Doc

I hate to violate Jeff’s privacy, but I will say that he is gravely ill, and it doesn’t look good.  Please pray for his family.   Jeff, I hope you will see this.  We‘re praying for you and your family.   I just want you to know how thankful I am to have have the opportunity to enjoy your wit, insight and humor over the years.  This community has enriched my life immensely. 

Comments

1

Son of a gun, Doc....If you just didn't make my whole summer!

We missed you, you know!  :)  Sort of that Boris and Natasha thing where they go sideways without direction from Fearless Leader. 

But, thanks for  coming aboard for a while.  And you know all the words written above were from our hearts.  You've touched us all.  Know that.

I had to call my beer guru about the Monk 9%.  She is a total expert on west coast beers, and while she knew the brewery, she didn't quite know that particular offering.  A good thing to know, however.  I'm now on a quest.

As to the Walker Black, I'm a scotch man, myself.  Once in a while my tastes run to such classics.  Typically, my go wee dram is Glenmorangie.  A -fiddich will do in a pinch.  A Laphroag when I am feeling more like something earthy.  Sometimes I tone it down with lesser bottles.  Have a Monkey Shoulders in stock right now. The last one I nursed just happened to be a Walker Red. 

And weirdly, I was drinking a 14 Hands yesterday.  Really.  The best cheap wine on the planet.

However, I will gladly stock up on the Black, you just promise me that we get to sip one together sometime, somewhere.  Here or there, Doc, I'm good with either.

And I don't know about real life, but I do know you've been a hell of a fine friend in this one.

Keith

4

Yeah, 2-6 weeks is probably about right. I hope I get to meet you on the other side someday.  The hospice guys do a great job. I’ll add my thanks again and I second the comment that this place has been the best community on the ‘net. What a ride over the decades!  I know we will all raise one up in your honor once the Ms finally get that first pennant!

6

Everthing that could be said about Jeff was mentioned above, but he was so incredibly unique and vibrant through his writing that I had to bring more wood for the fire. I wish you nothing but the calmest waters, Mr. Jeff. The way in which you sought clarity on any given subject was an absolute blast to read. All your beautiful work made my life better in many ways, and by reading the above comments, to many others as well. Please find peace in that place when the time is right. Dennis.

7

That usually sounds trite but I’ll bet it doesn’t if you read the posts!

wow Sheruminator, What a Compliment!  Unreal.  Ryan, Silentpadna, Rick, group hug guys :-). Not to leave anybody out.  I’ll be reading all these over and over!

8

I had not seen this news, but I’m glad I did now. 

I’m heartbroken, and thinking of you and your family Jeff, and hoping for a miracle. Your joy, wit, cleverness, intelligence, and compassion have been an inspiration for going on 13 years now.

It goes so much beyond the Mariners. Your writing on life, family, and so much more have been so fulfilling over those years. While we never agreed much on political matters, it was always a joy to interact with you and have a respectful exchange of ideas.

This community is one of the best things I’ve ever experienced on the Internet, and it’s obly so because you’ve fostered it. You should get so proud. I’ll never forget what has happened here amongst all of us. And I hope we all stay connected long into the future.

Jeff, if there’s anything we can do for you or your family, please let us know. I know you’re fighting like heck, and I’m not willing to say goodbye until I have to. I’m pulling for you.

We love you, and thank you for all you’ve given us.

- Dan

9

and thanks for the help setting up Patreon.  Our friendship has been rewarding.

G’luck with Bernie next time round.  Seriously, may I ask who you predict as the nominee?

10

That means the world, thanks Doc.

i was never a Bernie person, honestly. Although I wouldn’t be angry if some of his ideas came to fruition, I find his personality grating. I’m personally pulling for Elizabeth Warren, who I think has more charm, smarts, empathy, and you know, accomplishments. But she’s still something of a long shot. I’m a big Butiegeg fan as well, I live his deneanor and that he’s of my generation. He seems less interested in “playing the game” which I like. But if I had to bet, I think it’s still Biden’s race to lose. Which is fine, but his age and organizational ability worries me greatly. 

Its fun being untethered to any one candidate, I must say. I’m just waiting back to see how it shakes out, mostly.

11

Ah, man.  I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes.

I've mostly evaporated into the ether over the past several years, but continued to come and hang out along the backwall when I could.  Through your wit, curiosity, thoughtfulness, and compassion, you've set a high bar that's an inspiration for us all to chase.  Though the Mariners may have been the initial excuse, this place outgrew them long ago.  And there is meaning and accomplisment in that.

Sounds like you've already hit some clutch doubles to keep this game going.  Will keep cheering you on for more.

Big hugs for you and your family
and with admiration and respect,

 

Jason

 

12

Jeff,

I've been trying to remember just when I started following you, and, to tell you the truth, I'm not sure. Something like 15 years? Perhaps more, but somewhere around there. Why am I so deeply thankful for this baseball blog? It's because of the special joy to find someone like you who can create an atmosphere of cameraderie and civility. It's also a joy to find others contributing in like kind from many perspectives. Just as it has for others, this site (and it's previous iterations) has been my go-to almost every day longer than I can remember. I don't contribute often, but it's like coffee -- I have to have it. Even when the posts came less frequently than I hoped, I would check anyway --- because this site is the best. As a Christian, I'm glad for your future in Christ. As a distant friend, I continue to pray for you and your family. You have blessed us all, and shown us how to speak with kindness and respect in a culture that has forgotten how. I'll keep trying to emulate that until I get it right. Thanks brother! See you here, there, or in the air. Dave.

13

Hey Doc - you may not remember me but I think I initially found you on the PI message board in the early 2000s.  I'm from the UK but visited San Francisco in 2000 for work and got to see the Ms play the Giants at what was then Pac Bell Park (Ms won 5-2 with a Ricky Henderson HR and a strong pitching performance from Paul Abbott).  As this was my first baseball game, I didn't really understand the rules or the finer points of the game and upon returning to the UK, it was in discussions with you and others on the PI/SportsSpot message boards that I developed a deeper understanding of the game that has enriched my lift ever since.  More importantly, over the years I was able to become part of your community and even contribute occasionally, despite not really feeling I knew what I was talking about! 

We also discussed the EPL on occasions as I follow it closely here in London although my team, Millwall, are one level below the Premiership.  I know you've been a keen follower of Arsenal but unfortunately, despite a change in management, the Gooners seemed destined to once again field a decent attacking lineup with a virtually non-existent defense and finish 5th or 6th!

My mother is also currently in hospice care (at home in Arkansas) and she is in the final stages of her life too.  I visited her in May and she seemed so vibrant then but things have taken a turn for the worst in recent weeks and we are all making our peace with an outcome that now seems inevitable in the next 1-2 months.  I feel some degree of comfort knowing that I can emotionally and spiritually prepare for this before it happens and say my farewells to my mother whilst enjoying our conversations on the phone.  Perhaps you feel a similar way?

I'm thinking of you all the time and will endeavour to try and participate on the board both now and in the future to keep SSI going strong.

Love

Mike

14

and I find the more utterly open you are in those conversations, the more they enrich your love.  I don’t Want

there to be anything left unsaid!

thanks Mike.  Blessings to you.

15

First found SSI off Lookout Landing in 2008, during a Torts class in law school. In a dark time for the Mariners (when isn't really?), I found the conversation to be much more stimulating than other areas of the internet. The social-political commentary, along with the reasonable scouting/analytics blend was (still is) a fantastic and unique find on the internet. The well-reasoned and gracious back-and-forth on all subjects is something I have valued greatly in my Mariners fandom. I think I enjoyed the conversations around politics and non-baseball sports more than those stemming from that team to which we have all unfortunately hitched our fandom.

Doc, thank you for your efforts on this site, and your uncompromising and yet gracious manner. I am praying for you and your loved ones, and look forward to that day when our earthly bodies are perfected in the resurrection. 

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.  

Brian

16

If prayers from your friendly not-so-local Mormon do any good, you've had them. This site has been a blessing to many -- I wish it could be an exemplar to other sites, but it appears civility is becoming extinct. But us dinosaurs have enjoyed this refuge. Fair Winds and Following Seas. And may you be in heaven surely afore the Devil knows you're gone.

18

Hey Doc,  I don't know if its premature but I think you're the Mariners blogging GOAT.  Your shtick was way better than Sullivans.  Just the 2012 shtick would make your hall of fame case.  If you die, I'm going to demand that Mariners.com runs an obit.  Will miss you buddy.  No one can fill those shoes.

20

Jeff,

So glad to see you are reading our appreciations.  Thank you so much for not just your wit, wisdom and flat-out INFOTAINMENT! but for your generosity and spirit that allowed far-flung folks like myself to not just be part of a community but contribute in our own ways.  I truly appreciate your support.  Sorry that I faded away as my employment situation drastically changed and affected my ability to contribute.  Plus, every player I knew something about was traded away eventually!

Anyway, thank you again and Godspeed amigo,

Jim (Spectator)

21

dueling guitars with you for about a year, a real high point in SSI’s arc.

g’bbye amigo.

22

Jeff, I don’t remember what led me in my internet flaneuring to your writings, which immediately reminded me of Walt Kelly (Pogo), with your wonderful oblique voice neither perpendicular nor parallel, and insightful, generous, and humorous, but I have been a fan ever since. I wish I had the skill to write something worthy, but in absence of that, I will turn to Thomas Merton and the following passage from The Seven Storey Mountain.

“Of us all, Father was the only one who really had any kind of a faith. And I do not doubt that he had very much of it, and that behind the walls of his isolation, his intelligence and his will, unimpaired, and not hampered in any essential way by the partial obstruction of some of his senses, were turned to God, and communed with God Who was with him and in him, and Who gave him, as I believe, light to understand and to make use of his suffering for his own good, and to perfect his soul. It was a great soul, large, full of natural charity. He was a man of exceptional intellectual honesty and sincerity and purity of understanding. And this affliction, this terrible and frightening illness which was relentlessly pressing him down even into the jaws of the tomb, was not destroying him after all. Souls are like athletes, that need opponents worthy of them, if they are to be tried and extended and pushed to the full use of their powers, and rewarded according to their capacity. And my father was in a fight with this tumor, and none of us understood the battle. We thought he was done for, but it was making him great.”
― Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

God Bless,

Dave

23

That is one whale of a selection Lampoon.  As so often, am not worthy of them.

thank you.  Will try to live up to them.  Or perish up to them.  LOL.

that line about ‘relentlessly pressing him down’ - unsurpassable.  And that’s exactly what it’s been ...

BTW I wouldn’t trade the last 5 years for anything.  The love I’ve been enveloped by - amazing.  And the ability to help others, immense.

24

Not worthy? A whole community would beg to differ.

That souls are like athletes is what recalled the passage to me, yet Merton spoke to you directly. They say that there is no such thing as a second hand experience, but Merton might be the exception that tests that rule.

25

Once again .... he shoots he scores!

you guys will probably have me breaking the life expectancy charts one more time.  Seriously.

agreed on the athletes concept.  Sports Is Life bro.

26

....but then again there probably aren't many publishers out there that would sign up for somebody who can wax eloguently about absolutely everything.  They would not be able to control you.  You would not fit in any of their many boxes.

Ah well....fleeting thought.

Really enjoying you spending this valuable time here with us when you can.  Much of your writing will remain out here for many to find.  I hope those that never had the chance to know you will stumble upon your writings in various places and maybe have a seed planted in them for something worthwhile.

When I join you in Heaven when I am called, one of the first things I'm planning to do is read your future works.  They will be more of your virtuoso lead work my friend.

27

Exactly what you hope for, as you know Russ.  You planted yours with me and helped me file off some rough edges for the main work at DOV and SSI, as I suspect you know.

28

Dear Jeff,

Please let me add my gratitude for the pleasure you have brought me over the years.  I long ago lost my enthusiasm for the Mariners, but I never lost my appreciation for the many thoughtful right of center perspectives expressed at SSI.  I contributed rarely, but benefited tremendously from the opportunity to read.  I am also grateful for the concientious community you built, all the more so given the hystrionics of the time.  I always appreciated your ability to embody the spirit of Christian hope without sanctimony or saccharine.

I have already missed you as your postings have become more rare; I am deeply saddened by the thought new post are soon to disappear.  Good to know you are a fan of Northcoast Brewing.  I am fond of PranQster, a Belgian Golden Ale.

Peace be with you and your family,

Kelly Gaffney

29

So glad you could join us.  Thank you for the kind words.  You were one who never needed any ‘maintenance‘ of course, and I always enjoyed your viewpoint.

’’without sanctimony or saccharine‘ Heh.  Colorful way to put it.

30

While less so on SSI and Dr. DetectoVision, Adrian Beltre and the value of his service often stimulated debate.  Now that he has retired, it is fun to assess his impact as a player.  Pulling up Fangraphs, Adrian Beltre is sandwiched between Chipper Jones and Joe Dimaggio in 33rd place ALL-TIME for position players with 84.4 WAR.  At baseball-reference it's 26th place with 95.6 WAR (they calculate defensive runs saved differently I believe).  Now it took Adrian an extra 1,200 games to generate the career value Joltin' Joe created, but that is still some impression company to keep.  

Adrian achieved this value through (1) longevity -- he was an above average major leaguer at 20 and at 38, (2) sustained defensive excellence, and being a very good hitter everywhere but Safeco field. Defensively, he is rated the 27th most valuable player in baseball history (as judged by runs saved versus an average player and positional value) and the 256th best offensive player (as judged by runs created above average) or 492nd as judged by OPS+.

As for hitting in Seattle, his lifetime OPS was 0.714 at Safeco (0.253/0.307/0.407)compared to a career OPS of 0.836 (0.292/0.344/0.492) everywhere else. 

As a last observation, The Purple Pirate over at Lonnie's message board was convince Adrian failed under pressure and there used to be some 'entertaining discussions' on the topic with the Pirate on one side and SABRMatt on the other.  So I was curious what the win probability added statistics showed about his clutch hitting (it doesn't include clutch fielding).  The statistic goes back to 1974 at Fangraphs. Since 1974, Adrian Beltre is 106th in runs created above average and 141st in win probability added.  So maybe Adrian wasn't the most clutch hitter ever, but he performed about how you would expect.

32

I am grateful for the request.  I have been thinking about posting it for some time now, but it felt presumptive and potentially intrusive.  I have been a minor contributor, at best.  Your reappearance, however, inspired me and decided I had your tacit approval to post my brief musing.  I'm so enthused by your request, I won't even charge... afterall, the 'b' in Doctorb is for bargain, as so eloquently stated by The Simpsons Dr. Nick!

As an aside, I fundamentally see our link through the lense of Bill James and our common conviction that he is an insightful historian, not a stathead.

... and a bittersweet aside.  You and SSI are my last vestigial link to the M's.  I was born in 1970 in Seattle and spent oh so many hours in the 80's listening to Dave Niehaus on the radio with my father as the Mariners struggled through their seemingly endless years of losing.  Lung cancer claimed my father in the spring of 1995 before the double and the dogpile at home plate.  While I'm still kicking, I also missed those games and frankly the only good years the M's have ever had due to the demands of a chemistry PhD.  The funny thing about unexperiences, they cannot be missed.  But I do miss my father and I have missed you as illness and more compelling attachments have drawn you away from SSI.  I missed you for your humor, your civility, your love of Young Frankenstein, your desire to give Barack Obama a fair shake, and your unwavering embrace of the possible.

... and an exciting aside. With the generous support of the American people, scientists at SLAC and Stanford have built a remarkable microscope with atomic resolution in both space and time capable of making movies of molecules as they make and break chemical bonds.  I'm doing my best to use this remarkable tool to understand how to harness sunlight for fuels and hgh value chemicals.  The goals are ambitious and the success is not guaranteed, but I will push forward knowing citizens like yourself are cheering us on from the cheap seats.

Thanks old man,

Kelly

33

David Graeber, an anthropologist who teaches at the London School of Economics, wrote a book called “The Utopia of Rules, On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy”

In it, he makes some interesting observations about the nature of games, which are especially applicable to organized sports, and why we like them so much.

He notes that games are clearly bounded in time & space and thereby framed off from ordinary life. There is a field, a board, a starting pistol, a finish line.

Within that time/space, certain people are designated as players. There are also rules which define precisely what those players can and cannot do.

There is always a clear idea of the goals/stakes, of what the players have to do to win the game.

Any place, person, action, that falls outside that framework is extraneous. Games are pure ruled-governed actions, and Graeber thinks this is precisely why games are fun.

Graeber points out that in almost every other aspect of human existence – in real life – all these things are ambiguous. Think of a family quarrel or a workplace rivalry. Who is or who is not a party to it, what’s fair, when it began & when it’s over, what it even means to say you’ve won: it’s all extremely difficult to say.

In real life, the hardest thing of all is to understand the rules.

Of course, there are rules everywhere in real life, even in casual conversation. These rules are rarely explicit. Furthermore, the goals and the stakes are often not clear.  And the ethics or morals that might guide one’s behavior often conflict with each other in a zero-sum way (think justice vs mercy, or liberty vs equality). So we are always doing the difficult work of negotiating between all these ambiguous and often conflicting rules and morals, and trying to predict how others will do the same.

Games allow us our only real experience of a situation where all this ambiguity is in theory swept away. Everyone knows exactly what the rules are. And not only that, people actually do follow them. And by following them it is even possible to win. This, along with the fact that unlike in real life, one has submitted oneself to the rules completely voluntarily, is the source of the pleasure.

According to Graeber, games are a kind of utopia of rules.

Graeber’s insight got me thinking about the enforcers of rules in games – the referees, umpires, and commissioners – and why it is so maddening when the ump calls a ball when it was an obvious strike, or a football referee misses a pass interference call that even nearsighted Mr. Magoo would have seen. Their mistakes infect the game with ambiguity and needlessly ruin the pleasure that certainty by rule gives us.

Technology has made the situation much worse. Instant frame by frame replay and pitch tracking reveal horrible calls that we might otherwise have overlooked, or not thought so badly of, and then rubs our noses in it.

As for me, a quintessentially casual fan, I have always disliked replay. I oppose automating calling balls and strikes. I like the quirky aspect of human error and dislike the interruption of the flow of the game. Perfection is unobtainable – how many times has replay failed to resolve the play call, or resulted in a call that still seems wrong? Football is the worst in this regard.

Utopia is just as an illusory and unobtainable goal in sports as it is in real life. The more we try to wall off sports from real life to achieve perfection, a utopia of rules, the more we will degrade the many other aspects that make sports so enjoyable, at least in my opinion.

35

Can you also pen an intro & coda, or am I asking too much?

36

#1 - I'd love to know how to publish an article. Heading to Mexico, I don't know if I can from there... but maybe a rando when I'm stateside. All I'm probably good for is the casual fan's 30,000' perspective, but I'll share that if it's helpful to give everyone a new place to comment.

This also raises the question for me of the future of this community... if Klat is the way to go now if monetization isn't an issue, or back to D-O-V if such a thing is possible, or some third party option. The lower the entropy the better, of course... I only ask thinking of access issues.

#2 - heading to the game tonight. Wish you could be there, Jeff - but I'll be raising one in your honor from the cheap seats with my dad and son. Well... my son won't be partaking in that as he's only eight, but you catch my drift. =) Anyone else from this community going tonight for #EdgarHOF replica plaque night, you can find us at sec332 r15 s13-15... or by request I'll post a way for you to text me.

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