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

11 Comments

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.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

Screenshot 2016-02-10 at 6.22.24 PM
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images North America
Leave a comment

Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

orioles logo
2 Comments

Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.

Brandon Belt signs $6.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration with Giants

Brandon Belt
1 Comment

In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.

Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.

He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

1 Comment

Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.