Sunday, November 1, 2015

For the SID: StatCrew on a Surface Pro 3

Looking to get StatCrew to work on a 64-bit operating system, like a new Surface Pro 3 like myself?
One of the things I was most worried about when I was taking the job to be the new Sports Information Director at Western Washington University, was how to be efficient with everything I do. This is the backbone of how I operate. Keep things simple, work smart and try not to complicate things.
I am a One Device guy…pretty much a spokesperson for the Surface product. I want to be able to do my job in any environment, any place, at any time. To do this you need to have good technology. To my surprise, well, not really, I found that StatCrew software has not really changed since I left Arizona State in 2005. Yes, I know they have a NextGen product rolling out, but for the most part, you need to run the legacy software. To do this you need a 32-bit system running Windows 7. Now go try to find a new machine that allows you to run Photoshop, InDesign, Microsoft Office…and still run the stat software. Give up looking yet?
So with the help of my Father-in-law, Brother-in-law and IT friend Oliver Roy, I took the information I found on StatCrew.com (which really didn’t do much to ease my mind) and found the perfect way to run StatCrew software on a new machine. SIDs have it hard enough with website updating, coaches asking for all kinds of things and this little thing called “media relations” that asking us to carry several pieces of computer equipment around is not efficient, or practical for that matter.
So here is my workaround and it has been flawless so far:
  • Download VMware Workstation from the following link.
  • With the help of your IT staff, or on your own, purchase a license for Windows 7 Pro (32-bit).
  • After installing VMware Workstation on your laptop/Surface, you’ll need to connect an external DVD drive or have an .iso file created to install on your device.
  • What you are essentially doing is creating a separate operating system, on your operating system. VMware Workstation walks you through the process, assigning RAM and hard drive space to this new operating system. It is pretty slick.
  • From there, after the Windows 7 32-bit is installed on your CPU, you can access it as a program, and start installing your StatCrew programs (I still can’t believe you can’t enter national rankings for basketball teams in the software).
Everything should operate within VMware just like you are looking at a different computer, and so far I’ve been able to cut-and-paste between operating systems (for printing purposes). The software shares the internet connection flawlessly, and I am able to use my Bluetooth mouse without any issues. It is really pretty awesome. A good workaround to a situation we have all been scratching our heads about.
If you have any questions, you can email me at Jeff.Evans[at]wwu.edu.
This is the definition of @SIDProblems!
Here is a screenshot of how the program looks on my Surface:



Sunday, October 4, 2015

My Last Game With The Mariners...

So many great memories with my time with the Mariners!
Today is Game 162, usually the sign of the end of the grind of a long season. One last set of game notes, one last time updating MarinersMedia.com and the Press Box TV, and one more time sending out lineups and in-game notes. Today is not just Game 162 of the 2015 season, it is my final game working for the Mariners.
I have thought about this day for a while, just never thought it would actually happen. Today I walked into Safeco Field for my final game as a member of the Baseball Information staff. Nine seasons with the team I grew up watching as a kid, my favorite baseball team, and 10 seasons in Major League Baseball…the journey ends today.
But with the end to one journey, another begins. I’ll start a new chapter in about a week, when I start as the Sports Information Director at Western Washington University. I am excited (and nervous) to return to the college ranks in the sports information world, but what an amazing opportunity to work for a great college, with a great athletics department, in the amazing town of Bellingham. I can’t wait to get started and move my family to this idyllic town! The rest of this post is mainly about what I am leaving behind - because it has been such a big part of my life - but rest assured, I am as excited about my future as I am about the past, and can’t wait to start with Vikings Athletics!
When I was going through the decision-making process I asked myself several (and I mean several) questions and it kept coming back to this question:
How will I be able to help coach Charlie’s baseball team or see Caroline’s first piano recital?
And for some reason I couldn’t come up with an answer. I love my job with the Mariners. I love being the architect of baseball information for a Major League Baseball team and coming up with nuggets of information that land on TV, radio, in the newspaper and even on SportsCenter. I took great pride in my work (and will always take great pride), worked countless hours (and will still work lots of hours)…but I need to find a way to be a better Dad and a better husband. Those are the two things that have become the most important to me.
When I worked for Arizona State, it was all about getting to Omaha for the Sun Devils baseball team. With the Texas Rangers, it was all about learning the Major League ropes. And with the Mariners, I was able to put all my experiences together to help make our department one of the best in professional sports.
But, On July 2, 2007…just a few months after I returned to the Pacific Northwest to work for my hometown team, everything changed. I met this gal near the Starbucks at Greenlake for a semi-blind date/run around the lake. I barely finished the 2.8-mile run, but from that day forward we’ve been nearly inseparable. We have welcomed two amazing kids into the world, Charlie and Carline, and I’ve learned how amazing it is to be called “papa”. 
Team Evans
So, in a nutshell, that is why I am making a change. I want to be home for more dinners and want the opportunity to see my kids grow up. MLB is a lifestyle, and while it works for many and is a prestigious job, it is very tough on families. My role at Western will still bring the craziness of sports PR, but hoping for a few more catches in the backyard and a few more dinners as a family.
Kyle Seager will always be one of my favorites. A true pro and Gold Glover.
Looking back at all that I was able to experience in my 10 seasons working in the Majors, there are too many moments that I consider my favorite. The Felix Hernandez Perfect Game, the Iwakuma no-hitter, the road trips getting to know many cities in our fine country…the relationships, the media, the players, the PR professionals…those memories mean the world to me. I grew up idolizing Ken Griffey Jr…and then got to work with him and call him a friend. Think about that for a second. Do I have favorite players, of course I do. Justin Smoak, Brad Miller, Kyle Seager, Felix, Adrian Beltre, Griffey, Josh Wilson (The Paperboy), Nelson Cruz, Michael Young, Willie Bloomquist, Raul Ibañez…too many to count. All just wonderful humans, in addition to being great ballplayers. Two coaches that I owe the world to for their friendship and constant advice are Jeff Datz and Ty Van Burkleo…two of the best men I’ve ever been around. I am proud to have been a part of information campaigns to help Felix Hernandez win a Cy Young award (Felix Facts) and Kyle Seager deservingly win a Gold Glove. All just a few of what I consider many highlights from my time with the Mariners.
I take great pride in Felix's 2010 Cy Young award.
I’ve been asked a lot lately about what has been my favorite part of working for the Mariners. Besides the fact that I drove up to Safeco Field every day for WORK and watched baseball in the most beautiful ballpark in the Majors? There are a few. I’ll always remember being one of the first to walk into the ballpark on Sunday mornings when I was usually assigned Page 1 of the Game Notes for the 1 pm games. I would stop after crossing the skybridge and look out at an empty Safeco Field and remind myself how lucky I am. I always got the same feeling when running laps around the warning track during my lunch break, surrounded by 46,000 empty seats. I have no idea why, but those moments are what I am going to remember the most, because those are the ones that I soaked up every time and never took for granted.
Working with the media and coaches has been amazing.
There are so many people to thank that have helped me on my journey. For so long the path was all about getting to Seattle to work for the Mariners, and that opportunity has blessed me with an amazing family. I am one lucky guy!
  • To Rod Commons…thank you for believing in an 18-year-old freshman at Washington State.
  • To Mark Brand & Doug Tammaro…you guys showed me the ropes and were the best first bosses anyone could have.
  • To Tim Hevly & Randy Adamack…what an awesome 9 years we had as a staff. I learned more than you will ever know.
  • To my Mariners co-workers…Gregg Greene, Kevin Martinez and the marketing crew, the clubhouse guys, trainers, baseball operations…no front office works harder and can’t wait to join you for an upcoming postseason game. I owe Nathan Rauschenberg a lot for showing me the ropes with Photoshop...and you better believe I will be calling with questions.
  • To Oliver Roy...no good PR man can exist without an even better IT guy. You are more than that though, as you were always a friend and one of the best workers the Mariners have ever had. Thanks for everything!
  • To past co-workers…too many to name, but Graham Rossini, this one is for you. You remain one of the best guys I’ve ever been around and will always be watching your career in awe. Joey Prebynski, you made my year in Texas tolerable and became a great friend.
  • To my parents and family…thank you doesn’t begin to even scratch the surface.
  • To Fernando and Kelly…it wasn’t always pretty, but in the end, we formed a dynamic BBInfo staff and really learned a lot about each other along the way. For that, I am thankful.
  • To all the media…it was a pleasure working with (most) of you. The relationships we formed and the laughs we had made the job worth it during all those extra-inning games.
  • To Ryan Divish, Bob Dutton, Greg Johns and Shannon Drayer…what a great group of beat writers to spend my last few seasons with. We had some fun on the road and some darn good meals along the way [we need to get Divish another Mayan Mule and take another taxi ride in Cleveland to find Gilbert Reichert]
  • To the broadcasters…I had the pleasure of working with some of the best. To the man I grew up listening, Dave Niehaus, to another Hall of Famer, Eric Nadel, you taught me what information to look for and how to best get it in your hands. Rick Rizzs, Aaron Goldsmith, Mike Blowers, Kevin Cremin (THE producer & engineer), Dave Sims…thank you for your friendship and always recognizing good work.
  • To T.R. Sullivan…it was only one year in Texas, but the amount of stuff I learned from you in my first year of Major League Baseball set the stage for a wonderful 10 years. You hammered home what trends the media were looking for and what game notes were important. A valuable lesson I did not take for granted and one that will remain with me the rest of my career. 
Looking forward to this guy entering Cooperstown!
The Winter Meetings and seeing Tim win the Fishel Award was a highlight.
Willie Bloomquist is one of the best guys in the game.
I'll miss this place, but can't wait to visit as a fan and cheer on the Mariners.
I can’t wait to get started at Western, learning from retired CoSida Hall of Famer Paul Madison and current assistant SID Kevin Nunn. There will be daily struggles and challenges, but that is also exciting. No doubt I am going to miss what I do with the Mariners, but can’t wait to wave Charlie around third base during his baseball games and see Caroline grow into a little princess!
My new position at Western Washington University
Here is my last set of Mariners Game Notes:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Trip Down Memory Lane - Comerica Park

Photo Credit: Jeff Evans
Comerica Park
I always have it on my list to contribute to my blog more, but when you update a blog as part of your main duties for work, sometimes this is the last thing I want to do in my free time.

I am finishing up another road trip with the Mariners, too many to count since I started in MLB 10 years ago, but current trip to Detroit got me thinking...

In my first year working in MLB with the Texas Rangers in 2006, I made my first road trip with the team to Detroit and Comerica Park. I was on the road earlier in the season for a 3-game series in Kansas City, but did not travel with the team.

It seems like forever ago, and perhaps it was, but I don't think I'll ever forget how nervous I was for the road trip to Detroit (4 games) and Tampa Bay (3 games) in August 2006. I am not sure I slept, making sure Rangers manager Buck Showalter had all his news clips and statistics early in the morning, and handled all the game notes on the road for the first time.

Hall of Fame radio broadcaster Eric Nadel was a great mentor to me, and I remember going out to lunch with him before one of the games, talking about game notes, what he likes to see (trends, trends, trends) and other nuances of the business. Backup catcher Gerald Laird took me out for post-game drinks one night, where I got to experience first-hand some VIP treatment (which was kind of unreal for a kid from Washington

Comerica Park was also the site where I worked my first postseason series for Major League Baseball, where I got to witness the historic walk-off home run by Maglio Ordonez in Game 4 of the ALCS.



Not many other memories, just a trip down memory lane from the same seat in the Comerica Park Press Box.

Time sure does fly! And now I wish I took a photo from my press box seat at every stadium I've been to.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Family Trip to the Oregon Coast


Family trip to the Oregon Coast.

After the completion of each baseball season, I am pretty fried and in need of some time away from all types of technology, mainly email and text messages. When the Mariners season came to a completion and we learned we would not be going to the playoffs, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to take the family to the Oregon Coast (Cannon Beach) during my first week of the “offseason”.

A couple of disclaimers about our trip to Cannon Beach before I get into some recommendations on where to dine and visit: 
  • Length of Stay - We decided on a short 2-night, 3-day trip since we have two half-pints, ages 3 and 8 months. 
  • Days of the Week - I am not a huge fan of big crowds when I am on vacation, so opted for a Sunday through Tuesday trip. 
  • Budget - We wanted to keep costs to a minimum, so didn’t splurge on our housing option. Kept is simple (and small), but it made for a cozy family vacation.
We left for the Coast early Sunday heading South on I-5 and then West through Kelso/Longview, over the Columbia River into Oregon and eventually Astoria for lunch.
Lunch in Astoria:
If you are looking the perfect pit stop on your way to the coast, I could not recommend Astoria more. Besides the fact it was the backdrop for the movies Goonies and Kindergarten Cop, there are some wonderful dining options. We’ve been to the Rogue Ales Public House before and this time opted for some Fish & Chips from a small boat called Bowpicker. The line was long, but couldn’t recommend the food more, with a generous portion of Fish & Chips for $10 (we split as a family, along with an extra side of fries).
After eating lunch on one of the picnic tables near the boat, we walked two blocks west to Fort George Brewery and Blue Scorcher Bakery. We had picked these destinations out ahead of time, and they were perfect. We picked up a baguette and cookie at the bakery to have for a snack later that night.
The brewery was awesome, and the food menu looked amazing (we already had lunch or we would have gone for one of the pizzas). The settled into the upstairs pub and split pints of their Fresh IPA and 3-Way IPA, and I had some oyster shooters that were fresh from nearby Willapa Bay. Before heading back to our car, we filled a growler with the Fresh IPA (it was a tough decision).

Fish & Chips at the Bowpicker in Astoria.
Heading to Cannon Beach:
We were a little ahead of schedule for our 4 pm check-in, so took a small detour through Seaside before reaching Cannon Beach. This place may be for some, but it just wasn’t our cup of coffee. Seemed a bit more like Atlantic City than a relaxing time on the Coast. I’ll just leave it at this, and let others choose if they would come here (I’ve heard the aquarium is cool and Seaside Brewing looked pretty cool).
Cannon Beach:
I figured it had been about 25 years since I last stayed in Cannon Beach with my family, but we had driven through when we stayed in Manzanita a few years ago. The town is small and does not have any chain establishments, which is pretty awesome. I booked our cottage (I emphasize cottage) through Vacassa and was impressed with the ease of the process. The place we picked was largely based on price, but it was fine for our needs. It was one bedroom, and within walking distance of the beach and all the restaurants.

Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock at sunset.
Where to Eat:
We found a lot of neat places to get food and coffee (very important for us).

  • Sea Level Bakery + Coffee - Probably the highlight of our trip, my wife found this place on the web and we ended up there twice (within a span of 5 hours). Stumptown coffee, handmade pastries, good customer service. Just about a perfect stop if you want a good morning snack. They are closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, so plan accordingly.
  • Sand Dune Pub (Manzanita) -  We were not able to visit this time as they are a 21-and-over establishment, but if you are half-pint free, this is the place to go for great food and beer. Manzanita is a small town about 10 miles South of Cannon Beach on Highway 101. I had the Oyster Po Boy last time we were there and it was amazing.
  • Cannon Beach Hardware & Public House - A bar, restaurant and hardware store all in one. Pretty cool concept and pretty good food. We ate dinner here and enjoyed sitting outside on one of the three picnic benches. They had a small, but very good, beer list of mainly local beers and the food was solid. We had split a halibut burger and chicken sandwich, and really liked the onion rings and tater tots. This was very much a cheat meal, as we kept reminding each other we were on vacation.
  • Bills Tavern and Brewhouse - Your average pub food and beer establishment. They brew their own beer, but I had a pint of their guest cider (Atlas from Bend) and Kim had a glass of chardonnay. The menu had the usual burgers, salads and some seafood, but we were still full from lunch, so just had a hummus plate and it was really good. There were 6 tables outside that would be fun for people watching. They also have a location called Warren House Pub that looks like a fun spot for happy hour.
  • Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters - A small coffee shop right next to the Hardware & Public House. We liked this place for coffee and their famous scones. This is the same location as The Irish Table restaurant which we’ve heard is very good as well.

The Sea-Level Bakery + Coffee

The Beach:
One of the main reasons to come to Cannon Beach is of course the beach. We spent a lot of time here, going for a long run and throwing baseballs to my son. We had a double stroller, which made the initial trek to the beach interesting, but once we got on some hard-packed sand it was very walkable. We had sort of an urban hike/run going from the North end of town to the South end of town along the beach (mainly to visit Sea Level Bakery for a second time). The views are amazing, as Haystack Rock is one of the wonders of the West Coast. Spend as much time on the beach as possible, especially taking the time for a sunset or two if you are lucky. Even if the weather isn’t great, a day on the beach is better than a day in the office.

Watching the sunset on our last night in Cannon Beach.
Head South on 101:
If you are looking to get out a bit, head South on Highway 101 towards Tillamook. You can visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory to get cheese and some ice cream. We took the tour last time, but did not make it this time. Pelican Pub and Brewery recently opened a location in Tillamook that looks like is a must-visit for our next trip to the coast.
I am always amazed at the lack of Seafood options when I head down to the Oregon Coast, thinking it would be like Maine with a bunch of lobster shacks (crab/fish in this case) on the side of the road. But there really are not many options (as far as I’ve researched). We have stopped at Jetty Fishery for some fresh crab and they also have clams and oysters it looks like.


The Trip Back:
If you are heading North, I would recommend getting gas at the Fred Myer in Warrenton (likely the best prices). And if we were to do it all over again I would find a way to make a lunch stop in Astoria (Fort George Brewery!!!). We took a different route back, going through Raymond, South Bend and eventually Montesano before heading to Olympia to connect back with I-5. The drive is pretty straightforward, although you could get stuck behind an RV or logging truck if you are unlucky.
Lunch in Olympia:
Before trudging through traffic heading North, we decided to stop in Olympia for lunch. We’ve had good luck with this small town that is the capital of Washington, and can’t recommend The Bread Peddler enough. We’ve had coffee and pastries there before on a trip to Bend, and this time had lunch and it was amazing. We are also hoping to visit Darby’s Café (featured on the Food Network) at some point.
We already can’t wait for our next visit to the Oregon Coast!


Pumpkin Patch - 2014

The Evans family made the first trip as a family of four to a pumpkin patch. We trekked down the hill (all of about 2 miles) to Carpinito Brothers Pumpkin Patch to get our pumpkins and some fresh produce. We'll have to pick out some fun designs to carve our pumpkins.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Remembering a Friend and Colleague - Richard Durrett


Today has been a pretty tough day, as I am thinking constantly of a friend and colleague, Richard Durrett. Richard passed away yesterday after he collapsed, he was only 38 years old

I knew Richard well, from his days with the Dallas Morning News and ESPN Dallas. When I worked for the Rangers in 2006, Richard was always a shoulder to lean on and a person I trusted to talk with when there were struggles in my first year working in Major League Baseball. And he was a voracious worker, always on top of things and always approaching his job as a professional.

In my many trips back to Texas with the Mariners, Richard was always one of the first people I saw when I walked in the press box, and he always greeted me the same way -- "Jeffrey, how are you doing!" He was quick to ask about my family, how things were going and what was new. The baseball questions always came, but not until he was caught up on how I was doing. This was Richard in a nutshell.

There have been a lot of great tributes written about Richard by his colleagues T.R. Sullivan, Anthony Andro, Jeff Wilson and Evan Grant (to name just a few). I encourage you to read them all.

No road trip to Texas will ever be the same without seeing the smiling face of Richard in the press box. I am kind of at a loss for words, but want to thank him for being a friend. We will miss you Richard!

Friday, November 1, 2013

King Felix for Halloween

It has been a while since I've fired up the blog, so I thought I would bring it back with a short Halloween post.

Kim and I asked Charlie several times what (or who) he wanted to be for Halloween. This is the first Halloween where he can fully communicate, and each time he said he wanted to be Felix Hernandez. He loves King Felix, especially having the book The Rise of King Felix read to him each night before going to bed.

The other thing Charlie really loves, and can't get enough of, is King Felix's Cy Young Award from 2010. He turns to the page in the Mariners media guide where there is a picture of Felix and the Cy Young Award, and can't get enough of it.

So for Halloween, I present to you King Felix and his Cy Young Award!