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


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.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.