More Mariner Chat

Jeff · February 9, 2005 at 2:17 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

This time with the P-I, which offers an online Q + A with John Hickey Thursday at noon.


91 Responses to “More Mariner Chat”

  1. Jeremy on February 10th, 2005 2:44 pm

    Seattle fans should be lucky to have the material that they have on the M’s, print-based and blogging-based.

    Seattle features some of the best sportswriters in the business (Larry Stone, Art Thiel, John Hickey). And as far as blogs go, the Mariners have the best blog community in baseball. I’m proud to be part of that. While we aren’t on the level of USS Mariner in terms of name recognition, we’re still regarded as one of the better M’s blogs out there, although we don’t just talk about the M’s.

    BTW, former P-I writer Tyler Kepner is currently on PTI talking about the Giambi story, in case anybody cares.

  2. PositivePaul on February 10th, 2005 2:50 pm

    That they don’t take shots at local beat writers is a credit to them.

    Do a search for “Jim Street” on this site, or, even better, “Bob Finnigan”. You might want to retract that last sentence…

  3. David J Corcoran on February 10th, 2005 2:51 pm

    But Finnigan is a reporter, not a beat writer!

    You have a point with Street, though…

  4. paul d. on February 10th, 2005 2:57 pm

    Paul (Mocker) –

    The fact that the P-I hired Derek means nothing in relation to the writers they have on staff, except that they saw a void that they thought Derek could fill. That doesn’t by definition mean they think their writers aren’t experts, just that they have, to use corporate parlance, “different skill sets”.

    Expertise, as baseball shows very well, is a fluid thing – what was prized 20 years ago is still valuable, but is not celebrated. Used to be that grinding out runs was the way to go, but nowadays, chicks dig the long ball.

    It’s the same with reportage – the “hot” thing these days is the kind of analysis that Derek et. al. do, and the P-I didn’t have anybody in house that did that, so they got someone who did.

    It’s a lot easier to hire what you don’t have than to convert what you do, and in a market with two daily papers, time is money and survival.

  5. troy on February 10th, 2005 3:05 pm

    Art Theil (rhymes with Bile) is NOT one of the best sportswriters in the country. He’s done some good digging into Mariner finances, but otherwise he’s a total hack.

  6. David J Corcoran on February 10th, 2005 3:07 pm

    I don’t know… I thought Out Of Left Field was a pretty good book…

  7. paul mocker on February 10th, 2005 3:11 pm

    paul d.
    Thanks. To paraphrase so that I know I understand: Consumers (readers) are demanding sabr-analysis and the papers have determined that they will be suppliers of that style of reportage.

    Do you think that papers think blogs are one of their key competitors?

  8. David J Corcoran on February 10th, 2005 3:15 pm

    I wouldn’t put it that far. Papers still have print, which Blogs will never have. They will always have the lock ont he print industry. And people buy newspapers for things other than sports.

  9. Bill Fugazi on February 10th, 2005 3:35 pm

    Stop saying Paul!

  10. paul d. on February 10th, 2005 3:36 pm

    Paul M. –

    I think the best answer to this question is an answer I got to a totally different question when I lived back east.

    I lived in both Boston and Hartford, and whenever I’d start talking to people in either of those cities about where I was from, I’d ask what they thought of Seattle. The most common reply was “I don’t” – in the case of Boston, anything west of 128 just didn’t exist.

    I think papers have the same blind spot when it comes to blogs – I don’t think that until recently they even considered them, much less consider them a threat or a readership drain. They are starting to awaken to the existence of blogs, which is why the DMZ’s of the world get tapped to write for them, but I don’t think that print journalism feels that they have much to worry about, which is dangerously hubristic (is that a word?) in and of itself.

  11. Jeff Sullivan on February 10th, 2005 3:43 pm

    The print media and the blogosphere should be viewed as supplements to one another – nothing more, nothing less. Each of them offers things that the other is incapable of doing.

    I don’t see why people like to imagine some kind of heated competition between the two sources.

  12. paul mocker on February 10th, 2005 3:45 pm

    paul d.,
    Do you think blogs can make money?

    I’ve noticed that USSM will post an article that BTF has posted. Is that because they are competing for readers?


  13. paul mocker on February 10th, 2005 3:48 pm

    There is competition because most of us want to make money doing the things we enjoy or are passionate about. Beat writers make money but bloggers don’t. I would think a blogger who becomes popular would want to find venues for writing for profit.

  14. Jeff Sullivan on February 10th, 2005 3:52 pm

    They do.

  15. David J Corcoran on February 10th, 2005 3:54 pm

    USSM could easily barrage us with pop-up ads and banner ads and generally obnoxious ads and make money. But they don’t. And I think that is part of why people read the blogs. If I came to USSM for the first time and was sieged by advertisments, I would likely not want to come back, no matter how good the commentary is. What I am trying to say is that a lot of the appeal of blogs is that they aren’t trying to make money, they are just regular people expressing their viewpoints.

    BTW, Unobtrusive Google ads like LL has are fine.

  16. David J Corcoran on February 10th, 2005 3:56 pm

    Sorry about this, but also:

    I have stopped reading ESPN very often because it is just so slow and ad filled. When I read an articles and a ball rolls across the screen, it’s downright annoying.

  17. paul mocker on February 10th, 2005 3:58 pm

    You are just as God made you.

  18. Jeff Sullivan on February 10th, 2005 4:07 pm

    Markos makes money off his blog:

    I wouldn’t call those ads “generally obnoxious.”

  19. paul d. on February 10th, 2005 4:08 pm

    Paul M –

    Again, I can only speak for myself, but I don’t *want* to make money off my blog – that’s why I have a day job. Writing for the sake of it, doing the research, and creating your own narrative voice is rewarding; if, in the process, you get people to read your stuff, all the more so. I’m not sure the point of blogs is to make money.

    Once money enters the equation, things get…well, they get more complex. Because then, ever so slightly, you start to bend your writing towards what you know will generate the money.

    As Jeff Sullivan said, and as I tried to in my original post here, blogs and the print media are complementary, not in competition. There’s not an adversarial relationship, most times, nor should there be.

  20. JPWodd on February 10th, 2005 4:10 pm

    Hickey remains an honest, research-oriented beat writer who quotes sources whenever he can, speculates very little and can thus seem unadventurous, never churns articles cloned from Steve Kelly, goes outside the mainstream to look for commentary on a regular basis, and really does see all 7 months of the season.
    If the only mistake he made in his “discussion” was to ignore Madritsch in favor of Meche, I can live with it.

  21. David J Corcoran on February 10th, 2005 4:13 pm

    Re 68:
    The blogs that have the style you recently adopted have unobtrusive ads. Otherwise, they can be pretty ugly. Not always, but they can.

  22. Jeff Sullivan on February 10th, 2005 4:13 pm

    To add on to what Paul v2.0 is saying…

    People who read the papers and never visit the blogosphere are missing a lot of important information. The same could be said about someone who leaves the papers behind in favor of reading a place like USSM. It isn’t an “either or” situation, and it never will be, because each place will always be offering two unique interpretations of the same piece of news.

  23. Jon Wells on February 10th, 2005 4:45 pm

    #53 said “But Finnigan is a reporter, not a beat writer!
    You have a point with Street, though…
    Comment by David J Corcoran — 2/10/2005 @ 2:51 pm

    Actually, finnigan IS a beat writer; he’s the Times’ main beat writer covering the Mariners.

  24. Graham on February 10th, 2005 4:58 pm

    There’s a reason that whenever I read anything on one of the blogs, I immediately go and look for the topic on the PI and the Times sites.

    If all I read was USSM, all I would write would be, well, USSM, but from my hand. The analysis of many sources is always a good thing, and the blogs provide one style of source – generally insight and analysis, the mainstream media another – numbers and hard facts are favourite here.

    The point is, if I didn’t have access to many different sources, and KINDs of sources, I wouldn’t be able to write my opinion, and call it my opinion without deluding myself. Papers are just as useful as blogs in that regard.

  25. PositivePaul on February 10th, 2005 5:16 pm

    The print media and the blogosphere should be viewed as supplements to one another – nothing more, nothing less. Each of them offers things that the other is incapable of doing.

    Obviously the PI agrees, Mr. Sullivan. Hence why they HAVE a blog in the first place (nevermind adding Derek to their fold). This is a big reason why the PI gains my readership.

    I don’t see why people like to imagine some kind of heated competition between the two sources.

    Because both the blogs and the dailies are sources of information, both, for one reason or another, wanting readership. Most people that have something to say have this inherent desire to have someone listening at the other end.

    Obviously, members of the print media are there for financial gain, too, and highly motivated by it. They are forced to, in one way or another, write what sells. In order to make the sales, they have to have readers.

    I would think that the “threat” of losing readership is a relative fear for business managers of newspapers. In asking my question, I was trying to gauge a little bit of the perception of this threat. Of course, it’s a more appropriate question to ask a newspaper business manager, but still, I’m curious what professional journalists (be they beat-writing reporters or opinion columnists) think of the whole blogging phenomenon.

    And, I’m agreeing with Brother Corco:

    …a lot of the appeal of blogs is that they aren’t trying to make money, they are just regular people expressing their viewpoints.

    Sometimes truth can be glazed over in profits. Of course I’m turning a mole-hill into a mountain, because, really, (again agreeing with Corco) people buy papers for reasons other than sports sections. I doubt that there really are a lot of people like me who would buy a particular paper because of its sports section, but I’m sure there are a few.

    It’s one of the reasons, though, that sports blogs in particular are so prevalent. It’s important as a well-informed reader, of course, to partake from both fountains.

    And that’s why I’d consider blogs more of a “competition” to sports opinion columnists than to sports beat writers. The blogs are a logical new arena for opinion-based writing, and really could (and in some instances should) distract readers from professional opiners (and therefore could and should become a threat for some people). How that affects newspapers as a whole is certainly subject for debate, but I did phrase my question knowing that Hickey was a reporter moreso than a columnist.

  26. jm on February 10th, 2005 5:28 pm

    nice article in the p-i today… just curious how much, if any, was edited out?


  27. Matt Williams on February 10th, 2005 10:06 pm

    The blogs may not be competing for money, but there is something for them to shoot for. Pride.

    I don’t mean it in a bad way. But (I assume) the USSM crew are human, and thus feel good when they’re the ones informing people of a story, especially if they beat the papers. Or offering information/analysis that people want to read.

    I tend to trust the blogosphere more for intelligent analysis of things, while I (probably wrongly) trust the papers,, etc. more for straight factual information. It’s wonderful being able to check a few online sites and see detailed information on why a recent signing is due to decline, rather than the MLB fluff piece that tells me he had 300 RBI in the last 4 years (ignoring the fact that he hit .210 last year and missed the last half of the season after losing his arm to a threshing machine).

  28. Jon Helfgott on February 10th, 2005 11:07 pm

    In ex-Mariner news, the Kansas City Royals just gave Dave Cameron’s favorite player, Brian L. Hunter, a minor league contract.

  29. paul mocker on February 11th, 2005 7:41 am

    Excellent article, Derek.

    One question. Arte Moreno is willing to spend a ton and spend it inefficiently, as shown by the Finley, Ocab and Colon signings. Do you think the Angels are not likely to use sabermetric-style analysis in their decision making at all any more? With the Steinbrenner of the West flinging his wallet open with abandon, what does that mean for the competition?

    In turn, should the M’s then pursue strategies which efficiently use their resources since they are not likely to keep pace with Moreno in the budget arena?

  30. petec on February 11th, 2005 9:35 am

    In other Mariners media-related news, I see that Rich Waltz has taken the play-by-play job with the Marlins. Too bad, I liked Rich’s understated, relaxed style (as opposed to Rizzs’s hyperventilating, chihauhau on crack style). I always thought he was underutilized locally, and I’m glad someone appreciates his talents.

  31. paul mocker on February 11th, 2005 10:06 am


    Mike Curto – I don’t listen to the Rainiers. In his game calling, does he mention any of what I call ‘advanced’ stats – OPS, SLG, OBP? My friend, who wishes to land a broadcasting job, is interested in “updating” broadcasts to include stats beyond simply Runs, RBI, etc.

  32. Joel on February 11th, 2005 10:33 am

    On the surface it would appear that either FSN’s Brian Davis or Brad Adam could succeed Rich Waltz as pre-game host. I wonder, though, who will fill the play-by-play void during Niehaus’ annual post all-star break hiatus?

  33. John on February 11th, 2005 12:04 pm

    Much of the criticism of the local dailies’ sportswriters seems to be based on equating their knowledge with their writing. This is not the case. They know a heck of a lot more than they write.
    BTW, I agree with the commments of # 80. So long, Rick; it would’ve been nice to hear you more. Good luck.

  34. Evan on February 11th, 2005 2:10 pm

    Rich Waltz and Al Leiter. Marlins are going to have an excellent broadcast team in 2006.

  35. David J Corcoran on February 11th, 2005 2:10 pm

    Bill Kreuger for President!

  36. DMZ on February 11th, 2005 3:19 pm

    Curto doesn’t so much drop advanced stats as talk about those concepts — he won’t say “he’s got a great OBP” but he’ll mention that a player’s .280 batting average comes with a lot of walks, and so forth.

  37. paul mocker on February 11th, 2005 3:51 pm

    THANKS. I will forward that to my friend.

  38. Jon Wells on February 11th, 2005 5:04 pm

    In breaking M’s news, it’s being reported that Richie Sexson was arrested for DUI a few days ago in Vancouver, WA…

  39. Matt Williams on February 11th, 2005 5:12 pm

    Oh great. Now we’re going to trade him to Detroit for a couple of proven worthless minor leaguers. Wait, that might not be such a terrible thing at this point, if they took his full salary.

  40. Darlene Kelly on February 11th, 2005 6:43 pm

    As I sip my green tea, I must suggest that we get back to the important topic of whether or not a mouse swimming in cola will be more boyant because of the bubbles that get caught in the mouses’s hair. After all LIFE is as stake in that debate–it is literally hanging on a bubble. One really wonders though, can we make it through the next 5 days when once again we can see a real live baseball player throw a ball instead of us here throwing the bull?

    Oh, by the way—Green tea is very good with a couple of pieces of dried lemon peel brewed with it… dried orange peel will work too.

  41. Tim on February 11th, 2005 8:40 pm

    I am a MBA student at Vanderbilt University. Anyway, Tyler Kepner (NT Times Beat writer and former PI beat writer) came to our negotiation class today and discussed the Unit deal and other various happenings in baseball. After the time was up, I went up and asked him a few questions. Specifically, I asked him if he saw the bloggers and stat geeks as being a threat to what he does.

    I cited an article that Rob Neyer wrote that basically ripped him apart for calling Jeter a great shortstop. He felt Neyer was a little harsh on him. Judge for yourself.

    He also explained that a lot of time they have to throw together a piece really fast and have to put in some fluff that people want to hear that may not be really insightful.

    He said that he really likes Bill James, but he thinks some of the stat geeks are trying too hard to rip on the beat writers. He said he would write more about stats, but the papers don’t really feel like their readership wants to hear the information. He specifically asked, “how many average readers of the Times knows what WHIP is?” He also somewhat implied that he has to write pieces that reflect well on the Yankees or he can’t get good information in the future. I think we all know that’s the case (and a big reason we rip some of the Seattle writers), but I thought it was interesting that he admitted butt kissing for future information. Obviously, people like Derek don’t have to worry about that type of thing.

    He also had some interesting opinions about some current Yankees. It was really a great discussion. It was a real treat compared to the regular MBA discussion.