It’s Looking Like Key Arena Or Bust

It’s been pretty quiet on the Seattle arena front ever since the City Council denied the street vacation.  Since then, Chris Hansen has taken another stab at trying to get things to go his way by making his arena deal fully privately financed.  Again, seems like a deal he could’ve brought to the table initially to get this thing going – just like he could’ve offered above-and-beyond what the Kings were worth, when they were on the open market, to force everyone’s hand in backing down – but I guess I sort of understand.  You hold some concessions back in the event your opponent asks for a little more, so they can feel like they got one over on you.  But, again, feels like it’s too little, too late for Hansen.

The city has opted to go another direction; they want a renovated Key Arena.  It’s a city asset, and they want to maximize its potential financially, so you can see where they’re coming from.  Is it good for the local sports fans?  Absolutely not.  Is it good for the neighborhood – already maxed to a breaking point with residents and traffic congestion?  Absolutely not.  Is it even good for the city?  That remains to be seen.  But, the city went and solicited plans to renovate the Key, and they’ve sided with the Oak View Group.

OVG is saying all the right things, of course.  They’re going to build a world-class arena.  It’ll be top notch as far as acoustics are concerned, which is a good thing, because the Key is severely lacking at the moment.  They’re also going to make it work with the current roof – being protected as a historical landmark or some damn thing – by digging down into the Earth to retrofit it for the NBA and NHL.  And, good news!  They’ve already got a potential ownership group ready and willing to bring the NHL to Seattle.

This is absolutely critical to the whole thing; of course, I’ll believe it when I see it.  OVG is supposedly building this thing to be a concert venue first and foremost; that’s how they can justify starting with construction without an anchor tennant attached.  This thing will apparently be financially viable even if there’s no NBA or NHL team.  That scares me a little bit.  Because where is their motivation?  Is OVG going to be part-owners of any team we bring in?  I’m not totally sure I know all the ins and outs of this thing, because I know the city gets a slice, and the prospective team ownership group gets a slice, and now OVG gets a slice; how many ways can you slice this thing to where it’s profitable for all parties involved?

The only thing that matters to me is getting the ol’ foot in the door.  Let’s get a winter sport attached to this thing and go from there.

If I had my choice, if it were all up to my decision, obviously I’d do away with this Key Arena nonsense, approve the SoDo plan (and its fucking street vacation), and work things out so if the NHL has to be first, then so be it.  With SoDo, there’s no wait; with the Key, I believe they won’t be able to start construction until 2019 or 2020.  With SoDo, we’ll be able to build the type of palace that the leagues can be proud of; with the Key, it’s still going to be one of the smallest buildings in either league, and it’ll likely be out-dated as soon as it opens.  What happens when we have to renovate the Key yet again in another decade, to put in more suites or seats or a bigger jumbotron or whathaveyou?  On top of that, the SoDo area can handle the traffic; the new Key will absolutely cripple South Lake Union on gamedays.  In SoDo, you’ll be able to take a bevy of public transportation options; in SoDo, you can actually park if you want to drive.  At the Key, you can really do neither.  There are bus lines, but no light rail.  The Monorail is a stupid joke that the Seattle Times is trying to pass off as viable (even though, DUH, there’s nowhere to park in downtown Seattle either).  Also, don’t be surprised if the average fan is priced out of the Key; how else are they going to recoup costs and what will almost certainly be construction cost overruns?

It’s frustrating because the city of Seattle is, once again, making the wrong choice.  The Seattle Way is also The Way Of The Moron.  Seattle loves to look a gift horse in the mouth while it’s getting buttfucked by an STD-riddled Trojan Horse.  I can’t wait for this to blow up in everyone’s faces so all of us fans of the SoDo Arena can tell these cunts, “I Told You So!”  Except, of course, by that time, the SoDo land will have been sold for office buildings and condos, and we STILL won’t have the fucking Sonics back in Seattle.

It’s really starting to dawn on me that I’m never going to have the Sonics back in my lifetime.  Even if I have a good 30 years left in me, which is probably being pretty generous, where is the path to getting the NBA back?  Getting the NHL will be cool, and I’m sure I’ll embrace it wholeheartedly once it comes, but does that mean an NBA team isn’t far behind?  I wonder.

I keep hearing about how the NBA wouldn’t want to be a second-class citizen in a town that got the NHL first.  I don’t think that’s necessarily true, because I think this is a Sonics town through and through, but you could understand why they’d think that.

The fucked up thing is that Seattle is growing like crazy.  It’s got all these tech dollars here just burning holes in pockets!  These leagues should be busting down the doors to come to Seattle!  And, quite frankly, with how this city is pricing out the common man, thanks to the growth of Amazon, among others, we DESERVE to have these sports in this city.  We should get SOMETHING for how our city is being overwhelmed by the elites.

But, in the end, we’ll probably just get screwed over like we always do.  If you ask me, THAT’S the real Seattle Way.

How Will The Seattle City Council Screw This Up: Chris Hansen Agrees To Fully Fund New Arena

In news that’s music to the ears of all Supersonics fans, Seattle-area hockey fans, and presumably everyone who believes it’s the owners and not the taxpayers who should be paying for sparkling new arenas and stadia in the first place, word has come down today that the group – led by Chris Hansen – looking to build an arena in SoDo, in hopes of winning an expansion NBA franchise and/or an expansion NHL franchise, has agreed to tear up the MOU, eliminate the public financing of a potential new arena, and complete the funding of the Lander overpass.  All they’re asking for in return is the street vacation of Occidental Avenue, which was shot down earlier this year by … the Seattle City Council.

Obviously, this is terrific news, but you’ll forgive me if I don’t run around the city turning over cars in excitement.  With each positive development, getting the Sonics back feels more and more like a reality; with each negative development, it feels more and more hopeless.  I’ve been fucked over too many times by this God damned worthless city to even have this thing register on my personal Richter scale of emotions.  Will the city council even grant them this banal request?  Or, will they continue to proceed with their heads up their asses because they just don’t like sports and their constituency doesn’t see the value therein?

I’m a Sonics fan, and a sports fan, and I can tell you all about the value of sports, but that won’t do any good.  I’m also a citizen, and I firmly believe that owners SHOULD pay for their own arenas and whatnot.  Nevertheless, the sports fan in me – the Sonics fan in me – has gone along with the necessary evil that is our sports world today.  I mean, has there EVER been an owner in any major sport who has personally funded his own arena or stadium?  I feel like that would be pretty big news, right?

Which leads me to wonder:  if this works, and we DO get the Sonics back, what will the ramifications be going forward?  Other cities will be able to point to Seattle and tell their owners, “Look at what THEY were able to do!”  Other city councils will be able to look at how Chris Hansen was strong-armed and might fortify themselves even further against money-grubbing owners.

At the same time, of course, there are always going to be cities out there willing to pay.  If San Diego doesn’t want to fund a new stadium, then guess what:  there will be cities lining up willing to do the Chargers’ and the NFL’s bidding.

This also leads me to wonder:  what will the NBA think about this?  Is the pull of all the cash in Seattle right now able to out-weigh the precedent this sets?

But, more than anything, this leads me to wonder:  how long until the Sonics are able to sign Kevin Durant to a big money deal so he can finish his professional basketball career where he started?

Can we just stick me in a cryogenic chamber and wake me up in the future when all of this is settled and I can attend a Sonics game again?

The Seattle City Council Sux Cox N’ Dix

This isn’t even a thing I want to write about, to be perfectly honest.  It’s just a big ol’ shitshow in a long series of shitshows, perpetuated by pieces of shit who don’t know what the fuck they’re doing.

If there’s a way to clean up that sentence, I don’t want to hear it.

From what I understand, there are two issues going on.  First, there was the vote on whether or not to vacate Occidental Avenue, which is a nothing street in SoDo, adjacent to where a proposed new basketball and/or hockey arena may one day be built.  This street serves little-to-no purpose, has almost zero traffic on any given day (at least, when there’s not some sporting event going on with the Mariners, Sounders, or Seahawks), and has been vacated before when a certain segment of the city (*cough* THE MARINERS *cough*) needed it to be vacated.

The only people opposing this street vacation were the Port and the Mariners, because they’ve been against a new basketball and/or hockey arena in SoDo from the very beginning, and are willing to fight tooth & nail on every single issue, no matter how pointless and fucking stupid.

So, it came down to a vote by the Seattle City Council.  4 people voted in favor of vacating the street, 5 people voted against it.

In the grand scheme of things, considering the MOU and the whole agreement that’s been built between the city, the county, and the people trying to bring the Sonics back to Seattle, this street vacation was a no-brainer:  you ONLY vacate the street if the arena is going to be built, and you ONLY build the arena when you have a firm agreement to get an NBA team to come to Seattle (either via expansion or via another team moving here).  There may have been talk, down the line, of amending the MOU to bring in a hockey team first, but that’s not really important anymore (and not relevant to this discussion).

Now, I’m not the foremost authority on this whole saga, but I happen to follow people on Twitter who know quite a bit more than myself.  And, from how they reported it, I understand that the people who voted against the street vacation had little-to-no knowledge of what exactly they were talking about.  They were making completely false statements because they didn’t understand the MOU, and were unaware that this whole thing was contingent on getting a team FIRST, then building the arena based on that.  Or, they kept harping on the impossible dream of remodeling KeyArena, which is a terrible idea in its own right, and infeasible besides that, because the NBA and the Hansen group have repeatedly said KeyArena is a non-starter (dress it up however you want, but an NBA team will NEVER play there).

The whole vote, in a nutshell, was to be a city that was “shovel-ready” for when that opportunity came up.  If the NBA didn’t want to expand, or if no other teams wanted to sell or move here, then so be it.  But, to vote against the street vacation without knowing all the facts, or to vote against it because the NBA probably won’t cooperate anyway, isn’t a good-enough reason.

Truly, there IS no good reason to vote against the street vacation, unless you’re in the pocket of the Port and/or the Mariners, and THAT’S what I suspect is going on here.

Nevertheless, the vote is done, the deal is probably dead, and we should all stop getting our hopes up about an arena in SoDo in the next 20-50 years.

That brings us to the second issue:  the 4 people who voted for the street vacation were men; the 5 people who voted against it were women.

Naturally, among sports fans, and among people generally in favor of a peach of a deal for the city of Seattle, where it would be impossible for the city to not – at some point – recoup its investment, the results of the vote didn’t sit well.  And, among those people with hot tempers, and a means to reach out to the Seattle City Council – either via Twitter, e-mail, telephone, Facebook, or whatever – there was a vocal segment who colored their criticisms with foul language, threats, misogynistic rhetoric, and the like.  In short, it was pretty ugly.

I’m not going to absolve myself in this; I certainly made some statements on Twitter and @-ed the Seattle City Council accordingly.  Even one I would subsequently go back and delete, once I realized this issue was right on the Hot Button, and wouldn’t go away unpunished.  I consider myself pretty fortunate I don’t have much of a following on Twitter, because no one’s really going to pay me much nevermind, but I’ll go ahead and say that I wouldn’t delete something if I didn’t regret it afterwards.  I won’t apologize, because I still think they’re fucking wrong and ignorant, so we’ll just leave it at that.

The fucked up part in all of this is that yes, it’s a free country, and yes, we have freedom of speech and all that.  Doesn’t mean there’s freedom of consequences, but I would never ask for that.  My problem with this is, the Seattle City Council deserves to be criticized.  It deserves to be dragged through the mud.  We deserve the right to vent to our elected officials, who lie, cheat, and scam their way into office, and then fail the people time and time again.  They deserve to have their noses rubbed in this, and I’m not just talking about the people who voted against the street vacation.  I’m not just talking about the women.  I’m talking about all nine of them.  Because you know where we have the biggest failing?  In the four “Yes” votes, who apparently didn’t work hard enough or do a good-enough job educating the rest of the Council on the issues at hand.  The people on our side let Sally Bagshaw (who knows good and God damn well the gist of this deal, and is simply a backstabbing so-and-so) railroad the other four women (who apparently knew jack squat about this deal, and weren’t too keen in doing the research) into voting her way.  Because The Port, or whatever.  Yeah, the fucking Port is going to be SO damaged by a basketball arena.  Give me a fucking break; my hand hurts from how often I’ve had to do the jack-off motion whenever I hear someone from the Port speak on this issue.

Instead of holding the Council’s feet to the fire, and rubbing their noses in it, as usual, people on the Internet went too far (and again, I put myself shamefully in this boat).  I get it.  I get upset, I want to lash out, and I’m not always satisfied with the usual barbs lobbed over the wall.  I like to use lots of cuss words because I’m not very smart, and I just don’t give a fuck.  Cuss words are fun, and it feels good to call someone a cunt.

But, by doing so, we made this a Man vs. Woman issue.  And, as such, we lost ALL the cards we were holding.  Not that they’d do us much good, the Council voted how they voted, and no amount of angst among sports fans out there would change things.  Nevertheless, now you can’t even CRITICIZE the fucking Seattle City Council without being thought of as a He Man Woman Hater.  When truly, we’re talking about a group of bumbling buffoons who don’t know how to get anything done in this city.

I mean, shit, if you’re so worried about a back-alley road in SoDo, if “traffic” is so important to you, then why don’t you do A FUCKING THING to alleviate our plethora of traffic fucking issues in this city???

Instead of having the high road, and lamenting a bunch of insufferable pricks on our City Council, now they’ve got all the sympathy, and our cause to bring the Sonics back to Seattle is in even more dogshit.

Which is why:  you know what?  Fuck it.  Fuck Seattle.  Fuck the Seattle City Council right in their nine little assholes.  Fuck all the work they’ve torn asunder in one vote on one meaningless street vacation.

Bring the Sonics back to Bellevue.  I don’t give a shit anymore.  I’m fed up with this whole do-nothing town.  Let them have their shitty roads and their impossible traffic congestion; let them wallow in their utter lack of foresight when it comes to city planning, for a city that’s one of the fastest-growing in the nation.  Let Seattle have its clusterfuck.  Put the arena in Bellevue, where there are politicians we can work with.  I’d rather have to deal with I-405 and I-90 gridlock (and believe me, that’s saying a lot, because I hate 405 more than life itself) just to get to watch the Sonics in person, than not have the Sonics at all.

It’s time to move on.  The city of Seattle, and their worthless City Council, is nothing but a hindrance; leave the city to the fucking suckers who will inevitably run it into the ground.  Bellevue is where it’s at, as painful as that sounds.

The Best Year In Seattle Sports History

We already know the worst year:  2008 in a landslide.  But, what year was the best?

Lots of variables.  Lots of ins and outs and whathaveyous.  For some, maybe the best Seattle sports year was 2013, when the Seahawks won the Super Bowl (for the purposes of this exercise, when I talk about years, I’m talking about years where the bulk of the regular season takes place; when it comes to basketball – like the 95/96 Supersonics that went to the NBA Finals – I will be referring to the year in which they participated in their post-season, so they will be the 1996 Supersonics going forward).  Maybe your definition of “the best” involves the most teams going to the post-season in the same year.  I’ve gone on record as to my favorite sports year, but here I’d like to be a little more objective (or, at least as objective as one can be in this type of thing).

In the grand scheme of things, for instance, 1996 (my aforementioned “favorite sports year”) isn’t all that great.  Yeah, the Sonics cracked the Finals – and they were my favorite sports team at the time – but the Mariners failed to make the playoffs, the Seahawks were 7-9, the Husky basketball team lost in the first round of the NIT, and the Husky football team lost in the Holiday Bowl after finishing second in the Pac-10.

In the two years a team actually won its championship – the Seahawks in 2013 and the Sonics in 1979 – they were the only teams that year to play in a meaningful post-season game.  The 2013 Mariners were awful, the Husky basketball team wasn’t much better, and the football team won the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.  The 1979 Seahawks were 9-7, but missed the playoffs, the Mariners lost 95 games, the Husky basketball team was 8th in the Pac-10, and the football team got stuck playing in the Sun Bowl after finishing 2nd in the Pac-10.  Not super awesome.  If you want to tack on the 1991 Husky football team (co-national champs), then you get a .500 Sonics team losing in the first round, a near-.500 Seahawks team just about to bottom out a year later, a Mariners team that managed its first-ever winning season (but no playoff appearance), and a Husky basketball team that finished dead last in the Pac-10.

If it seems like it’s impossible for everything to gel for Seattle sports teams in the same year, you wouldn’t be too far off.  From 1975 through 2014 (spanning 40 years!), Seattle has had a meaningful post-season participant in every year but one (2008, naturally).  For the purposes of this post, “meaningful” means the NCAA Tournament for the Husky basketball team (no NIT or CBI appearances here) and it means a BCS Bowl for the Husky football team (Rose and Orange; they’ve never played in the Fiesta or Sugar).  But, Seattle has only had two or more playoff teams in the same year in 17 out of 40 times; three or more playoff teams in 3 of 40 years.

From a sheer volume perspective, the best year for Seattle sports may very well have been 1984, when Seattle sent 4 of 5 of its teams to the post-season.  The Husky basketball team was co-conference champions and made it to the Sweet 16.  The Sonics were 5th in the conference and lost in the first round of the playoffs.  The Seahawks finished the regular season 12-4 (coming off of an AFC Championship Game appearance in 1983) and lost in the divisional round to the Dolphins.  And, the Husky football team finished the season with 1 loss, ultimately handling Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, and finishing #2 in the country (behind BYU, who went undefeated thanks to their cupcake schedule; the Dawgs were robbed of yet another national championship).  If you want to throw in the Mariners, with a near-.500 record and a Rookie of the Year Award for Alvin Davis, I won’t fault you for it.

That’s a pretty damn good year for Seattle sports.  For my money, I don’t think you’re going to top it.  The year kicks off with one of the best Husky basketball teams of all time, followed by one of the MANY playoff Sonics teams doing what they do.  You’ve got a summer of somewhat adequate baseball out of the Mariners (especially considering they were a laughingstock from their inception through the entirety of the 1980s).  And, you wrap it up with some of the best football we’ve ever seen in these parts thanks to the Huskies and Seahawks.

As for honorable mentions, I’ll name a few.  In the year 2000, Seattle sent three teams to the post-season.  The Sonics finished 8 games over .500, but were a 7th seed and lost in the first round in five games.  The Mariners won 91 games and the Wild Card, then swept the White Sox before losing to the Yankees in six games in the ALCS.  The Seahawks and Husky basketball teams were total trainwrecks, but the Husky football team more than made up for it by being Pac-10 co-champs, winning the Rose Bowl, and finishing the season #3 in the nation (11-1 overall).  It’s hard to remember this now, as it’s been so long, but there’s nothing quite like a top 5 college football season.

Another big honorable mention is 2005.  Of course, the Mariners and Husky football teams were complete disasters.  But, the Husky basketball team finished 2nd in the Pac-10 and made it to the Sweet 16.  The Sonics won the Northwest Division and as a 3-seed lost to the Spurs in 6 games in the second round of the playoffs (this would be the final time the Sonics ever made the playoffs, for what it’s worth).  And, of course, the Seahawks went 13-3, and as the top seed in the NFC went all the way to the Super Bowl before being jobbed by the refs and their own poor play in losing to the Steelers.

So, you know, take that for what it’s worth.  I say 1984 is the best Seattle sports year (and lest you think I’m some old fogey sticking up for a bygone generation, rest assured I was born in 1981 and have absolutely no recollection whatsoever of anything that would have happened that year).  But, I won’t fault you for saying 2013, 1979, 1991, 2000, 2005, 1996, or shit, even 2014.  Just, for the love of God, stay away from 2008, or else we’re going to have beef.

Is Dustin Ackley The Most Disappointing Draft Pick In Seattle Sports History?

Right off the bat, don’t talk to me about the Sounders, the Storm, or any other lesser sport I don’t care as much about.  This is a Seahawks/Sonics/Mariners discussion, so LAY OFF!

Also, we’re talking straight draft picks.  Believe me, I’m well aware of all the bad trades and free agent signings, as well as the draft picks we’ve traded away, but this is a look at the most disappointing players we’ve seen drafted in this city for those three professional franchises.  With that out of the way, let’s begin.

Dustin Ackley was taken with the #2 overall pick in the 2009 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.  In 2008, the Seattle Mariners finished 61-101 for the right to pick #2 overall.  You may recall that, going into the final three games of the 2008 season, the Mariners were 58-101 and in line for the #1 overall pick.  The Washington Nationals, with three games to go, were 59-99.  So, what happened?  The Mariners swept the A’s and the Nationals got swept by the Phillies.  As such, the Nationals were graced with the #1 overall pick and the right to draft the hottest pitching prospect since Roger Clemens:  Stephen Strasburg.

You can say what you want about the injury-plagued start to Strasburg’s career, but you can’t deny he has elite stuff and you can’t deny he’s had three very good seasons from 2012-2014.  We don’t know where his career will take him – and obviously, with Mike Trout being selected by the Angels with the 25th overall pick, it’s not like he’s the best player in that draft – but one thing we do know is that he’s a HELLUVA lot better than Dustin Ackley will ever be.

We got screwed.  Dustin Ackley was supposed to be the clear best hitter and most Major League-ready player in that draft.  We were going to get an athletic guy who could play the outfield or various infield spots, and a mainstay in our lineup.  Your prototypical 2-hole hitter.  He was supposed to have a good eye, get on base at a fantastic clip, and even hit for a bit of power (mostly doubles, but the occasional homer), with just enough speed on the basepaths to keep everyone honest.

What we GOT was a guy with a poor eye at the plate, poor pitch selection, a noodle-arm, who rolls over on balls to the second or first baseman 80% of the time.  At a time (coming off of our attrocious 2008 season, continuing through our 2010 season where we were one of the worst offenses of all time), Ackley was supposed to breeze through the minors and give our lineup a boost.  Instead, he’s been spoken in the same breath as Justin Smoak and Jesus Montero WAY too often for comfort.

He sucks us in because he’s a #2-overall pick, and because he sometimes has these wonderful second halves to seasons that trick us into thinking he’s finally gotten everything figured out.  Then, he turns right back around the following spring and hits:

  • .200/.222/.341/.563, with 3 doubles, 3 homers, 7 RBI, and about 50,000 runners left on base in 30 games

This is his fifth year in the Major Leagues.  Here are his career numbers:  .243/.305/.365.  You have to wonder, if he doesn’t turn it around and I mean SOON, if this is his last chance with the Mariners.  I can’t imagine we go into 2016 with him as a starter, but I have to wonder if we go into 2016 with him even on the roster at all!

Does this make him the most disappointing draft pick in franchise history?  Well, let’s take a little look back.  Too soon to talk about Alex Jackson (2014) or D.J. Peterson (2013).  Mike Zunino was the 3rd overall pick in 2012; he’s been less than ideal at the plate.  But, he’s still probably too young (and at least hits for SOME power) to make a judgment.  Danny Hultzen was the 2nd overall pick in 2011 and has been severely injured for much of his career of late, so he has to be in the running, right?  Except, the thing is, he’s a pitcher, and the Mariners have been fairly flush with pitching in recent years since he was selected.  Hard to call him as much of a disappointment when we haven’t really needed to rely on him for anything.

Maybe we should take a look at what it means to be disappointing in a sports setting.  For starters, I feel like you have to be a first round pick.  These are the guys who – in theory – should be the closest to helping your team right away.  In baseball, you expect these guys to be on the fast track, to hit the Major Leagues in 2-4 years, depending on their development.  In football and basketball, depending on how deep your roster is, you expect these guys to contribute immediately, and in some instances even start for you immediately.  So, when they fail to live up to those reasonable expectations, they’re disappointments.  Obviously, the higher you draft them, the bigger the disappointments.

Going back, here are the rest of the Mariners’ top-10 draft picks through the years:

  • 2006 – Brandon Morrow (5)
  • 2005 – Jeff Clement (3)
  • 1995 – Jose Cruz Jr (3)
  • 1993 – Alex Rodriguez (1)
  • 1990 – Marc Newfield (6)
  • 1989 – Roger Salkeld (3)
  • 1987 – Ken Griffey Jr (1)
  • 1986 – Patrick Lennon (8)
  • 1985 – Mike Campbell (7)
  • 1984 – Bill Swift (2)
  • 1983 – Darrel Akerfelds (7)
  • 1981 – Mike Moore (1)
  • 1980 – Darnell Coles (6)
  • 1979 – Al Chambers (1)
  • 1978 – Tito Nanni (6)

Sure, Brandon Morrow was disappointing, but for a variety of reasons.  First and foremost, we should’ve taken UW’s Tim Lincecum instead.  Second, we kept dicking around with Morrow by starting off his career in the bullpen.  Third, we probably gave up on him and traded him away too soon (for Brandon League, who was an all-around disaster).  Ackley still has Morrow beat in the disappointment department.

Clement was disappointing, but I think we were all more disappointed in our front office moreso than the player.  That 2005 draft was FUCKING STACKED; 6 of the first 7 players selected have been All Stars (with Clement being the only dud), and 8 of the first 12 have played in an All Star Game.  Bill Bavasi at his finest!

Jose Cruz Jr was solid when he was a Mariner, then we traded him away for two shitty relievers, then he got really bad, and then he was gone.  Again, more disappointed in our front office for giving up on a quality prospect too soon.

A-Rod was disappointing because he was a greedy scumbag & soon-to-be cheater.  But, his level of play on the field was unmatched, so there’s no way I’m calling him a bigger disappointment than Ackley (also, yes, I would have taken the money and played for the Rangers, so eat me, he’s still a greedy fuck).

Anyone before A-Rod is out of my wheelhouse (aside from Griffey, of course, who was the single greatest draft pick in franchise history).  You can post your reasons in the comments as to why you think some of those old timers might be more disappointing than Dustin Ackley, but for now, I’m saying this with full confidence:  Dustin Ackley is the most disappointing draft pick in Mariners history.

***

Let’s jump right into the Seattle Seahawks.  Who is their most disappointing first round draft pick?  Again, I’ll run through all the top 10 picks (even though I think we all have a pretty good idea who this is going to end up being):

  • 2010 – Russell Okung (6)
  • 2009 – Aaron Curry (4)
  • 2001 – Koren Robinson (9)
  • 1997 – Shawn Springs (3)
  • 1997 – Walter Jones (6)
  • 1995 – Joey Galloway (8)
  • 1994 – Sam Adams (8)
  • 1993 – Rick Mirer (2)
  • 1992 – Ray Roberts (10)
  • 1990 – Cortez Kennedy (3)
  • 1983 – Curt Warner (3)
  • 1982 – Jeff Bryant (6)
  • 1981 – Kenny Easley (4)
  • 1980 – Jacob Green (10)
  • 1978 – Keith Simpson (9)
  • 1976 – Steve Niehaus (2)

Not gonna lie to you, I’m not up on my Steve Niehaus or Keith Simpson knowledge, but let’s just assume they’re not the most disappointing draft picks in Seahawks history.  Green, Easley, and Bryant were mainstays of a dominant defense in the 1980s, so count them out.  Curt Warner was only disappointing because we didn’t use that pick to try to trade up for John Elway (or trade back to take one of the other amazing quarterbacks in that class).  Curt Warner the player was dynamic when he was healthy.

Cortez and Walter Jones are probably tied for the very best draft picks in Seahawks history, as both are Hall of Famers.  Ray Roberts was a solid offensive lineman in his career (if not specifically his Seahawks career).  Sam Adams was a fringe Hall of Famer for the Ravens, but had a nice and long career elsewhere (including Seattle for a few productive seasons).  Joey Galloway and Shawn Springs were studs who had their best years away from the northwest (but, again, were no slouches in a Seahawks uniform).  Okung has been a steady starter at left tackle (and a fine Walter Jones replacement when healthy) since he was a rookie.

For me, the disappointments come down to Aaron Curry, Koren Robinson, and Rick Mirer.  But, before I talk about this trio of Top 10 turds, let’s take a look at some honorable mentions from a little lower in the first round.

Lawrence Jackson was taken 28th overall.  He was supposed to come in and breathe life into our tepid pass rush.  Instead, he joined our team in 2008 as the franchise bottomed out, let Mike Holmgren walk, and eventually ushered in the Era of Good Feelings that has been Pete Carroll and John Schneider.  Oh yeah, and Jackson stunk the whole while and it wasn’t long before Carroll traded him away for scraps.

In 2006, the Seahawks selected Kelly Jennings with the 31st overall pick.  Coming off of our first-ever Super Bowl appearance, we were in desperate need of shoring up our secondary.  Kelly Jennings was no help in this regard.  While it’s hard to expect super-greatness out of your 31st overall draft pick, he was still a member of this team – and a starter at that – for far too long, leading us to suffer a barrage of long bombs over his outstretched midget arms.

In 2002, the Seahawks selected Jerramy Stevens 28th overall.  That’s all I need to say about this wretch.

In the 1987 NFL Supplemental Draft, the Seahawks took Brian Bosworth with what amounts to a first round draft pick.  He was subsequently given the largest contract in franchise history, and rewarded us with lackluster and often embarrassing play.  He was a better action movie star than a football player, and that’s REALLY not saying much.

But, let’s get back to our Top 3 disappointments from before.  I’m scratching off Koren Robinson, for starters.  Yes, he had the talent to be elite – and pissed it all away with addiction – but one has to wonder if he was even the right fit for this type of offense to begin with.  And, while he wasn’t spectacular, he was far from dreadful.  I’m giving him a pass.

This boils down to Aaron Curry and Rick Mirer.  You may recall with Aaron Curry, we were coming off of our dreadful 2008 season.  With the 4th overall pick, people were screaming for the Seahawks to take a quarterback.  With Matthew Stafford already off the board, and Mark Sanchez sitting there, the Seahawks opted to do the prudent thing:  take the “safest pick in the draft”.  Aaron Curry was an outside linebacker and – depending on who you talked to – was some mix of Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Thomas.  We were going to pair him with Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill to have the best linebacking corps in the entire NFL.

Instead, he was slow to pick up the game mentally, slow to pick up the intricacies of his position, and just all-around slow on the field.  He did practically nothing for us, wound up being traded for a low-round draft pick, and was replaced on the field by a mid-round draft pick.  But, considering the Seahawks were bottoming out all over the roster, it’s hard to peg all of our troubles on Curry.  Even if he’d panned out as we’d hoped, he still would have been just a good player on a crappy team.

Rick Mirer, on the other hand, was supposed to save us.  In 1992, the Seahawks shared the worst record in the NFL with the New England Patriots at 2-14.  Thanks to our victory over those very same Patriots, they held the tie-breaker for the #1 overall pick.  As a result, they got to select the best quarterback of that class – Wazzu’s Drew Bledsoe – while we had to settle for Rick Mirer out of Notre Dame.

Mirer came out of the gate on fire, breaking many rookie quarterback records that would eventually be broken by Peyton Manning (the only time Rick Mirer should ever be mentioned in the same sentence as Peyton Manning, by the way).  He quickly either regressed or simply failed to develop, but either way, he SUUUUUUCKED thereafter.  Adding fuel to the fire of his disappointment, I recently was referred to this article (hat tip to Dave Krieg’s Strike Beard) that revealed there was an outside shot of the Seahawks getting Steve Young from the 49ers for the rights to allow the 49ers to draft Mirer to be Joe Montana’s heir apparent.  Isn’t THAT just the ultimate kick to the groin?  Doesn’t that make Rick Mirer the ultimate slam dunk most disappointing draft pick in Seahawks history?

I want to say yes, but RACING PAST THE PACK ON THE OUTSIDE, OUR DARK-HORSE CONTENDER:  1991’s 16th overall draft pick, Dan McGwire!

What’s the meaning of THIS?  Well, I’ll tell you:  the Seahawks brass was very high on the 6’8 towering suckferno, while Chuck Knox – easily our greatest head coach in franchise history to that point – wanted to select a little guy out of Southern Mississippi, the 6’2 Brett Favre.

Dan McGwire started all of five games with the Seahawks in four seasons.  Chuck Knox left the franchise after 1991, right before everything bottomed out in 1992.  As stated above, the Seahawks would use the #2 overall pick on yet another quarterback two years later, and the franchise overall would founder in mediocrity for a decade until Mike Holmgren turned things around.  All of this MAY have been avoided, if Chuck Knox had his way and we’d drafted a certain hall of famer who owns or owned just about every passing record in NFL history.

Most disappointing draft pick?  For all those reasons, I’m going with Dan McGwire by a nose over Rick Mirer (bottom line:  at least Mirer had ONE good season).

***

In an effort to prevent this post from going beyond the 5,000 word mark, I’m going to give the abbreviated version of the Sonics’ most disappointing draft pick:  it doesn’t compare to what the Seahawks and Mariners have stacked against them.  Purely for disappointment’s sake, it’s disappointing to see Scottie Pippen’s name as our #5 overall draft pick in 1987 (he would be traded to the Bulls and replaced by Olden Polynice, but again, this isn’t a post about trades), but at least Pippen’s departure eventually led to Shawn Kemp’s rise.

The fact of the matter is, the Sonics – for the most part, until the last decade or so – were a well-run and successful organization (crazy, I know).  Our first round draft picks were generally low in the round, if we had them at all.  The high ones tended to pan out (Payton, #2 overall; McKey, #9 overall; McDaniel, #4 overall).  And, since once again I’m not all that familiar with all the old-timers, I’m not even going to go there and you can hash it out in the comments.

In an effort to save time, let’s just say the most disappointing draft pick in Seattle Sonics history is Robert Swift (#12 overall in 2004, when we were in DESPERATE need of a big man; he would be the first of three consecutive first round draft pick duds – Petro & Sene to follow – that would ultimately cost this franchise dearly).  Now, let’s call it a day and everyone agree that Robert Swift is nowhere NEAR as disappointing as Dan McGwire or Dustin Ackley.

***

So, where do we land on all of this?  Is Dustin Ackley the most disappointing draft pick in Seattle sports history?

Welp, I’ve already discussed the cases for both he and Dan McGwire.  With Ackley, we’re still talking about an Incomplete.  We don’t know how his career is going to pan out, even if we have a pretty solid idea that he’s going to continue to be terrible.  With McGwire, we know how it panned out, and we know what we could’ve had with Favre.  McGwire FEELS like the more disappointing of the two, but before we give him the crown, we have to speculate on the ol’ butterfly effect.

Dan McGwire kept us from drafting Brett Favre (or, rather, the organization choosing to go with him over Knox’s preferred choice).  That’s the case, right in a nutshell.  So, we have to wonder:  how good could the Seahawks have been with Brett Favre at the helm?

Would Chuck Knox have stayed on past 1991?  Would the team have drafted appropriately around him?  It’s pretty safe to say that Brett Favre would’ve been great wherever he went, but how much of his career was molded by Mike Holmgren?  I wouldn’t call the Packers a bastion of a franchise when they traded for him, so it’s not like the team was great and then Favre appeared as the last piece of the puzzle.  He grew with that franchise to be one of the best in football.  Could that have rubbed off on the Seahawks?  Or, would our franchise bumbling have prevented Favre from being his very best?

I would argue that the Seahawks would’ve been rock solid throughout the 90s.  Much better than the string of .500 (or near-.500) records we were saddled with.  There was always talent on those 90s Seahawks teams, but we were ALWAYS missing out on the quarterback position.  Warren Moon had a couple good years, but that was at the tail end of his career, and he kept getting injured when we needed him most.  Every other quarterback we had in the 90s was terrible.

With Favre in Seattle, does Mike Holmgren become MIKE HOLMGREN in Green Bay?  Does he find another quarterback to mold and turn that franchise around?  I think it’s safe to say, Favre in Seattle means we never hire Holmgren later.  And, you have to wonder if we have the group in place that we have now.

Does Favre turn this franchise around before Ken Behring sells the team to Paul Allen?  Does he have a change of heart and decide to keep the Seahawks and keep them in Seattle?  Do we have what is now CenturyLink Field?  If Paul Allen isn’t the owner, we certainly don’t have our stadium in its current form; I’m sure it would look much different now.  And, I have to wonder if we have the Sounders either, for what it’s worth.

Ultimately, does Brett Favre lead the Seahawks to be world champions?  THAT, I’m not totally sure about.  It’s nice to think so, but you have to wonder how it happens.  How long does Chuck Knox stick around if we give him the quarterback he wants?  He was already getting up there in age by 1991; how many years does he stick around after that?  And, who becomes his replacement?  I would argue Tom Flores was the worst head coach we’ve ever had in Seahawks history; I don’t think he wins even with the mid-90s Cowboys.  Does he still replace Knox?  Do we grab someone else?

The point is:  there are SO MANY “what if’s” that go into the Brett Favre as a Seahawk scenario.  And, what I would argue is most important in all of this is:  if Brett Favre never leads us to a world championship (whether or not it’s his fault, or the fault of ownership, or just the players we saddled him with), then he is 100% not worth the trouble.  The way things actually happened – with the Seahawks winning it all in the 2013 season – made a lot of the previous suffering worth it.  That’s all that matters.

Now, if Brett Favre coming here means the Seahawks would’ve been a dynasty much earlier, then I think he is worth it and I think Dan McGwire wins the title of most disappointing draft pick.  Even if it means the team we have now (in this hypothetical universe) looks nothing like the team we have in our real, actual universe.

Ultimately, my gut tells me that even if the Seahawks had taken Brett Favre, and he’d turned into the franchise quarterback we waited SO LONG to get, I kinda doubt we ever would’ve won it all with him.  Too many variables.  We likely wouldn’t have had the type of hall of fame coaching staff that Holmgren assembled in Green Bay, and we likely wouldn’t have gotten the type of championship talent to put around Favre like they were able to do under Ron Wolf.  Let’s face it, for a lot of reasons, the Seahawks were just plain broken as a franchise in the 1990s.  It took all the tumult, the disaster of an owner, the mis-management of the general manager, the bumbling of the coaching staff, and the underperforming of the players to lead to Paul Allen, Mike Holmgren 2.0, Matt Hasselbeck and our success in the 2000s, the bottoming out in 2008 & 2009, and the foresight to bring in Pete Carroll and pairing him with John Schneider to finally turn this organization into a world-class sports franchise.

You COULD say that Dan McGwire was a big part in giving us all of this!  And, I must say, as a fan in my 30s, I’m certainly appreciating all of our good fortune MUCH more than I would have been as a fan in my teens in the 1990s.

Yes, Dustin Ackley is a disappointment.  Yes, there were truly great players taken after him (including the aforementioned Mike Trout).  And yes, he’s been a big part of all the sucking the Mariners have been a part of in his time in the Major Leagues.  He’s been given MANY more chances to start and play a huge part on this team, and he’s done JUST enough to keep earning those chances even though he’s never broken through to make good on all of his promise.  Dan McGwire, for as enraging as his selection was, was never much more than a longshot prospect.  His college career wasn’t some amazing slam dunk; we were picking him based on his size, his strong arm, and the fact that he “looked” like a starting quarterback.  These types of quarterbacks are selected in the first round every single year, and these types of quarterbacks end up falling well short of their potential every single year.

#2 overall Major League Baseball draft picks are supposed to be different.  At #2, you know you have the opportunity to draft that year’s very best pitcher or hitter.  In our case, we took the “best hitter”.  That guy isn’t supposed to continuously be as mediocre as Ackley has been.  Either he’s great, or he gets injured and we all sit around wondering “what if”.  Ackley has been nothing if not healthy, and he’s been sometimes intriguing, but most of all he’s been a complete failure.

The Mariners missed and missed big when they selected Dustin Ackley.  He not only prevented us from taking a better hitter, but he’s actively hurting us now with his sucking.  If he panned out – as the so-called best hitter in his class should have – we’d be looking at a monster lineup with him paired with Cano, Cruz, and Seager.  Instead, he’s one of our ever-growing cadre of black holes.  We can’t sit him, because we don’t have anyone better (depending on your opinion of Justin Ruggiano), we can’t trade him because we’ll get nothing in return, and we can’t cut him because – as I said before – we don’t have anyone better.  The bottom line in all of this is, while the Mariners are improving as a franchise, there are too many holes on this team for it to be a championship contender.  Dustin Ackley is a huge reason why there are as many holes as there are.  And, for that reason, I’m calling him our most disappointing draft pick in Seattle sports history.

Tracking The Last Five Years In Seattle Sports

If you look at the right sidebar on my main page, you’ll notice a few things.  I try to update and keep track of the teams that are in-season with their current records and their next scheduled games.  I’ve got a list of categories, if you’d rather just read about one particular team.  I’ve got links to my Twitter and Facebook pages.  And, below that, I’ve got a list of the last five years’ worth of records for each of the teams I cover on this blog.

From time to time, I’ll refer to this list.  Sometimes, I need to know exactly how many wins a certain team had in a specific recent year; sometimes, I just like to marvel at how long it’s been since a team has made the postseason.  I chose five years because I think that’s a good barometer as to where a team is headed.  You can take a quick glance and see if things are trending upward, downward, or in the case of Husky Football, maddeningly the same.

The first thing I notice is that the Seattle Supersonics have been missing from this list for quite some time.  Six-plus years, which is a fucking travesty.  Let’s get on this, NBA!  As for everyone else, let’s separate them by heading.

Husky Basketball

Clearly trending downward.  Once the Mariners make the playoffs this year, the Husky men’s basketball team will have the longest postseason drought in the area, which is just impossible to comprehend.

The great thing about looking back at just the last five years is, it’s usually a good indicator as to a coach’s job security.  Lorenzo Romar has just finished year 4 without an NCAA Tournament appearance.  Gotta figure one more of those and he’s out on his ass.

Husky Football

As I said before, clearly trending even.  2010 was our first year playing in a bowl game since we bottomed out in 2008.  At this point last year, you’d have an argument that the program was trending upward, but with 2014’s uneven performance – punctuated by the dud of a Cactus Bowl – I might even make the argument things are starting to go south.

The Huskies lose some really good players on defense to the NFL draft this year.  Compound that with their most experienced quarterback – Cyler Miles – stepping away from the team (maybe forever?), and I have to wonder where our wins are going to come from in conference play.  2015 is certainly going to be a step back, but hopefully it’s a productive step back, where we find a quality replacement at quarterback who’ll be ready to help this team pop in 2016.  There’s still reason for optimism, but it’s going to be difficult to see through the thick layer of shit that’s right in front of us.

Seattle Seahawks

Trending even, but it’s not like things could get much better than the 2013 season.  I’m not ready to proclaim the Seahawks on a downward trend – as we’ve still got the pieces in place for an extended run at Super Bowls – but it’s hard to say things are going to get much better.  Back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, one boneheaded playcall from winning them both, I’d say this team is still at its peak level of dominance.

Still, 2015 is a key pivot point in this organization’s trajectory.  Guys aren’t getting old, necessarily, but they’re getting older.  Combine that with three consecutive playoff runs for the pillars of this team and you’re talking a lot of mileage.  If we can’t figure out a way to re-stock our depth with this year’s draft (combined with the IR players from last year’s draft who’ve had a full year to acclimate to being a professional), things could start to get hairy in a hurry.  We’re always going to be great as long as our great players remain healthy; but how long this championship run lasts will depend on the quality of players who step up when the greats get hurt.

Seattle Mariners

Trending upward!  Hurrah!  Last year, we were one game out from a play-in game for the playoffs.  We dumped our crap – Smoak, Hart, Morales, Denorfia, Beavan, soon-to-be Ramirez – and what useful pieces we lost aren’t devastating to our overall outlook in 2015 (Saunders, Young, Maurer, Beimel).  The important thing is who we’ve brought in to replace them.  Nelson Cruz is a MAMMOTH upgrade at DH.  Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano should be moderate upgrades in the outfield (over Saunders and Jones, particularly).  Rickie Weeks could be a boon for our bench (over someone like Romero).  And, healthy seasons out of Walker and Paxton should alleviate some of the burden the team had to endure with the likes of Maurer, Beavan, and Ramirez (who were absolute disasters when they had to spot start last year).

Obviously, it’s a long season, and anything can happen.  But, it’s good to know that the Mariners have as good a shot as anyone to not only make the postseason, but win the whole thing.  If you think about it, this is a team BUILT for the playoffs.  Felix is the best pitcher in baseball.  Iwakuma is a rock solid #2.  Paxton and Walker both have the potential to be #1 or #2 pitchers.  Then, with the lineup, we’ve got a 3-4-5 that rivals any team’s with Cano-Cruz-Seager.  Combine that with enough role players around them who should keep this offense afloat in the lean times, and top it all off with a bullpen that could be in the top 5 in all of baseball, and you’ve got a team where it wouldn’t be crazy to see it go all the way.

The overall sports atmosphere in Seattle is one of Encouraging Optimism, which is a huge step up from Cautious Optimism (which is usually as high as things get around here).  The Seahawks obviously busted through the gates with their championship last year, but with the Mariners surging, we’re really in some glorious days.  Of course, it’s not perfect.  We’re probably looking at a total rebuild after next year’s Husky basketball team once again fails to make the Tourney.  But, in general, I’d say this is the best time to be a fan of Seattle sports teams.

Now, all we need is a clear plan to bring our Sonics back, and maybe a lead on an expansion hockey franchise, and we’ll be all set.

My Feelings About Steve Ballmer Buying The Los Angeles Clippers

This week’s 24:  Live Another Day moment:  “Jack wants her, Jack needs her:  Jack gets her!”  Couldn’t have said it better myself.  History’s greatest hero and national treasure – Jack Bauer – is also a Grade A #1 Heartthrob and an otherworldly ladies man.  Granted, in this week’s episode, the “her” in this situation is Cute Blonde C.I.A. Agent, and the reason he “gets her” is to use her as bait so he can infiltrate this coven of bad guys to upload a virus whereby Goth Chloe can learn all their secrets – including, hopefully, the whereabouts of Scary Terrorist Lady.  NEVERTHELESS, as expected, Jack Bauer figures out a way to save the day and pull Cute Blonde C.I.A. Agent to safety (after she did a good amount of ass-kicking in her own right).  Is this a match made in heaven?  Only time will tell, I suppose.  Jack’s playing this one close to the vest, so we’re not even sure if he’s interested in Cute Blonde C.I.A. Agent yet.  And, as we all know, all it takes is Jack being interested for the targets of his affection to be putty in his hands.  Also, MOLE ALERT!!!  Benjamin Bratt, you walking Scum of the Earth!  You’ll get yours!  (P.S.  I’m very curious to see who’s on the other end of that phone conversation) …

Sonics fans have a lot of conflicting feelings about last week’s news of Steve Ballmer buying the L.A. Clippers.  What does this mean for our chances to get a new team?  Does he know something we don’t?  Will the NBA be as willing to give this ownership group a new franchise when it doesn’t have Ballmer attached?  Will he move the Clippers to Seattle?  If he doesn’t, does that make him a traitor?

First of all, let’s PLEASE put to bed the whole Clippers to Seattle talk.  Never, in a million years, will that EVER HAPPEN.

Here’s my opinion on the matter.  Yes, I do think Ballmer knows something we don’t.  I think he’s heard first hand from the commissioner and other high ranking officials that Seattle isn’t getting a team anytime soon.  We all know the league is doing whatever it takes to prevent teams from leaving cities, so that’s not a very valid option.  And, I just think there’s zero incentive whatsoever for the league to expand when things are going as good as they are now.  MAYBE in a decade, but I can all but guarantee that we’re not getting a team in the next three years, when this current MOU is still valid (and, after that, who knows if we’ll be able to get another agreement with the city in place, but that’s a thought for another day).

I also think Steve Ballmer really wants to own an NBA franchise.  Like, REALLY wants to.  Like, it’s one of his lifelong dreams.  Knowing that Seattle wasn’t happening anytime soon, and knowing that teams rarely get put up for sale on the open market like this, Ballmer took this opportunity to pounce and realize his dream.

In that sense, I don’t begrudge the man.  I also don’t think it affects our chances very much at all, because Chris Hansen has proved to be most dedicated to this cause.  It’s all going to boil down to having an arena deal in place when the opportunity arises for a new team to be introduced into the league.  And, for the record, I do like having Ballmer in there already, as an advocate for Seattle getting a new franchise.

Here’s my main hang-up:  where the FUCK was Steve Ballmer in 2005 and 2006?

Look, I don’t believe you go from being indifferent about the NBA, to paying two BILLION dollars for your very own NBA franchise, in the blink of an eye.  In this day and age, if you’re getting into the sports franchise ownership business – which is a difficult nut to get into – it’s because you have a real passion for sports franchise ownership.  Specifically, it’s because Ballmer has a real passion for the NBA.  I don’t know his story intimately, but I’d be willing to go out on a limb and say that he’s at least a lifelong NBA fan.

Taking that for granted, and knowing he was probably as rich in 2005 as he is now (or, at least rich enough to afford the Sonics in 2005/2006), why didn’t he make more of a push to buy the Sonics when he had the chance?  Who cares if he didn’t grow up in Seattle?  He obviously had ties to Seattle then, and continues to have ties here now.  It may not have been his dream as a child to own the Supersonics, but he had the opportunity and the convenience to own them as an adult, when he was a resident of the area!

Why did it take him until 2008 to even get in the fray?  At which point, he made an empty promise to put up $150 million of a proposed $300 million to renovate KeyArena – after the point where things had soured irreparably and Clay Bennett already had the team 9/10 out the door and on the way to OKC.  Why didn’t he make a REAL attempt at saving the Sonics back when the Sonics could be saved?

That’s what really irks me in this whole mess.  Yeah, Steve Ballmer has his team.  Good for him.  Meanwhile, this time next month will mark six full years since the NBA left Seattle, and we’re still twisting in the wind wondering when we’re going to get our shot again.

People keep saying to be positive.  That we’ll get our chance, it’s only a matter of time.  I’m afraid that the Kings were our one true chance and they too were taken from us.

Steve Ballmer could have bought the Sonics, paid for 100% of a brand new arena, and STILL had over $1 billion to shove under his mattress.  So, even if you’re irritated with Ballmer like I am, at least know that his petty indecisiveness and his lack of foresight cost him an extra billion dollars.

I may not go so far as to hate the man, but I’m also not going to praise him either.  He seems to be this beloved figure in some circles even though he’s done NOTHING for the Sonics.  He had a lot of good intentions, but I can’t build my house on good intentions.  What did he really do?  He came in WAY too late to offer to help renovate KeyArena.  Then, he joined up with Chris Hansen in his deal.  But, he hasn’t actually DONE a damn thing!  Steve Ballmer wanted to be an NBA owner, but apparently not bad enough to actually buy the Sonics when Howard Schultz was selling.  Now, he is an NBA owner, and good for him, I guess.  But, forgive me if I don’t spend the rest of my life kissing the man’s ass for doing the LEAST amount of work possible in order to save/bring back our Sonics.

When Will Seattle Get An NBA Team?

There appears to be two avenues in getting an NBA team into the Seattle market:  expansion or relocation.  The NBA has expressed a remarkable interest in avoiding relocation at all costs … AFTER they let OKC steal the Sonics away.  We’re all acutely aware of what went down in Sacramento and how the NBA did just about everything in an effort to block a move.

The NBA has also expressed an interest in being in the Seattle market again, but that appears to be more lip service than anything else.  See, expansion just isn’t an option “right now”.  But, if not now, then when?

There’s an article on ESPN you should read.  Essentially, it goes into how Milwaukee is the new Sacramento.  But, the real money quote shows up towards the bottom:

We don’t have 30 profitable teams in the NBA, and while we’ve made progress, there are still teams that aren’t competitive enough.

What they’re getting at is:  until they’ve exhausted Seattle’s usefulness as leverage against all these other cities in getting new arenas built, only THEN will they consider expansion to the Seattle market.

Next up on the list is Milwaukee, whose lease agreement expires in 2017.  Milwaukee’s arena is one of the oldest arenas in the NBA, having opened in 1988.  Golden State’s arena is older, but it was remodelled in the 90s.  Madison Square Garden is also older, but it was also renovated in the 90s (plus, let’s face it, there’s no concern about the Knicks being moved out of New York, so that dog just won’t hunt).

In 1988, Detroit’s arena also opened, but they built it as such that it’s still relevant from a seating and luxury box capacity, so no worry there.  Minnesota’s arena was renovated in 2004.  Phoenix had renovations in 2003.  Cleveland was renovated in 2005.  Chicago was renovated in 2010.  Portland was renovated in 2007.  Boston was renovated in 2009.  Philly was renovated in 2006.  Toronto was renovated in 2010.

No word on renovations for the D.C. arena, which opened originally in 1997.  The seating capacity appears to be up to snuff, but it’s always a bad sign when an indoor arena has “rain delays“.

Also, no word on renovations for Indy’s arena, which will be one of the smaller arenas from a seating capacity (especially when Sacramento and Milwaukee get up to code).  This one opened in 1999, which doesn’t seem to be that long ago, until you remember it was 14 years between KeyArena opening up and the Sonics leaving town.

The other arenas have all been built fairly recently and were built with the proper amount of luxury boxes and such.

So, the question remains:  how many more times will Seattle have to be the bogeyman until we finally get a team of our own?

That’s tough to say, because no matter how good things are going, the league can always change the rules of the game whenever they want.  You can have 30 arenas up to code, but that doesn’t mean that all the teams will be making a profit.  Also, who’s to say that by the time all 30 arenas are “good enough”, they don’t change what the definition of what’s “good enough”?  Then, there’s the issues with the new TV deal and how willing the other owners would be to split up their slice of the profits pie.  And, of course, when you add a new team, you’re taking away from the talent pool (because that’s been such a huge issue as the league has grown from the 1980s to the 1990s to the new century; you’d think with the interest in making it a “global” game, the talent pool is as massive as the Earth is round).

There will ALWAYS be a reason to not give Seattle a team.  But, in the immediate future, it won’t happen until Milwaukee has been dealt with.  Which means they have anywhere between now and 2017, and even then it’s not a done deal.  How long did it take Sacramento?  A decade?

I’ll tell you this:  our chances of stealing the Bucks away from Milwaukee are a lot better than our chances of getting an expansion team in the next five years.  And you saw how easy it was to steal the Kings away from Sacramento when just about everything was going our way (oh, wait).  If we don’t get a team promised to us in the next five years, that essentially ends our MOU and leaves us once again holding our dicks.

I hope you weren’t getting your hopes up with David Stern’s retirement.  It’s going to be a lot of the same with his replacement.

What’s Got Me Down About Seattle Sports NOW?

We’ve got a big ol’ Pity Party Alert on this one, so if you’re not in the mood – if, indeed, you’re still reveling in the bounty that is the Seattle Seahawks:  Best Team In All Of Football – then you may want to take a step back from this and wait for a post that’s a little more uplifting (it’ll be here bright and early tomorrow morning).

Truth be told, I have no reason whatsoever to be complaining.  Without a doubt, I would settle for losing seasons out of every other one of the teams I root for if it meant the Seahawks won it all.  But, let’s just assume for a minute that I’m a rational human being who realizes that karma isn’t a thing that exists and superstitions are as pointless as a pencil with no sharpener (get it … point-less? … zing!).  If you take away the Seahawks, what are we left with?

  • Another brand-new NBA season with no NBA franchise in Seattle
  • A college football team whose head coach just abandoned it for another team in the same conference (who will likely take away all of his assistant coaches and primary recruiters)
  • A college basketball team that struggles to beat the worst teams on its non-conference schedule
  • A total disaster of a baseball franchise who couldn’t bring in quality players even if they spent Yankees or Dodgers money

THIS IS DEPRESSING AS SHIT!

Just to expand on these points, it was what – less than a year ago to be sure – that we were looking forward to the Sacramento Kings playing ball in KeyArena at this point.  The investors were set, the MOU was in place, the team was for sale, the offer was accepted … everything was in place.  Then, the NBA came in and butt-fucked us and left us sitting around waiting for Someday.  It’s always fucking Someday.  Seattle’s been waiting for Someday since I’ve fucking been born!

But, you know, this is now the fifth season I’ve lived without the NBA.  It’s really not so bad.  It’s not ideal, of course, but there’s usually something else going on.

Like … College Basketball!  Except, oh wait, the Huskies are terrible.  And, let’s face it, even if they were good, they still wouldn’t be anything to write home about.  They’re never going to be Duke or North Carolina or Michigan.  But, at least if they were good, we’d have something compelling to watch for the next few months!  Something to tide us over until baseball season …

Oh, wait.

You guys, I hate to break it to you, but the secret is out:  everyone knows how inept the Mariners organization is!  I always get a kick out of these pundits and insiders who say they’re envious of the position the Mariners are in right now.  Low payroll, young, “talented” roster, good farm system, new local TV deal that should pump millions upon millions into the team, beautiful stadium that’s been made more neutral for hitters, the only long-term deal being Felix Hernandez.  Why, we’re the belle of the fucking ball!  Any manager or GM would be ELATED to get a job with the Mariners!  To get a chance to run this organization into the ground further than it already is, to help mold these young players into superstars … I’m sure people were lining up around the block!  Trampling their fellow man like they were headed for the doorbuster of all doorbusters!  How these other GMs weren’t quitting their jobs at just the CHANCE to interview with the Seattle Mariners, I have no fucking idea!

And yet, somehow this fucking message never reached the free agents.  We have ALL this money to spend, we have our hands in seemingly every free agent’s jock trying to convince him to sign with Seattle … and yet, no one will come.  WEIRD, I KNOW!  It’s like, didn’t you get the memo?  The Mariners are on the rise!  Pay no mind to all those 90-loss seasons behind the curtain, though.  Or the fact that our last manager wouldn’t touch us with a 100-mile pole.  Just take our truck-fuls of cash and be happy!

Of course, the Mariners won’t go oh-fer the winter.  After all, Willie Fucking Bloomquist is back!  Two year deal!  WOOOO HOOOO MOTHERFUCKERS!  And, as soon as we over-pay Nelson Cruz to play 80 games a year (surrounded by a handful of DL stints), we’ll be all set.

Because the Mariners won’t get the A-Listers, we’ll have to settle for the D-Listers.  The guys who are over-the-hill, who were last good two or three years ago, who haven’t played injury-free at any point in recent history.  The Mariners – like they always do – will Febreze a few turds nobody else wants and try to pass it off that Someday could be closer than we think.  How many times have we heard that story before?

Then again, I guess we should be used to the greats not wanting to come to Seattle.  We can’t even get our home-grown Favorite Sons to return!  Jim Mora Jr., by all accounts, has signed a big, fat extension with the Bruins to stay as far a-fucking-way from the University of Washington as possible.  I’m not saying Mora would guarantee a return to the glory days, but it says quite a lot that we can’t even lure a guy over here when this job is ostensibly his “dream job” (per a radio interview while he was still coaching the Atlanta Falcons way back in the day).

Do you know how rejected that makes me feel?  I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but if you’re a fan of some (or all) of these teams, and you hear that they’re struggling to bring in quality players and/or coaches, doesn’t it just feel like a huge slap in the face?  What does it mean when you can’t even OVER-PAY these guys to come here?

College is kind of a fucked institution anyway, but then again, if a place like Eugene can attract the cream of the football crop, why couldn’t Seattle?  Shit, weed is actually LEGAL here!  You’re telling me we can’t use that to our advantage somehow?  All we need is one great coach, with a great offensive mind, who has a scheme that no one else can stop.  A great scheme can make up for a lack of talent, and when it does, eventually it’ll attract that talent!  Then, you’ve really got something!

But, of course, the Huskies will probably go after some re-tread.  Thinking that we’ve made enough progress in the last five years that all it’ll take is some know-it-all head coach to put everything together (when all the while, we’ll slowly revert back to our also-ran ways).

In basketball, get ready, because a house-cleaning is coming.  If last season didn’t bring about Romar’s firing, then surely this will be the year.  At this point, I’m such a broken, beaten man that I don’t even care anymore.  Maybe we’ll hit the lottery and find the next John Calipari or something.  Of course, you know the odds of winning any lottery …

And as for the Mariners, not even the promise of seeing Felix pitch 30+ times can get me excited for this team anymore.  It’s all so fucked, I can’t even see straight.

Thank holy hell that we have the Seahawks.  We may only get to enjoy them for three hours a week, and there may only be two months left of the season (including playoffs), but by gar at least it’s something!

The Winning Percentages of Seattle Head Coaches & Managers

As I go onto say in this link (which can be found under the heading The Best Of Seattle at the top), this is merely research for a larger project.  Few things of note:

Lorenzo Romar is the second-best Husky basketball head coach of all time.  JUST SAYIN’.

Obviously, Lou Piniella is the only manager who has led the Mariners to the playoffs.  18 managers, only one has been good.  Also, 10 of those 18 had to be replaced mid-season, either by firing or because of resignation.  That’s beyond pathetic, and another reason to NOT fire Eric Wedge in the middle of this season.  Let’s show a little fucking self-control, huh Mariners?

Also, Eric Wedge:  he’s in the top half of all Mariners managers.  Didn’t see that one coming.  But, then again, considering the organization, maybe I should have.

Sark has a long way to go to be one of the all-time Husky greats, but it’s a good sign to see that he already has a winning record this early into his career.  Also, back-to-back head coaches Gilby and Willingham:  two of the VERY worst all-time.  No wonder we’ve had such a long climb back to relevancy.

Pete Carroll is already one of the best Seahawks coaches in franchise history and has a real chance to go down as THE best.  Didn’t see that one coming at the time of his hire, but now I can’t NOT see it coming …

Here’s the link.