Letter From the Publisher

InsidethePark.com publisher Joe Kaiser sends his thanks after one year on the job.

To all of you who have found InsidethePark.com through links, advertisements, word of mouth, by accident, or one of countless other ways, I can hardly express how much I appreciate the community you have helped create at the site over the past year. We wouldn't be where we are now if it wasn't for you all.

Where we've come from 12 short months ago truly is unbelievable, going from a good idea on paper, to one of the most popular Seattle Mariners web sites on the internet today. As publisher, sometimes I just sit back with amazement, wondering exactly where this thing will go if it continues to grow at the pace it has thus far. Thanks once, thanks twice, thanks 100 times to those of you who made it possible.

Let me explain the vision of InsidethePark.com and the thought processes that have gone into it since day one.

It all began back in early May of last year when I put my domain name to use and signed on with TheInsiders, taking over the Mariners team site on the network hoping for the best but fearing the worst. Having recently graduated from the University of Washington at the time, I knew I had the ability to write and the love of baseball to start something great. What I didn't know, though, was how well of a reception it would get.

I envisioned creating a site that covered not just the big league Mariners, but one that reported on Seattle's minor league affiliates like no one else; getting the inside scoop, talking to the top names in the organization, making contacts with announcers and beat writers.

So what happened? Well, being a publisher for the first time, I admittedly had to do a lot of work on the fly. As a writer by nature, I came in pretty inexperienced in other areas, namely management and graphic design.

Here I was, the publisher of a new site, without any writers or contacts anywhere in the organization. Overwhelmed initially, that changed in a big way as the season wore on.

Jason A. Churchill joined us in late May, bringing his unparalleled knowledge of the M's organization. He's become a staple on the site ever since. That got the ball rolling. E-mails started to roll in with requests to write for the site. Interest grew. The name started to get out.

That was great, but without credentials to anywhere besides Triple-A Tacoma and Single-A Everett, our coverage through the end of the 2003 season was limited mostly to game summaries and opinion pieces. Not bad, but not exactly what the vision called for.

Lacking was the coverage of the minors, and I knew we needed to make changes. So during the offseason I went to work. I gained credentials to all five of the M's minor league teams, an all-access pass of sorts to cover the teams as closely as I had first imagined. Then the next task was finding interns. With help from internet job posting sites and the good folks at each of the affiliates, we hired on the tremendous group we have today:

Triple-A Tacoma; Sean Duade
Double-A San Antonio: Joe Weiss and Joe Ruiz
High-A Inland Empire: Jonathan Bianchet
Mid-A Wisconsin: Kevin Damask, Nick Saeger, Brad Hartmann, Dan Larson
Low-A Everett: Jamie Cobb

Two others, Ian Levin and Joseph Yencich have earned their keep in short time as well, excelling in weekly roles with the site.

What these fine youngsters, mostly college students earning credit at their respective colleges, have meant to the site this season, even while the Mariners continue to plummet in the AL West standings, can't be overlooked. They've helped InsidethePark take a step to the next level, and for that I thank each of them.

That's the good news. The bad news is that lost in it all has been our coverage of the Mariners themselves, and for that I apologize. Major League Baseball simply doesn't credential web sites that aren't a part of one of the major media markets today, so until now we've used our time trying to utilize our time in a place where we could best spend it. And thanks to our credentials in the minor leagues, that's where we've focused our attention through the first month-and-a-half of the 2004 season.

We are still looking for quality writers with a passion for the Mariners, people willing to take time out of their day, week after week, to contribute to the site. Until we have enough trusted writers where we don't have to worry about being spread too thin, however, we believe our time is best spent in the minors.

So keep us bookmarked, check back daily, tell your friends about us, join us on the message boards and remain patient with any changes that may take place in the coming months. We are here for you the fans and want to report on the information you can't find anywhere else. We're commited to doing that for this season and beyond.

Feel free to contact me or anyone else on staff with suggestions; we take them to heart, and welcome any that you may have.

Go Mariners!

Joe Kaiser
Publisher, InsidethePark.com

E-Mail: JoeKaiser@InsidethePark.com
Phone: (206) 313-6737

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