Well, the world needs ditch diggers, too

I’ve written this post, in my head, hundreds, if not thousands of times. On October 9th, 2011, I typed up the first words on this blog, and ever since, I’ve mentally crafted the post where I quit. I’ve done this monthly, sometimes weekly, even daily. Sometimes I was more serious than others. Sometimes I was honestly fed up. More often I was just tired. And now, now that it’s here and real and no longer living in my idle imagination, I feel neither of those things. I don’t know what the word is for how I feel. The truth is I’ve been finished for a while, this is just the first time I’ve sat down with the intention of making it official. So in a way it’s already done. This post is already published. The mourning was weak to begin with, it had been there even when I was in the thick of writing, it crept into my mind whenever I’d let it, and since I’ve done this before, thought of these words and these feelings and this one final pronouncement, the mourning has been diluted, stretched over time so that it’s mark is almost illegible, the grief mostly a suggestion.

I stopped writing at Lookout Landing a while back. I think some part of me always knew I wouldn’t last very long there, or graduate to some other caliber of website. It felt like my ceiling before I was even invited onto the floor, and when I was, that reality only became more stark. Over the last year or two, I could feel myself making choices, the types writers make about the types of writers they want to be. I got weirder, more absurd, more abstract. It got more and more difficult to summon real emotion, I felt like I had spent all mine up in the earlier years, those years when no one was reading, like there was a limit to how earnestly and seriously I could take myself writing about a sport or using a sport as a frame to present something altogether not about a sport at all. It felt like an obvious trick. Slight of hand for the sake of an audience who already knew the reveal. It became impossible to get excited about baseball news, or statistics, or analysis. There are so many people on the Internet willing to write those kinds of baseball posts, and they’re infinitely more knowledgeable and talented and driven than I am. And those things bore me. More and more every day. It became obvious that there was increasingly less of a place for me within the community I’d made myself a part. We were losing interest in each other.

Some of this is a writer growing tired with his chosen subject, most of this is a writer who has a family and a job and a house and time he’d like to spend not being miserable while writing. Writing is an uniquely mystical and terrible thing, and being pulled between that combination of forces is not a great way to spend a weeknight. My self-imposed writing obligations grew in weight as each month passed. Eventually they became impossible to carry. I think this is how most writing dies. The string just breaks, the writer simply opens his hands and lets go. Then he drives to work.

I’ve been spending my time not worrying about these things anymore. I’ve ran errands and done the dishes and watched television without that pull in my head reminding me of my inability to put words together about some such baseball player or happening. I’ve assembled furniture and read novels without ceaselessly testing my brain to ignite some kind of brilliant way of making jokes about Jesus Montero. It’s been nice. I prefer things this way. It’s easier. I’m more fun to be around.

I say that I’m quitting and talking about how writing dies and while all that is true it also sounds a bit too much. I will no longer be writing about baseball on the Internet. I tried it for a few years and I made some good progress. I fulfilled some modest dreams and am happy with what I managed to accomplish, all things considered. I even wrote a few decent paragraphs and a few of those paragraphs were even read by people. That is more than nothing and I’m grateful to anyone who wasted their time reading what I created and even more to those who enjoyed themselves while doing so. I met and interacted with some wonderful people, maybe even made a couple of friends, and I had fun. I tortured myself but it was worth it for a long time.

Pictures of Zack Greinke Kissing a Cat on the Head and Having a Goddamned Cat Party

I mean, holy shit. There are not words to express the equal mix of shame and excitement I felt, and continue to feel, upon learning that these pictures exist. Zack Greinke saw a camera in front of him and then kissed his cat on the head. He and his wife and family and friends had a goddamned cat party. They celebrated the birthday of their beloved cat friend and dressed up in cat themed clothing. This happened. I don’t even know what to do with myself.

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Photos courtesy of Emily Greinke’s Twitter account

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Jim Leyland Churning Butter

 

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I Found This Figurine of Barry Bonds at My Parents’ House

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A figurine is a statuette that represents a human, deity or animal. Figurines may be realistic or iconic, depending on the skill and intention of the creator. The earliest were made of stone or clay.

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One Year Anniversary Repost: Felix Hernandez Throws Perfect Game: A Story

Felix Hernandez completed a perfect game some hours ago and I was present at Safeco Field for the final six outs. This is my story of how that came to pass. It is not going to feature any statistics or analysis or insight of any kind, this story is a simple one and I’m telling it because I honestly don’t know what else to write right now. I am a Mariners fan and so this is a very enjoyable day/evening for me. I am currently experiencing a lot of positive feelings and emotions and while those feelings and emotions are very nice and pleasant, they make writing about baseball with a clear head somewhat difficult. I’ve also been celebrating with an adult beverage or two which means this blog post is part of a grand literary tradition, a literary traditional that usually ends in tragedy and liver failure but a tradition nonetheless. Felix Hernandez has thrown a perfect game. This is my silly little story of how I experienced history. You have been warned.

I did not have tickets to attend this afternoon’s Mariners game but my wife did. This is one of the myriad examples of why my wife is smarter than I am. Put in charge of a work function, my wife made the particularly inspired choice to attend today’s game with a group of co-workers. The fact that Felix Hernandez was pitching seemed reward enough for her clairvoyance, but we all know there was more to come. I was tasked with picking her up in my car after the game ended and the timing seemed to be perfect. When the game started, my wife sent me a taunting text featuring a picture of a full beer and a hot dog and it made me very jealous. From that moment on, I began following the Mariners/Rays game very closely, texting my wife comments about certain happenings in a feeble attempt in interject myself into her revelry and good times. By the fourth inning I was discreetly watching the game on MLB.TV, what with it being the special free selection of the day and all. Painfully aware that Felix was pitching a perfect game, it struck me that his breaking ball was noticeably sharp and difficult to make contact with. I’m by no means an expert on this sort of thing, but I’ve watched the man pitch quite a few times and he was beginning to show signs that he was at the very top of his game. Unhittable. Perfect. Knowing that I had to drive to Safeco Field to pick my wife up from the game regardless, I told myself that were Felix to remain perfect through six innings, I would leave work early and make an attempt to attend the final innings live.

It happened. I left work. I drove very fast. I struggled to find parking for quite a while before an above-average spot opened up before me. I ran towards Safeco Field. I asked for the cheapest ticket available. I paid thirteen dollars and ran some more. I entered the stadium in time to watch Brendan Ryan battle and foul off many pitches during a lengthy at bat. I stood behind the seats behind home plate. Other things happened and then Felix was pitching and it was the eighth inning. He was to face Longoria/Zobrist/Pena. Snark all you want about the Rays lineup but I defy you to disrespect that collection of hitters, especially given the circumstances. All three struck out. The atmosphere of the stadium was electric, metaphorical sparks and all that. I spoke to my wife on the phone and after some more running around the two of us ended up standing behind the seats on the third base line as Felix faced the final three batters of the game. I’m unclear on the details but I’m pretty sure all three were retired from the game without a successful hit or walk. Two of them struck out, the eleventh and twelfth of the contest. Everyone yelled loudly and jumped into the air. Emotions were purged. Catharsis was achieved. There was joy.

Joy, perhaps the rarest of human emotion. A word that looks strange in isolation. Say that word—Joy. Think about what it actually means. Delight, gladness, pleasure, mirth, rejoicing. This is what sports did, what baseball did, what Felix Hernandez did. There’s something to be said here about how bad the Mariners have been at playing baseball and how long things have been this way. I’ll leave this truth to more thorough writers. I’ll compromise by saying they’ve been pretty damn bad for a pretty long time. And then there was this, and all of a sudden everything was worth it. Everything we had endured up to this point only served to heighten the elation of the experience. Pain provided perspective and our appreciation was stronger for it. That sounds lame, trite. You might sense hyperbole in those words but I swear that they are true. Felix Hernandez pitched a perfect game and I can say that I was there. I was there with my wife and we were happy and things were good and baseball was the cause. That’s validation enough for this ridiculous hobby we all share. That’s something be grateful for, that’s something to celebrate.

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You are Dead to Me, Carlos Quentin

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That’s it, Carlos Quentin. You are dead to me. Following your inevitable suspension, the next time you come to bat or take the field, I will see nothing. I will see air. You have become an apparition. Like the ships of Columbus set down on the shores of the New World, unseen by the bewildered eyes of the native peoples, your visage to me will be invisible, incomprehensible. For you are dead to me, or even more than dead, you are a void, a blank line. Erased. Never existed. Your father’s seed never swum, your mother’s womb never blossomed. You were never conceived nor nurtured nor birthed. You are dead to me, Carlos Quentin, or even more than dead. No one fucks with my Zack.

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