The Year in U.S.S. Mariner

DMZ · November 6, 2004 at 9:43 pm · Filed Under Off-topic ranting 

I’m not sure if we’re going to do Official Endorsements this year or not, (probably, if they can be funny enough), but I wanted to talk a little about where we are and what’s ahead.

This year, we remodeled and moved to new digs. This meant new functionality and a huge upgrade in reliability over blogger, both on your side on ours. It also means I get a lot more frustrated when it doesn’t work, but it’s worth recognizing that the state of things is far better than it was.

Which brings us to another point. I don’t do a lot of trumpeting our traffic statistics, but we’re reaching a huge number of people for being a modest, three-person, team-specific site that doesn’t pay for bandwith or hosting with ad or subscription revenues. Our traffic’s a rounding error compared to, say, ESPN, but every year twice as many people visit us daily. I frequently think we’ve reached the ceiling, and then a week later more people keep coming.

I’m not sure how we reach out to people who haven’t seen us, but I’d love to know. I want the Mariners fan base to be the most informed and active in all of baseball, and if that means I have to go door-to-door, well, I’m too lazy to do that. But I had you go going there for a second.

It’s my hope that if we continue to try our best to provide quality commentary and analysis, and to above all strive to get things right, even if it means we turn out to be wrong, we’ll keep winning readers and everything will work itself out.

This year we turned on comments, and I’ve been constantly impressed with the quality and civility of discussion at large. I like to think that this is due largely to the quality of our readership, which is amazingly cool, and a little to do with me banning the morons quickly.

It’s been a bad year to be a Mariner fan. There were nights I would wait for my bus to Safeco Field and think “Do I really want to go through with this tonight?” But it’s been a great year to write for the U.S.S. Mariner, and I hope it’s been a good year to be a reader.

So thanks, everybody. You’ve been a great crowd.

A closing anecdote:

During this season, I was driving into Seattle in the middle of the day, listening to a sports talk show, and I heard a caller read — almost word for word — something I had posted the night before as if it was some insight they’d just had. The host said it was an excellent point, and went on… but I started to laugh despite myself.

We’ve been pilfered before in order to make someone seem funny. That was the first time I’d ever heard someone use the U.S.S. Mariner to make themselves seem smart.

That’s pretty cool, when you think about it.


39 Responses to “The Year in U.S.S. Mariner”

  1. Michael Kubecka on November 6th, 2004 11:52 pm

    You guys do a great job! I thoroughly appreciate being able to read USS Mariner on a daily basis – and the opportunity you provide for me to become a better informed baseball fan. Thank You!

  2. jj on November 7th, 2004 12:14 am

    That is a funny story. Thanks for such a great site and please let me know if there is anything I can do to help out.

  3. Goob on November 7th, 2004 12:18 am

    I didn’t discover the USS Mariner until November of ’03, but since then, I probably check for updates two or three times daily. You guys certainly made stomaching this long past season easier and I just wanted to thank you for it. I know how frustrating running a site can be and it makes me that much more appreciative for the services you provide me and my fellow M’s fans. If you ever one day put up a Paypal donations link or something similar, I think I can speak for most people here when I say that I would be mroe than willing to drop a few dollars your way to help cover bandwidth. It’s the least we could do 🙂 But anyways, thanks again for all the hard work you three have done so far and keep up the awesome work!!

  4. Justin on November 7th, 2004 12:58 am

    Seriously, a standing “o” for the quality of the site here. I’m not even remotely a Mariners’ fan, and I come here simply for the quality of analysis and the passion you three put into this site. I only wish the Tigers had a site of this quality. Hell, I wish 5% of all media outlets on or offline had this quality.

    Easily one of my favorite sites to visit, which continues to blow my mind when the number of games won be the Mariners per year is about as important to me as the number of times it rains in Kuala Lumpur.


  5. Rob on November 7th, 2004 1:14 am

    Im with everybody else. You guys are doing a great job and it is appreciated. I know I check the site multiple times a day for M’s info and opinions. I hope everybody can show their appreciation for you guys at the pizza feed.

  6. kenshin on November 7th, 2004 7:29 am

    I too want to voice my appreciation for your quality site. Although I have little interest in the mariners themselves (I am a Giants fan), I return to your site because of its quality insite on baseball.

    Keep up the good work

  7. kenshin on November 7th, 2004 7:31 am

    arrggh, replace the second “quality” with “remarkable” and “insite” with “insight”

  8. Sweettoothbear on November 7th, 2004 8:32 am

    Thanks for the great site… it is a pleasure to navigate. A lot of informed babbling going on here.

  9. Digger on November 7th, 2004 8:53 am

    Rock on.

  10. Bill on November 7th, 2004 9:17 am

    A great place to visit and find out what going on when the Mariners aren’t front & center on the sports page. In regards to the caller using points raised by USS Mariner, isn’t the purpose of the site to better educate fans on the Mariners and baseball in general? Yeah it would have been nice to get props, but that goes with the territory!

  11. Metz on November 7th, 2004 9:20 am

    Keep up the good work guys. Although it has been known to happen that 2 people come up with the same idea at the same time. There’s been a few times I’ve been getting ready to write something on my blog only to find another site has written on the same topic a few hours earlier. People other than USSM staff can come up with pointful insights.

  12. Chris S. on November 7th, 2004 10:23 am

    Metz, true, but I think DMZ means the caller was actually quoting verbatim, or nearly there. I’ve actually heard uncited quotes of USSM by callers on KJR a couple of times. I think it’s pretty flattering too, though I wish they’d at least plug the site.

  13. eponymous coward on November 7th, 2004 11:45 am

    I’m still missing my year’s free subscription I won at last year’s December pizza feed (for saying the reason behind Bavasi’s hire was that the Mariners were going to tank the team so they would get revenue sharing money).

    I’ll collect at this year’s feed..

  14. roger thornhill on November 7th, 2004 12:20 pm

    i concur with the other comments. my daily ritual before i do any actual work is to visit this site, espn baseball section (could care less about other sports), and the p-i mariners section, in that order. so, please know your efforts are appreciated on a daily basis. *group hug* okay, that’s enough. don’t touch me 🙂

  15. Will on November 7th, 2004 1:47 pm

    UW loves USS Mariner!

  16. David J Corcoran on November 7th, 2004 1:59 pm

    Top Notch site. I have been reading for a bout 1 year now, and this site has come to the point where I check the USSM for news before the newspapers. You have gained my 100% faith. When I wake up in the morning, I go to USSM before I do ANYTHING else.

    Keep up the good work.

  17. David J Corcoran on November 7th, 2004 2:00 pm

    Also, I have learned to trust your #’s over anyone elses. I don’t know where you get your information, but it is always right, and that is all that matters.

  18. rcc on November 7th, 2004 2:07 pm

    I learned of the USS Mariner because of a mention in a newspaper article at the beginning of this baseball (the weekly)….before that I did not even know what a “blog” was. I am very impressed by the writing, the analysis, and for the most part the thoughtful comments of my fellow readers. Over the course of this season I have, from time to time, sent a private e-mail to you….thanking you for making what was a horrible season into a very interesting read throught out the year. I have even posted once or twice what I thought were incisive comments. Now I have the opportunity to put my personal thank you in front of the entire readership of the USS Mariner. Thanks guys….a job very well done….keep up the good work, and I will keep on tuning in.

    Best regards,


  19. David C on November 7th, 2004 3:48 pm

    AS a regular reader of BP, & Usenet RSBB I was quite familiar with all three authors before I started visiting this blog.

    DMZ – I like the Mariners but I would read what you had to say about anything. I think your best articles are the ones about nothing. ‘Confessions of a Random Ballplayer’ & ‘Mariners vs. Indians, 9/8/2004’ are very funny – Jim Caple better watch out. I also remember one from this year about an extra inning Mariners game that was classic. Keep up the great work – hope to see you at the Pizza Feed this year.

  20. Bob Klein on November 7th, 2004 6:11 pm

    Bill James in his 1985 comment on the Mariners (Baseball Abstact, page 117) said that one extremely important factor in the success of baseball in an area is the development of a major league media. Great job raising the level of discourse.

  21. Karen on November 7th, 2004 6:47 pm

    Derek, you said: “I’m not sure how we reach out to people who haven’t seen us, but I’d love to know.”

    Seriously? OK…since 1998 I’ve been a member of the DTFC baseball message board (that stands for Dickie Thon Fan Club, only very slightly connected with Mr. Thon) with special interest in the Red Sox board there. Around 2000 that board began to grow beyond expectations, and eventually a catchy name was chosen: “The Sons of Sam Horn”. Maybe you’ve heard of it…

    About 3 months ago one of many Red Sox fans registered there who emigrated to Seattle and who’s been “forced” (complaining about it all the while) to watch the Mariners rather than his Red Sox happened to mention U.S.S.Mariner.

    If even 10% percentage of folks other than myself from that message board came over here, your lurker readership probably jumped by a couple hundred people…multiply that by a hit or two every day…that’s not counting the non-member lurkers THERE who came over here. It adds up.

  22. JPWood on November 8th, 2004 3:44 am

    Like David C, I learned about USSM from Strikethree and BP, about the time that Dave his move. I have seen this site go from good to essential in baseball commentary and have linked it to numerous friends and syndicated writers including Stone.
    I post less now with comments, which is also a positive development: I find that most of my thoughts have already been anticipated by a very sharp reader base.
    I’d love to make it to the pizza feed, but living in Paris makes that unlikely. The distance does, however, make blogs like USSM a priority daily read.
    Thank you all for writing.

  23. isaac_spaceman on November 8th, 2004 8:30 am

    I use USSM to make myself seem smart all of the time.

  24. Eric on November 8th, 2004 9:16 am

    Here’s an idea about how you can generate buzz for the website. Take out an add on a billboard somewhere in Seattle that suggests that Bavasi (mentioned by name) can come to this web site for ideas about how to help the M’s.

    By mentioning Bavisi by name, it does two things. First, it implies to those who see the add that there is no dobut in your mind that the ideas of this blog are more than your typical post-game call-in talk show banter. Secondly, it’s certain to get local press coverage, which of course would generate huge buzz.

  25. Troy on November 8th, 2004 10:39 am

    Nice try Eric, but it it also makes you seem like arrogant pricks, and would ensure you’d never get Bavasi or anyone else affiliated with the team at the Pizza Feed or any other similar activities. I’m guessing the guys here are too classy for that.

  26. Brian Rust on November 8th, 2004 10:44 am

    I only have three things to say.
    1. Thank you.
    2. Thank you.
    3. Thank you.

  27. hans on November 8th, 2004 11:22 am

    I first found this blog while doing a google search for pictures of John Kruk naked.

    Since then, I’ve seen several pictures and reviews of Japanese softball cartoons, I’ve seen in-game photos of the Mariners and the Aquasox. I’ve seen photographs of journalists who find solitaire more interesting than baseball, photographs of Mike Cameron wearing Harry Potter’s choosing hat, baby photos, photos of cases upon cases of beer in the trunk of a car, and many other random photos too numerous to mention.

    But still not a single naked ballbplayer. What gives?

    Seriously though. You guys have really opened my eyes to baseball. I’ve learned a ton about performance analysis, value assesment, and roster construction. I’ve seen the inflation and deflation of the Mariners Blogosphere. I’ve shared an airplane ride with Larry Larue, peeking over his shoulder as he updated his files on Mariner players. I’ve become much more discriminating about who and what I read and listen to, and my bullshit alarm has become much more sensitive. I’ve seen the arrival of King Felix to Everett much heralded by you guys… way before his name showed up on anyone elses radar.

    I’ve wrung my hands over the Mariners performance (or lack thereof), and their bonehead moves. Through it all, I’ve always been able to come back here to help me make sense of it all.

    Thank you all for being by baseball psychiatrists.

  28. Conor Glassey on November 8th, 2004 11:44 am

    “I’m still missing my year’s free subscription I won at last year’s December pizza feed (for saying the reason behind Bavasi’s hire was that the Mariners were going to tank the team so they would get revenue sharing money).

    I’ll collect at this year’s feed..”

    Why would a self-proclaimed “Eponymous Coward” reveal his identity?

  29. R.J. on November 8th, 2004 1:47 pm

    I was a casual reader for a while (after clickin on a link from Will Carroll’s blog), but I really started following the site after my beloved White Sox traded Jeremy Reed, Miguel Olivo and Mike Morse for Freddy Garcia, Ben Davis and a sack of magic beans. I was so angry and sent an e-mail to the site bitching about how much smarter their last-place team was than my second-place team. The empathy that Derek and Dave gave back was nice.

    But, the reason I keep coming back is because I think the the authors give excellent analysis of a team that needs to be analyzed. Like others have said, I wish my favorite team had a blog nearly this good covering it.

  30. Everett on November 8th, 2004 2:53 pm

    I came here from Baseball SimCentral (BBSC) probably a year and a half ago after one of the readers there came upon this site, and mentioned that it had a couple BP authors analyzing the Ms, thus combining my favorite team with my favorite baseball analysis site.

    Since then, I check this site at least once a day for updates and analysis. And I must say, I certainly use research done by USSM to make myself appear smart all the time.

  31. Eric on November 8th, 2004 4:46 pm

    Troy (#25), it wouldn’t have to be arrogant, would it? Something like “Bavasi: let us play devil’s advocate.” Or… it could be mysterious, like “USSMariner: what Bill Bavasi doesn’t want you to read.”

    On second thought, nah… maybe it would sound arrogant any way you slice it.

  32. Deanna on November 8th, 2004 5:21 pm

    I discovered this site a month or three ago, when a friend forwarded me “Mound Conference Theatre”, which is something I had always taken to doing at the games this year anyway. “Hey, Jamie.” “Hey, Dan.” “I’ve got something important to ask, ’cause you seem to be off-balance today.” “Sure, shoot.” “Do you have any idea what the heck Cloverdale Meats is?”

    Been reading daily ever since. The posts and discussions on here are always informed, amusing, and intelligent. I’ve learned a lot from everyone on here, and hope to continue doing so.

    I may just be prejudiced because I don’t really follow any other pro sports, but baseball fans have always struck me as being a notch smarter than the others. The ratio of baseball books to other books in the sports section of any decent bookstore should be a good indicator, really. So yeah, keep us educated, and we’ll do our best to spread the word.

  33. David J Corcoran on November 8th, 2004 5:36 pm

    I’ll chip in for the billboard, as long as it isn’t arrogant.

  34. David J Corcoran on November 8th, 2004 5:38 pm


    I agree. To my knowledge there have been no Bill James’ or statistical people in other sports. Maybe their stats aren’t flawed. I think they are. I don’t know why, as I don’t care enough about other sports. But Baseball, people devote their lives to creating statistics for baseball. People spend their whole lives pondering the game behind the game, the strategy, the ideas. It is pretty amazing when you think about it.

  35. DMZ on November 9th, 2004 12:39 am

    DJC — not true. Basketeball has Hollinger and Oliver, for instance. Football’s got a ton of guys.

  36. David J Corcoran on November 9th, 2004 7:37 am

    Thanks. See, told you I didn’t pay attention to other sports.

  37. Troy on November 9th, 2004 7:51 am is one I just stumbled on. I’m not sure I buy their methods yet, but I was skeptical of BP at first too. Count me in the minority that’s as obsessed with football and basketball as I am baseball.

  38. DMZ on November 9th, 2004 10:25 am

    Football Outsiders spams, and I encourage everyone to not go there.

  39. peter on November 10th, 2004 4:59 am

    I have been in Iraq since January. I have had alot of time on my hands and consequently spent most of my time looking at baseball. As a displaced mariner fan this website has kicked ass. The conversation has been of high standard and it has helped kill alot of time over here. Thank you very much and keep up the good work
    Mariner Fan In Iraq