Monday, March 15, 2010
Dan Raley Roosevelt Class of 1972
Dan is presently with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as a story editor and
anchor write. Dan left the Seattle PI after being part of that insitution for many years.
Good bye from Dan Raley
This is goodbye. Heartfelt. Tearful. Somewhat involuntary.
After 30 years, and that's the longest relationship I've had with anyone except for a few chosen relatives, even trumping my marriage by a year, I'm headed out the door of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which will no longer exist as a newspaper as of tomorrow.
Permit me to reminisce a little before I toss away those interview notes I collected yesterday and today, and won't need anymore for Washington's run in the NCAA Tournament, and pull the plug and slink away.
It was a great run. I went from this part-time, temporary P-I employee with no guarantees, from this kid hired after leaving Alaska's Fairbanks Daily News-Miner to replace a woman sportswriter who was headed to a pregnancy leave, to a permanent P-I employee within a month and someone who has covered just about everything since.
I remember walking in the door at the old Sixth and Wall P-I building for my first sports department shift. I wore a suit. A kid named Scott Anderson in a Mad Magazine T-shirt and an older guy named Phil Taylor in a stained golf sweater were there to welcome me. I learned how to dress down after that.
I had my mouth fall open when people such as Muhammad Ali and Bubba Smith and countless other athletes walked into the sports department, with Ali playing tricks and mesmerizing everyone on his visit. The late Pete Axthelm, of TV and Newsweek fame, was seated at my desk one day when I arrived, in town on assignment, given a workspace out of respect. I grabbed another desk.
I had my P-I career ups and downs. I took chances, none more than leaving the sports department, or toy department as we like to call it, to become the P-I police reporter for three years (1993-1996), a much more serious-minded venture, simply to make myself a better journalist. I'm proud of that more than anything. The cops were cool, too. Just treat them fair. They'll tell you about the bad ones.
I know I've made some of you mad, others incredulous, at what came out of my laptop. Mostly, I tried to give you an honest take on things, mixing current affairs with a look at Seattle's sporting past. As a Seattle native, I made it my mission to keep the memories of our old sporting heroes alive and well. My Where Are They Now series topped out at more than 300 stories.
I was able to cover 20 major golf tournaments, which included six Masters. I got to play the place. I shot 109 with a birdie. I was happy with that. I covered or was part of coverage that took in 10 bowl games, a dozen Final Fours, two NBA championship finals, four American League playoffs and one Super Bowl. I'm estimating I wrote more than 6,000 stories at the P-I.
I'm no star-gazer, never have been, but there aren't too many jobs that permit you the chance to sit and have one-on-one conversations with the likes of Jessie Owens, Jack Nicklaus, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Elgin Baylor and Muhammad Ali. That probably won't happen in my next job.
My favorite stories that I wrote for the P-I were the following: 1) Spider Gaines, the UW Rose Bowl hero turned pimp: 2) Hugh McElhenny's late-life revelations about his well-funded UW football career; 3) Solving the murder of civil rights leader Edwin Pratt; 4) defining Ken Griffey Jr.'s swing, with the help of a half-dozen hall of famers; and 5) the tale of Royal Brougham.
I worked directly with some real P-I giants in this changing business, among them – and this is my Oscar acceptance speech – Art Thiel, James Wallace, Carol Smith, Jim Moore, Clare Farnsworth, John Owen, Bill Knight, Ron Matthews, Pete Wevurski, Angelo Bruscas, Glenn Drosendahl, Bill Plaschke, Tracy Ringolsby, J Michael Kenyon, Scott Anderson, Lenny Anderson, Blaine Johnson, Don Fair, Gordy Holt, Tyler Kepner, Jim Street, Gary Washburn, Sheldon Spencer, Jim Redding, Steve Rudman, John Engstrom, Mike Barber, Keith Olson, Paul Rossi, Jack Smith, Dwight Perry, Bud Withers, Danny O'Neil, Steve Dominguez, Ron Tillary, Molly Yanity, Ted Miller, Carter Cromwell, Boyd Smith, Phil Taylor, Debbie Carlton, Holly Cain, John Hickey, Dave Andriesen, Jim Caple, David McCumber, Warren Wilson, Gerry Spratt and Nick Rousso. Sorry, but Tim Kelly, in my own little protest, does not make this list.
I now invite you to support Seattlepi.com. Friends of mine will be working for it. It should be a radical departure from what we know with newsprint, but it might become a blueprint for other papers that start falling around the nation, maybe in town, and there will be more. I probably wasn't supposed to reveal this, but for anyone mad that I won't be continuing on with the Web site, I had an opportunity to join it but I couldn't make it work for me. Maybe some day. …
I now have to find another job. I have a kid in college and one who wants to go. I want to stay in Seattle, but am willing to consider relocating for work, even going overseas. My neighbor works in Afghanistan. Maybe I will, too.
Should you want to offer me a job, or simply check in on my well-being, friend or stranger, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at home at 425-292-9168.
It's been my pleasure and a great honor to write stories at the P-I for so long. Thanks for reading my stuff and supporting my paper.