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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

November 5, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Ryan Divish hired to cover Mariners for The Seattle Times

The Mariners are narrowing their search for a manager, but we’ve already made our choice to cover the team.

We’ve hired Ryan Divish, who previously was on the Mariners beat for The News Tribune in Tacoma.

Divish replaces Geoff Baker, our Mariners reporter for the past seven years. Baker was recently promoted to the newly created job of sports investigative and enterprise reporter and will cover the Mariners until Divish’s first day for The Times, Nov. 25.

“This is a great opportunity for me to grow as a writer and reporter,” Divish said Tuesday. “Over the years, I’ve gotten to know and really respect the people working for The Seattle Times. I consider them friends and now get to call them co-workers.”

If you’ve been following the Mariners closely, you’ve heard of Divish. He’s one of the new breed of reporters who can do it all. Like a five-tool baseball player, Divish excels at breaking news and writing on tight deadlines; writing features and enterprise; posting blogs; using social media like Twitter (follow him @ryandivish); and creating video and podcasts. We call it multi-platform journalism, and I’m confident he’s the right person to continue The Seattle Times’ tradition of outstanding multi-media sports reporting that Baker and Bob Condotta established when they launched our first two blogs about six years ago.

Divish is a baseball guy who knows the game inside and out. He played baseball at the high-school, American Legion and college level. He gets the nuances of our national pastime, understands Sabermetrics and knows how to translate the game for seamheads and casual fans alike.

“Baseball has been my first love since I was a kid in Havre, Mont.,” Divish said. “I’ve tried to bring the same consistent passion and intensity I had for playing the game into my day-to-day coverage. I can’t think of a better sport that offers more engaged and informed debate amongst its fans. I look forward to continuing that debate at The Times.”

Larry Stone, The Times’ national baseball reporter until being promoted to sports columnist in September, is happy Divish will be joining our team.

“Ryan is the perfect choice to take over our Mariners coverage,” Stone said. “He has a passion for baseball, an intimate knowledge of the beat, and most important, a connection already established with fans. But those who aren’t yet familiar with Divish are in for a treat. Just be prepared for a lot of tweets about his beloved Montana Grizzlies sprinkled in with the Mariner news.”

Baker is also a Divish fan after competing with him on the Mariners beat.

“He has an intricate knowledge of the team’s minor-league system, and has spent years observing and learning the big-league team as both the secondary and main guy on the beat for his paper,” Baker said. “His willingness to engage online puts him ahead of many of his peers and will allow this to be a seamless transition. Having discussed MLB and the Mariners with Ryan on many a night on the road, I am confident we’ve made the right decision. It was the most obvious move we could have made, and I’m sure readers will agree.”

Divish is a Montana native who grew up in the small town of Havre, graduated from the University of Montana (hence his love affair with the Griz) and then returned to his hometown for his first newspaper job. As sports editor of the Havre Daily News, he covered prep and local sports for two years. His next stop was in Pocatello, Idaho, at The Idaho State Journal, before being hired by The News Tribune, where he had previously interned. He worked in Tacoma almost seven years, covering everything from preps to Washington football and men’s basketball.

But Divish’s first love has always been baseball, and he served as the backup reporter on the beat for several years before becoming the primary Mariners reporter. He was thrilled to cover his favorite sport, and so were readers, apparently. Divish doubled traffic on the TNT’s Mariners blog within a year and built a passionate following on Twitter.

“The social media aspect drives traffic, and it’s another important venue to engage readers,” said Corey Brock, who worked with Divish in Tacoma and now covers the San Diego Padres for MLB.com. “He gets that, and a lot of people don’t. Ryan’s good at engaging fans and developing a following.”

Tim Booth, sportswriter for The Associated Press in Seattle, agrees. “Ryan has his own unique personality and lets it show through on social media. He can insightful and funny. His persona is really strong. A lot of people gravitate to him.”

I’m confident you’ll like Divish just as much as I – and everyone else – does. You’ll be able to start reading him in print, on the Mariners blog and on Twitter when he starts later this month. His first big assignment will be covering the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings in Florida in December.

Let me know what kinds of stories you’d like to see Ryan take a swing at as our Mariners reporter.

Want to be a reader contributor to The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? Email your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Sports Editor Don Shelton at dshelton@seattletimes.com or sports@seattletimes.com. Not all submissions can be published. The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.

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