The End of An Era

So I whacked the tip of my left index finger and a bit of the nail off last week while dicing garlic. Typing short bits on Twitter and some on Facebook (and a lot at work, which is necessary) has kind of rendered me a little useless on the blogging front this week. Throw in a busy schedule outside of work, one of our monthly shindigs over the weekend, and a Sounders match against the Le Tigres that I was woefully underprepared for sleep-wise last Tuesday, and that is what I have been up to, grabbing Mariners news here and there while I can. There is so much to write about and I am so behind…

I cut my finger off and was at the Sounders game on the same day I found out about Jeff Sullivan’s departure from Lookout Landing. I got some hints over Twitter while I was at the Clink watching Seattle battle Mexico, but didn’t get the full story until I got home. I figured I’d do some thinking about it and then write the next day, but then I got into a fight with my ceramic knife, and was barely able to deal with work the next day, let alone any massive amount of typing like a blog post (fingertip bandage + data entry = hilarious). At least on Twitter I can use my thumbs and phone. But the news hit me in the same way you get hit when someone you have just started to fall for announces that they have found another person they are interested in; that sort of awkward, pit-of-the-stomach feeling of rejection that isn’t quite like being punched in the gut, but is kind of like that. There is a sense of abandonment, and while it won’t last long, it still, pardon the phrase, sucks.

I have been writing about the Mariners since late 2007, when I started on LiveJournal. I kept the blog there, sitting in my original section, where it was kind of but not really accessible to the public because LJ was gradually falling out of favor for blogging. When I was reading and found a link to my sad little LJ on the sidebar of the old SBN LL, I was ecstatic. I told Tom, I called my parents, I’m pretty sure I told a bunch of my friends, who were still in shock that I had gotten into baseball to begin with, so couldn’t really grasp the importance of a simple link. I was so happy that I had been recognized by one of the “big guns” of the Mariners blogosphere. I even emailed Jeff to thank him, a gratitude that he accepted with typical, no-big-deal Jeffness. It was a good day. I spent the next few years participating in game chats, reading the posts when I could grab a spare minute at work or school between classes, and being generally happy that I was finally a part of something that wasn’t the music scene I had been involved in previously.

I haven’t read the new SBN site much lately. Work is usually pretty busy, and the only place I can read anything online is my desk during lunch, which often results in interruptions from my time off the clock; by the time I get home, I’m usually not interested in doing anything but watching Netflix, eating dinner, and winding down. Getting up at 5AM every day is rough that way. There have been a lot of new faces and usernames there, and the site layout is…not really something I enjoy wading through. The old one was cleaner, easier, etc. So I haven’t felt much like a part of the community there over the past year, a thing I have come to be OK with out of necessity; I have my Twitter account, I have here, and the two are already far more than I can handle. Regularity with any other site is just icing on top of a very busy cake.

But regardless of the time I can allot to the surfing of other sites, I am still terribly sad that we are losing one of the best writers in our Mariners virtual space. I completely understand the reason he’s going; there is a lot out there in the world to explore, and Jeff was an extremely diligent and tireless researcher and writer of all things Mariners; and he did it all from either California or Portland, a feat I don’t know a lot of us could necessarily accomplish. I don’t think I could have; I probably would have just opted to be a Padres fan; locality is, after all, a big reason I got into this to begin with. Jeff has been the creator of so many inside jokes and phrases about and for the Mariners, I don’t know that I can count them all. He coined Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows as Felix Hernandez’s unofficial theme song, and it was embraced not only by fans of the team, but by local radio media as well. He helped organize and promote the meetings led by USS Mariner and LL, being part of the panels, and has always been around since my Mariner fandom started to help add levity to the awfulness of the Ms and some of our darkest moments as fans over the past few years. He’s always been the guy who made sure that none of us took anything too seriously, even when we really really wanted to, someone who could temper excitement or anger with a bit of humor and a lot of numbers and facts to back it up.

But most of all, he inspired me to keep writing. Even though we are from two totally different schools of blogging, his style of prose was always fun to read, and I aspired to add that same sense of humor with my own rabid fandom in order to express myself; because above all, I have always been someone who needed to do that, regardless of whether it was via writing my own music, session playing, painting, taking pictures, or writing stuff about baseball. Jeff, I wish you much luck and happiness, but you will be terribly missed.

It seems almost appropriate that I write about Jeff’s leave of absence today, in light of this post made earlier today from Matthew Carruth. I can only hope that this is something that doesn’t come in threes, because I don’t know that I would know what to do with myself if we lost anyone else this year.

The upside of all of this? There is but one; Jon Shields.   And I still have the guys at USS Mariner, and of course Deanna at Marinerds, my other inspiration for being a Girl Who Writes About Baseball (even though she is far departed from the Mariners themselves). If nothing else, I am hoping that this will give me a much-needed kick in the pants to write even more, to get back into my pre-work fighting shape, when I was inspired and able to write every day, and  sometimes twice. Maybe new writers will appear, people who can – if not replace Sullivan and Carruth – at least open some windows and freshen us up a bit. I’ll be watching…

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