Blogger? Writer? What exactly do I do all day?

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I wrote this for my personal blog last week. My boss emailed me a bit ago and said that he thought I should run it here too. He’s on vacation right now and may be up to his eyeballs in mojitos, so take that judgment for what it’s worth.  Anyway, if this isn’t your cup of tea, wait a few minutes. We write new stuff all damn day.  

In the last eight months there have been several occasions on which I’ve
had to name my occupation. Forms at the doctor’s office. Surveys.
Applications for this or that. It used to be easy. I’d write “lawyer”
or, if I was feeling a tad pretentious that day, “attorney.” It’s not as
easy anymore.

The most technically correct term for what I do and what I am is
probably “blogger.” But for as much as I love and defend the fine art of
blogging, the title “blogger” sounds a bit, I dunno, silly. And even if
didn’t sound silly it’s not always a useful term. Sure, anyone reading
this or generally surfing around the web will be cool with it, but
anyone who isn’t at least moderately Internet savvy — which is a lot
more people than you may realize — has trouble with the term. If
they’ve heard it at all, it probably was used in some bullshit newspaper
trend piece about how the lowering of journalistic standards is
ushering in the End Times. If they haven’t heard the term it takes so
much time to explain what I do that the thumbnailing purpose of a title
is defeated anyway.

I’ve toyed with “writer,” but that’s even more pretentious than
“attorney.”  For one thing it’s vague. What do you write? Are you a
writer of novels? Children’s books? Instruction manuals for washing
machines? Saying you’re a “writer” is less a description of one’s
occupation than it is a lifestyle statement. A person who says that
they’re “a writer” — and nothing more — is usually trying to tell you
that they’re an intellectually-inclined soul who wears interesting
and/or complicated glasses, doesn’t hold up all that well when their
political assumptions are challenged and likes jazz a little too much.
Or they’re trying to get laid. Either way, the only people who can
really get away with calling themselves “writers” are people who have
written a novel, a thin volume of half-decent poetry and an interesting
though ultimately rejected screenplay. The rest of us are poseurs.

That led me to “baseball writer.” First time I whipped that one out,
however, I was asked which team I covered and why I wasn’t at the
ballpark that night. That aside, it’s the best I had been able to come
up with and — after explaining that I’m closer to being a columnist
than a beat writer — it satisfies most people.

But it’s not perfect. No, the closest to perfect is a description my friend Ethan came up with recently and emailed to me:

I just realized: You’re a DJ for the baseball news.  You
don’t create the news;  you aren’t the news;  you just riff on the
news.  You keep the music (news) going.  You know you have to play
what’s hot, but it’s your mix and your patter, and you throw in an
oldie or an obscure Smiths single when you want to, dammit.

I like it. I’ve taken to telling people that I’ve only had two jobs I’ve ever liked.  Turns out they were the same job all along.

Gerrit Cole set to begin throwing program

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 24:  Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates sits in the dugout in the second inning during the game against the Houston Astros at PNC Park on August 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
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During the Pirates’ FanFest on Saturday, right-hander Gerrit Cole announced that he is back up to full health after being shut down with elbow inflammation in September. Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cole said he’ll start a throwing program on Monday as he works on regaining his form for the 2017 season.

The 26-year-old pitched through 116 innings for the Pirates in 2016, delivering a 3.88 ERA and 2.5 WARP before landing on the disabled list in June with a triceps strain and again in August with elbow inflammation. It was a steep drop for the right-hander, who saw a considerable spike in his ERA and BB/9 rate and struggled to strike out batters at the 8.7 mark he managed in 2015.

The upside? Inflammation was the worst of Cole’s issues in 2016, and while the newfound health issues didn’t help his case for an extension, a more serious injury doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.

The White Sox wanted Astros’ top prospects for Jose Quintana

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 27:  Jose Quintana #62 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field on August 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.

It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:

We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.

While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.

Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.