USSMariner Feed #2

Dave · October 25, 2004 at 7:07 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Last winter, we held the first ever U.S.S. Mariner pizza feed, with about 50 of you showing up to hang out for several hours and talk about the M’s. So, back by popular demand, we’re going to host another pizza feed this year. Thanks to the pretty dramatic increase in readership we’ve experienced in the past twelve months, Piecora’s isn’t going to be large enough to handle us this time around. We’re looking into renting meeting halls capable of holding a couple hundred people. This feed may be a bit more like a conference than last years gathering, so before we get too far into the planning, I’d like to get some feedback from you guys on a few topics.

1. Tentative date is Saturday, December 18th. No real feedback on this necessary, as I doubt this date changes.

2. There is a moderate chance that we could get Bill Bavasi to attend, at least for a portion of the time, depending on his schedule. This is going to be the weekend after the winter meetings, so the big transactions of the offseason will likely be done by the feed. Obviously, having him (or any member of the front office) there presents a completely different dynamic than if he’s not. We had Chris Antonetti and Neil Huntington, assistant GMs for the Indians, come and speak to the 30 or so fans that attended the BP Cleveland feed last year, and they were remarkably candid and added a great deal to the feed. However, the entire atmosphere of the crowd changed when they arrived, and I’m not sure which you guys would prefer; a chance to have a Q&A with our GM or a chance to hang out with a few hundred fans and say whatever you want about the offseason moves. If Bavasi or another member of the front office does come, we’re going to demand that you treat them with respect and realize they’re giving up some valuable time to be there, and this would not be your opportunity to call Bill all the names in person that you’ve yelled at home for the past year. So, yay or nay to inviting a front office type to the feed?

3. Odds are we won’t be serving alcohol this year, so my theory was to hold the feed in the early afternoon (say, 2-6), which gives time for those of you that want to visit a nearby watering hole and drink the night away with fellow readers a chance to do so. Depending on how many special guests we get (right now, I’ve got two lined up, and am aiming for five), we might make the feed a bit longer, as well. So, what I’m wondering is what ratio of people talking at you vs you mingling with other readers you’d be happiest with. Should we cap the Q&A/us talking time to a couple hours so that you all can hang out with each other, or would you prefer more scheduled time given to people addressing the whole group?

4. On a similar vein, there’s a good chance that a friend of mine who is an area scout for a National League team is going to attend. I realize that not everyone is as big of a minor league geek as I am, and might not be as interested in talking scouting theory/mechanics breakdowns with a pro scout. Since his opinion on current minor leaguers is proprietary information to his club, he probably won’t be real forthcoming in his evaluation of guys in the M’s farm system, so the topic would center more on the role of scouting and what he looks for in general. Would you guys enjoy something like that?

5. Also, if you have any connections with meeting hall/conference centers that would give us a good deal and allow us to bring our own food, feel free to email us. One of our readers was willing to do a lot of the legwork for this feed (you rock, Conor), but if we have any inside connections, might as well use them. In a similar vein, if you’d like to help with the administrative side of planning this thing, let me know, and I’ll gladly put you to work.


46 Responses to “USSMariner Feed #2”

  1. djw on October 25th, 2004 7:18 pm

    Bavasi? Yes. I’ll be nice.

    Seriously, I’d love to here what he has to say to the readership of this blog. I’m fascinated by the question of a) How candid he’ll be, and b) what (if anything) he thinks we want to hear.

  2. Ray_Oyler_Fan_Club on October 25th, 2004 7:25 pm

    2. yes to the front office type…although I don’t think anyone should expect them to be any more forthcoming than they were during the managerial search…

    3. 50/50 sounds about right to me.

    4. I have some interest in this, but it is mild, not intense.

  3. Jeff Sullivan on October 25th, 2004 7:49 pm

    You guys should have a Pizza Feed in – oh, I dunno – Hartford.


  4. eponymous coward on October 25th, 2004 7:59 pm

    My experience in doing event planning is a hotel is going to be a LOT more friendly to you for space rentals if you buy food from them, rather than bringing food in, and these are the logical places for hosting an event where you may have hundreds of people showing up.

    You may want to contact the Seattle Convention and Visitor’s Bureau here:

    Or you may just want to chat with them on the phone and see if they have advice- visitor’s bureaus are there to help you.

    They will have lists of sites that do meeting/convention rentals.

    You might want to look this over as well:

    (Your seating type is “rounds”, since you are serving a meal for part of this, with a speaker’s podium up front).

    Also, if you let the hotel do a cash bar, that’s an additional way for them to make money. Really, you probably want them to do this if you can.

    Now, one thing is this IS company Christmas party season…so space may be hard to come by.

  5. eponymous coward on October 25th, 2004 8:00 pm

    Oh, and the other stuff…

    Yes, have Bavasi. Heck, Greg Hunter (?) from the front office would be nice too. The scout sounds good as well.

    And I’ll email to help…

  6. J on October 25th, 2004 8:02 pm

    2. Bavasi would certainly be a draw, but with a guy like him coming, I’m not entirely certain how many people would show up just for that, what publicity it would get, or if things could still be kept relatively under control. I’d support it for the insight it may provide, but it does bring in a few added complications.

    3. 50/50 is about right, I don’t know how long people will be around talking and milling about but it sounds good.

    4. Being a prospect nut myself, at least within the M’s system, I would be interested in hearing what he has to say. From some recent discussions I’ve been part of or on the fringes of, it seems like the art itself is a little misunderstood, and I’m always up for getting a better grasp on something.

    5. I’d offer help, but right now I can’t say much with certainty so far as my schedule goes.

  7. Elliott on October 25th, 2004 8:38 pm

    Yes on Bavasi or any other front office people.

  8. Jim Thomsen on October 25th, 2004 8:48 pm

    Count me in for whatever help I can provide.

    I suspect that by Dec. 18, most of the company Christmas parties will be done. (My experience in the corporate world is that they usually happen between Dec. 1 and 15. Of course, having said that, a bunch of you will jump in with examples to the contrary.)

    I love the idea of lots of special guests, and I would play nice with all of them in the interest of a) civility; and b) not sandbagging anything for subsequent years; but would urge the organizers to strive to strike a pretty even balance between the formatted and the unformatted, between the formal and the informal. Party dynamics being what they are, people will eventually split off into small groups of their own accord for their own agendas, and USS Mariner ought not to feel too responsible for that part of the festivities. But as far as public speakers go, keep in mind that people get pretty restless if they have to sit for more than, say, 45 minutes or so without being able to interact with their friends and neighbors. So don’t limit the great guests you can get, but maybe spread them out a bit.

    The afternoon idea sounds great, but then, anytime sounds great because I’m a single guy with no kids. It would be an interesting to do a loose and informal demographic survey of USS Mariner readership to determine a) how many live in the Puget Sound area; and b) how old they are, family statuses, etc. for the purpose of planning events such as this. Or would that make this place seem too businesslike?

  9. tyler on October 25th, 2004 8:56 pm

    I’m going to welcome any ongoing pizza feeds for anyone in the Santa Barbara area, to gather and talk M’s in Angels/Dodgers country! Maybe we could franchise this out for all of our lost M’s kindred across the country and world, eh boys?!?

  10. Dylan on October 25th, 2004 10:07 pm

    Sounds great. I am off of school during that time so count me in.

  11. Saluboy on October 25th, 2004 10:23 pm

    You might consider the Eastside, like Maydenbauer Center in Bellevue. I didn’t get to go last year and am looking forward to this one.
    Bavasi would rock. Just doing this feed straight up rocks. Way to go, guys. Thank you so much for letting us listen in to your thoughts.

  12. Conor Glassey on October 25th, 2004 10:39 pm

    If alcohol isn’t an issue, I think a high school gym or cafeteria would work. I just figured that alcohol was one of the requirements.
    But yeah…drunk bloggers + Bavasi = restraining orders
    As for the questions that Dave asked, I would love to have a Q&A with Bavasi and I have always wanted to talk to a scout, so I would also be very interested in that part of the feed. Basically, I’m down for whatever!

  13. Rob on October 25th, 2004 11:01 pm

    Damn, I might be flying back into the state on the 18th. I might have to change my plans to attend this. I am interested to see how many people would attend, cause if the word got out would a reporter show up if bavasi was present?

  14. edgarfan on October 25th, 2004 11:09 pm

    I’d have to say that having a scout there, as well as some M’s front-office types (non-Bavasi category) would trump having Bavasi there.

    Bavasi would give the standard front-office answers. Being able to talk to a scout about the role of scouting, what he looks for in a prospect, would be great. And being able to ask a few lower-level front office types about how they got their jobs, and what the dynamics of an MLB front-office are like, would be equally great.

    I would be afraid that Bavasi at a feed would attract a couple of local beat-writers, which changes the entire dynamic of the Q/A period.

  15. Jon Wells on October 26th, 2004 12:19 am

    Sounds cool. If Bavasi comes that’d be great, but it’ll still be cool if he doesn’t, esp. if a scout or someone else in the organization attends. Last year’s feed was fun — looking forward to this year’s.

    Have you checked into renting space at Safeco? In ’03 SABR rented out part of Safeco (a few hours before a game) for their NW chapter meeting.

  16. paul mocker on October 26th, 2004 8:02 am

    Yay to inviting a front office employee – but only in a Q&A format. I would not want Bavasi to be able to monopolize the time with spin. It would be a good opportunity to practice respecful and tactful questioning; Bavasi would have no choice but to hear our opinions in a Q&A format.

  17. Dash on October 26th, 2004 8:03 am

    I think it would be great to have Bavasi there. Especially in an environment where he’d be mixing with fans rather than media types. A chance he might let his guard down and be a bit more forthcoming due to the relaxed atmosphere.

    I like the Safeco idea as well, but we probably don’t want to make this too cost prohibitive too people. But somewhere in Seattle proper would be the most convenient location for people to get to.

  18. paul mocker on October 26th, 2004 8:06 am

    BTW, what is the difference between a beat writer attending and a blog writer such as Derek or Dave? I’m ignorant of the issues involved. Journalism experts could answer my question. Is it an issue of reach? That is, the dailies reach so many more people and a GM might be afraid of misspeaking?

  19. paul mocker on October 26th, 2004 8:11 am


    Santa Barbara! My hometown is Goleta. An M’s fan on the fringe of Dodger Blue is unheard of. Are you transplanted from the NW?

  20. Dave on October 26th, 2004 8:51 am

    Bavasi has actually been fairly candid at events like this in the past. During a luncheon for Everett Aquasox advertisers during the early summer, he openly talked about inquiring about Carlos Beltran. I doubt he’d be as candid during the offseason about potential transactions, but he might share some interesting tidbits about things that did go down during the winter meetings.

    Whether Bavasi is there or not, I expect several local writers to attend. I doubt they’ll be “working”, but I think at least a couple will come. I don’t think their presence would drastically alter what Bavasi would say; reporters know the difference between on and off the record.

  21. Pete Livengood on October 26th, 2004 10:30 am

    Last year was a lot of fun, and despite a preference for smaller gatherings, this sounds like it has the potential to be better. If you are looking to gauge interest, count me in.

    I would love to see Bavasi show up, and I don’t care if he spews the same ol’ same ol’ or not. If nothing else, for groups of fans like us to meet Bavasi, and vice versa, would tend to foster a bit more understanding and respect than we might have otherwise. That’s a good thing. As for being respectful, I suggest that you guys take suggested questions for *at least* the first part of his Q&A, and sift through them for the good ones and possibly make sure they say nothing that would embarass you.

    I like the scout idea a lot. In addition to telling us more about the art of scouting and what he looks for, I would be interested in a scout’s perspective of the role of statistics and performance analysis and how teams can best blend the two schools.

    I think Jon Wells’ idea about renting out part of Safeco is a good idea, and might make it more likely that Mariners FO types might show up. EC’s comments about how to work with hotels and their spaces rings pretty true to me, in my experience. They will be a lot more open to renting to you, and you will make life a lot easier for yourself if you let them cater both food and alcohol.

  22. peter on October 26th, 2004 10:31 am

    yeah. hold out till January 15th so i can come. I dont get back from Iraq till then and ive been reading everyones blogs since i got out here last January.
    Ahh, i dont think that youll change the date but im a big fan of USS mariner and i just wanted to say the this site kicks ass.

  23. bob mong on October 26th, 2004 10:59 am

    Heh. You all promise to be civil, but after Bavasi blows his cash on Sexson, trades for Shea Hillenbrand, and snaps up Derek Lowe, you guys know you will be unable to contain your insane, geeky, bloggish rage. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. jason in nj, moving home soon. on October 26th, 2004 11:19 am

    I for one wouldn’t mind seeing Bavasi et all asked pointed questions, so long as they didn’t cross the proverbial line. We could always have everybody ask a USSM-approved moderator the question and let him be the judge as to whether or not its appropriate, and if so have him ask Bavasi (or whomever)… which would certainly be a pain for the moderator (but would probably insure that everybody could hear every question)…

    anyway, I vote for getting everybody we can there. the more the merrier!

  25. PositivePaul on October 26th, 2004 11:26 am

    How ’bout Cheney stadium? On second thought, there’s not much indoor space, and it can get quite cold and wet in December…

    Bavasi or another FO type would be sweet! I also agree that having a speaker or two, along with a Q/A session with Bill would be ideal. I’m sure that the nature of get-togethers will determine the flow, and ideally, like Jim Thomsen said, there should be some natural breaks allotted since people get restless after 45 minutes.

    How ’bout getting Howard Lincoln? I can be civil to Bavasi, for sure, but if Howard were here, well, I’d have to really bite my tongue. I’m planning on attending FanFest again, except this time I won’t get cut off…

  26. tyler on October 26th, 2004 11:35 am

    mocker– i’m living/teaching in Lompoc now (Cabrillo HS)… got recruited down here from WA by the previous Administration, which was once up in WA (Aberdeen).

    drop me an email @

  27. eponymous coward on October 26th, 2004 11:36 am

    During a luncheon for Everett Aquasox advertisers during the early summer, he openly talked about inquiring about Carlos Beltran.

    -blink blink-

    Um, isn’t that a violation of MLB tampering rules, to publicly state ANYTHING about acquiring any player who isn’t a free agent?

    I’m surprised Bavasi would be that candid, even if press wasn’t present.

  28. DMZ on October 26th, 2004 11:49 am

    I don’t think so. Tampering would be “boy, if Beltran came over here, we sure would sign him to a BIG LUCRATIVE EXTENSION” or “if Beltran turned down arbitration, we sure would sign him to a BIG LUCRATIVE CONTRACT”. Caps not required for the charge to stick.

    For instance, that’s what Gillick got in trouble for w/r/t Olerud, supposedly — indicating interest in a possible FA before they were an FA.

    Some teams are cagier than others about this, but I don’t think anything prevents teams from saying they’re interested in trading for a particular player who is still under contract to another team.

  29. Zzyzx on October 26th, 2004 11:51 am

    27 – I don’t think it’s a violation to talk about trades you’re trying to do.

    Count me in for whatever, just make sure to have vegetarian options.

  30. misterjonez on October 26th, 2004 12:27 pm

    I’m all for the idea, I live in SW WA and would love the
    opportunity to sit down in an informal setting with a FO
    person. I agree that the Safeco idea is the best in theory,
    but it might get way out of control w/regards to cost.
    I really don’t have anything intelligent to add, I just
    thought I would convey my appreciation for this site and
    all the work that goes into it. It’s one of the few good
    team-based sporting websites I know of and I thoroughly
    enjoy perusing its content daily.

  31. Paul Covert on October 26th, 2004 12:32 pm

    I think I also favor the moderated-questions approach to the Q&A; it would lose some spontaneity, true, but what I think is most important is that Bavasi not come out of it thinking that the sabermetric/blogging community is a bunch of smug, self-centered idiots (and it would probably only take a couple of idiots to outweigh the effect of a dozen respectful questioners).

    Also, having it in the afternoon increases the chance that I’ll be able to make it (my church is likely to be doing a pre-Christmas event of some sort in the evening).

    Re. Dave’s question #3, I’d suggest something like: (1st hour) Derek/Dave/Jason leading an open discussion over lunch (letting us get any necessary venting out of our collective system); (2nd hour) Bavasi arrives, takes questions chosen by Derek/Dave/Jason from 3×5 cards; (3rd hour) other special guest(s) talking, open questions probably okay; (4th hour) free to mingle with other members.

  32. Dave on October 26th, 2004 12:46 pm

    Let’s just put it this way; Safeco Field is to competitive event pricing what Willie Bloomquist is to major league first baseman.

  33. Greg on October 26th, 2004 1:03 pm

    If you have the chance to schedule Bavasi, by all means do it. I suggest that his attendence would be an event all of its own and should not necessarily be part of the annual feed. One meeting to invite him followed by our own discussion and feedback session with guests like last year + scouts would make for a December to remember.

  34. David J Corcoran on October 26th, 2004 2:35 pm

    I can get you a great conference area. Free.

    Except you would have to hold it in Boise, Idaho.

  35. David J Corcoran on October 26th, 2004 2:37 pm

    Seriously though, I would drive all the way to Seattle (and spend the night in a hotel, etc.) to come, especially if Bavasi is there. (I’d be nice, I promise…)

    But, for your readership that is unable to make it, it would be great if you could post a transcript (paraphrased, presumeably) of what he says.

  36. CecilFielderRules on October 26th, 2004 3:08 pm

    All sounds good to me.

    Don’t know if anybody else caught it, but Bavasi was on KJR today around noon. He basically said all the ‘right’ things – they have a lot of money to spend, they want to go after a couple really big names, etc. He clearly implied that they were interested in trading Randy Winn. He emphasized that they weren’t against giving any player a 5,6, or even 7 year deal as long as they were young enough to hold their value. You probably can’t read too much into it, because it’s basically just PR.
    The one statement that was positive was in response to the host’s question about if Scott Spezio has a starting job next year or not. Bavasi said something indicating that unless things go very bad during the off-season, Scott will be a bench player next year.

  37. David J Corcoran on October 26th, 2004 4:02 pm

    Speez as Bench? That is a piece of news I assumed, but am very reassured to hear come out of Bavasi’s mouth.

    At least he’s SAYING all the right things.

  38. Everett on October 26th, 2004 4:25 pm

    I’m in Spokane, but that date would possibly work quite well for me. I’d love to have an opportunity to listen to a scout talk about his approach, and how he balances the limited amount of things he gets to see with other eye-witness reports and statistical analysis. As for Bavasi, I’d be all for having an opportunity to ask him questions, perhaps in the aformentinoed 3×5 manner. Sounds like a plan to me.

  39. jc on October 26th, 2004 4:48 pm

    Try and get kerfeld he lives in Gig Harbor he might do it very knowledgable guy who knows the mariners system and quit for some reason that hasnt been made public!!!

  40. Bela Txadux on October 26th, 2004 11:52 pm

    I’m a big fan of an afternoon time; I work Saturday and have to be at work by 1900 hrs. I sugesst you do a split schedule affair: first 2-3 hours a meet-and-greet for the blogopolitans, than the suits show up for 2-3 hours of what you will. That way we can have it both ways. : )

  41. Luke on October 27th, 2004 12:53 am

    I like Paul’s suggestion for the schedule of the event. I’d prefer that the feed itself be structured and early in the day so that those who want to hang out and shoot the stuff can do so afterwards, and those who don’t want to don’t have to.

  42. Luke on October 27th, 2004 12:55 am

    crud, copied and pasted wrong, sorry…

    above comment should start “I like both Paul and Bela’s suggestions for the schedule…”

  43. msb on October 27th, 2004 2:02 pm

    “Try and get kerfeld he lives in Gig Harbor he might do it very knowledgable guy who knows the mariners system and quit for some reason that hasnt been made public!!!”–Comment by jc รขโ‚ฌโ€ 10/26/2004 @ 4:48 pm

    according to Finnegan, Kerfeld is a candidate for the Marlins’ pitching coach job

  44. G-Man on October 28th, 2004 11:13 am

    I’ve been involved in some meeting planing, and it’s pricier/harder than some might think. I know we have plenty of students interested, so I hope it won’t be too expensive for them. Hotels charge big bucks, except for some less classy suburban motels. I vowed that I would try churchs the next time I had to organize something, but there has been no next time. Another group I’m involved in has used Lake Washington Tech for large meetings, albeit without food.

    For the second straight year, I (probably) won’t be able to make it because I leave town to see family. I assume that the date is chosen because Dave is visiting here then for the same reason. Perhaps we could have another event in the spring or sometime?

  45. Paul Covert on October 28th, 2004 1:40 pm

    Probably a longshot, but I’ll ask: Any chance of getting Hargrove or Price for an hour or so?

  46. stan on October 29th, 2004 9:56 pm

    Dave, in looking over the comments a thought occured to me triggered by Paul Covert’s comment about questions from 3×5 cards: why not invite Bavasi to the ussmariner web site. You could solicit questions from the readers of your blog ahead of time and ask him what you believe are the best ones as well as your own of course. From time to time you could do the same thing with other baseball folks: players, scouts, front office guys, etc. It would be lots of work for you and Derek, but you guys don’t seem to shy away from hard work. Thanks for all that you guys do in keeping this a fun and informative site.