Must-Click Link: Inside the mind of a Yankees beat writer

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Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger is, in my view, the best Yankees beat writer there is and is one of the best beat writers in all of Major League Baseball.

I like his temperament. I like that he always manages to be even-handed while not checking his brain or his opinions at the door.  He’s smart and he’s fair and his writing is informed by a curiosity about and appreciation of the game that has long left the writing of many other beats, if indeed they ever had it.

Today Moshe Mandel of The Yankee Analysts has a lengthy and highly informative Q&A with Carig that sheds a huge amount of light on the way a good beat writer approaches his or her job.  It’s required reading for anyone who ever plans on criticizing someone in the media. And criticism is totally fair game according to Carig. The point is to know what the hell these guys do before you rip them.

Just fantastic reading if you care at all about baseball media.

Mariners sign Ichiro to a minor league deal

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USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Mariners will sign Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league deal. If he makes the roster he’ll make $750,000. At least until he retires.

I say that because it seems quite clear that the idea here, telegraphed since last season, is to activate Ichiro for the Mariners’ series against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 20-21 and for hoopla surrounding it all. The Mariners and A’s will have a 28-man roster for that series, which is officially part of the regular season schedule, but it will be pared back down to 25 once games begin in the United States.

Suzuki, 45, hit .205/.255/.205 in 47 plate appearances through May 2 last season, at which point he agreed to be deactivated to join the Mariners’ front office. Many assumed Ichiro would announce his retirement later that season or during the offseason, but the Japan Series soon crystalized as an obvious way for him to offer his final farewell to both his American and his Japanese fans.

Unless of course he goes 6-10 with three doubles in that series, at which point everyone will be tempted to keep him on the roster past Japan. Which, given the Mariners’ rebuild and likely poor performance this coming season, wouldn’t exactly be hurting anyone, would it?