Very good information in this interview done by Art Thiel. Here’s the transcript. It goes without saying, it’s about fucking time Howard Lincoln got off his ass and did this thing. If you continue to hide behind press releases and flippant “rue the day” comments from the team president, your image is going to be tarnished to say the least. Why he didn’t come out with this type of an interview months ago, it’s beyond my comprehension.
I’ll say this, I can respect where the Mariners are coming from – to a point – but I still feel like they’re both fudging the numbers in their favor and also not giving us the whole story. That’s by design, to get what they want. And I still feel they’re put off by the competition of a new franchise or two. Yeah, the Mariners and Sonics have co-existed for decades before the Sonics left. But, two things are different now.
First and foremost, when the Sonics left in 2008, I feel like the Mariners saw that as their opportunity to kind of take charge of Seattle. This will always be a football town, but football only lasts for 17 weeks, with a month for preseason and another month for the post-season. 8 regular season home games, at more or less roughly the same price per ticket. The Seahawks are like a sports version of Lennie Small (from Of Mice and Men). They’re a big, dumb animal the public is completely consumed with. The Mariners, in this analogy, would be George Milton. The brains of the operation, though obviously not as crucial of a character in the grand scheme of things.
The only thing is: the Mariners have completely fucked things up for themselves by being absolutely terrible since the Sonics left town. And the fervor for NBA basketball in this town hasn’t waned in its absence.
The other obvious difference is the fact that when the Sonics were here before, they weren’t next-door neighbors. No matter how you stand on the subject, you can at least see where the Mariners are coming from on this front.
People look at the NBA and MLB schedules and they scoff at “overlapping dates”. But, when you throw in concerts and things in the NBA off-season (or even during the season when the team’s out of town), then there’s something there.
The only problem with the Mariners’ standpoint is this: most of these events would happen on a Friday or Saturday night. On a Saturday night, there’s no problem. The port is off – in fact, most workers are off – so there shouldn’t be a problem if there’s a Radiohead show and a Mariners game on the same Saturday night.
On Friday? Sure, there could be issues. Friday rush hours are a living hell, believe me, I know. ESPECIALLY in the downtown and SoDo areas.
There’s a fix to this, though, and one not many people are talking about.
Everyone always talks about how times are staggered. How the port gets off at 5 (or is it before 5?) and games don’t start until 7. One would think there’d be enough time to clear out all the downtown workers to the point where you can get people over to games without too much trouble. I don’t necessarily buy that and if you don’t believe me, pick a randon Friday at 6pm and try to go from, I dunno, Costco to the stadium. See how long it takes you. And, if people are concerned about traffic issues, don’t you think that most of them are going to try to leave EARLIER so they can make sure they’re at the game on time? I know I would; I hate missing the beginning of a sporting event!
Here’s what people aren’t talking about, though. The way the Mariners talk about traffic, it sounds like they’re convinced patterns won’t change. Just because people drive a certain way to go somewhere (either going to a game or going home from work on a game night) NOW, with things the way they are, it doesn’t mean they’re going to continue going the same way when there’s a new arena and two events happening on the same night. You don’t think people will recognize where a particular problem area is and avoid that problem area at all costs? If you’re familiar with downtown and SoDo, you’ll adjust.
And here’s the most important thing: if traffic is going to be so much shittier, won’t people just resign themselves to taking public transportation? If it’s a difference of waiting hours on end in your car, or taking a bus or the light rail, at some point the time wasted in your car becomes too burdensome. People from the south can easily park at the Tukwila station and take a comfortable light rail ride to the game. People from the north have their choices of parking garages and bus lines that’ll take them into the heart of downtown. People can park anywhere along the light rail, really, from Beacon Hill all the way back, and it won’t be that bad. Or, just park in Westlake and take the tunnel to the International District stop. There are LIMITLESS ways to get to the stadium district! It just takes a little planning and a little common sense.
Anyway, give the interview a read if you have some time. And scoff whenever Lincoln says, “If fans are upset with us now, imagine what it would be like if we were spending money on something besides payroll.” Oh really? Because I thought you were cutting payroll every fucking year since 2008 you disingenuous pile of horseshit! GAH!