“Who am I? Why am I here?” — Adm. James Stockdale
Hello. You may have heard my name somewhere before. Or you may not have.
You might recognize me as the guy that does that podcast with the guy that used to do the podcast here. You might recognize me as me as a prospect writer for that website that hates all the Mets prospects. You might recognize me as a prospect writer for that website that loves all the Mets prospects. You might recognize me as a co-author of a book. You might recognize me as a dude from Baseball Twitter. You might recognize me as the guy that thought some random overaged Double-A utility guy was secretly a star-in-waiting, and accidentally gave him a nickname (and later a jersey number). You might not recognize me at all.
In case you don’t know who I am, my name is Jarrett Seidler. I am the senior prospect writer and player evaluation coordinator at Baseball Prospectus. You have probably heard of that publication, even if not me. This is my fourth season at BP, and it has been one of the great privileges of my life to work there. I work closely on the prospect team with Jeffrey Paternostro, who I am told used to be an important person around these parts. We have a podcast called For All You Kids Out There, which you likely already figured out is a Keith Hernandez joke. (Keith didn’t find it quite as funny as we did.) We will be celebrating our 169th episode next month.
I am also a diehard Mets fan. I have been a partial season ticket holder for most of my adult life; I currently have a 20-game plan even though the schlep to Citi Field is, well, quite a schlep. I refuse to go there on a press pass; the seats might be a little better, and obviously they’d be a lot cheaper, but you can’t cheer from the press box. And I am a diehard Mets fan.
When I started at BP, I was primarily hired for the launch of a local subsite covering the Mets, ever-so-aptly named BP Mets. I wrote there weekly for about a year, and sporadically thereafter when I started focusing on more national stuff, until the site was absorbed into the main BP site last December. I wrote about the things you’d expect someone writing about the Mets in 2016 would write about — Yoenis and Bartolo and David — but I also wrote about the end of the line for outfield prospect Stefan Sabol. I wrote a retrospective on Eric Campbell. I wrote about what I consider the great what-if in franchise history, the team’s failure to sign Alex Rodriguez coming off the 2000 World Series. I even touched on this dumb baseball team’s role in life and, on one somber day in September 2016, death. It was from the perspective of a Mets fan, on a site covering the Mets.
Now I write a weekly, nationally-focused column for the main BP site. A lot more people than I ever thought would care about my baseball thoughts read my opinions on prospects, player development, legal issues, moral rights and wrongs, and other serious baseball topics. But I only occasionally write about the Mets, and even when I do, it’s almost never as a Mets fan. I certainly don’t hide my fandom, and it is obvious if you listen to our podcast. Yet when I comment on baseball matters in my role at BP, it is as an impartial observer.
That’s who I am. Why am I here? Directly speaking, thanks to the grace of the powers-that-be both here and at BP, I’ll be dropping in at Amazin’ Avenue from time to time with some takes. I don’t exactly have a set schedule yet — it’ll be less than weekly and more than monthly, most likely — but you’ll see me pop up with 800 words here or 1,200 words there on the Mets, just like I used to at BP Mets. I do hope they’re interesting and you’ll take the time to read them.
More broadly, I just miss writing about the team I love as a fan. There is a common belief amongst my peers that that you inevitably lose your fandom when you write about baseball from a wider point of view. If I can’t reject that belief outright, I am at least trying to fight it.
Writing about baseball with a wider lens has given a different flavor to my fandom. Mostly, I know too much, even when I don’t want to. I hear about the ugly side of the game more than I ever want to. I find it difficult to be blindly optimistic about prospects, because I usually have a learned professional opinion and it often isn’t that optimistic. I know a lot about the business of the game, and how unfair it is to everyone who isn’t at the top.
Yet I still have opinions I want to express as a fan, on a more appropriate platform than my podcast and on a more interesting platform than Twitter. I want to talk about the experience of being a fan and write paens to bench players and superstars alike. I want to, specifically, write about the things that I love. I want to try to be a positive force in the Met fandom.
Recently, we had a discussion in our podcast’s Facebook group about our perspective of the team. Suffice to say, it has been a downer of a season on the whole. Our podcast has been a downer of a podcast. It’s not fun to talk about all the ways in which the team constantly shoots itself in the foot.
But it’s not all negative. Four months ago, my name was on the top of a list (well, right after Jeffrey’s name) ranking Pete Alonso as the 40th-best prospect in baseball. It is no secret that I was the driving force behind that ranking internally. It was not as a Mets fan, but as an evaluator who saw him at three different minor-league levels and saw a player progress from a raw power guy with a metal bat swing to a complete offensive force.
A few weeks ago, Alonso crossed the plate appearance threshold that guarantees that I never have to rank him again. Now I can fully enjoy his amazing dingers as a Mets fan — and just a Mets fan.
I want to write about that feeling. I want to explore what it means to me as a Mets fan to have that player. I don’t have anywhere on BP where it would really be appropriate to write that piece, but there’s no more appropriate place in the world than Amazin’ Avenue. So that’s why I’m here.