After seven years covering the Mariners, Geoff Baker is stepping away from baseball coverage and stepping into a new role. I couldn’t be more excited, and neither could Geoff.
Baker’s new role, as he announced in a Mariners Blog post Thursday, will be as our sports enterprise and investigative reporter. He will draw on 22 years of journalism experience and dig into larger stories on the business of sports. That includes ownership and radio-TV contracts, as well as watchdog and investigative stories. Baker will also become our lead reporter on covering efforts to bring the NBA and NHL to Seattle and to build an arena. That story was one of the most important of the year, and it won’t be going away any time soon. Baker will cultivate sources in the NBA and NHL to help break stories and help readers understand the many issues involved.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to get back to doing more of what I got into this business to do,” he said. “And to be able to do it full-time, in a sports context, is something I’ve never done and that not too many people get a chance at.”
Baker’s investigative skills – he has a strong background as an investigative reporter in news and business – and his doggedness going after important stories will serve him, The Seattle Times and our readers well in this new job. And the fact that he grew up in Quebec and has a deep understanding and appreciation of hockey doesn’t hurt, either.
Baker’s new role starts Nov. 3. He’ll finish the season covering the Mariners while we look for his replacement, and then take some well-deserved time off.
I want to thank Geoff for his hard work covering the Mariners for the past seven years. He arrived this week in 2006, and helped launch our newspaper into the digital age by starting the Mariners Blog. He made it essential reading for any Mariners or Major League Baseball fan. He did an admirable job of handling the demands of being a baseball beat reporter while still finding time to dig into bigger profiles, enterprise and investigative stories.
With this new role, he will be freed of the daily constraints of a beat to do more of those kinds of stories.
I’m convinced that a great Sports section has to give readers those larger stories (as well as the daily stories and blog posts from beats). It’s part of our mission and part of what any great newspaper must do. Hold the powers that be accountable. Uncover corruption and incompetence. Find the truth.
Baker will maintain a regular presence in our print and digital products, and we plan to launch a weekly sports business column and blog. I’m sure he’ll be checking in with the Mariners from time to time, looking into different aspects of that struggling franchise. He won’t be going anywhere.
If you’re a Mariners fan worried about what’s next, don’t be concerned. The search for a Mariners beat reporter has already begun and I plan to make sure that we hire someone who will continue our tradition of outstanding baseball coverage, both in print and online. That means updating the Mariners blog daily, covering games home and away, writing profiles and other features, breaking news, doing video and podcasts and being a major presence on social media like Twitter and Facebook.
Just like Baker did.
There are several more recent staff changes, including additions to help beef up our presence on the Seahawks, and I’ll be rounding them up in a Take 2 blog post soon.
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