of chemotherapy I’ll be taking in a few hours, which I’m really thankful for.
But really, those numbers do nothing for me. I’m not going to be making very many decisions over the next few months. I’m just going to be rooting like crazy for the drugs to work. I need reasons for hope, and I won’t find much of that in the harshness of raw data.

Dave and I have had an interesting relationship the past five years. We don’t always see eye-to-eye on baseball-related matters. But he was the first locally-focused blog writer (for a guy living in North Carolina) that I had a chance to meet here in Seattle, along with Jeff Sullivan of Lookout Landing. The three of us had lunch together midway through the 2007 season to discuss the state of the Seattle blogosphere and where blogs were headed in general.
Back then, it was all so new. Without a lot of the bitterness too many online forums have evolved into.
We’ve had our shots at each other back and forth in public since. But also a lot of friendly exchanges behind the scenes, whether it was collaborating on the 2009 Mariners Annual for Maple Street Press (where just about every single word of the tens of thousands we all contributed comically turned out to be 100 percent off-base within weeks) to phone and email conversations. Last December, at the winter meetings, Dave and I raised some eyebrows by sitting side-by-side one day in the workroom. But why wouldn’t we? We even joked about it at the time.
This blog would not be what it is if not for some of the other blogs in the Seattle blogosphere and USS Mariner has been a huge part of that — disagreements or not. Heated exchanges or not. For the most part, it’s been a friendly rivalry. Sometimes, it’s not so friendly. It is what it is.
A lot of the information we post regularly on this blog comes from FanGraphs, where Cameron is the lead editor. When their reporters call for interviews, I give them time because the site has become a part of mainstream baseball coverage.
That is to say, whatever differences we all may have, it’s just baseball. What happens on the field is not real life. It’s not about stuff that’s really going to matter when we all go home at the end of the day. The truth is, for all of our disagreements, Cameron and I do agree on a lot of basic stuff surrounding the Mariners. We also all can recognize sabermetrics and stats for the value they bring to the game, just have varying degrees of interpretation as to the level of their importance and the practical uses.
But that’s it. In real life, none of this matters.
What matters now is Cameron getting healthy. Both for himself and the people who depend on him, first being his immediate family and young wife. After that, the employees who have come to know and respect his work. And for the legions of Seattle baseball fans out there who enjoy the busiest baseball blogosphere in the country thanks largely to Cameron and other trailblazers.
Take this time to send him your thoughts of encouragement. No matter what differences you may have had with him on a superficial level.
And let’s all take this time to remember the stuff that’s important. Yes, the Mariners have lost 15 in a row. Yes, we all have our ideas about what’s gone wrong here over the past several years.
And none of it really matters in anything other than a debate on how our tax dollars are spent. That’s it. It’s sport. It’s entertainment. Let’s hope we’re all around for a good deal of time to see Cameron and the rest of us debate the stuff we use to distract ourselves from life’s realities. And let’s do it with a little more civility.
All of us, myself included. Let’s try to have more fun. Try to get that perspective thing realligned once again.



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