Game accounts

DMZ · December 26, 2004 at 7:30 pm · Filed Under General baseball 

I’ve been doing a ton of baseball research as part of a bunch of projects I’m writing, and I miss old-style game reports. Today’s game recaps go

Result, big event or two as selected by the reporter. (“The team won 5-4 in league play today on the strength of four solo home runs and a suicide squeeze in the ninth.”)
Quote or two.
Lesser events, notes of interest.
Quote or two.
Wrap it up. (“Jason Barker’s sacrifice bunt in the eighth was his 28th of the season, tying a team record”)

It’s based on the application of the pyramid style of newspaper story writing, where the more you read the more atomic knowledge you gain. Read the headline, you’ll see if the team won or lost. The lead sentence, you’ll get the who/what/when/where/why/how.

It wasn’t always like this. There was a time when baseball games were laid out chronologically, and the writers tried to give the reader a sense of what it was like to be there, including the highs, lows, when it seemed like there was hope, or even what it felt like to be crushed in the first inning. Interesting plays were applauded as they happened. There are drawbacks to this approach: the writers often try wayyyy too hard, and the purple prose gets thick and hard to read. And yet, it reminds me of the finer qualities of Dave Niehaus in the 1980s, when the rhythm and interest inherent in the event drove the coverage, but the love of the game brought forth a kind of… quest for the hidden item.

That’s lost now. Game recaps don’t sing with the emotions of that game, and I miss it.


48 Responses to “Game accounts”

  1. tvwxman on December 26th, 2004 8:13 pm

    I think it’s a combination of things:

    1. A general dumbing down of the news in general, not just the sports section.

    2. more talented sports people tend to drift to TV, since the pay is better.

    3. Newspaper sports departments are notoriously hard to break into. At most top newspapers, you rarely see any turnover. So, as an aspiring reporter with an interest in sports, you have a few options: Write the agate page, cover high school swim meeets and rewrite press releases for 15 years until someone retires; make minimum wage for 10 years writing for the Skagit Valley Herald or the Whidbey News Times and hope that the big job eventually opens up; or move up much faster in the news department.

    4. The shrinking of the sports section (and the newspaper in general). 10 years ago, every paper had its own sports section. Now, if it’s not stuck on page C4-8; it’s a 6-page section with no column inch space to work with.

    Unfortunately, the entire sports news business is a vast wasteland of smarmy ESPN wanna-bes who try to be Dan Patrick but fail miserably or columnists and reporters so pressed for time they can’t (or won’t) do real reporting. Which is why I appreciate in-depth reporting/analysis/opinion that the blogosphere provides.

  2. KW on December 26th, 2004 8:23 pm

    Right on. Good points.

    (…”It was a ball game worth missing your dinner for. The Yankees showed more fight and vim than in any game this season. For a long time they refused to be whipped, and their chances were just as good as the world’s champions until they cracked in the thirteenth inning and began to toss the ball all over the lot. Wolverton’s men had several excellent chances to win the game, but they lacked the final punch….

    “Philadelphia activity started in the second. Murphy was safe when Martin threw wild to Chase at first. McInnis beat out a bunt to Ford, and Barry sacrificed the pair up a notch. Then, who comes along but Ira Thomas, who wallops a “pippin” to deep center for a zwei hassocks, scoring Murphy and McInnis. The Yanks got one in that stanza, when Kauff ripped a single to center, wend down to second on Zinn’s out, and scored on Gardner’s hit to the middle patch. …

    “The mammoth nerve of him! The grand larceny was committed with all the Yankees looking on with their baby-blue eyes wide open. Barry slid in safe, while the Yankees continued on the nap. Get out the alarm clock.”

    What a classic.

  3. tvwxman on December 26th, 2004 8:27 pm

    One more reason: There are no afternoon newspapers anymore. And at most morning newspapers, deadline is 10 pm; maybe 11. Doesn’t leave a lot of time for thoughtful prose.

  4. Kevin Pelton on December 26th, 2004 8:28 pm

    In college, I did a paper on how sports coverage has changed since the first three decades of last century, and I also enjoyed reading the old-style accounts of the game — in particular, the conversational feel.

    I think the biggest reason actually lies in the feeling amongst sports sections that they’re not reporting what happened in the game. The assumption is that you’ve already seen the game, or at least the result, and are looking to the beat writer’s account to get additional information.

    This is another case where the Internet provides an alternative — witness the game reports by Sports and Bremertonians (which are perhaps a little too detailed). I think we’ll probably see something of a return to the older style (in the blow-by-blow sense) in years to come.

  5. Phil on December 26th, 2004 9:15 pm

    I agree with all of you 100%. Every wire/newspaper piece feels exactly the same. Derek nailed it. We should start up our own site, with just recaps of games in this style of writing 🙂 – Get a couple of guys for every team in the league. Who’s with me? 🙂

  6. JMB on December 26th, 2004 9:51 pm

    Sac bunts are about all I’m good for.


  7. David on December 26th, 2004 9:59 pm

    Well, when I saw the subject of this post I had one thing in mind as to my comments, but I’ll be darned if someone didn’t mention the infamous Sports and B’s game posts. I’d have to say that I really didn’t get a truly good feel for it until the last couple months of the season. I’ll probably end up tweaking it in some way for next season, provided I have near the same means to watching the games as last year (I could conceivably get an out-of-region job).
    As for the subject of the post itself, it seems to me that Derek’s pretty much on target here. I’ve read my share of wire articles, and to me the template for the baseball games seems to be that they kick the article off with the big thing in the game, and then go in reverse chronological order. That’s the skeletal framework of the wire account that gets posted about 10 minutes or so after the game, and then quotes are sprinkled as necessary. But to me, the reverse chronlogy seemed to always stick out.

  8. DMZ on December 26th, 2004 10:20 pm

    I did a couple super-long game stories this year, too, which brings up another point: it’s fricking hard to do. It requires an investment of time and energy to do well that (as others note) the quick turnaround cycle doesn’t permit any more.

  9. brain on December 26th, 2004 10:20 pm

    It is now the responsibility of DMZ to report on every game in the chronological reporting style. I, for one, will read this every day.

  10. paul on December 26th, 2004 10:29 pm

    It seems to me that another culprit in the loss of the wonderful, elongated game summaries Derek et. al. refer to is the compressed news cycle of the 21st century – everything’s RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW INSTANTANEOUS

  11. paul on December 26th, 2004 10:30 pm

    …and then I hit the wrong key and illustrate my point all too well.

  12. paul on December 26th, 2004 10:39 pm

    The larger point I was trying to make is that these days, most of the general public don’t WANT those wonderful prose accounts – the Grantland Rices, the Roger Angells – they want CNN Headline News. That’s a shame, because in addition to the fact that there are a lot of people who do want to read longer, more emotional pieces, the other consequence of the summary approach is that there are very few people being trained/developed to write that long, sinuous way, these days.

    And that’s the real loss – that there may never BE another Grantland Rice, or Roger Angell, or (insert favorite columnist of yore here…), because that’s not what is in demand, these days. Facts are nice, game summaries are very useful, but what I would love is to have, every day, the feel of being at the game captured in the news/press/website writer’s report. How did it feel to be there? How fun was it? How full was the stadium? Was the crowd into it?

    These may not be relevant to the outcome of the game, but they’re part of the experience just as much as the score.

  13. Noel on December 26th, 2004 10:48 pm

    Re #5, Phil, I’d be happy to help, as long as you understand that my writing style is better suited to technical manuals. 🙂 Wit and nuance are not my strong suits, but I could give it a shot.

    I remember DMZ’s game stories, and they rocked. Dude, can’t you take over for Ron Fairly, maybe? We need a change.

    Re #7, yeah, that reverse chronological idea bugs the heck out of me. Sometimes I have to scroll through the whole game log just to figure out what the recap is talking about.

  14. Noel on December 26th, 2004 10:53 pm

    Paul, great point in #12. The real test of good writing is whether one could store it away and pull it out 10 or 20 years later and still be just as enthralled by it. The kind of stuff they publish nowadays doesn’t pass that test; and as you point out, most people don’t care.

  15. Jim Thomsen on December 26th, 2004 10:58 pm

    This is a perfect example of how Internet blogging can become Internet reporting and thus supersede traditional reporting … especially as we evolve into an era of 24-hour-news-cycle reportage.

    Several of you have honed in on this pretty well, even frighteningly so (sayeth the former sports editor of the Whidbey News Times, from 1991-93, who made $330 a week).

    Today, newspaper reporters have to cram as much good stuff about games into less space. I still do game coverage as a freelance writer, and my job is to isolate a key “angle” and tell the story of how everything relevant in the game flowed into and out of that moment, or circumstance, or imbalance, or whatever — to apply my analytical skills and to give the reader my informed idea of what was most important from this game. And usually I get 12-15 column inches to do it. A Seattle newspaper beat writer will get about 15-20 inches for routine Mariner game coverage, excluding notes, sidebars, box scores, agate summaries, etc.

    And it’s probably going to get less as a) newsprint becomes more expensive; and b) newspapers continue to wallow in the bad economy (you know, the one Bush has been telling us for 18 months that we’re pulling out of); and c) the form by which games are covered adapts to meet the challenged posed by Internet news sources (such as this august one). Also, d) they’re doing what their extensive focus-grouping is telling them to do. If coverage has changed, you can bet that newspapers have made that changed based on what their research tells them their readers want.

    Oh, yeah, and e) “Newshole” is disappearing. The Seattle Times, for example, recently announced massive losses for 2004 that will result in wide newsroom layoffs, and, among other things, result in an 18 percent reduction in space banked/budgeted for news in 2005 and beyond. Other papetrs have done the same … the fewer pages you print with more ads, the more money you make … and save. And that means mostly fewer pages, as advertisers are by and large going through the same slump that newspapers are.

    I’ll give an example of “angle” coverage from a story I did about a week ago for The Sun of Bremerton, on a Bainbridge-Lakeside Metro League girls’ basketball game. During the course of any game, I always ask myself: “If I was just a fan and went home to tell a friend about the game, what are the first things I would find myself describing?”

    My answer, in this game, was that the Lakeside girls were constantly harrassing and double-teaming Bainbridge’s guards into turning over the ball, and converting those turnovers into fast-break points. In doing my interviews afterwards, both coaches and a couple of Bainbridge girls pointed out that their guards had virtually no varsity experience before this young season, and had still not gained confidence in going up against a higher brand of competition.

    “Aha,” I thought, “there’s my angle.”

    Especially when the Bainbridge coach said, flat-out, “Turnovers made the difference in this game. We’ve got to toughen up and not get so intimidated. And that can only come from more painful experiences like this one.”

    So my story started like this:

    “It’s a time-tested truism in prep basketball: Youth usually equals inexperience. And inexperience usually equals turnovers.

    “Lots and lots of turnovers, in the case of the Bainbridge girls’ basketball team.”

    “Harrassed, trapped and triple-teamed all night by Lakeside’s defense, the Spartans turned the ball over 28 times en route to a 57-50 loss Friday night in Shoreline in a Metro League Mountain Division contest.”

    Blah blah blah …. quote, scoring summary, more quotes, significant momentum shifts or scoring runs, a look ahead at what has to be done to improve, more quotes, try to get as many kids’ names in the paper as possible, wrap it up …..

    Not exactly Red Grange or even Art Thiel, but then again, I usually have between 30 and 45 minutes to pull together all my team and individual stats, bang out my 12-15 inches of copy and find a place to transmit from. It’s not for the faint of heart.

    Even if time allowed for more with less “angling,” space wouldn’t. And I bet that newspapers have done surveys that would tell them that for every one reader who likes the old-school “just the facts, ma’am” style, 10 others want more “punchiness,” “attitude,” “color,” “brevity,” etc. I’ve seen survey-result summaries that say these things, over and over.

    I think it’s up to us on the Internet who chrish a different approach to make it happen. Some 20 years ago, Bill James launched his Project Scoresheet in attempt to break the stranglehold of statistical information held and zealously guarded by the Elias Bureau. The idea is that fans in every basbelasl city would score every game according to a template James drew up, and those fans would swend in their scoresheets and James would make those numbers available for free to anybody who wanted to use them for any purpose. (I’m proud to say I participated, and sent in scoresheets from about 15 games I went to during the 1985 suckfest of a season.) The system didn’t last long, partly because James lost interest in being the point man and moved on to other things, but I always felt the principle was sound.

    The Internet is James’ idea of pure baseball democracy taken to an extreme he could barely envision in those days. To wit: If you don’t like the stranglehold that the mainstream media has on the form, execution and distribution of baseball game coverage, take it over and do it yourself. I think USS Mariner has the people power to potentially make it happen.

    So … who wants to be point man? (Or woman?)

    Kevin, I’d like to read your paper sometime.

  16. Jim Thomsen on December 26th, 2004 11:07 pm

    By the way, I would STRENUOUSLY argue the idea that more talented people drift to TV. Writing is a skill, reading isn’t. That, and not all of us have that certain superficial telegenic look, so I would say 90 percent of the journalist-candidate pool is excluded right off the bat.

    But most of us love to write, love the possibilities of long-form journalism that the print medium offers, love knowing that occasionally we’ll be allowed to go deeper into a story that the short-attention-span medium of television allows.

    Newspapers, by and large, are filled with frightening brilliant, apocalyptically funny people whon perseverse in spite of the fact that we’re paid like Taco Bell assistant managers. We see what we do as a calling; TV people see what they do as a chance to further themselves on a face-blazed trail.

  17. Jim Thomsen on December 26th, 2004 11:08 pm

    Don’t be misled by the fact that I don’t police my own typos here, by the way. I’m off the clock, dammit.

  18. DMZ on December 26th, 2004 11:09 pm

    It is now the responsibility of DMZ to report on every game in the chronological reporting style. I, for one, will read this every day.

    One of the ways I joked about funding the site was to put bounties on articles: that if readers wanted, say, a Dave article on… uh… Jeff Mathis that he might normally not write, they could offer cash that would only get claimed if Dave wrote the article. It was a joke, and yet sometimes when I read things like this, I go back to it… maybe with enough readers, it wouldn’t be such a terrible idea. There are still problems, particularly with perceived inequities in topic coverage, and yet… (shrugging) I don’t know.

    I would write 162 game summaries, but it would be ex-pen-sive. The ones I wrote took hours to watch and then hours to write– they were sooo labor-intensive it was hard to justify doing them.

    But if everyone put up a bounty for me to write them, man… for certain values of $, I’d be up for it.

  19. Paul Covert on December 26th, 2004 11:13 pm

    My own practice is that, if I’ve missed a game broadcast, I’ll often bring up the play-by-play on later in the evening and scroll down through the game, not knowing how it ended until I see the last play there on the screen. It’s actually kind of fun: I can simulate the game experience in extreme fast-forward (and, if the game is a depressing one, not feel dragged down by it like I would have in real time).

    So I suppose my suggestion is: If someone does play-by-play blogging, they’ll have to find some way of adding value beyond the bare-facts descriptions already available on the big websites; and this in turn would require more of an emphasis on personal reflections than the old-time newspaper writers would have done (after all, those guys wrote for audiences who couldn’t just type in And so exhaustion would likely force the writer into more of a comment-on-the-highlights mode than an actual game narrative.

    I can see how something like this might work out– but I don’t think it would be the same thing as the classic journalistic style, simply because the audience’s needs are different than they were in 1930.

  20. Jim Thomsen on December 26th, 2004 11:16 pm

    Why not do this: Readers here volunteer to provide game writeups for every single game, based on in-person attendance, TV and radio coverage. Derek could set up a format and a calendar by which we could claim dates. Derek could also set up a lefthand link to a the daily writeups, and those of us who volunteer agree to file our writeups by a ceratin time of night or morning by e-mailing them to Derek, Dave and Jason for editing/vetting/libel and policy review, then post them for all.

    Could that work?

  21. Noel on December 26th, 2004 11:37 pm

    DMZ, if you follow Jim’s idea of publishing volunteer-written reports, you could accept multiple reports for each game (only the good ones, obviously) and publish all of them, so as to give readers a cross-section of viewpoints.

    Or if you’re okay with the workload of writing comprehensive game reports yourself, that would be great content for a subscription page. You could have a mixed free/subscription system – the existing site as it stands now could be free, and extra content such as your excellent game reports could be subscribers-only.

    Just a thought.

  22. DMZ on December 27th, 2004 12:53 am


    Interesting ideas. Unfortunately, time and energy constraints mean we’re not going to be using them, at least for the forseeable future.

    That said, it’s easy to start blogs, folks. If someone wants to take a crack at this, the internet is wide open.

  23. Kevin Pelton on December 27th, 2004 1:09 am

    Jim –

    Unfortunately, I never saved an electronic version of the final paper; the hard copy I turned in is the only version I have. Fortunately, what I do have does include the relevant (if brief) discussion of what we’re talking about. Check out the link below … I apologize in advance for the typos etc. — it’s an unedited version (to say nothing of what I’ve learned about sports journalism in the last two and a half years that would cause me to change what I wrote), but it gets the idea across.

  24. Jeff Howard on December 27th, 2004 2:13 am

    Your comment remided me of something I dearly miss that relates closely with your point: Howard Cosell’s halftime highlights during MNF. Cosell really captured, as well as manufactured, the drama of the game. With his patient, even-tempo style Cosell put you in the stands and kept you wondering how things were going to turn out. I, too, miss the write-ups you speak up and the style that died with them.

  25. David on December 27th, 2004 5:19 am

    I thought one great thing about Niehaus was when I heard him use the phrase “majestic parabola” for the first time when describing a home run. I thought it was brilliant, and not just because I’m a math dork. He also uses “majestic arc” at times. I also love it when Niehaus calls a high fly ball and finds a way to allude to the sky, whether it be the night sky, the midnight blue sky, or the baby blue sky. All of that said, there’s no way you’d see anything close to the imagery portrayed above when you read a game recap for daily print media.

  26. Ross on December 27th, 2004 7:08 am

    Journalism schools (I graduated from a well-respected one) generally teach the inverted pyramid for hard news and sports because of the fast-pace of said news. For example, a beat writer needs to write his game story, sider and notebook within a span of an hour or two after the game (if that). Editors/designers don’t always run all of the story (I’m a designer) , so, it’s important to get all the relevant info at the beginning of the story. These guys don’t have time to write anything more elaborate. A lot of papers in the past were afternoon editions, and the writers and editors had more time to work on the stories.

  27. Phil on December 27th, 2004 7:19 am

    Jim, Noel – I would like to give this a shot. I don’t know if each one could be as long as the ones DMZ has posted here in the past, just because, as Derek said, it would be impossible for the entire season. But we could make a crack at it. We would need to get several writers so that there could be a rotation, or something of the sort. Anyone else interested?

  28. Zzyzx on December 27th, 2004 8:19 am

    Another thing that has been lost lately is NFL Primetime. They used to be really good about showing turning points in games (missed third down conversions, interceptions that were called back due to penalties, etc.) that gave a good feeling as to the ebb and flow of the game but weren’t highlights per se. Now they just show the scoring plays, and not always all of them.

    I wrote a long long game report once myself (You can see it here but somehow a few sentences got cut off midway so there’s weird jarring moments) about a random game in April 99, but you can get the jist of it. The main point I’d say is that, yes, those are really hard to write and if you’re not inspired by a great game, there’s really no point.

  29. Aaron on December 27th, 2004 9:31 am

    I noticed long ago how the last few paragraphs were usually in reverse chronological order. As if the 9th inning were all that really mattered, but then they’d feel obligated to tell you how everything got to that point, one step backwards at a time.

    I guess in the age of instant information access, newspapers have to compete with the headline news channels in a way that never happened before. The news industry isn’t about informing it’s consumers anymore, it’s just about throwing as much information as possible against the wall and seeing what sticks, then following up with that the next day.

  30. tvwxman on December 27th, 2004 9:51 am

    #16 — as a former news reporter turned tv reporter, I would disagree. Both print and broadcast news reports are more difficult than people think. They require different skill sets, and one is not necessarily “easier” than the other. Sure, there are prompter jockeys in TV whose only job is to look pretty and feed only what the producers tell them to do in their ears, but from my experience, those are few and far between, and often get weeded out.

    Also, I don’t remember you. I graduated from CHS in 1991. You must have got the job after I went away to college. When I was a kid, being the sports editor of the WNT was the one thing I always wanted to do. Once I realized how much it paid, I rethought that career path. Of course, working in small-market TV doesn’t pay either.

  31. Jim Thomsen on December 27th, 2004 10:37 am

    TVWax — I was there from August 1991 to February 1993. I covered some Coupeville High games, and went to many just as a fan — I was friends with the Lifestyles Editor, Ellen Slater, and her daughters went to CHS, so we’d hang out together. Names elude me unless I dig into my dusty clip archives, but I seem to recall some dealings with a kid named Troy Blouin.

  32. Jim Thomsen on December 27th, 2004 10:43 am

    Those of you who wish to follow through on the idea of in-depth Mariner game reports, I suggest we take this conversation to e-mail. I think Derek’s right — why not start up our own Mariner blog specifically for that purpose? It could work as long as a) we can agree on a good format; b) we all follow through on our volunteer commitments for certain dates; and c) we let someone trained review each game report for accuracy, obvious typos, libel and taste (though with wide latitude). We could have as many reports per game as people wish to file — that way we get a multitude of perspectives.

    Interested? E-mail me at .

  33. Jim Thomsen on December 27th, 2004 11:04 am

    OT — Looks like Omar Minaya and the Mets are trying to snake Odalis Perez away from us:

  34. Devin McCullen on December 27th, 2004 1:28 pm

    One thing that irritates me no end (and maybe I see more of it here in NY than in the smaller cities), are what I call the “Oh, by the way…” stories. The game story isn’t even about the game, it’s about something else that went on at the stadium, or a profile of a rookie or something, and then in the notes, they’ll throw in “The Mets lost to the Diamondbacks 4-2, despite a David Wright home run.” It usually doesn’t happen until the team is considered to be out of the race (and of course almost never with the Yankees), although it’s much more common with the suburbian basketball/hockey teams. All I can say is thank God the Mets got halfway decent in June and July, because I swear they were starting them in May.

    As for recaps, as a Mets fan, I usually could get a pretty good idea of what happened in games last year by reading the discussions in Game Chatter over at Baseball Think Factory. The key is you need several people who are willing to watch the game and comment on it at the same time (and even at BTF, there aren’t that many teams with that kind of support). It doesn’t provide for good writing like you’re talking about here, but it’s a method for creating a chronological record of the game. And lest you think I’m just pimping BTF, you guys could certainly do something similar here.

  35. LDM on December 27th, 2004 3:50 pm

    #16 – Borges said that it is more important to be a good reader than a good writer. I would tend to agree with him.

  36. Phil on December 27th, 2004 3:59 pm

    Jim – maybe I’m thinking too big, but I think this could be bigger than a M’s blog. My idea is for a normal site, though with very simple HTML/graphics. I think if we looked around on the web for the next 3 months before the season starts, we could find writers for a number of teams who would want to do this. We wouldn’t be able to get them for every game but a number of them. I dunno. I’m just thinking out loud.

  37. Noel on December 27th, 2004 4:43 pm

    Phil, re #36, you beat me to it. 🙂 I also figured it could go beyond the M’s (Red Sox, anyone?). On the other hand, a separate site for each team might be better… each site ought to be supervised by a fan of that particular team, after all.

    An M’s report site could also include game reports for the M’s minor-league teams. Of course we’d have to track down some people who actually *see* those games. 🙂

    Anyway, as Jim has graciously volunteered to be the point man – Jim, I’ll email you.

  38. Phil on December 27th, 2004 4:59 pm

    Noel – well, you could have someone who oversees a perticular team under a bigger site. Bigger sites have more leverage and are better able to pull people in. Noel, do you have AIM or something? Jim? You too.

  39. Jim Thomsen on December 27th, 2004 4:59 pm

    Phil ….

    I think you’ve got a great idea, but I also think for now we should think small and not try to put some ambitious network together until we have a small but manageable foundation from which to build. Let’s start with a season of Mariner game reports, with lots of color and analysis … and measure the response to it, and take the next step based on what sort of feedback we get. Or don’t get.

    To reiterate:

    Which readers here would like to be involved in the posting of inning-by-inning, chronological reports of all 162 Mariner games throughout the season … based on being at the ballpark, watching on TV or listening on radio (or some combination thereof)?

    As I see it, we’d need to:

    — Name and launch a blog. (I’ll admit up front I’m not smart or technically skilled enough to take the lead on this.)
    — Agree on a game-reporting format for consistency’s sake.
    — Draw up a schedule online so volunteers can pick a game date to their liking, with the understanding that it doesn’t matter so much if 15 people file a report on a given day as it matters that at least ONE person file a report for every game.
    — Set a deadline for posting.
    — Agree on a handful of people skilled in such things to edit for grammar, spelling, typos, accuracy, libel and good taste before posting. (I like good colorful sarcasm just like you … but we all know there’s such a thing as crossing the line. Let’s see if we can’t agree on where that line is.)
    — Tell everybody you know, and everybody you don’t.

    Please e-mail me so we’re not hogging up USS Mariner bandwidth at

    But I ask for suggestions from Dave, Derek and Jason — as well as everybody else who would be a reader if not a writer — to offer up their ideas into what format constitutes an ideal, readable, informative, useful, response-triggering game report.

    I don’t necesarily need to be the one taking charge here, by the way … I’m just trying to lend some coalescence and momentum what seems like a good idea.

    E-mail me.

  40. Noel on December 27th, 2004 6:59 pm

    Off topic: the Yankees have to pay more than $25M in luxury tax for 2004…

    [cough, choke] That’s almost an entire payroll for some teams.

  41. Noel on December 27th, 2004 7:05 pm

    In fact it *was* an entire payroll for the 2004 Devil Rays.

  42. Noel on December 27th, 2004 7:10 pm

    Hmmmmm. Seattle’s payroll was determined by MLB to be $81.8M in 2004, ranking 11th in the majors. Only $81.8M???

    The article notes that “Payrolls include salaries, prorated shares of signing bonuses, earned bonuses, buyouts of 2004 options and cash transactions.”

  43. Phil on December 27th, 2004 8:06 pm

    Noel – whats your e-mail and/or AIM

  44. Noel on December 27th, 2004 8:16 pm

    Phil – Jim and I have been hammering out some ideas already, and he’s also been in touch with some other readers, so we could use him as the central clearing-house… . As for me, I’m at .

  45. Dave O'Neill on December 28th, 2004 7:40 am

    Re: 42
    Yes, Noel I noticed that, too. Wasn’t the reported payroll for 2004 more like 95 million? Where did that 13.2 million go? I know Howard LIncoln said he wanted to field a competitive team – was he referring to his Polo club?

  46. Metz on December 28th, 2004 12:12 pm

    One of the great ways I got a quick game summary last season was to use’s compressed game. It was comparable to the Mariners Fast Forward that Fox sports tried running for a few years. The compressed game only showed pitches that led to actual events. You could watch a game in around 15 minutes. You certainly don’t get the flow of the game but you do get a good appreciation of the major events that happened. The bummer is that it is only posted 24 hours after the game is complete.

  47. Jim on December 28th, 2004 11:38 pm

    Two comments:
    1) I remember not long ago that I could justify reading SI because of the writing – it was really good! Now just dumbed down to compete with ESPNMag and FSN. Beavis is real and living among us.
    2) If you want to get a serious dose of sports writing, check out one of the November “New Yorker” issues (sorry not sure which one), wherein Roger Angell describes the World Series. It is better than watching it on TV, believe it or not. One can imagine a world where all “sportswriters” are locked in a room, their eyeballs propped open, and they are made to read the works of the immortals. I know, Kubrick thought of it first – but you can kinda understand how he felt!

  48. Evan on December 29th, 2004 12:08 pm

    When you could subscribe to JUST the condensed game from, I did. Now they’ve bundled it with, which I don’t want (and I can’t get that nifty MSN Premium deal because I live in Canada), so I can’t watch the condensed games anymore. But they were wonderful.

    My only complaint was they’d always try to get the condensed game to run for 22 minutes or less, which in a game with a ton of offense meant they’d actually skip some at-bats that result in runs (Cammy’s 4 HR game was like that).

    Speaking of Dave Niehaus, he was inteviewed on Vancouver radio just after Christmas, and he spoke very lyrically about this offseason, and how delighted he was to see the Mariner’s make some noise in the FA market. Honestly, it sounded like Dave was so happy he was going to cry.