Hello, 2013! I don’t know if I like you yet, but it’s nice to have a fresh year to enjoy baseball and break a new set of resolutions. I still can’t decide if this is worth writing every week, but as long as my Pocket app is full and I’m reading neat stuff, I’m going to want you to read that neat stuff, too.
1. The 50 best baseball players not in the Hall of Fame, Graham Womack and every other baseball writer ever
This bypasses long form articles and goes straight for the distinction of novella, but Graham Womack has done an exceptional job of putting together a list of those Hall of Fame nominees who are undervalued, short of votes, or ineligible for induction. Each name is given its due consideration and argument for Cooperstown, with compelling anecdotes and detailed statistics to boot.
While the above list of authors is, in fact, hyperbole, Graham enlisted the help of 48 talented writers from all over the sports blogosphere, including BBWAA voter Art Spander, Dale Murphy’s son, fellow Aerys Sports, FanSided, and High Heats Stats colleagues, and yours truly (my Albert Belle entry is buried at #47).
2. Journalism Is Not Narcissim, Hamilton Nolan
About six months ago, I fell out of love with a website that shall remain nameless. For a good part of the year, I had visited and revisited this place that excelled and reveled in the art of the personal essay. After gorging on tales of new loves, old loves, friend drama, family drama, and college escapades, a steady diet of twenty-something sagas grew stale.
That’s where this article is relevant—to those of us who are still stuck in our twenties and have an insatiable appetite to write and consume stories. It’s tempting to get hung up on our own stories, and there’s no denying that what we have to share can be powerful and important and necessary. Still, there is just as much (if not more) importance to be found in telling the stories of others.
3. 13 Moments from 2012 That Reminds Us That Baseball Is Wonderful: Part One, Michael Clair
I love “best of” lists. During the baseball season, I often miss the best moments of 28 MLB teams unless they happen to occur during a Mariners/Giants game (and then I’m mostly just peeved that they happened during a Mariners/Giants game). Michael Clair does a great job of selecting the most “you can’t predict ball” plays and players in 2012, beginning with
The Flash Billy Hamilton and ending with—well, you’ll just have to read it and find out.
And, because you’re going to want to read Part Two, you can find that here.
4. An Emotional Diatribe Against the Designated Hitter in the National League, Michael Baumann
Earlier this week, an article spurred a heated debate over the merits of a designated-hitting National League vs. the funny GIFs we can make of pitchers trying to bat.
Okay, maybe it didn’t follow that exact script, but I caught this link from Michael at the tail end of the discussion. It’s a very thorough examination of the DH vs. Santiago Casilla conundrum, considering everything from the extra managerial effort required with pinch hitters to the temporary solution a designated hitter was supposed to be.
5. The Most Amazing Bowling Story Ever, Michael J. Mooney
Hat tip to Jonah Keri for this one. Even if bowling isn’t your bag, this is an incredible story. A master of his craft, Bill Fong attempts the bowling equivalent of a perfect game: 36 consecutive strikes and a score of 900. His complete and passionate knowledge of the game, its mechanics, the bowling alley, and its lanes are astounding… as is the ending to his story.
6. Let Go, Bryan Grosnick
I think we’ve established that I read a lot. The topics range from Hall of Fame debates to lineup analysis, but as long as it has the word “baseball” or “World Champion Giants” or “Funniest GIFs Ever,” I’m sold. My favorite pieces, however, are the ones where people wax poetic about their love for the game.
Bryan pens a moving tribute to the game’s finest knuckleballer, detailing his childhood whiffleball experiences, dreams of playing major league ball, and shared pop culture interests. It’s the kind of article that evokes the feelings we hope for when we watch a baseball game, and allows us to connect with the sport and its players on a deeper, richer level.
7. Jesus Montero New Year’s Resolutions, Jeff Sullivan
In general, I assume that most of the readers who stumble across this blog are not Mariners fans. If you’re not a Mariners fan, you may not have much incentive to read Lookout Landing. You, my friend, are making a mistake. Don’t think of it as reading up on one of the AL’s worst offensive teams, think of it as reading one of the funniest and most brilliant minds the Mariners’ blogosphere has to offer. You won’t be disappointed. /end LL-apologist rant
While I can’t say too much about this article without spoiling it, I will tack on one resolution to the list: Catch more no-hitters.
Follow this week’s writers on Twitter, because they are awesome: @grahamdude (sorry, I’m not going to list his 48 contributors, but read the article and check them out, too), @hamiltonnolan, @clairbearattack, @MJ_Baumann, @bgrosnick, and #TeamNoFollowBack @lookoutlanding.