Cactus League Game 18, Mariners at Royals

marc w · March 13, 2013 at 10:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Ervin Santana, 1:05pm

I’d talk about this match-up between Cactus League heavyweights, but when you get right down to it, this is practice baseball in which Jason Bay bats leadoff (again) and where Robert Andino starts. It’s not nothing, but there’s no Felix and it doesn’t involve any of the pitchers battling for the final rotation spot.

So if you’ll indulge me, I wanted to talk about this. Jeff Sullivan’s leaving Lookout Landing, and while he’ll be writing here from time to time (woohoo), I’m going through withdrawal symptoms right now and it’s the early morning the day after his announcement. For many, Jeff’s writing kept them attached to this star-crossed team, especially if you’d moved away from the Northwest, or if you had a natural aversion to emotional investments in failing enterprises. I’m too far gone for that – if you could stay a fan through the Argyros years, a decade or so of futility almost felt familiar and comfortable, like a well-worn pair of the worst hiking boots ever sold. But it would’ve been worse – immeasurably worse.

The community he created and shaped was unlike anything I’ve ever seen on the internet. I’m still stunned that hundreds of people would come to together and essentially create and enforce an ethos and mores the way they did. Sure, it wasn’t for everyone, but it was pretty close to unique and it wasn’t dependent on any cabal of commenters to keep it going – new people would step forward and maintain the same basic system. At this point, there are only a handful of people there who were commenting in Lookout Landing’s first days (and from Sullivan’s first blog, Leone for Third), but it didn’t matter. The whole thing reflected Jeff’s idea of what a baseball community could be, and very early on, he didn’t have do too much to keep it in line. People just found it, people who didn’t just want to emote or make psychological judgements about ballplayers. People who care a lot about proper grammar, evidently.

I simply can’t imagine what it was like for Jeff to do this essentially every day for nine years. I can’t imagine staying up to write game recaps with win-expectancy charts for another 8-3 loss to the Angels or whoever. I can’t imagine trying to be creative as you watch one front office implode, and then watch another stumble a bit in the face of the sky-high (maybe too high) expectations we all put on them. I can’t imagine cranking out that much content and have it remain readable and funny. People talk about how amazing it is to see something like Barry Bonds stats from 2000-2003, or Pedro Martinez’s 1999-2000 peak, or maybe Bob Gibson/Sandy Koufax’s great years in the 1960s. The analogy isn’t perfect, and I get that, but after writing a tiny bit these past few years I feel like I have a better sense of how apposite it is: Jeff Sullivan has been Koufax level for years. I’ll miss the daily dose of it, but I’m thrilled that he’ll be posting here, and I’m thrilled I can still read plenty of Sullivania at Fangraphs. Koufax was the product of a time when easing back on innings or workload was the sign of weakness. I’m really glad Jeff’s backing off before he got too burned out to do this at all anymore.

If you look at the starting line-up here, scroll down to the pitchers – the guys eligible to come in and work an inning after Iwakuma. There’s righty Dominic Leone, who pitched for Everett last year and, predictably, hasn’t made an appearance in big-league camp this year. I just…wonder what it was that caused the M’s to pluck him from the back fields today. I know it’s too much to hope he’s the third pitcher used today, but I’m going to hope for it anyway. C’mon Leone, we believe in you.

The line-up:
1: Bay, LF
2: Seager, 3B
3: Morse, 1B
4: Ibanez, DH
5: Saunders, CF (Welcome back, Michael)
6: Shoppach, C
7: Peguero, RF
8: Andino, SS
9: Triunfel, 2B
SP: Iwakuma


20 Responses to “Cactus League Game 18, Mariners at Royals”

  1. ndevale on March 13th, 2013 10:28 am

    OK, Im first. HOORAY for that.
    Bummer, off the bat.
    But hey, the use of the word ethos just about anywhere brightens my day.
    Practical questions left unanswered in Sullivan’s post:
    Will others continue to write for LL?
    Where will we find recaps?

  2. Westside guy on March 13th, 2013 10:40 am

    What’s amazing to me is that Jeff has apparently been feeling overburdened for some time, but it never showed in his writing.

    I’m really looking forward to whatever role he ends up adopting here. I feel like USSM has been blessed with very talented people already, and Jeff will make a great site even better – even if it’s only once in a blue moon.

  3. kimalanus on March 13th, 2013 10:44 am

    Jeff’s farewell opus implies that Mathew may take some more of the load or they may be looking for someone new to take the writing lead. Mathew is good. I hope they get somebody good….

  4. ndevale on March 13th, 2013 10:52 am

    Matthew is fantastic.
    Will he write daily recaps?

  5. ndevale on March 13th, 2013 10:53 am

    Im sorry Im greedy. Blame it on Jeff’s ethos.

  6. marc w on March 13th, 2013 11:01 am

    I have no idea, ndevale. We’ll see, I guess.

  7. Alec on March 13th, 2013 11:04 am

    In the Lookout Landed post, he said he would only write them when he felt inspired. So let’s hope for an inspirational season and lots of Jeff.

  8. ndevale on March 13th, 2013 11:10 am

    Thanks, marc w. It’s just, a void, you know? Here is a music link if such things are allowed here (aloud?):
    “into the void…”

  9. drewringo on March 13th, 2013 11:50 am

    As a long time reader who moved from Philly to Seattle 5 years ago. I want to express my deepest appreciation to both Jeff, Lookout Landing and the USS Mariner team. Your hard work and insight have kept me educated, intrigued, entertained and a little less home sick. with true gratitude… THANK YOU!!

  10. MrZDevotee on March 13th, 2013 12:06 pm

    here here on the Jeff comments. He’s the one critic of the team that always made it feel like his criticisms were always angled to find a sun up there through the clouds somehwere.

    Much like yourself, but you have your own somewhat goofy slant to lightening the mood (NOT an insult, by the way, I also like “goofy”/cinematic).

    Jeff could be honestly critical and emotionally epathetic at the same.

    Bummer he’s off to other waters… (But yay for the sporadic USSMariner post!)

    Jeff and Derek should both have their writer #’s retired by the home team.

    Maybe they could add a little bronze rolodex to Dave Niehaus’ statue and put the names of other significant scribes on it? So you can flip through it!

  11. Section329 on March 13th, 2013 12:44 pm

    Boy am I going to miss him! But goody that we get him here occasionally. When Derek left my heart was broken-USS Mariner being the 1st blog I got attached to. Both he and Derek added humor and passion to the science of baseball.

    I hope this doesn’t mean the end of Jeff and Dave et al at the annual gathering of the gang of USSM and LL bloggers and fans. Those have been great.

  12. MrZDevotee on March 13th, 2013 1:44 pm

    Iwakuma looking good. 25 pitches thru 3 innings– 19 for strikes. 0 hits.

  13. marc w on March 13th, 2013 1:45 pm


    I was trying to think of something that bloggers could have retired or that they could ‘hang up’ and couldn’t come up with something that didn’t sound insulting or like a standard, stock-in-trade nerd joke. Hang up their ergonomic keyboard? He’s hanging up the bag of cheetohs? Couldn’t play through another cortisone injection aimed at ameliorating carpal-tunnel? They’re all not fully baked, and this definitely isn’t the post to minimize that what Jeff did was actual, real work.

    I hope so too, S329. I hope we still do that this year. That’ll be my vote, anyway. I’ve met Dave in person twice, both at USSM/LL days.

  14. MrZDevotee on March 13th, 2013 1:49 pm

    On a sad, cinematic note, the M’s commercials aren’t very good this year. Brendan and the talking Buffalo is probably the best. (Actually Brendan’s outtakes are probably the funniest.)

    But maybe it’s because we’re more “serious” contenders this year… Our sense of humor has slipped?

  15. nathaniel dawson on March 13th, 2013 3:24 pm


    Seems somehow appropriate if he gets the call today.

  16. MKT on March 13th, 2013 4:11 pm

    You know how they say if something is too good to be true, it probably isn’t true? Like getting great content for free?

    That’s what we have here. I read USSM a lot more often than I read LL but I have high admiration and respect for Jeff and what he did there. But yeah, how long could we expect him to keep it up; similarly Derek stopped posting at USSM because there was other writing to be done. And although Dave’s still around, his frequency of USSM posts is a lot lower now than it used to be.

    But it was great while it lasted. Fangraphs of course also gives great content for free, but I only go there occasionally; there’s plenty of good stuff there but the sprawling widespread nature of the topics means there is less stuff there that I’m interested in. Whereas I read almost every thread in USSM.

    I guess it’s more accurate to say that it was too good to last. But it was a great run, and we still get occasional Dave posts and in the future occasional Jeff posts.

  17. henryv on March 13th, 2013 5:51 pm

    Gotta disagree MrZD. I kinda like this year, especially the buffalo one. Felix one was okay. “We need a Kendrys” was pretty good.

  18. SonOfZavaras on March 13th, 2013 7:01 pm

    Count me in as “disagree”, too…I like these a LOT more than last year’s…where it just seemed they didn’t really KNOW the players (which would be no sin…so many young players, not established? It’d be tough on anyone.) and couldn’t create commercial vehicles for them.

    My fave was the Buffalo one.

    Anyone notice that Justin Smoak was left out this year? Maybe they were afraid they’d omen an injury to him, again.

  19. MrZDevotee on March 13th, 2013 8:04 pm

    Yeah, they’re more fun the more I see ’em. Guess I was just looking for the next “Larry Bernandez” or Edgar’s “The Clapper”.

    The Ackley one is starting to grow on me, now, too– the pink shirt over 10 other shirts.

    I didn’t even notice Montero was holding the magic talking buffalo cookies until I watched the outtakes. That was funny.

  20. Westside guy on March 13th, 2013 11:04 pm

    I actually liked the ad with Condor wearing Birkenstocks in his sneakers and Seager wearing PJs beneath his uniform. The talking bison was pretty good too. The others… not so much.

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