Geoff Baker is stepping away from baseball coverage and walking into a new role after seven years covering the Mariners.

He’s thrilled, and so am I.

Baker’s new role will be as The Seattle Times’ sports enterprise and investigative reporter. He will draw on 22 years of journalism experience and dig into larger stories on the business of sports. That includes ownership and radio-TV contracts, as well as watchdog and investigative stories. He will also become our lead reporter covering efforts to bring the NBA and NHL to Seattle and to build an arena. That story was one of the most important of the year. Baker will cultivate sources in the NBA and NHL to help readers understand the many issues involved.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to get back to doing more of what I got into this business to do,” he said. “And to be able to do it fulltime, in a sports context, is something I’ve never done and that not too many people get a chance at.”

Baker’s investigative chops – he has a strong background as an investigative reporter in news and business – and his doggednesss going after important stories will serve him, and readers, well in the new role. And the fact that he grew up in Quebec and has a deep understanding and appreciation of hockey doesn’t hurt, either.

Baker’s new role starts Nov. 3. He’ll finish the season covering the Mariners while we look for his replacement, and then take some well-deserved time off.

Baker arrived in Seattle this week in 2006, and helped launch our newspaper into the digital age by starting the Mariners Blog. He made it essential reading for any serious Mariners or Seattle Major League Baseball fan.

In addition to those larger stories, Baker will maintain a regular presence in our print and digital products with a weekly sports business column and blog.

Don Shelton: 206-464-8284 or dshelton@seattletimes.com