My name is Thomas Bennett. I've also been known to go by Michael, but we already have a Michael, and he's the boss, so I guess I'll just stick with my other name. I have been bestowed the great honor of heading up the game coverage team this season.
Unlike Scott and Michael, I have not been a Marlins fan for long. I have lived in or near Seattle for most of my life, and thus have had a long and sad attachment to the Mariners.
You may wonder, then, why I do not write about the Mariners. Well I do, sporadically, on my own blog. I decided before last season that I wanted to write more often. Jeff Sullivan, celebrated baseball blogger, once said that "Writing is a muscle, you have to keep using it, or else it gets weak." Writing is strengthened when you write about something you have a passion for...baseball is one of those things for me. In fact, I had written a brief fanpost on Lookout Landing about Ichiro's signing with the Marlins, and when I came over here to see the reaction, I saw the help wanted sign. Michael brought me on for game coverage last year, and here I am, typing to you.
Though I didn't start out as a Marlins fan, it didn't take me long to become one. Probably less than a month before I was legit happy (or sad) with outcomes. I think the reason it happened so quickly was three-fold. First, I was covering the team and thus felt obligated to watch. I took in way more Marlins baseball then I did Mariners baseball last year and am poised to do so again with no regret. I can name the 40 man roster for the Marlins without looking, can't say the same about the Mariners.
Second, the team was full of likable characters. José Fernández. Dee Gordon. Ichiro. Giancarlo Stanton. Justin Bour. Dan Haren. Carter Capps. Miguel Rojas. Derek Dietrich. The results were dissapointing, to be sure, but I enjoyed watching these guys and others ply their craft.
Thirdly, I came to admire the fan base. There is arguably no other fan base in baseball that can say they've been through everything you guys have been through, and I found myself wanting the Marlins to do good for the diehards who've stuck with the team through everything; despite everything.
Maybe someday I will earn the right to call myself a diehard Marlins fan. For now, I'm just a Johnny-come-lately fan, finding myself caring about Miami's fortune or disaster. Trust me, I did not see this coming. At least no one can accuse me of jumping on the bandwagon when the going is good. Who knows, it might get good this year. We're about to find out together!
Here is what you can expect from our game coverage team this season.
Every game will have an open game thread where you can come and chat about the game with Fish Stripe authors and other Marlins fans. The posts attached to said threads will have information about the game at hand: Pitching match-up, line-up for the day, interesting notes and a bold prediction by the writer du jour concerning the final score.
My major focus overseeing game coverage this season will be consistency. Last season saw some gaps in coverage; this year, we've essentially doubled our game coverage staff to the point where you will see a different writer every day. There will be a dizzying amount of new "faces" initially; but this should greatly help us meet the goal of being the best Marlins site for all your gameday needs.
After each game, the writer of the day will post a re-cap of the game's events if you happened to miss it (or you want to reminisce on an amazing victory), complete with a WPA chart courtesy of our friends at Fangraphs.
Familiar face Mark Laming and soon to be familiar face Zach DiSchiano will be switching back and forth previewing the Marlins upcoming opponents. These will include brief interviews with an author from said opponent's SB Nation blog; really looking forward to these personally!
Ichthyomancy + Heroes and Zeroes
Ichthyomancy is a long tradition here at Fish Stripes, a prediction game based upon in game results that is tallied throughout the season. Kevin Kraczkowski will reprise his role as Ichthyomancy host and will have more post-game coverage in the form of Heroes and Zeroes. You can read about both here. Kevin will be around for the whole season this go round. If for some reason he is not, however, I assure you we will pick up the slack. We certainly have the manpower to do so!
We've all waited patiently for the season and it's finally here. Pull up a chair and watch all the Marlins games with Fish Stripes!