Lloyd McClendon emerged from the depths of Globe Life Park’s third base dugout and strode purposefully across the playing field. As they so often do when McClendon visits his pitcher, the entire Seattle infield converged upon the mound and their suddenly-embattled closer, Fernando Rodney.
Having recorded a pair of quick outs to the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth, Rodney appeared on the verge of his fourth save of the season. But then the 37-year-old right-hander relinquished a single up the middle to Texas third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff. Minutes later, Rodney issued a walk to designated hitter Mitch Moreland. The tying run moved into scoring position. The winning run stood perched on first base. McClendon got up.
In all likelihood, the team’s first-year manager probably reminded his players that they needed just one more out to secure a victory, that they had a force available at any base, and that this was their game to win. But based on the events that immediately followed the brief get-together, McClendon may very well have said something along the lines of, “Guys, let’s do everything we can to fuck this up as spectacularly as possible.”
For last week’s recap, click here.
Week’s Win-Loss Record: 3-3
Overall Win-Loss Record: 7-5
Winning Percentage: .583
Division Standing: Second place
Week’s Opponents: Los Angeles Angels (2 games) – Home; Oakland Athletics (3 games) – Home; Texas Rangers (1 game of a 3-game series) – Road
Playoff Status: Not mathematically eliminated
Team Morale: Alright, alright, alright
Hector Noesi is only 27 years of age, so in fairness his career might not be dead yet. But as a right-handed pitcher who reluctantly boasts a 5.64 career ERA, a trade to Texas and the Rangers’ hitter-friendly ballpark seems as close to capital punishment as Major League Baseball will allow. So in anticipation of Noesi’s impending demise, I offer up this preemptive eulogy to mark the brief life and times of Hector Noesi, professional baseball player.
Oh, Hector. Sweet, incompetent Hector. Your time with us was short, yet the impact will last a lifetime. You may be gone now, but you will never be forgotten. As a member of Seattle’s unofficial Ayala-Figgins Hall of Infamy, your legacy will live on for eternity. But before we bid adieu, let’s remember those special moments we shared together.
Acquired from the Yankees following the 2011 season, you came to Seattle touting a 95-mile-per-hour heater that convinced so many of us that you might just be something special. You were only 25 years old at the time, young and virile, with enough promise and potential to titillate more than a few onlookers who wanted so badly to believe in you.
Once again, we’ve reached that point in the year when sports take a back seat to women, as they so often tend to do. In this instance, however, you have the opportunity to win a trip to any sporting event in the world by accurately selecting the hottest women on the planet.
Because the stakes are so high, we’ve decided to help you out on your way to the rugby World Cup in Australia, the Jai Alai championship in Malaysia, or the Beer Olympics in Europe. At the same time, you’re more than welcome to play along with Seattle Sportsnet and a number of our closest friends by filling out a bracket at SportsRadioKJR.com, then navigating here, clicking “Join,” and entering the password, “sonics.”
Below you’ll find projections for all 64 matchups in this year’s tournament. We’ve done all the dirty work for you because we care. And also because we got to scour Google Images for pictures of these women. But mostly because we care.
Region 1: Your Fortune Awaits
Katy Perry vs. Rihanna
For the second year in a row, Perry and Rihanna are matched up against one another in the tournament’s opening round. A season ago, it was Perry who triumphed over her Barbadian foe and there’s no reason to believe the outcome will be any different in 2014. Take a bow, Rihanna, it’s over. Winner: Perry.
You don’t want to read about the Mariners every single day. It’s not good for your health. For the same reasons, no one really wants to write about the Mariners every single day, either. Frankly, if someone were to chronicle their thoughts on the M’s on a repeating 24-hour basis, the log of emotions would read like a crazy person’s diary. For evidence of this, go scour my Twitter account at any point in time.
To combat the daily bipolarity of the baseball team you and I choose to both love and hate, we here at Seattle Sportsnet have decided to bring you a comprehensive week-to-week recap of the 2014 Mariners experience, which in itself is sure to be a roller coaster ride of emotional proportions. While we’ll fill the remaining days of each week with more pointed discussion of the M’s – trade suggestions, Hector Noesi minor league updates, Top 11 lists, half-brained promotional ideas, et cetera – you can count on this weekly look at the team to quench your thirst for all things Seattle baseball.
Without further introduction, let’s get to the update.
Win-Loss Record: 4-2
Winning Percentage: .667
Division Standing: First place
Week’s Opponents: Los Angeles Angels (3 games) – Road; Oakland Athletics (3 games) – Road
Playoff Status: Not mathematically eliminated
Team Morale: Decent
What the hell is going on? That’s a question many of us were asking ourselves on Wednesday evening, shortly after the Mariners completed a season-opening three-game sweep of the Angels. The Angels were supposed to be okay. The M’s were supposed to be less than okay. All things considered, a trio of wins for the boys in blue was wholly unanticipated.
There are more than a few dozen Golden Tates. He is a type. He is not the prototype. He is not Calvin Johnson. You can replace a Golden Tate with another Tate-type. You cannot replace a Calvin Johnson, a prototype, when only one of his kind, a six-foot-five-inch speedster with hands like cocoa butter, exists.
This is the reality of business in the National Football League. Unless you are a unique breed, amongst the elite in the sport, you are replaceable. You’re an after-market iPhone charger, a USB thumb drive, a pair of Levi’s 501s. We can go to the store and easily get more of you. Or in the case of your average NFL player, browse the open market for a viable successor.
Football season is over and baseball season has yet to begin. We’re fully immersed in that special time of year when basketball and hockey take center stage, which in turn means Seattleites have nothing to do right now.
As a result, you’ve been productively slogging your way through other things that aren’t football since the magic of Super Bowl XLVIII a distant five weeks ago. And what exactly have you been up to? Read on and we’ll find out…
I was a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Washington the first time I met Lorenzo Romar. It was the evening before Valentine’s Day, 2004, and the Husky Men’s Basketball team was getting ready to square off against the hated Oregon Ducks.
In an attempt to encourage students to arrive a) early and b) en masse, the athletic department’s marketing staff held a pregame meet-and-greet with the head coach that also included … wait for it … FREE FOOD. A Qdoba taco bar was set up in an auxiliary gym and, not surprisingly, a good number of students showed up to sample the fare.
My buddy, Charlie, and I had been attending games the entire season, but up to this point crowds had been slow to follow us to Hec Edmundson Pavilion. A string of pivotal conference wins had sparked a renewed interest in the team, however, and the athletic department was looking for every opportunity to capitalize on the sudden success.
Like any announcement of this significance, the moment was met with a variety of reactions across the public spectrum. Pundits and players alike weighed in on Sam’s revelation, with most initial offerings proving to be fairly positive in nature.
Seahawks linebacker (and Super Bowl MVP) Malcolm Smith was one of the first and most prominent athletes to share his take on the news, providing the following comments via Twitter:
The man who jubilantly bounded along First Avenue without pants on probably summed it up best. With arms raised skyward, he hopped up and down, shuffling parallel to the southern flow of traffic as a cry of unbridled excitement sounded from his gullet. A cameraman with lens trained upon Q13 Fox News field reporter John Hopperstad, the unwitting accomplice in all this, remained frozen to a spot for fractions of a moment as the pants-less man, twig and berries in full view, coincided with the focal point of the shot. In an instant, technology recorded the half-naked hoopla in all its ballsy glory. And as millions of people the world around became privy to the triumph of the man’s favorite football team, the video of the happy, bottomless Seahawks fan gained rapid exposure.
Sure, anyone could make jokes about the guy – he wasn’t wearing anything from the waist down, after all. But adorned from the belly up in the wolf grey replica jersey of the team’s quarterback, the message was clear: Seattle was in full celebration mode. What better way to celebrate than by removing one’s clothes?
This is what we’ve waited for since birth. For many of us, the entirety of our respective existences has been spent anticipating a championship. As a collective whole, we’ve been trophy-starved in the Emerald City since 1979, when our dear departed (soon-to-return) SuperSonics took home Seattle’s first and only major professional sports title. Those who actually remember that star-crossed basketball season are now 40 years of age or older. Those who haven’t quite ripened to that level of maturity have never experienced the thrill of winning it all. Together, we’ve yearned for an event that was beyond slow to arrive.
We’ve been dubbed the Worst Sports City in America on multiple occasions, most recently within the past year. We’ve ho-hummed our way through countless losing campaigns, shrugged our shoulders repeatedly through playoff time, and rallied more passionately for a franchise that was stolen from us than for some that still exist. We’ve been characterized by misery and become synonymous with defeat. The trademark rain that falls upon our shoulders as we sullenly languish under murky skies has served as a metaphor for scribes who detail our athletic failures. To date, it seems, the only thing we’ve been good at is losing.
We’ve been discordant and irritable and more likely to pick fights with one another than to gather together in serendipitous solidarity. We’ve spent more time divided than united, embarrassed than emboldened, incensed than inspired. We’ve been angry and bitter, morose and beat down, hurt and disappointed. We’ve been the laughingstock, the butt of the joke, the doormat upon which outsiders wiped their feet. No one’s had it worse, they’ve argued. And we’ve agreed. A lifetime of shortcomings has brought us to a certain Zen state of understanding when it comes to our place in this world.
We have never been the winners. Until now. Until February 2nd, 2014, Super Bowl Sunday. We were champions once, thirty-five years in our distant past, and after a multi-generational drought, we are champions again. We are that team. With those players. With that trophy. We are those fans, the ones who get to hold a parade, who get to witness the unveiling of a meaningful stadium banner, who will get peppered with TV ads for commemorative t-shirts and hats and DVDs and knick-knacks and whooziewhats. Us. It’s us. We are the winners.
There are plays that will define our conquest. There are names that will forever be burned upon the tips of our tongues, historic in their significance to our victory. There are coaches and players and sounds and images and so many memories to be sorted like phone numbers in the Rolodexes of our minds. We will quantify the importance of each isolated second of our journey to relevance and qualify the legacies of those who lived that odyssey with us, who gave us reason to rejoice. All of that will be done in time. But for now, we reside in uncharted territory. For right now, we live in a haze of elation that we don’t quite know how to navigate.
This isn’t just about a football team. It’s not about the trophy that will be inscribed with the name of our city or the accolades that will come with being designated as victors. This is about a group of people who have thirsted for this moment forever and ever and ever. It’s about an entire region that has come together to be a part of the magic that surrounds winning. It’s about the smiles and the fist pumps you’ll get from strangers you pass at the grocery store, the reminiscent conversations you’ll have with people you otherwise never would have talked to, the laughter you’ll share with friends and loved ones when you think back to that time we did it, we really did it, we won our long-awaited championship.
This is what it feels like. Forgive us for removing our pants, but we needed this so bad and now we’re enjoying it with all our junk hanging out because, frankly, we just don’t know what else to do. We aren’t used to celebrating, so we’ll celebrate the only way we know how, which means some of us might be naked and some of us might be clothed. But I promise you, we will enjoy this like nothing else, absolutely nothing else, because this is that very moment we’ve been waiting for.
The Seahawks are Super Bowl champions. For the City of Seattle, best city on earth, and the entire Pacific Northwest, beautiful place we call home, this is our time. Enjoy it. Enjoy every minute of it.
If you’re looking for a surreal experience, take a drive past the Seahawks practice facility over the next few days and feast your eyes upon the ghost town that sits upon the shores of Renton’s sliver of Lake Washington. The usually bustling Virginia Mason Athletic Center is vacant, save for a handful of cars in the parking lot and a few inconspicuous employees middling around the building, everyone else having departed for a game, just a game, to be played three-thousand miles away.
For a week, at least, the Seahawks belong not to the Pacific Northwest but to the nation, one of two teams that America will choose to root for come Super Bowl Sunday. These are your Seahawks, our Seahawks, Seattle’s Seahawks, certainly. But as the week wears on, a bandwagon will swell beyond capacity as onlookers the world around pick sides, opting between our squad and those other guys from Denver.
This is what we’ve always wanted, isn’t it? For the bulk of the past three years, as the Hawks have marched towards uber-relevance and the fan base has subsequently multiplied, the 12th Man has decried the lack of regard from those deemed nationally important. There were never enough segments on the radio, features on television, or inches in our favorite publications to satisfy our Blue Fridays – and Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, too.
Below is a response to a letter penned to Seattle by The Oklahoman columnist Jenni Carlson. Read at your own risk.
Dear Oklahoma City,
Truce? I don’t think so.
Here in Seattle, we’ve been watching your basketball team and its slobber-knocking run to an inevitable playoff ouster. We see the joy our former Sonics have created. We see the passion your fans have for this championship-losing bound bunch. We see the arm-waving, cousin-banging Thunder-up insanity of it all.
And we wonder if it’s time you went and fucked yourselves.
You’ve got a great, albeit unaccomplished basketball team.
We’ve got a great football team.
Can we all just agree that you’ll go fuck yourselves?
Sure, there will probably always be some people in Oklahoma City who want to get along with Seattle because they need validation and have a strong desire to be liked and accepted by all of society. They watched a couple years ago when the Thunder lost in the NBA Finals and felt that a future of fateful title defeats might be avoided if a bit of good karma was extended the Pacific Northwest’s way.
11. He’s from Compton.
Compton. You’ve heard about this place. It’s a scary, scary little neighborhood. The concrete jungle, they call it. Jungles are frightening. Concrete is also frightening. They shoot people there, supposedly. Gangs run rampant through the alleyways. Wannabe rappers approach you on street corners, Discmans in hand, demanding you listen to their mixtapes. There is nothing more petrifying than that.
And Richard Sherman, he’s from there, he’s from Compton. California! Everyone there smokes marijuana! And carries an AK-47, just like Ice Cube said! How did Sherman escape? He must be some sort of magician, or worse, a wizard. Not the good kind of wizard, either. He’s like Voldemort. The Voldemort of Compton. What do we do? WHAT DO WE DO?!
Out of curiosity, I dialed up the San Francisco 49ers ticket office Sunday night. I wanted to see if their phones, like their franchise, would quit after five rings, too. Alas, the hotline was designed to operate much like the Niners of 2014 — and of each of the prior 19 seasons, as well — going straight to a pre-recorded message and resulting, however unfortunately, in no rings.
As many are well aware, the world has been reminded numerous times over the course of this season that the Seattle Seahawks, unlike the mighty 49ers, have amassed a total of zero rings, zero Lombardi Trophies, zero Super Bowl titles throughout their 37-year existence. Niner fans love to bring up the past in that regard, not only because the days of yore are where all of their success lies, but in turn because the past, you see, allegedly has some bearing on the present in today’s NFL. The Seahawks of right now, ringless wonders that they are, are somehow inferior to all those title teams of years gone by because, you know, SCIENCE.