I got home last night from a somewhat wine-fueled and girly evening hanging out with a friend to this.
I’ve been at writing about baseball for a lot less time than Derek Zumsteg. A lot less. I don’t even “write about baseball”, really; I wouldn’t presume to flatter myself by referring to this as “sports writing”. I’m the place people come to for photos and stories about game experiences, not meaningful analysis. I’m the blog people find when they’re looking for what the seating prices are for section 331 at Yankee Stadium (seriously – what?!). I’m the blog people stumble on by accident when they’re looking for something more informative and better-written. I’m the one that tells you that the sushi at SafeCo Field really is far better than “sushi at a baseball game” might sound. Outside of the 5 regulars (though by now there may be 7 of you), I’m convinced that most people find me completely without wanting to.
I’ve read Derek’s book – it was, in fact, one of the first books I purchased in my long and continuing conquest to learn about the game, and I loved every page. I have followed USS Mariner since I found out about it from a user on the mariners.com boards (see also: Lookout Landing). I didn’t and don’t always understand the whats and the whys simply because I’m still relatively new; but that never stopped me from trying, nor has it ever stopped me from wanting to read, even when Derek might have said that a player I liked might not have been the best player in the world. I’ve never been so proud that I couldn’t acknowledge that I was wrong, because I knew he was most likely right. Also, I’m an adult and I can take it. I’ve enjoyed his writing and his banter at USSM/LL events, and his contributions – no matter how small they might have gotten recently – will most definitely be missed.
That said, I get why he’s wanting to stop his writing activity there. I was even talking about it last night with my friend Kathleen. There sometimes comes a point where what you love becomes less like what you love and more like “work”, more like an exercise in futility, more like something you no longer want to do. I totally get that – it’s exactly what happened with me and music, and exactly the reason I’m here, now, writing about and watching baseball for a mild yearly payment to WordPress, rather than trying to sell myself to a group of people who have no true interest in my finished product. Anyone who’s ever given an honest shot at music in a sea of thousands of competitive others will understand or eventually understand this concept. It’s tiring when people constantly argue with you over things they obviously know nothing about, and slag on something it took you three years to produce (my last band did in fact take three years to finally release an album). It gets old really fast when you have faceless, nameless people sitting at their computers arguing with you over whether or not you used keyboard presets on your album, or telling you that you didn’t actually write the music, but that your producer did. But I digress…
I’ll post it here for anyone interested, but like Dave mentioned in the post-post, if you’d like to tell Derek how much of a difference he’s made, the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org It’s a hard one to take, but I wish Mr Zumsteg the best in the future. This is truly a loss, and the Mariners blogosphere is indeed a lesser place for it.
EDIT: Fridays at SafeCo canceled for today. I realized I’m far more bummed out about this USSM thing than I originally thought. It is Felix Day, though, so Happy Felix Day, everyone.