I tend to not like holiday-themed blog posts. And yes I’m sure there is nothing more cliched than the New Year’s resolutions theme. But dammit, I needed a blog post. So I gave in.
1. Never miss a game pitched by Felix Hernandez.
I probably don’t plan on missing many games when Cliff Lee pitches either. But for me, Felix has now entered the pantheon of must-see pitchers, like Pedro Martinez used to be in his prime with the Red Sox. Basically, anything can happen when Felix pitches. Things like a no-hitter, a double-digit strike out night, a shutout, are all possible when he steps on the mound. USS Mariner called it Happy Felix Day. And it’s true. So even if I’m not going to cover a game in Seattle and Felix is pitching, then I’m going up to watch. I wrote this blog post last year about fans needing to find ways to attend games that Felix pitches. If you look on the chart on there, people don’t necessarily go out of their way to see Felix pitch. It’s mistake. You are missing out on seeing greatness. Dare I say, maybe you should watch him while he’s still here.
2. Continue to embrace the sabermetric side of baseball
There seems to be a thought that there are two ways of looking at baseball – the old school traditional way and the sabermetric way. Even more perplexing is that it seems a person can only be one way or the other, not some combination of both. It kind of falls along the divide in the amongst the baseball writers between the old guard and the younger guys.
Well, I think its totally ridiculous.
Part of what is great about baseball is being able to look at in all ways. And that’s something I’ve tried to do since I started covering baseball – look at and cover the game from all perspectives. It’s for that reason, I read USS Mariner and Lookout Landing with just as much interest as I do what Larry Stone writes.
Because I played baseball college (many years ago), obviously that affects the way I look at the game. But I would be doing a disservice to myself as baseball writer and to all 12 of my readers if I didn’t embrace, learn and use sabermetrics because they have a definite value in analysis and projections. So this year, you are going to see continued references to OPS, UZR, WAR, FIP, BABIP and others. Don’t know what they mean or what they measure? You will. Learn you will, young padawans. Learn you will.
3. Savor every moment with Ken Griffey Jr.
I don’t know if bringing Griffey back for another year was the best decision in terms of on-field production. But he does make a difference in the clubhouse. How much? I don’t know. I’m not going to get in the whole argument of clubhouse chemistry and how much it means. I tend to think that it doesn’t mean quite as much some people think and a little more than other people think. But Griffey is here for 2010. And I plan to enjoy it. I will enjoy him mocking me about being short and being from Montana and only talking to Rob Johnson. I will enjoy him making fun of Larry’s hawaiian shirts, Art Thiel’s sweaters and Baker being from Canada. I will enjoy watching him take batting practice and seeing his perfect swing that we all remember and tried to imitate. That swing is baseball. I will enjoy the ovations he gets from the crowd at Safeco when he steps to the plate.. I will enjoy the fact that he has the “Soul Glo” song for his walk-up music. I will enjoy every home run he hits, even if it is less than 20. I will enjoy his flair for the dramatic. I am going to enjoy every single moment in 2010 with Ken Griffey Jr., because there’s a chance I won’t get to again.
4. Develop a “belief system”
Ahh, the theme of 2009. Yes, manager Don Wakamatsu said it almost daily. But it’s clear that it’s something he truly believes in and more importantly the players seem to be buying into it. I can’t actually define what Wak’s “belief system” is, but I know it when I see it. Perhaps the best part now is that Wak knows we tease him about saying it, so he tends to laugh when he uses it. He even said to me that he might be looking at a new theme for 2010. I told him he should stay with what works.
5. Stop making fun of Carlos Silva, Bill Bavasi and Yuni Betancourt.
It will be hard but these guys are gone and I have to make my peace with that. So no more comments like “a Carlos Silva-sized elephant in the room” or “this game is taking longer than Silva at an all you can eat buffet” or “a decision so dumb that no even Bill Bavasi would make it” or “a trade so bad that Bavasi must have been consulting” or “he has Yuni-like approach at the plate.” No more. No similes. Not a single metaphor. None. It stops now. I’m done like four quadruple burgers from In and Out in Silva’s presence. Ok, really that’s my last one, I promise.
6. Trust in the ways of Jack Zduriencik
Yes, the Morrow trade seemed curious to me. But “at this point in time” it’s tough to really question any move Jack Z has made. And just think, he’s never done dealing. He continually searches for talent and ways to make the team better. It’s such a difference compared to the previous regime.
7. Avoid using baseball cliches
You try to avoid it. I certainly try not do it it my game stories for the paper, but I’m sure they sneak into my game blogs and such. Obviously, I won’t use anything as ridiculous as “you can’t steal first base” or “a walk is as good as a hit.” And if I do, I should be beaten or electroshocked immediately afterward. Also may I never use phrases like “innings eater,” “professional hitter,” “hard-nosed player,” “Manny being Manny,” “manufacturing runs,” “swinging a hot bat,” and “speed never slumps.”
8. No more press box hot dogs
I’m never going to have six pack abs, because of my propensity for six packs. But I also see some of my sports writing brethren, who are not the most healthy individuals on the planet. And those hot dogs don’t help. It’s tough. They are free. They smell fantastic. And I love hot dogs. I tried to limit it to one per homestand. That didn’t work. So I’m going to try and stay away from them all together. I gave up chewing tobacco more than 10 years ago. It was hard. And there are still times I crave it. But if I can quite chewing, I can quit hot dogs.
9. Do not upset Milton Bradley
Maybe he’s a psycho, maybe he’s just misunderstood. I’m not going to do anything to make him go insane. The Mariners have had lunatics before — Carl Everett and Jose Guillen come to mind. So dealing with Bradley shouldn’t be anything new. But as my favorite radio host Tony Kornheiser likes to say, “Don’t poke the Bear.” I don’t plan on trying to encourage Bradley to go insane. Will I enjoy it if he does have a meltdown? I’m sure I’ll find it entertaining and humorous. I think the most important thing I will try to do and others should as well: I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt until he proves otherwise.
10. Dress more like Ichiro
Well, why wouldn’t you? Just look at the pics above. Just ask Ichiro:
I don’t necessarily consider myself with the most fashion on the team but it’s something I really enjoy doing, going to stores and see what looks good. It’s something I enjoyed since I was a kid. All my teammates don’t think that what I’m wearing is good fashion, a lot of times they can’t believe what I’m wearing. But if you ask me what they’re wearing is a crime.