About Me

This is always awkward. Should an "About Me" be written in the first or third person? I'm no Rickey Henderson, so I'll stick with "I" and "me."

When I was in second grade, I barely knew baseball existed. My life largely centered around school, where I distinctly remember preparing a report on the gila monster, and also remember getting ready for bed after Wheel of Fortune, and it's ugly sister of a TV show, Jeopardy!

If the exclamation point weren't in Jeopardy!'s name, that last sentence would have ended in a period. I never knew the questions to the answers. The only fun I had was when someone finished in debt. That made me feel smarter than them.

Anyway, thanks to my early bedtimes, little did I know that the Mariners played baseball just 30 minutes up I-5 from home. That started to change though, as the Refuse to Lose campaign reached a climax. Even I knew about the one-game playoff with the Angels, and our second grade teacher even put it on the radio. Seeing how captivated my classmates were by stupid, boring radio, I decided to take notice.

A grand salami from Edgar Martinez, and a ringing double down the line from him the next day (as I slept, unfortunately), and I was captivated. This baseball stuff was pretty exciting! It was sad when the M's run finally came to an end that year, but I waited all offseason to see if baseball would be just as exciting in 1996. As luck would have it, the M's opened up with a 12-inning victory against the White Sox to open up that season, so I just figured that baseball was always super exciting.

Really, those mid-'90s Mariners teams duped me as a young kid, but I'm so thankful they did. A kid couldn't have grown up with a better team to root for. Every game was an adventure, thanks to one of the better offenses the game has ever seen, combined with some of the shakier bullpens anyone would ever hope for, much less a combustible Lou Piniella. Baseball always was super exciting with those mid-'90s M's teams. Plus, I was a 10-year-old watching ads that told me I had to love those guys. So, I did.

Baseball became my thing growing up, and it has never gone away. Through middle school I drew make-believe ballparks...to scale, though, and in accordance with baseball rules for stadiums. Perhaps an early sign that I would become a math major?

By eighth grade, my baseball obsession was a known commodity. That was the year I finally had to accept that it was a part of me. I got my first trip to the principal's office, and it was to settle a dispute over who had the longest hitting streak in MLB history. For the record, I told my principal that he was wrong. He thought it was Pete Rose, and I had to tell him that it was Joe Dimaggio. Thankfully, I could console him though, because I also knew that Rose held the record for longest streak in the NL (still does too).

In high school, I tried to make a baseball card game, complete with hitting, pitching, and fielding, all broke down into different attributes (spray charts for hitters, arms/range for defense, etc.) - perhaps another sign that I would become a math major? I realized that I had to come up with a point system to figure out the value of each card, and then put a point cap on teams for competitive balance. That began a quest for a rating system that ultimately flourished in my senior capstone project at Pacific Lutheran University, a good six years after I started working on the card game for fun - and the capstone was for my BS in Mathematics Education.

Baseball consumes a good chunk of my life, and I like it that way. The history, the characters, the strategy, the statistical analysis, the unnecessarily complex rules - it's all pure awesome in my book. Or blog, I suppose would be a better way to put it.

I started Seattle Mariners Musings for a couple reasons. After putting one of my high school friends to sleep talking about Rickey Henderson at a sleepover (true story), I realized that everyone would benefit if I had an outlet for me to talk about baseball whenever I wanted. The world wide web seemed a perfect fit, especially as blogging took off. Second, I thought it would be fun to learn some HTML, so the design you see is largely my brain child. I take advantage of Blogger's templates, but I do tweak them considerably to get what I want.

Still, this blog is mostly about baseball, because I'm more about baseball than maybe I should be. It was a big step in my life when I realized that other people in the world, even ones I knew, didn't think about baseball all the time. This blog gives me a place to dump whatever baseball thoughts accumulate in my head, without making my friends suffer through it when they just want to talk about cars, or women, or heaven forbid just enjoy a mozzarella stick or two without hearing about the nomadic career of Chris Woodward.

I guess this is a pretty deflating "about me" so far. All you know is that I like baseball, which you probably could have guessed all on your own. If you have made it this far into the "about me," you deserve a few more nuggets. I do have interests outside of baseball. As I mentioned earlier, I graduated from college with a BS in Mathematics, and a Religion minor. I've since added a Masters of Arts in Teaching, and now earn a steady income via my full-time gig teaching high school math. I also love to play the saxophone, though classically, which isn't really classical, but definitely isn't what most think of when they think of a saxophone player. Classical saxophone has its niche, and I do love it. I am also a big sports fan in general, with football being my second favorite sport behind baseball. In particular, I enjoy college football, and there is something special about laying on the couch for 12 straight hours on a fall Saturday that baseball can't match.

Still, baseball is where it is at for me. My math background might allow me to go deeper into sabermetric content, but I came to baseball as a fan first, and this blog is primarily my way of letting off steam as I absorb the game on a daily basis. I hope it provides a mix of analysis and commentary that is somewhere between quirky and insightful. I particularly get a thrill out of knowing guys "before they were big," so I have a soft spot for prospects. Moneyball is my favorite book of all time, so not surprisingly, I also find the game off the field fascinating too.

I don't really have some higher goal as I write more often about these general topics. I'm just writing about what I find interesting, and hopefully you find something interesting in my words too. I figure you can find something about how good or bad Alex Rodriguez is in at least 175,000 other places, but you probably can't say the same about all those players to be named later in trade deadline deals. If there is any agenda in what I write, it's a personal goal to not add to the chorus of perspectives on mainstream stories, especially when I feel my take is more or less the same as hundreds of others already out there in bigger, sparklier places.

Well, that's about it for now. If you really want to know more about me, go ahead and shoot me an e-mail at chalbetl@gmail.com. If there is something you really want my take on about baseball, I probably have one, and all you have to do is ask.

Enjoy!