My Favorite Current Seattle Sports Stars

Nothing scientific about this post, my friends.  Today isn’t Thanksgiving or Memorial Day, but it’s still an important national holiday where we’re encouraged to reflect on what we’re thankful for and to celebrate all that we have.  There’s a lot of shitty things about the Seattle sports scene, but there are also flashes of brillance that should be acknowledged from time to time.  This isn’t a post celebrating my All Time favorites (it would generally be a lot longer and tedious, so expect that one to come up in the near future when I’ve got a free Saturday morning to write non-stop for four hours), but my favorites who I get to watch today.  This also isn’t a list of the BEST Seattle sports stars (though, they’re all pretty damn good, otherwise I probably wouldn’t like them so much), but a subjective ranking of my favorites.  Treat it like those annoying year-end lists where people rank the best in a specific catagory:  rife with controversy and outrage.  Without further ado, my favorites, in order from my favoritest on down.

  1. Felix Hernandez – This is by far the easiest choice I had to make.  On a list that’s going to be massively influenced by Seahawks, Felix is a shining beacon of awesomeness without rival.  If there was a massive flood and I had the opportunity to save just one professional athlete on my giant ark, I’d toss Felix a line and watch the rest drown in agony.  Then, I imagine I’d grab a couple gloves and a ball and play catch with just the greatest guy in the world *swoon*.
  2. Richard Sherman – This was a tougher pick for sure.  The next two guys on this list could stake a claim right along with Sherman as the Best Seattle Seahawk, but I’m giving my nod to #25.  I love a guy who is brash enough to talk gargantuan amounts of shit, then back it up by being the best player at his position.  In my book, short of pulling an Aaron Hernandez, I don’t think there’s anything Richard Sherman could do that would make me lose favor with him.  A lot of fans just want players to shut up and let their play on the field do their talking.  Fuck that.  I want nothing but bad-asses with personalities that drive fans of other teams (and players on those teams) crazy.  Besides, Pats fans, you know if he was on your team, you’d be hanging all over his jock, so calm down.
  3. Marshawn Lynch – He cemented his place in my heart in the 2010 playoffs with The Run.  Fuck it, he had a play so fucking amazing that it’s known as THE RUN.  Do you know how sick that is?  The Seahawks have been pretty mediocre throughout their franchise history – the epitome of a .500 or near-.500 ballclub – but throughout they’ve been blessed with quality running backs.  Curt Warner, John L. Williams, Shaun Alexander, as well as less-heralded players like Chris Warren and Ricky Watters.  I’ve thought very highly of all of these guys at one point or another.  But, I don’t think my level of affection has ever reached a point that it has with Beastmode.  There are plenty of imitators across all sports who have tried to co opt the Beastmode moniker, but every last one of them are phonies who need to start telling the truth with their nicknames.  “Less Than Beastmode” is a fitting start.
  4. Russell Wilson – You’re In Good Hands With Russell Wilson.  Even as a rookie last year, whenever I watched the Seahawks and they were down, I never got rattled when I saw Russell Wilson leading our team.  Granted, he didn’t complete every comeback, and even when he did, we didn’t always win those games thanks to a few defensive lapses, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt as comfortable coming from behind as I have with Wilson.  He WILL lead us to a championship one day, I have no doubt about that.  He’ll also be in the Hall of Fame one day as well.  Mark it now.
  5. Austin Seferian-Jenkins – This is going to be the only college player on my list as it currently stands, but I think I’ve made the right choice.  No DUI conviction is going to stand in the way of my love for this kid.  He’s a man among boys on the football field, including both his team and whatever team he’s playing against.  There are a lot of Huskies that I like, but none come close to ASJ’s level.  This year could be a monster and I’m hoping that he starts breaking records left and right.  I’ve seen too many amazing catches in traffic by this guy, so I know that in spite of whatever off-field issues he’s had, he’s always going to bring it on gameday.
  6. Kyle Seager – He’s the only Z-acquired prospect to pan out thus far, and he’s the only non-injured Mariners hitter I’m willing to put on my list of favorites.  I mean, I have to defend my choices!  Kyle Seager is the only hitter on this team that I can honestly defend.  He’s not flashy, but he’s solid.  And, with moments like last night’s game winning homer in extra innings down in Texas (and that grand slam in the 14th inning last month to tie the game we would eventually go on to lose), Seager has also shown a flare for the dramatic and ultra-clutch.  With the new crop of prospects just getting their feet wet, it’s nice to know there’s at least one long-term guy on this team I can count on to show up day-in and day-out.
  7. Golden Tate – Again, we’re not talking about the very BEST players (though, I would argue that Golden Tate is pretty fucking good), but we’re talking about MY favorites.  Golden Tate is one of my favorites, hands down.  Hard-nosed doesn’t even begin to describe his style of play.  He’s a magnet for the football and will do anything it takes to get that extra yard and get in that endzone.  Of course, helping to enrage a nation of Packers fans on Monday night doesn’t hurt.  I’ve had pretty high expectations for this guy since we drafted him, which may not be totally fair.  Either way, it took him a while, but he has finally started to reach his potential and I think he will only get better as he goes on.  Now, the question is:  will he still be on the team after the 2013 season?  If I had it my way, and the Seahawks were forced to make a hard choice between which receivers to keep going forward, I’d see them extend Tate and waive Sidney Rice.  That isn’t to say I’m down on Rice, but he makes too much money and he’s older.  Tate may not look like the prototypical #1 receiver, but I think he has the potential to put up those kinds of numbers.
  8. Brandon Browner – There’s not a lot that gets me more jacked up than to see Browner beating some wide receiver’s shit in.  Browner can enrage at times.  He’s prone to getting penalized and sometimes it looks like he’s more focused on punishing an opposing player rather than making sound football decisions, but with Browner the good far outweighs the bad.  Like Tate, I wonder if he will be on the team beyond 2013.  Like Tate, I think the team needs to make a sound football decision.  If they can bring Browner back at a somewhat reasonable rate, I think he’s worth the money.  But, if he’s going to command a max deal, then I think you have to do the smart thing and let someone else over-pay.  I don’t say that lightly.  If money were no object, I’d love to see Browner and Sherman playing opposite one another for the next five years.  But, we’re dealing with a salary cap, and I’m a Seahawks fan first.
  9. Franklin Gutierrez – I’ve talked a lot about the heartbreaking saga of Guti in a Mariners uniform, but that’s because I genuinely like the guy a lot and wish him nothing but the best.  His grace and speed in the outfield is unmatched when he’s healthy.  His bat is a game-changer at the top of the lineup … when he’s healthy.  Mariners fans love nothing more than a quality center fielder.  From Griffey to Cammy to Guti, if you’re flying around out there, putting your body on the line to make another SportsCenter highlight catch, we’re going to make signs in your honor and cheer like crazy.  2013 is, unfortunately, the end of the road for Guti in a Mariners uniform, which is depressing to no end.  I just hope he’s able to get a proper chance next year to get his career going again.  It would be a shame for the game of baseball to not have this guy roaming an outfield somewhere.
  10. Red Bryant – I’ve talked about this before, but I LOVE it when Red gets super fired up and starts barking at opposing players.  I’ve always had a soft spot for the big dudes along the defensive line, and Red Bryant is someone who completely changes the complexion of this defense.  When he’s healthy, he’s a disruptive force that helps us make other teams one-dimensional.  Unfortunately, he’s either been on the IR or has been playing through nagging injuries far more than he’s been completely healthy.  Still, you can tell that this is a guy who is giving his all and a guy who cares about being the best.  You often worry about players when they sign a big contract extension.  With Red Bryant, there’s no reason to worry.  If he’s got even an ounce of energy, he’s going to expend it doing what he does best:  kicking ass.

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