The Mariners Stop Winning Series, Losing To The Yankees

The Yankees are a right-handed laden lineup who also happen to crush left-handed pitching, so this was always going to be a poor matchup for the Mariners. Just kidding, it’s actually Clay Bennett’s fault (anytime I can join in on Clay Bennett bashing, you’re damn right I’m going to jump on the bandwagon!).

Justus Sheffield continued on his Suck Hard World Tour Tuesday night with yet another miserable outing. He made it 1.2 innings, giving up 6 runs in the process, en route to an eventual 12-1 thrashing. It’s no surprise he landed on the IL with a “strained forearm and/or oblique”. I mean, I guess there’s probably something legit there, because I’m pretty sure we still have options for him to go down to Tacoma (to be fair, I don’t totally understand all the ins and outs of baseball options), but it still seems shady when he recently said he wasn’t hurt. I dunno.

I don’t have a lot to report about this game, as Sheffield starts aren’t exactly Must See TV. I wish I had gambled against the Mariners in this one. I also wish the Mariners had literally any other starting pitching options to put in his place, but it seems like whoever we go with will be sub-replacement level. And I don’t trust for one second that Justin Dunn will be healthy enough to return and finish the season.

Wednesday’s game was another rocky road, with Yusei Kikuchi (another lefty) getting bashed for 5 runs in his first two innings of work. He was able to settle down and put up three scoreless innings after that, but the damage was done. Not really the outing the only Mariners All Star wanted to put out into the world before the break. The bullpen, however, continued to shut things down from there, just long enough for the Mariners to make a 5-1 start into a 5-4 close loss. But, the back-end of that Yankees bullpen is almost always totally savage, and they had no problem getting through the final two innings.

Yesterday’s game was absolutely remarkable! We 1-hit the Yankees in a 4-0 victory. Logan Gilbert gave up the only hit – a double – but went 7 innings, walking 0 and striking out 8. It was the most dominant outing by a Mariners starter since Felix’s perfect game. Seager, Moore, and Haniger homered in all the runs.

With the Angels in town for three games this weekend, that concludes the first half of the baseball season. Next week, I’ll post about some Mariners highlights; don’t think I’m not looking forward to writing at length about how great Logan Gilbert has been lately!

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.

Let The Hockey Rumors Begin

You ever wonder how the present will be perceived in 50 or 100 years?  When you think of a major historical event, unless you’re some kind of expert or history buff, you just know the broad strokes.  Then, you see the volumes upon volumes of books on this very subject, and you realize there were a ton of intricacies involved to get you to those very broad strokes.

One thing in particular I wonder about when all is said and done:  how will people choose to remember the whole Sonics debacle in 2007 and 2008?  Because all those little things that got us to where we are today will eventually coalesce into one small footnote.

At the time, we held Clay Bennett in the highest of contempt, because he was actively lying to us, we KNEW he was lying to us, and yet he continued right on lying.  Once the team left and the sting started to subside, we all adopted the platform we still hold to this very day (and will likely hold at least through the point where we get another team):  Howard Schultz is an ass clown and it’s HIS fault we lost the Sonics.

But, I’m beginning to wonder, when it’s all said and done, in those aforementioned 50 or 100 years from now, when the Sonics are back in Seattle, emotions are settled, and we can once again focus on the GAME of basketball and not the politics of basketball, will we still hold the biggest grudge for Howard Schultz?  Sure, maybe some of the old-timers, who are old enough to remember these lawless times when men were men; but I bet when this is just a speck of dust on the overall History of the NBA, the consensus reason for the Sonics originally leaving Seattle will be because the city and state government totally and completely dropped the ball.

We’ll see.  I think this conversation will become much more clear in the ensuing years.  As the city of Sacramento is taking its well-deserved victory lap, the wheels of my theory have already been set in motion.  As a local and state government, only a wild pack of ninnies lets a major professional sports team walk away for practically nothing!  You’re SUPPOSED to scratch and claw and do everything at your disposal to keep the team in the city.  You’re SUPPOSED to exhaust all options.  And, in the end, you’re SUPPOSED to cave in to the demands of the sports league.  Because it’s just smart business.  A little fucking taxes to pay for a fucking arena never hurt nobody!

Because, in the end, when you come to your senses and realize how important that franchise was to your city, it’s going to cost you a LOT more to try to bring them back than it would have to just keep them here in the first place.

I mean, honestly, what was Schultz asking for?  A couple hundred million?  I don’t remember the figure off the top of my head, but I know it wasn’t a lot.  He wanted a couple/few hundred million to renovate Key Arena.  The NBA signed off on it, so we were a go!  But, the city shut that movement down, so the team was sold.  What was once a $200 million deal for a renovated Key Arena turned into a $500 million deal with Clay Bennett to build an arena in Renton.  Well, of course, if $200 million was denied, $500 million was out of the question!  Now, it’s going to cost generous billionaires nearly a billion dollars to bring this team back, while the city gets its peach of a deal.  But, at what cost?  Well, so far, it’s been five full seasons without the NBA and counting.  For other cities who have lost their teams, it has been a lot longer still.

Smart cities don’t get in the business of losing their franchises, because they spend the rest of eternity trying to get them back!  We’re somewhat lucky to be in Seattle, because we have a bigger market than most, so the NBA and the NHL would like to get into bed with us.  If you’re Kansas City or San Diego or Vancouver, you’re not quite as lucky.  You’re likely to spend a lot longer waiting than we will.

So, now we have this whole mess with Glendale and the Phoenix Coyotes.  Once again, Seattle is the Big, Bad Boogie Man, just like the deal with the Kings.  If I’m 100% honest, I have a little more confidence in the NHL getting here before the NBA, but I’m reluctant to jump right into this belief that the Coyotes are coming to town.

If Glendale is smart, they’ll figure out a way to keep their team, just like Sacramento was smart and kept their team.  If they flip off the NHL, then Seattle gets a new franchise and the Phoenix area waits about a hundred years before they get another taste of pro hockey.

A lot of people like to place the blame on the greedy-ass owners or the corrupt league commissioners.  But, when push comes to shove, what it really boils down to is the greedy-ass AND corrupt local politicians who are only in it for their own interests.  And, suffice it to say, their interests don’t coincide with sports leagues or the sports-loving common man.

But, just watch how fast they pull money out of their asses for another God damned art museum or classical music theater.

The Worst People In Seattle Sports History, Part III

We continue from Saturday’s post on all the hated Seahawks, which was continued from Friday’s post on all the hated Mariners.

Seattle Supersonics

A lot of real obvious candidates here.  It’s just a matter of organizing them in the proper order.

I, along with many of you, have Howard Schultz smack dab at the top of this list.  In fact, I would have to say – even though it’s been nearly five years since the team moved, and even though it’s been nearly seven years since he sold the team to those OKC goons – that Howard Schultz is Public Enemy Number 1 (regardless of sport) in the Most Hated Seattle Sports Figure list.

Really quick, my top 5 looks like this:  1. Schultz, 2. Behring, 3. Lincoln & Armstrong, 4. Bennett, 5. Bavasi

Easy, right?  For the record, Lincoln & Armstrong are a package deal; they have morphed into this singular blob of incompetence.  Also for the record, Ruskell is a close 6th on that list.  My most hated PLAYER is and might always be Richie Sexson, because I’m irrational like that.

Anyway, getting back, I think it should be obvious why Schultz heads this list.  He’s the worst.  THE.  WORST.  First, let’s just get this out of the way:  he had NO BUSINESS getting involved with the NBA.  He should have just stuck with his season tickets and his corporate sponsorships and been happy with that.  He didn’t have the stomach to properly run the organization; instead, he tried to run it like a business.  This isn’t Starbucks, this is sports.  It’s a completely different ballgame (so to speak).  If your goal is to buy a team and try to turn a profit every year, then congratulations, you’re the Seattle Mariners.  You go forever without winning, you scale back payroll, you trade away your superstars for nothing, and you do just enough to turn a small profit every year (which, hey, beats losing money).

If your goal is to run a winning franchise, then guess what?  You can’t be all-consumed by the money coming in.  Turning a profit can’t be goal #1.  It’s got to be a residual from sustained success.

The Seattle Supersonics, as far back as I can remember, were a well-oiled machine.  Yeah, they’d have some down years, but they’d bounce right back and be contenders in short order.  That includes a lot of the 70s, most of the 80s, and most of the 90s.  Then, Howard Schultz bought the team in January of 2001.  In the five full seasons the Sonics were owned by Schultz, they made the playoffs twice:  once as a 7th seed and once as a 3-seed.  Both times, they lost to a far superior franchise, the San Antonio Spurs.  In the other seasons, the Sonics ended up 10th, 11th, and 12th in the West.

Schultz was involved with a controversial trade of Gary Payton.  He also let head coach (and Mr. Sonic) Nate McMillan walk (over to Portland where he coached the hell out of a mostly-mediocre team).  He did battle with the local & state governments over getting financing for a new arena, but once that failed he essentially threw up his hands and gave up.

Schultz had no interest in keeping the Sonics in Seattle.  If he had, he wouldn’t have sold them to a group that so clearly wanted to move the team out of state.  He can sit there and pretend he had “no idea”; he can cry out about how they “misrepresented” themselves when they purchased the team; but if he’s being honest then he’s the biggest fucking moron the world has ever known.

Here’s the thing:  Schultz isn’t being honest when he gripes about how he was duped (along with the rest of Seattle).  I’d like to point out that from the moment this deal was made, I knew those fucks from OKC would do everything in their power to move this team.  If I know that, and I’m just some yahoo fan with a pottymouth, then Howard Schultz sure as shit knew that too.  He just didn’t care.  All he cared about was receiving $350 million for a team he paid $200 million to acquire five and a half years earlier.

And that’s all you need to know about the Howard Schultz Era.  He was a greedy old man who let the Sonics move away.  He ran the team like a business, but not like a business he gave two shits about.  He ran this team like Ken Lay ran Enron.  Schultz may not have faced decades in prison, but he probably should.  If I had it my way, he’d be rotting in prison until the Sonics return to Seattle, but that’s neither here nor there.

If we’re jumping on the whole Sonics leaving Seattle saga, I’d rank former Seattle mayor Greg Nickels number two on this list.  That spineless weasel forced an agreement down our throats letting those OKC fucks take the team while the city received $45 million in return for the last two years of the KeyArena lease.  Had we forced them to honor those final two years, who’s to say what might have happened?  But, he was never officially a member of the Sonics organization, so fuck Greg Nickels.

Truth be told, I hate Clay Bennett’s puppetmaster – David Stern – far more than Mr. Bennett himself, but we’re sticking with a theme here of people specifically related to the Sonics organization.  Clay Bennett’s a rat bastard, to be sure, and when all is said and done I’d like to know what kind of buttfucking arrangement he has with Stern to make them so buddy-buddy; his blowjobs must be SOMETHING ELSE.  As such, now he does whatever David Stern says, essentially making them both one and the same.

It takes a lot of work to keep up a lie for so long.  Bennett bought the team in July of 2006.  Nearly two years went by before we finally got the official word that his intentions all along were to move the team to OKC; and even then, “official word” came in the form of e-mails to his cronies that were uncovered in the days & weeks leading up to the team leaving.  To the bitter end, Bennett affirmed his bullshit, and he has been rewarded with one of the best and most exciting teams in the NBA today.  There is no justice in this world if that team ever wins a championship.

From what I’ve been told, Wally Walker has been instrumental in the behind-the-scenes efforts to bring the team back to Seattle.  Also, from what I’ve been told, Wally Walker was dead-set against selling to those OKC fucks in the first place.  Nevertheless, Wally Walker appears on this list, because his tenure as GM of the Sonics was rocky at best.  You can’t have a Most Hated list without having a few GMs appear first.

For the record, yeah, Walker has been instrumental in working with Hansen & Ballmer, but he was also instrumental in getting Howard Schultz to be our primary owner in the first place to start this whole fucking mess.  It’s complicated with Wally Walker; he tries his fucking best, but God bless him, in the end he’s just a fuck up who can’t seem to ever get things right.

He joined the Sonics in 1994, right as this team was on its rise to the elite of the NBA.  In 1996, the Sonics were in the Finals, losing to the greatest team of all time, the 1996 Chicago Bulls.  From that moment, this franchise started on its long, slow decline to mediocrity, and it all starts with the next name on this list:  Jim McIlvaine.

Jim McIlvaine was signed to a 7-year, $33.6 million deal in July of 1996.  To that point, Jim McIlvaine had been a worthless pile of crap.  He would go on to continue being a worthless pile of crap.  So, not only was he overpaid and useless, but he also served as a reminder that this ownership group – and this general manager in particular – would rather reward potential from outside the organization than reward the superstars already IN this organization.  Shawn Kemp was resentful and rightly demanded a new contract.  He was denied, so less than a year after signing McIlvaine, Kemp demanded a trade.  Just before the 1997/1998 season, Shawn Kemp was traded for the NEXT name on this list:  Vin Baker.

One could argue that the Sonics dodged a bullet by trading away Shawn Kemp.  He went on to Cleveland, sat on his ass during the Lockout, got fat, and was never the same.  One could also argue that had the Sonics rewarded their budding superstar, he would’ve been kept in shape and kept in line by team leader, Gary Payton.  In Cleveland, Kemp was the big kahuna, and nobody was going to tell him what to do.  There was veteran leadership in Seattle that could’ve prevented such a fate.

Oh yeah, by the way, don’t forget that Vin Baker also sat on his ass during the Lockout, also got fat, and was a huge drunk to boot.  So, why didn’t this veteran leadership keep HIM in line like I’m saying they would’ve kept Kemp in line?  I dunno, probably because you can’t rationalize with a fucking alcoholic!  Also, probably because you have to have the Want To in order to succeed.  Vin Baker lacked that passion, that drive.  He took his solace in a bottle and that’s all there is to it.

Mind you, this chain of events all started with Wally Walker meddling with a good thing, then bungling things away.  More often than not, Walker made moves just to make moves.  Sometimes, you just need to let a team settle and grow on its own.  You don’t have to keep adding and subtracting to make things JUST RIGHT.  Just leave it be and hope things shake out as best as they can!  If it ain’t broke, don’t fucking fix it!

Any number of bumbling big man buffoons could also make this Most Hated list (Calvin Booth, Jerome James, Robert Swift, Johan Petro, Mouhamed Sene), but that would ignore the real problem with the Sonics at the turn of the century:  Rick Sund.  Remember him?  God, I wish I didn’t.  Rick Sund took over for Wally Walker (as Walker was promoted to president or some damn thing) in 2001 and proceeded over one of the longest stretches of ineptitude in team history.

Seemingly every year, this team needed a big man.  Seemingly every year, this team went after a big man, either spending an ungodly amount of money in free agency, or by squandering a high draft pick.  Seemingly every year, this team failed to bring in a big man of any quality, and so seemingly every year this team struggled under Rick Sund.

Finally, there’s a name on this list I won’t ever forget.  Kendall Gill.  Back when Bob Whitsitt was still in charge, he traded a number of quality supporting players (Dana Barros, Eddie Johnson) to the Charlotte Hornets for Kendall Gill.  In his previous two years, Gill averaged 20.5 and 16.9 points per game.  We brought him in to be our starting shooting guard next to Gary Payton.  As chance would have it, he arrived on the scene in 1993/1994, as the Sonics had the best record in the Western Conference.  We would go on to lose in the first round to the Denver Nuggets.  The very next season, this team would make the playoffs again, and once again it would lose in the first round.

I’m not blaming it ALL on Kendall Gill, but he sure as shit was not a good fit for this team.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence at all that as soon as he was traded (back to Charlotte for Hersey Hawkins and David Wingate in June of 1995), the Sonics would go on to make a run to the NBA Championship.

Gill didn’t get along with coaches or teammates.  He was a ballhog who shot too much.  Oh yeah, and he SUCKED DICK.  He immediately saw a dip in his scoring average (14.1 and 13.7 points per game in a Sonics uniform).  His pissy attitude didn’t endear him to Seattle fans either.  In short, Kendall Gill was a worthless dickhole and I can’t believe he managed to have such a sustained NBA career, considering what a joke he was.

The Worst People In Seattle Sports History, Part II

We continue from yesterday’s post on all the hated Mariners.

Seattle Seahawks

I’m not gonna lie to you, this one was a lot tougher.  Aside from a couple of very obvious names, not a lot of Seahawks immediately jump out as annoying.  Unlike baseball – where your every move is on display for everyone watching, so if you screw up regularly, you WILL be noticed – it’s a lot easier to mask your mistakes.

Of course, that doesn’t make a ton of sense, because look at all the mediocrity, especially in the late 80s and all of the 90s.  But, that’s just it:  sure, they were mediocre, but it’s hard to point to just a couple of guys as the primary culprits.  When you have a bad football team, it’s because the whole TEAM is bad.  Not a lot of people really stood out, at least to me.  Maybe you have ideas that I don’t.

At the top of this list, now and forever, is Ken Behring.  He bought the team from the Nordstrom’s in 1988 for a scant (in today’s dollars) $80 million.  Ironically, at the time, in an article in the Spokesman-Review, he called out then-Mariners owner George Argyros who was threatening to move baseball out of Seattle, saying:

I sure don’t agree with anything he does.  I’m not sure he even wants to win.  I’m not sure he knows where he wants to be.  We’re far, far apart in what we’re trying to accomplish.

Bold words from a guy who – less than eight years later – was looking to move the team to Los Angeles.  It’s telling, actually, in that same Spokesman-Review article, he was asked about the possibility of moving the Seahawks to Oakland (after Al Davis had moved the Raiders down to L.A.).  Seemingly, there was no trust for this man from the get-go, which would seem to jibe with the family’s feelings that Seattle never really embraced Ken Behring.

Ken Behring’s reign started with a division championship in 1988, but then everything fell apart, with the nadir being the 1992 season and its 2-14 record.  After that first year, no Behring-led team would finish better than third in the AFC West.  Finally, in February of 1996 (a decade before this team would play in its first Super Bowl), Behring ordered the moving vans and drove the equipment to Los Angeles to play where the old Rams called home prior to moving to St. Louis.

Luckily for Seattle, two things existed:  a local government willing to work to keep the team here, and a sports league that was unwilling to see yet-another team change cities (after the Raiders moved back to Oakland, the Rams moved to St. Louis, the Oilers moved to Tennessee, and the Browns moved to Baltimore).  Gary Locke partnered with Paul Allen to help the billionaire purchase the team, and we passed measures to build what is now CenturyLink Field.

Ken Behring is one of the all-time pricks, no doubt about it.  But, this isn’t exactly the same thing as Clay Bennett buying the Sonics and moving them to OKC.  Even though the trust might not have been there from the beginning, I think that comes with the territory.  Whenever a non-local guy (or group) comes in to buy your team, you’re wary of the possibility of them moving.  But, to be honest, there was no inkling back in the late 80s about Behring having an agenda.  Besides, the lease on the Kingdome ran through 2005.  When the Sonics were purchased, the lease on KeyArena was much MUCH closer to running out.

However, similarities they share include an unwillingness to make things work here.  That means, the instant the going got tough, Ken Behring was on the horn to Los Angeles.  Which leads me to believe this L.A. move was a longer time coming than simply a snap reaction to the county rejecting $150 million in Kingdome improvements.  He also, let’s be honest, didn’t do everything he could to put a winning product on the field.  In that same Spokesman-Review article, Behring is quoted as saying:

We want the coach and the general manager to run the team.

This was in response to a question about having minority owners, with Behring taking the stance that local minority owners would try to butt into the affairs of the team.  Which is FUNNY, because in 1991, with the 16th overall pick, the Seattle Seahawks selected one Dan McGwire out of San Diego State.  It’s reported that then-head coach Chuck Knox really wanted to draft Brett Favre.  But, Ken “We Want The Coach And The General Manager To Run The Team” Behring stuck his big snout into the proceedings and forced the team to draft the all-time greatest bust in Seahawks history.  Brett Favre went on to be a Super Bowl winning Hall of Famer.  Dan McGwire went on to suck dick for crack rock (allegedly).

Ken Behring was no NFL owner.  He was a fucking tourist.  He was a sexual harassing Good Time Charlie who enjoyed the power and prestige of owning an NFL franchise, but he wasn’t really an NFL fan.  This quote, from his own son, then-team president David Behring, is pretty telling:

“I had tremendous passion for the game,” said David Behring, who opposed his father’s decision to move the franchise. “I felt that I was getting along with many of the people, and I was trying to push my father into background so as not to be a target. But the ’92 season really turned him off from football. When you’re 2-14, you’re criticized daily.”

Bring a little adversity into his life, and look at what he does!  Tries to take his prestige and power to a city that placates people with prestige and power.  Seattle doesn’t give a FUCK about your money or your status (at least, not compared to L.A.).  So, while he might not have been a snake in the grass a la Clay Bennett, we’re still talking about an inevitability.  Seattle wouldn’t embrace him as being the King Sultan of the World, so he wouldn’t embrace Seattle.  It’s as simple as that.  You want to know why people from the Pacific Northwest tend to badmouth people from California?  Look no further than the example set by Ken Behring.

***

The other big name on this list for the Seahawks is Tim Ruskell.  Ruskell was brought in to replace Bob Whitsitt (who himself had supplanted Mike Holmgren in 2003 as the primary general manager).  This move was a no-brainer, because Whitsitt (originally hired by Paul Allen when he purchased the Seahawks to be the president of the team) was a basketball guy (also being Allen’s right hand with the Trail Blazers down in Portland).  Ruskell immediately selected Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill in the 2005 draft and the team went on to lose in the Super Bowl that very same year.

We thought, “All right!  We got something here!”  Holmgren was largely believed to be spread thin by doing double duty as head coach and GM; most people here thought his GM duties suffered.  He needed a football guy to handle player personnel, and after one season, Ruskell seemed to be the magic man.

But, Ruskell immediately lost all his goodwill by dicking around with Steve Hutchinson.  He also traded away a first round pick for Deion Branch (an insane price for a sub-par receiver), drafted an endless string of busts (Kelly Jennings, Lawrence Jackson, Josh Wilson, Aaron Curry), and signed an endless string of useless, old players (T.J. Duckett, Julius Jones, T.J. Houshmandzadeh).  By the time he was forced to resign after the 2009 season, it was pretty clear:  that Super Bowl team was Mike Holmgren’s team.  Holmgren brought in the bulk of the core that got us to the promised land.  Ruskell just caught on at the right time and bought himself five seasons even though he was a complete moron.

After those two guys, I’m finding it hard to find Seahawks I hate.  I think there’s a reason for that:  in baseball, it’s a lot easier to hate the player, because all of his money is guaranteed.  If you sign a huge contract in baseball, then you go on to suck, you’re stuck with him!  In football, if they sign big and suck, you just cut him and save yourself the cap space.

The first player that comes to mind for me is Jerramy Stevens.  I can’t STAND that guy.  He was a first round pick at tight end that was supposed to lock down the position for a decade or more.  But, of course, he came in and was middling at best.  He was NOT the dynamic game-changer you expect out of a first round pick.  Then, he ran his stupid fucking bitch mouth in the week leading up to Super Bowl XL, and THEN he proceeded to drop crucial, game-changing balls IN the Super Bowl!

I blame the refs for a lot when it comes to losing that game, but a VERY close #2 is Jerramy Stevens.  I hope that game haunts him until his dying breath.  Jerramy Stevens is the primary reason why you should NEVER draft a home town guy who is known to have legal issues in college.  If a guy has legal issues in college (drugs, drunk driving, date rape, plowing your vehicle into nursing homes), that means he’s a fucking idiot.  It also means he has fucking idiot friends.  When drafting a fucking idiot, you’ve got to get him as far away from his fucking idiot friends as possible, otherwise he’s never going to mature to the level you need him to.

After Stevens, I guess I’d throw Rick Mirer on this list.  This one’s a stretch, though, because he’s been gone so long.  And, when we traded him, we got a pretty hefty haul from the Bears in draft picks, so that mitigated a lot of the hate.  Nevertheless, he was a #2 overall draft pick after the Seahawks went 2-14.  A #2 overall drafted quarterback is SUPPOSED to be a franchise guy you can build your team around.  Mirer went on to have a decent rookie season, then made absolutely no strides whatsoever, and was a constant disappointment every season thereafter.

I don’t know what to tell you after those four guys.  The Boz?  There were quite a few Seattleites who didn’t like the guy.  He was KIND OF an overrated pile of shit who Bo Jackson made his bitch.  Then, he was an action movie star?  Then he was irrelevant?  I dunno, man.  I read his autobiography and I find him entertaining.  And now?  Now, I just kinda feel sorry for him.  Not only is he a punchline for his “movie career”, but he’s a punchline for the thing he ostensibly did the best:  play linebacker.  I don’t know what the Boz is doing with his life right now, but if it doesn’t involve soliciting gentlemen to pull out their dollar bills while playing “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and asking that we all “give it up for Roxie”, then he has REALLY missed his life’s calling.

I know there are still some hard feelings about the whole Hutch debacle, with Seahawks fans soured on him for his dickish attitude following his signing with Minnesota, but truth be told I put 100% of the blame on Ruskell.  First, for not getting the long-term extension done, and second, for not using the Franchise Tag (but, rather, the Transitional Tag, which doesn’t come with nearly the penalty for other teams when they poach your players).

In fact, it’s hard to hate any of the free agent or draft busts either, because we know the person who was in charge.  Were Housh and Deion Branch irritating?  Sure they were!  It’s always irritating when you’re confronted with aging stars who think they’re better than they are (or better than they were five years prior).  But, they didn’t ask to come here.  They were brought over on the whim of a GM who was willing to over-pay so this team would be JUST good enough to be mediocre (but not so bad as to be blown up and start a true rebuilding process, which this team so desperately needed as it aged into retirement).

Since this post is also longer than I had anticipated, I’ll be making this one a three-parter.  God help us all.

A Bunch Of NBA People Got Together & Nothing Happened

Was yesterday an important day?  Yes, I’d say it was a pretty important day.  Both the Seattle people and the Sacramento people got together in New York City to present their cases.  Two cities, one team.  They spoke to the two committees who need to know about relocation and finances.  Then, they all came outside and talked to the media.  They were all very excited about what happened and looking forward to two weeks from now when we might possibly (but probably not really) have an answer.

In short, a bunch of people got together, made a huge, hairy deal about it, and told the rest of the world absolutely nothing of note, except that it might take LONGER for us to know who gets to have professional basketball this fall.

We were supposed to find out on April 19th.  But, now, I guess not?

I think for the Seattle side of things, that’s a bad sign.  We already know that the NBA is giving Sacramento every opportunity to do what they need to do.  So, the longer the NBA gives them, the better their chances are that they will follow through.  Obviously, the NBA can’t appear as if they’re starving for franchises to move to other cities, but this is pretty depressing nonetheless.

I’ve lost all faith that this is going to shake out in our favor.  Momentum has completely swung away from us.  Whereas this was a totally Done Deal just a few months ago, now all anyone can talk about is Expansion.  All things being equal – which, they appear to be right now – the team stays in the city it’s playing in.  That’s just the way it goes.  And you can’t sit here and talk about all the nit-picky things Sacramento has to deal with – lawsuits, non-binding agreements, not-quite-yet owning all the land necessary to build the new arena upon – and then ignore all the nit-picky things Seattle has to deal with – lawsuits, environmental reviews, the fact that we don’t have a team and therefore have no cards in this game.  In the grand scheme of things, all things ARE equal.  And that spells doom for the Sonics.

The only ounce of a prayer we have is that the NBA will be so impressed by our ownership group that they will just GIVE us a new team.  After all, there’s a lot to be impressed about.  A big ol’ billionaire, a dynamic young billionaire, the heads of a local company with a powerful national presence.  These are people you’re happy to do business with.  These are people you want to have in your exclusive little club.  They may not be enough to steal a team away from another city, but there’s an outside chance that – in a couple years – we can have what we’ve wanted all along anyway.

It would be a shame to deny the Hansen/Balmer group.  I mean, look at what they’ve done in one fell swoop to increase the value of all NBA franchises.  If the Kings are worth more than $500 million, then what does that say about franchises like the Lakers or Celtics?  Their offer for the Kings becomes the new Bottom Line.  That means it only goes up from there!  For that, they SHOULD be rewarded.  If not by getting the Kings, then at least give them something brand new.

That’s the thinking, anyway.  More and more local journalists are siding with this theory, because they can read the writing on the wall.  Sacramento is going to win.  It’s going to go down as the greatest comeback story of all time.  They’ll get Will Smith to play Kevin Johnson, Gary Sinise to play Chris Hansen, Josh Brolin to play Clay Bennett, and Bobcat Goldthwait to play David Stern.

I’m a little more pessimistic.  I tend to believe them when they say they don’t want expansion.  Sacramento will get their arena built, and Seattle will continue to be the bogeyman the NBA uses to get all other NBA cities to fall in line.  Because, let’s face it, what is their motivation?  As long as Hansen and Balmer are around, offering up insane gobs of money for wilting franchises, willing and able to move a team to Seattle at the drop of a hat, increasing value for everyone else while getting the wayward organizations to fall in line.

How long was the NBA dealing with the Sacramento situation?  Years?  How long did it take to get a deal done when Seattle stepped into the fray?  Weeks?  Why would you ever get rid of that situation?  It’s the goose that lays the golden egg!

If you ask me, being “upfront” and “honest” with this whole thing is exactly the reason why Seattle will never get a team.  In today’s world, in today’s NBA, you have to be sneaky, underhanded, conniving.  You have to say one thing and mean another.  You have to swoop in under the cover of night and make way with what you’re after before the sun rises.

Nice guys finish last, don’t you guys listen to the cliches?  If you want something done right, you’ve got to get a little dirty.

Sacramento & Seattle: One City Will Get Screwed

Well, apparently I have chosen to spend the whole weekend inside writing sports blog posts …

The way I see it, someone is going to get screwed in this deal.  Here’s an update from the Seattle perspective, and here’s one from the Sacramento perspective.

Here’s where we are:  the Maloofs have sold the team to Chris Hansen’s group.  There was a $30 million non-refundable deposit given, which many see as a way to force the hand of the NBA into allowing the deal to go through and not let anyone back out.  Seattle has the arena deal in place, with a few minor lawsuits and environmental studies left to get out of the way.  No one sees these blips as anything that would overturn a team’s move to Seattle.

However, on the other side, we have Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, a former point guard in the NBA who knows how important having an NBA franchise is to a city – especially a city like Sacramento without any other teams in the other major professional sports.  Ever since word came down that the Maloofs agreed to sell to Seattle, Kevin Johnson has been busting his ass to get his own ownership group together.  Per reports, the NBA has agreed to let Kevin Johnson state his case for why the team should NOT be sold to the Seattle group, but instead sold to local investors who aim to keep the team in Sacramento.  At the same time, Kevin Johnson is working to secure a new arena deal to replace the old one they had in place at this time LAST year, when the Maloofs originally agreed to stay, then ultimately backed out.

My read on the situation is this:  Seattle just has to sit here and wait for the Board of Governors to meet sometime in April.  In the meantime, it looks like Kevin Johnson WILL have his investors in place, they WILL be able to make an offer on par with what Chris Hansen has offered, and they WILL figure out a way to finance a new arena.  Anything short of all of that happening, and Sacramento can kiss their team goodbye.

As a quick aside, I’m legitimately curious:  is the Sacramento city council just going along with WHATEVER Kevin Johnson decides to do?  Do they not have to get together and vote on these things?  And, if so, how do we get that kind of support up here in Seattle?  I mean, Jesus Christ!  If Seattle had a tenth of the competent leadership back in 2008, we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first fucking place!

I have nothing but the utmost respect for Kevin Johnson.  And a small part of me (that small part of me that died in 2008 when Seattle gave the Sonics away for nothing) kind of hopes that he succeeds.  But, the overwhelming majority of me hopes he falls flat on his face and Seattle has an NBA team this time next year.

An interesting aspect of this Seattle Waiting Game is the fact that there’s really nothing Seattle can do to strengthen our position before the April BOG meetings.  We’ve done everything that has been asked of us.  We have an arena deal.  We have local political support.  We’ve had meetings with David Stern and other high-ranking NBA officials.  We have an ownership group comprised of respected, wealthy public figures who are passionate about the sport of basketball and the city of Seattle.  Seattle, as it stands right now, is everything the NBA is looking for in a city:  affluent, supportive, and most of all, subservient.  Seattle crossed the NBA one too many times in the years preceeding our loss of a franchise and the NBA opted to make an example of us.  Now, we have the arena deal in place, it meets NBA expectations, and we’ve done nothing but kiss the ring of David Stern and everyone else throughout this entire process to try to bring the Sonics back.  At this point, we can do no more.  And, if we DID try to do more – like send Chris Hansen down to Houston at this All Star Week to schmooze it up with owners and NBA officials, it would look desperate and in poor taste.

For Kevin Johnson, it’s dramatic and heroic.  He’s doing literally EVERYTHING in his power to save his team.  He’s the Little Engine That Could, Rudy, and the Miracle on Ice all rolled up into one smooth-talking politician.

Which leads me to believe that Kevin Johnson has a real chance to win this thing.  In any political race, it almost always boils down to the final weeks of any campaign.  It’s not how you start, but how you finish.  Kevin Johnson is going to have ALL the momentum going into these BOG meetings.  And, if he does succeed in getting the financial backing to purchase the team AND secure a new arena, we’re essentially looking at a 50/50 proposition.  There will be a 50% chance the Kings move to Seattle and a 50% chance the Kings stay in Sacramento.

So, what holds more weight?  One little nugget Sonics fans in Seattle have clutched onto like it’s their Precious is this notion that David Stern doesn’t want to retire until Seattle has its Sonics back.  This, in spite of the fact that David Stern has never publicly stated this; it’s all ENTIRELY hearsay and conjecture!

Yes, having the Sonics leave Seattle after 41 years was probably the biggest black eye of his tenure as NBA Commissioner.  But, truth be told, having ANY franchise move from one city to another is a black eye.  With Seattle, it was especially galling because it was 41 fucking years!  But, with Sacramento you’re still talking about a team that’s been there for 28 seasons, that’s nothing to sneer at.  On top of that, the Kings are the only game in town!  Seattle still has the Seahawks and Mariners to fall back on.

And, furthermore, if David Stern was so preoccupied with the plight of the city of Seattle before he retires, why wouldn’t he just use all of his remaining clout with the owners to force them to accept an expansion team?  After all, he’s FUCKING RETIRING!  What does he have to lose?  Being beloved by a group of 30 owners for holding firm on their shares of the financial pie isn’t going to make his retirement any more worthwhile.

So, no, I’m not really buying this whole absurd notion that David Stern feels any obligation to the city of Seattle whatsoever.

In the end, it’s going to come down to one of two things:  does the NBA choose to recognize the agreed-upon deal between the Maloofs and the Hansen Group (and thereby recognize Seattle’s right to fucking EXIST), or does the NBA overthrow the deal and let the Kings stay in Sacramento (and thereby fuck Seattle over yet again, as an opportunity this sweet surely won’t come around again anytime soon).

Truth be told, that last paragraph was written from the perspective of a jaded, pissed-off Seattleite, but you can really see both sides of the argument if you take a step back.  Yes, Seattle would be fucked over by the NBA overturning a supposedly-binding contract to sell the Kings franchise.  It would open up a whole can of worms with that $30 million non-refundable deposit as well.  Lots of lawsuits, lots of drama, lots of headaches would follow.  Should Seattle succeed with that route, I’m damn certain Seattle would be a pariah among the rest of the NBA nation.  But, hey, at least we’d have a team back.  Or, if the NBA didn’t want to deal with all the lawsuits, maybe they could make a back-alley deal of their own to just give us what we wanted all along:  Howard Schultz & Clay Bennett’s severed heads an expansion franchise.

On the other hand, though, if Kevin Johnson does everything he has vowed to do – find the financial backers, secure the arena deal, confirm local political support – and the NBA still takes their team away and gives them to Seattle … I know if I was a Kings fan, I’d be very fucking upset at such betrayal.  At that point, in all honesty, it would be a betrayal far worse than that they bestowed upon Seattle in 2008, because in 2008 Seattle didn’t do SHIT to deserve to keep a franchise compared to what Kevin Johnson has done.

So, you know, that’s where we are now.  By this time, two months from now, we will know one way or the other.  Either Seattle can go fuck itself, or Sacramento can go fuck itself.  The agita is fucking destroying my insides …

The Mariners Can’t Do Anything Right

I swear to Christ, that should be the headline for any article ever written about the Seattle Mariners.

I mean, how far back do you want to go?  They refuse to trade any of their farm pitchers back in 2000, 2001, 2002, or 2003 to get one more impact bat to put us over the top (said farm pitchers go on to mediocrity).  They try to cling to one more year of aging veterans with disasterous results in 2004.  They hire Bill Bavasi, they draft Jeff Clement, they trade for Erik Bedard.  They become the first team with a $100 million payroll to lose over 100 games in a season in 2008.  They win just enough games to NOT draft Stephen Strasburg.  They pick up the bloated corpses of Silva and Figgins.  They re-sign Griffey and then re-sign him AGAIN.  They trade for Justin Smoak.  They cut payroll every year for four straight years.  Their attendance has dwindled to an all-time low for Safeco Field.  They’ve suffered three straight last place seasons.  Their centerfielder can’t stay on the field.  Their offense has had to improve drastically just to still suck hard.  Their leadership has publicly come out against the Arena Deal which has since passed in both the county and the city.  And now this.

I’m not a season ticket holder for any sport.  I would hate to be locked into something so permanent, because with my luck I’d be locked into a perennial loser for decades to come.  But, if I were going to be a season ticket holder, the LAST organization I would buy from would be the Seattle Mariners!  And that’s BEFORE they had the nerve to jack up ticket prices without telling anyone, after everything in the previous paragraph that has happened in the last decade.

The Seattle Mariners have to be the most ineptly run organization in professional sports.  I say that knowing full well there are other franchises – the Pirates, the Clippers, the Browns, the Royals – with more seasons of frustration, but I would argue by now you know what you’re getting with those organizations.  It’s not that they don’t WANT to win, it’s that they have no incentive.  I have a feeling the Mariners (in spite of what I’ve been saying about them for years) really DO want to win … I just think they’re fucking TERRIBLE at it!  Their plans have all sucked, their execution has been even worse, and any winning records they’ve had in recent years (if you call 2007 and 2009 “recent”) have been in spite of their efforts, not because of them.

If an organization has EVER needed new ownership more than the Seattle Mariners, I’d gladly ask to borrow whatever piece of fiction you got that from, because that organization doesn’t exist in real life.  And I understand the economics of the situation (as much as a guy who doesn’t give a shit can understand the economics), but how retarded can you be?  If you just sent out a letter in advance saying, “Hey, thanks for your patronage over the years, but we’ve got to raise some prices to stay competitive in an increasingly turbulent market, blah blah blah,” we all would’ve understood.  We all still would’ve given you shit for it, because Jesus Christ, you’re REALLY going to charge MORE money to see this bogus product you’ve put out on the field for the past decade?  But, in the end, whatever.  It’s economics.  It’s the way the world works.  Things get more expensive over time and you either adapt or you die.

But to be all sneaky about it, I mean, who were you trying to fool?  I know your base – the people who can most afford and are most willing to buy full season tickets – is the elderly (because they just don’t know any better), but come on.  They’re not ALL saps!  You didn’t think the media would catch wind and make a huge stink about it?  A bigger stink than it really needed to be?

Who is RUNNING this organization?  Is what I’m trying to say.  I had more confidence in Clay Bennett keeping the Sonics in Seattle than I do this organization bringing home a World Series Championship.  If it were possible to impeach an ownership group, Seattle fans would have successfully ended their frustration YEARS ago.  It’s time, Mariners.  Do the right thing.  Free us of your incompetence!

2008: A Seattle Sports Apocalypse

Editor’s Note:  To read this blog post, click HERE.  It is one of Seattle Sports Hell’s “Featured Articles”.

Just Who Are These People Against The Arena Deal?

It’s pretty easy to figure out who is FOR the Arena Deal:  Sonics fans.  Primarily, they’re Sonics fans.  You can also include general NBA fans, area SoDo business owners looking to see a bump in attendance from people going to Sonics games, construction workers who’d get work building the new arena, and hockey fans.  It’s a pretty dedicated, passionate group, and if this thing gets done, we will have no one but them to thank.

Because the people against the Arena Deal?  They are many.  They are many and varied and generally ignorant about what the Arena Deal actually is.  They just know they don’t want it, and that’s all they NEED to know.

Let’s start at the top:  people who hate sports.  And I’m not just talking about people who are indifferent to sports, I mean people who actively wish all professional sports would be eliminated.  Maybe they don’t like how the leagues are run, maybe they don’t like people pampering millionaire athletes, maybe they don’t like their billionaire owners, maybe they just don’t like all the attention being heaped upon grown men throwing a ball around.  Hell, maybe they were picked on as children by athletes at their high schools; I don’t know.  All I know is they’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore!

In this group, you’ve got the Citizens For More Important Things.  Now, they will couch their argument in stating that they just don’t want any public funding to go towards private sports enterprises, but in reality they just hate sports.  I mean, if the government wants to give money to the arts, it’s no big waste of money.  But SPORTS, oh HEAVENS no!

Now, if you’re a citizen of the area, you might have a beef with regards to public funding.  I mean, let’s face it, every team in every professional league has either held its home city hostage for more public financing, or that team has moved on to another city that WILL kowtow to their every demand.  That’s not right.  That’s ESPECIALLY not right when – after they get their publicly-financed stadia – they don’t do everything in their power to bring a winner to their city.  It’s the least they can do, but for teams like the Mariners, they’ve found a way to do even less.  You’d think, as a nice Thank You to all the citizens who paid for your multi-million dollar palace, you’d at least TRY to give Seattle a championship.

So, that’s shitty.  Seattle has seen every possible angle of this ordeal.  The Mariners threatened to move to Tampa until they got their stadium deal passed.  The Seahawks were halfway out the door down to L.A. before Paul Allen stepped in and forced the city into agreeing to build Seahawks Stadium.  And the Sonics, of course, made demands, were rebuked, and ultimately high-tailed it for OKC.  It’s shitty, because on the one hand “We Don’t Negotiate With Terrorists”, but on the other hand, Don’t Take Our Fucking Team Away, They Belong To Us!!!

If you’ve got a sour taste in your mouth from the whole Sonics experience at the end, because of diabolical owners trying to shyster their way to getting whatever they want for free, or because of David Stern and the NBA essentially giving up on Seattle without a fight (where he has done just about everything in his vast power to prevent other cities *cough* Sacramento *cough* from doing the same exact thing), then I can see your point, to an extent.  But, if you gave one iota of a shit about the Sonics before the whole Clay Bennett mess, then you HAVE to realize that you will eventually care about them again if they return.  There’s no way you can stay mad forever, so start warming that icy heart of yours with a cool island song already!

Moving away from this crowd, we’ve got probably the most vocal of the opponents:  the port.  I dunno, I guess this has nothing to do with hating sports and everything to do with … traffic?  Traffic in the area is already bad as it is, what with the shitty roads and the constant construction going on.  Tack on a new arena and 41 home dates a year, and I guess that makes it even worse somehow?  Or, you know, just as bad as any Mariners game, only across more days of the year.  Winter and spring days.  Rainy, cold, dark days.

I have a hard time taking the port seriously in this matter.  The port isn’t going anywhere, those jobs aren’t moving anywhere else, and traffic won’t really be impacted AT ALL.  You get off work at a dedicated 4:30 every day!  With Sonics games starting at 7pm, most fans won’t get there until 6:30-7:00.  There will be a number showing up to SoDo early, but that number isn’t high, and they’ll most likely be clogging up Pioneer Square anyway because that’s where all the good bars are!  AND, anyone who shows up early will likely show up no earlier than 5pm, which means you’ve got a solid half hour to get the fuck out of dodge on game days.

And if the port is just against this so it can angle for better roads and overpasses and all that, then why don’t they just pull their heads out and realize:  the roads and overpasses won’t come if there’s no reason to build them.  Having an arena, and building up the business district down there, will do everything to get the city and state to improve SoDo.  Having nothing there will continue to have the government ignore it as they’ve done all along.

Of course, the ports aren’t the only group with a problem with the proposed location.  The biggest road block thus far is the Seattle Mariners.  Surprise, surprise.  Yeah, they’ve shut their stupid traps after initial outbursts by Lincoln and Armstrong when we first heard about this deal (assholes that they are; DIE ALREADY!), but make no mistake, they are playing hard and fast with the politics behind the scenes.  They’ve got councilmembers in their pockets and they’re not afraid to call in favors when it suits their interests.  You know, their ONLY interests:  making money and making more money.  Not what’s good for the city, what’s good for local sports fans, what’s good for local businesses; just what’s good for their own pockets.  It’s how they run their own organization (not spending money on players, not putting a winning product on the field, a field these fans GAVE them for free), so why should we expect them to be any different when it comes to something like this?

Speaking of politics, you can’t ignore the politicians.  Ineffectual, do-nothing politicians.  If the city council passes on the Arena Deal, then you can look no further than these dirty politicians and their dirty politics.  Because they surely have eyes on the Mayor’s office, and they’ll do anything they can to make the current mayor look foolish.  McGinn bringing the Sonics back to Seattle will almost guarantee him another term.  Failing to do so will ultimately be his final nail.  And I think there are enough politicians on the council against either the mayor or the location of this proposed arena to kill this thing.  My gut has absolutely no faith in the process of Seattle’s government; I hope it’s proven wrong.

When you add it all up, I don’t see how you can be REMOTELY confident in getting this Arena Deal passed.  There are so many factions pushing against this thing.  If we didn’t have some of the most passionate basketball fans in the entire country, this thing would already be dead.  But, I don’t think even passion is going to be enough.  When I say that I don’t think the Sonics will ever come back to Seattle, this is part of what I’ve been talking about all along.  You can’t get anything done in Seattle.  Say what you will about corrupt Chicago city politicians, but at least they get shit done!  In Seattle, shit man.  This city is a fucking joke.  Someone should just drop an atomic bomb on this city and start the fuck over.