San Shin
This is Jeff Shaw's blog about the Seattle Mariners and writing and politics and whatever else comes to mind.

"In Marines' Way," Sierra Magazine, July/August 2004.
"The Price is Wrong," In These Times, March 31, 2004.
"Out of Burma," Multinational Monitor, Jan-Feb 2004.
"Discover Lost Lake," Bellingham Herald, April 15, 2004.
"Peruse Canyon Lake Creek Forest," Bellingham Herald, April 1, 2004.
Older articles on politics, the outdoors, etc. Poems.

The USS Mariner
Mariner Musings
Seattle P-I
Leone For Third
Mariners Wheelhouse
Mariner Optimist
The Safest Blog
Mariner Rumblings and Grumblings
One Hundred Sixteen
Sports and Bremertonians
SoDo Oh No
Cracking the Safe
Nice Guys Finish Third
Trident Fever
At Least the Red Sox Have 1918
Mariner Minors
Sons of Buhner
Grand Salami
Dead Reckoning (an M's news blog)
Olympia Mariner
Dave's Mariners Blog
Just Another Mariners Blog
Mariner Talk

Sportsfilter (community sports 'blog)
Baseball Blogs
Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Reference

POLITICAL BLOGS Talking Points Memo
Poltical Animal
Daily Kos

Poynter (home)
50 writing tools
Reporter's Desktop

Copper Canyon Press
Academy of American Poets
Lannan Audio Archive
Atlantic Audio Anthology
Laurable poetry audio links
Slate poetry audio files
Missouri Review blog

In These Times
The Christian Science Monitor
Mother Jones
The Progressive
Z Magazine
The Japan Policy Research Institute
The Nation
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Washington Post OnPolitics
Latest AP news
LA Times
New York Times
Congressional Record

Sean Meade

Contact me: jeffmshaw at hotmail period com

"Two U.S. Banks SWIFT To Skirt Burma Sanctions," The NewStandard, March 9, 2004.
"Certifiably Insane? Wood-labeling program less green than it appears," Grist Magazine, Feb. 23, 2004.
"Review of Chalmers Johnson's Sorrows of Empire," Seattle Weekly, Feb. 4, 2004.
"A Base Draws Ire, So U.S. Looks to Sea," Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 22, 2004.
"Quietly, Bush Administration Moves to Implement Patriot II," The NewStandard, Dec. 30, 2003.
"From Worst to First: Under Pressure, Boise Cascade Agrees to Stop Logging Old Growth Forests," Multinational Monitor, Nov. 2003.
"Bioprospecting: Corporations Profit from Indigenous Genes," In These Times, Nov. 26, 2003.
?Opportunity knocks: under cover of war, the Bush administration pushes for fast track,? IN THESE TIMES, Vol. 25, No. 26, Oct. 26, 2001.
?BC Considers Putting Treaty Process to a Vote,? NATIVE AMERICAS, Vol. 18, No. 2, Summer 2001.
?Granny B: British Columbia Green Party candidate Betty Krawczyk,? IN THESE TIMES, July 9, 2001.
??Free? no more: activist Jeffrey Luers,? IN THESE TIMES, August 6, 2001.
?What goes around: an interview with Chalmers Johnson,? IN THESE TIMES, October 29, 2001.

"Bring the Family to Connelly Creek Nature Area," Bellingham Herald, Feb. 19, 2004.
Trail Report: Shadow of the Sentinels, Bellingham Herald, Feb. 5, 2004.
"A Walk to Racehorse Falls," Bellingham Herald, Jan. 23, 2004.
"Railroad Trail Passes By Scudder Pond," Bellingham Herald, Dec. 25, 2003.
Fall Hikers View Migrating [Mountain Goat] Herds," Bellingham Herald, Nov. 5, 2003.
"Catch the Colors at Chain Lakes," Bellingham Herald, Oct. 30, 2003.
"Break a Sweat on Pine, Cedar Lakes Trail," Bellingham Herald, Oct. 11, 2003.
"Panoramic view; Trail's summit reveals Mounts Baker, Shuksan," Bellingham Herald, Sept 25, 2003.
"High divide; Trail features great views," Bellingham Herald, Sept 22, 2003.

"A word with writer Russell Banks," Bellingham Herald, Oct. 11, 2003.
"The Weakerthans Grow Strong," Z Magazine, Dec. 2003.

"Prayer at the Tomb of My Wife's Grandfather," Arbutus, Summer 2003.
"Memory," Arbutus, Summer 2003.

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Thursday, March 04, 2004
More on steroids: No, not more players. At least not yet. More thoughts, starting with an LA Times report that baseball may invoke the "reasonable cause" test in the collective bargaining agreement, giving them the power to immediately test players under suspicion of having used the drugs in the past year.

This is significant. Up 'til now, players have only been subjected to one random test and a follow-up test. This would take that up a notch.

It doesn't look like this is going away.

Hey, look over there: Scott Spiezio is named a "not-so-noticeable guy worth talking about" by USA Today.

posted by Jeff link 11:14 AM [edit]

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

She will be missed by, literally, tens of people: As I said on SpoFi, it's always sad when anyone dies, even someone so apparently vicious and without merit as Marge Schott.

I notice in Jim Street's new offering, though, that John Ellis has many fond memories of Marge, her elephant and her St. Bernards. Hey, I'm the last person who wants to speak ill of the dead, but how exactly does this love of animals balance with her open racism, admiration of Hitler and brazen insensitivity when confronted with the death of John McSherry?

Just askin'.

The main thrust of the story, though: Scott Spiezio reportedly made two good plays at third, so that proves he's got what it takes defensively -- right?

I am honestly not trying to start anything, but: Two things jumped out at me about Larry LaRue's profile of Bret Boone.

Let's begin with the less inflammatory of the two. Boone and batting coach Paul Molitor both treat the suggestion that Boone has a shot at the Hall of Fame with all the credence it currently deserves: They take a wait-and-see-approach, saying that we should revisit the subject if he maintains or exceeds his current production levels for three to five more years. And I agree.

[I hope to devote a longer post later this week to what Boone's potential Hall of Fame case might look like if he does keep hitting like this, but for now, my thoughts are a) it's unlikely that he will, and b) Ryne Sandberg, the best second baseman of his generation, having a hard time getting into the Hall bodes ill for Bret Boone.]

Let's start the inflammatory part of the post with a series of caveats: Training is more advanced now than ever, so people can get and stay in great shape later in their careers; aside from some irresponsible speculation, no one's ever linked Bret Boone to a Balco-style pharmaceutical assistance establishment; and I, for one, don't think that Boone has taken steroids.

But in this day and age, you have to expect reporters like LaRue to ask The Question of players who, like Boone, have dramatically improved their physical shape and power stroke very quickly. And LaRue did.

And we got the following:

Given the current climate in baseball, Boone was asked if he used steroids. For a moment, he got serious.

"I'm not a big guy," said Boone, who is 5-foot-10, "but I've worked hard to become the player I am. If I were ever caught having used a steroid, everything I'd ever done on a baseball field would be discounted.

"People think what they want to think, but you don't know who has taken steroids. At least, I don't know."

Is there anything in there that constitutes a denial? Just askin'. Because I don't see one.

So, if I don't think Boone took steroids, why bring this up? Because I think how this story develops may tell us something about where baseball is at with the performance-enhancers issue. I think it's a litmus test of how the sports media is going to handle this type of speculation.

The heat is on Bonds, Giambi, et. al. right now, but a piece like this may indicate that the warmth is spreading around.

Usually, the media's meticulous parsing of sentences is reserved for the utterances of politicians and the like. But if I noticed that Boone didn't really answer the question, then someone else probably did, too.

I'd be very surprised if Boone wasn't asked about this again, and soon. I might be wrong about that, but whether I'm correct or incorrect, we'll find out whether Dusty Baker's McCarthyism remark was as off-base as some thought.

posted by Jeff link 6:54 PM [edit]

Easy come, easy go: Geoff Jenkins re-signed with Milwaukie today, just one day prior to a self-imposed deadline for negotiations.

This doesn't kill the chances of the Mariners adding Jenkins at mid-season, but does significantly undermine them. While the contract's dollar figures aren't being released, we do know that the deal keeps Jenkins a Beer Maker through 2008. With the M's open aversion to taking on long-term contracts, it looks unlikely that they'd pursue him.

Not quite time to turn the page, but maybe time to start looking for a different book.
posted by Jeff link 1:57 PM [edit]

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

At some point, Edgar is going to have to bunt: I'll let this Robert Fick quote from Jayson Stark's latest stand on its own.

"At some point, A-Rod is going to have to get a runner over, and Sheffield is going to have to get a runner over, if they want to be the best team in baseball. You can get the best players, but the Marlins showed it, and the Angels showed it: It's all about playing together."

I know that this is poetic exaggeration, but can you imagine the look on Sheffield's face when Joe Torre comes to him and says "Sheff, hit behind the runner: if we get him to second, Enrique Wilson has a chance to drive him in"? Priceless. I can only hope Torre starts managing this way.

Can we agree that this team has the funds to make an impact trade?: Your Seattle Mariners are not only right behind the Yankees and Red Sox in terms of revenue, they're one of the five richest sports franchises in the country, ahead of the Dallas Cowboys.

Looper? ... you know, caddy -- looper, jock: Shocked as I am that people don't consistently make Caddyshack references when discussing Aaron Looper, I'm even more shocked that he gave his girlfriend a gun for Christmas when she was expecting an engagement ring.

If he only would have given his girlfriend the KISS "Love Gun" I think wedding bells would be in the air.

[Non-Love Gun link via Mariner Musings]
posted by Jeff link 12:04 PM [edit]

There’s much talk in the blogosphere lately about Jonah Keri’s two-part interview with M’s GM Bill Bavasi over at Baseball Prospectus. I’m swamped this week, so expect a downscaling of my usual bombardment of posts, but I wanted to weigh in on this.

The prevailing opinion seems to fall with Derek Zumsteg at USS Mariner, who thinks this organizational worldview is as solid a basis for navigation as Johnny Depp's compass that doesn't point north. Are the M's headed to Isla de Muerta under this type of leadership? Maybe, but I don't think this interview proves it.

Now, don't get me wrong: I agreed with about as many of the article's sentiments as Derek did. But I think David Cameron has some good reasons that the wailing and gnashing of teeth should be held in reserve.

Personally, I walk the middle path on this one. While I’m tempted to rage like Derek about the apparent imbecility of our GM’s comments, I think David’s right that we should take these comments with a salt lick, or perhaps a gallon of Kikkoman soy sauce. (Warning: Trippy Flash animation with sound. English version here.)

Why? Not just because it’s spring training, the time where hope springs eternal and smoke-blowing reigns supreme, but because baseball has a time-honored tradition of Tiger Woods-like talking in meaningless clichés and expressing mildly positive “opinions” about, well, everything. (Bavasi on Ramon Santiago: “He can pick it up and throw it” on defense.) It’s expected.

The if-you-can’t-say-anything-nice principle applies more in baseball, and more in spring training, than anywhere else. Sometimes it has a basis in reality. Often it does not.

Besides, in baseball and in business, there’s a trend toward keeping intellectual property (read: what people really think, and how they really evaluate talent) close to the vest. Billy Beane won’t reveal the statistical formulas the A's use to evaluate players. Paul DePodesta’s speech to a business leadership group (despite being very interesting and basically innocuous) was removed from the group’s website after he was hired by the Dodgers.

Sure, Bavasi's formula might be the New Coke to Beane or DePodesta's Oregon Chai, but I don't think he's gonna shoot straight with Jonah on what actually goes into Mariner analysis of players. Analyzing the moves actually made (or considered) on Bavasi's watch are a much better metric of how he looks at things -- and granted, that paints a pretty bleak picture itself.

In short, I don’t have a lot of faith in Bavasi’s decision calculi based on the moves he’s made thus far. But neither do I think that he’s going to reveal anything meaningful about how he’s actually going to steer the ship in an interview for public consumption.

Does this mean Bavasi “knows what he’s doing” from the perspective of objective analysis? Nope. Does it mean that we should take literally everything he’s saying in this interview? Also nope.

A great read, but let’s save our outrage for when the M’s actually make another asinine move. If the past few months are any guide, we'll have plenty of occasion to vent our respective spleens.

posted by Jeff link 10:50 AM [edit]