The eagle in my backyard.

I saw a bald eagle in my backyard this morning. I was working on my bike, and heard this weird sound — more like a scream than anything. I looked up into the trees to see an enormous white headed bird, and I felt a shock spread from the back of my head as I recognized it from hanging around in Juneau, where bald eagles are much more common.

Then came the crows, yelling after the eagle, trying to take a beak at it. The eagle moved, the crows pursued, a noisy angry mob. The eagle took off, soaring in long, lazy circles way above while the crows gathered in the tops of the trees, calling to each other and complaining.

I stood in the grass, my bike on the stand with pedals off, 15mm wrench in hand, and laughed.

Hamfisted metaphor time: I’ve been having problems putting up with the overhead at USSM, specifically the amount of crap heaped on us as authors. In particular, I’ve lately been told that I “need to take my meds” before writing about baseball, I’m a vile person, blah blah blah, and then today I got a snitty letter from a dude who pointed out a grammar error. His email started off “how about paying a little attention to grammar?”

I have, within arms reach as I type this, a good dictionary, thesaurus, Strunk and White, a set of style guides, a slang dictionary, and a book on modern American usage. I sometimes read them for fun. Saying I don’t pay attention to this stuff because I made one stupid error is exactly the kind of constant sniping that makes me want to stop doing things in front of an audience.

I went out for a ride, and burned around Lake Sammamish. On the east side — saw the eagle again (I assume it was the same one — having seen one so rarely here and knowning it took off in that direction from my house). This time it was chilling in a tree, all by itself, and there were no crows anywhere near it.

4 thoughts on “The eagle in my backyard.

  1. Zach in Spokane


    A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon a website called “Baseball Prospectus” (I think it was liked from ESPN). The articles I read there gave me a perspective that made sense in a way I hadn’t seen before. There were no paeans to grit and hustle with cut and paste predictability, they were…different.
    I particularly took a liking to an aggressive and iconoclastic writer with a strange last name. He was the first sportswriter to make me chuckle to myself as I read. He was a northwesterner and Mariner’s fan like me. Pretty soon, the USS Mariner became the first baseball oriented site I checked each day and the one I looked forward to most.
    Anyway, what I’m trying to say with this long-winded gushing is that you do excellent work. Lately, you posts seem increasingly frustrated and desperate. I guess putting such a committment into something and getting your ass kicked over it by some anonymus jerk can have that effect, but you should know some of us other birds will really miss you if you fly off.

    Don’t let the bastards get you down.

  2. Marc & Sarah

    I saw your personal blog link and checked it out on a whim, and was saddened (though not shocked) to discover your efforts at USSM were taking such a personal toll.

    Like Zach, I have a story about how I came to discover the marvelous baseball resource and witty author know as DMZ, but I’ll shorten my account to the punchline: You’re a greater writer who I read with more loyalty and consistency than almost anyone, sport or non-sport, in the mainstream press, righ tup there with Mickey Kaus.

    I’m sorry the overhead and the crap weigh so heavily, and I could offer a dozen explanations for why so many chowderheads seem love to carp, but probably wouldn’t be very enlightening. All I can say is I certainly appreciate your work for the vast amount of time and thought invested, the intellectually stimulating content, and the intelligent, direct, always amusing, and frequently uproarious style.

    Maybe consider switching USSM to a subscription model. I’d gladly pay $10 a year (maybe more!) for the privilege of reading you & Dave in particular, and maybe that’d cut down on traffic from the casual “fan” most likely to ingratefully fling some crap. Seriously, don’t underestimate just how valuable the intelligent fan finds the blog.

  3. DoesntCompute


    I read USSM daily. Your insights into the world of baseball have opened my eyes.

    One thing I’ve discovered reading the comments in USSM is that some people are determined to be unhappy no matter what. Those people often want other to be as miserable as they are.

    How many times have people accused you of deleting posts because they disagreed with you? There is massive evidence that this is not the case but they refuse to see it. I can see why you are having a difficult time.

    I hope you know there are many, many people who support you and love what you do. Hang in there!

  4. Scraps

    Was it the use of “loathe” when you meant “loath”? 🙂

    I, too, am sorry that the comment threads are such a trial. It really does seem to me to be inevitable on free forums: lots of jackassery.

    I appreciate your writing — and that of your colleagues — very much. I just registered for a blogger account so I could tell you so. Cheers.

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