Three days from now, the Seahawks will take to the field for the first time in two weeks and kickoff what everyone hopes and expects to be a run to the Super Bowl. They’ll meet the New Orleans Saints in the friendly confines of CenturyLink Field and undoubtedly the atmosphere will be beyond raucous, beyond chaotic, bordering on anarchic, absolutely insane.
Fans will be amped up after a fortnight away from football, and the energy won’t ooze from the stadium so much as it will rage like storm water through a collapsing levee. The Saints, bless their unfortunate souls, will be lucky to leave Seattle with their eardrums fully functional, their spirits still intact, and their appendages all firmly attached to their collective torsos. Beyond that, the outcome should favor the hometown eleven (or twelve, if you believe in the power of the home crowd, which most do), leaving little doubt over what will occur the following week in that very same venue: an NFC Championship bout with either the hated 49ers or the less-hated Panthers.
Remember 2010? It will forever be etched in time as the Seattle Mariners’ “Believe Big” year. Believing big didn’t really work out the way everyone hoped, but the optimism was warranted. Coming off a promising 2009 campaign in which the team posted an 85-77 win-loss mark, the ’09-’10 offseason was full of giddiness and excitement.
Neglecting the various warts in a lineup pockmarked by over-performers and aging veterans, the M’s front office pulled off two major moves that offseason. The first came on December 8th, 2009 in the form of diminutive free agent infielder Chone Figgins. The Mariners inked Figgins to a (ugh) four-year contract that day, then waited just eight more days before pulling off their next big move. On December 16th, the team acquired starting pitcher Cliff Lee from Philadelphia for a hodgepodge of middling prospects. The move was heralded as a franchise-changer, the type that would take the organization from okay to great. With Lee and Felix Hernandez, the Mariners would be unstoppable. Never mind the fact that, assuming both aces stayed healthy, the duo would appear in just 40-percent of the team’s games. This was it! This was the Mariners’ year!
It was Thursday afternoon. I had just acquired a carne asada burrito from Casa D’s — one of the greatest hole-in-the-wall food establishments in the entire world, for the record — and was enjoying lunch in my car while listening to sports radio. I don’t usually eat meals in my car, but on this particular day I needed a break from the office. So I sat there and listened to my pals Jason Puckett and Ian Furness discuss something I half-paid attention to while downing a gigantic flour tortilla filled with wholesome goodness.
The banter ceased. A commercial break hit. I neglected to change the station. I picked up my phone and scrolled through a seemingly endless Twitter feed. A fast-talking pitchman took the airwaves in a taped advertisement for a car dealership. “Win $35,000!” he said. I continued to scroll. “If the Seahawks shut out the Giants…12 winners…no purchase necessary…” And still I scrolled. The ad came to its end.
Geoff Baker, that rascal. He retires from his job as Mariners beat writer to take a new gig as The Seattle Times’ Chief Investigator, Pain In The Ass division. All that stuff he could never say about the M’s when he was an objective reporter? It shall now flow onto the interwebz like champagne in a nightclub frequented by Pacman Jones, splashing liberally onto the breasts of intrigued onlookers who soak up the spillage with smiles on their faces. This is a new era of badassery in local sports media, an era punctuated by whatever Baker shall uncover when he is not sailing the skies in hot air balloons or sampling fine cabernets in exotic locales.
As you may have read over the weekend, Baker’s inaugural foray into the world of sports business reporting (or whatever that title he’s inherited proclaims he does) was a bit of a ground-breaker, an earth-rumbling piece about the Mariners’ front office and their unique brand of dysfunction, the kind that paralyzes fans everywhere into a veritable dumbfounded/angry/terrified hybrid of a stupor. Sure, we’ve known for years that the Mariners were run by a bunch of bumbling idiots. But Baker’s piece not only highlighted the stupidity of the team’s decision-makers, it got reputable sources to speak on record about that stupidity in expansive detail.
Screw reality. This is everything we’ve ever wanted rolled up into a single moment in time and it’s goddamn beautiful. You want Chris Petersen? You got Chris Petersen. You want Robinson Cano? You got Robinson Cano. You want the best team in the NFL? You got the best team in the NFL. If you have a wish to make, a prayer to be answered, a request you absolutely must have fulfilled? Today is your day.
You and I, we aren’t conditioned for this. This is sleet in November, triple-digit temperatures in July. We aren’t used to what this feels like. Happiness? Euphoria? This is Seattle. Seattle. When it comes to sports, we’re the perennially disappointed, the consistently underwhelmed. We live in a snow globe where it simply rains all the time. We fall short of expectations, come up empty-handed at year’s end, tank the off-season, blow the big game, flub every opportunity at every single turn, and wallow, miserably, wretchedly, in the cynical aftermath of the emotional nuking our psyches continually endure.
They’ve called us the Worst Sports City in America. On multiple occasions, no less. It sucks to be us, they’ve pointed out. And for the most part, they’ve been right. It has sucked to be us. We haven’t done shit. We haven’t won shit, we haven’t achieved shit, we haven’t been shit. We’ve been nothing. Some cities fly under the radar; we haven’t been on the radar.
Depending on how you look at it, this day was either supposed to belong to the Seahawks or the internet. It was Monday. Cyber Monday, the day the masses descend upon the world wide web for bargains. But Cyber Monday mattered little to those of us in the Emerald City. The Seahawks had a football game on this particular evening. That meant they were playing on Monday Night Football, arguably the biggest regular season stage in all of professional sports. They were already relegated to sharing a pseudo-holiday with online retailers. And yet their civic brethren across the sports landscape were not content to let them have even half the spotlight.
It started with the Mariners, those assholes, constantly fighting to stay relevant in a town where their irrelevance reigns supreme. They woke up on this chilly, sun-soaked morning and decided to sign Willie Bloomquist. Yes, the Willie Bloomquist. To a two-year, $5.8 million contract. It’s been five years since Willie last played for his hometown Mariners and he’s 36 years of age now, so why not sign him, right? Makes perfect sense. Anyway, they did it, they really did it. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t register on our radar – we’re talking about an aging utility player, after all – but this was no ordinary situation.
As of January 31, 2014, Chuck Armstrong will no longer serve as team president of your Seattle Mariners. That fateful date is just 66 calendar days away and frankly we could not be happier.
The end of Armstrong’s 28-year reign of terror is nigh and it’s time to celebrate. Rather than give you hundreds, if not thousands, of words on why this news is so glorious, we’ve put together the following presentation for you below.
Before you scroll through our celebratory visual aids, however, please turn up the volume on your speakers and press “Play” on one of the two videos below, Vengabus or Zombie Nation, whichever you feel best captures the essence of your Mariner fanaticism. Then, without further ado, enjoy.
What Has Happened to Husky Basketball? The Three Biggest Issues Facing This Team and Where The Dawgs Go From Here
The Washington’s men’s basketball team isn’t very good right now. Five games into a new season and they’ve already lost three times. They more closely resemble the Seattle Mariners than any other local ballclub these days and fans are pulling their collective hair out watching this squad play.
What the hell happened? This team used to be great. Head coach Lorenzo Romar used to pull in top-10 recruiting classes, used to guide his team to the NCAA Tournament on a regular basis, used to sit atop the conference as a perennial power each season. And then suddenly, it all changed.
Back-to-back down years have the Huskies in a precarious position. A third season of less-than-stellar performance seems to be on the horizon. Fans are questioning the direction of the program and answers — How? Why? — seem to be at an all-time low.
There’s hope for this team, certainly, but there are a number of obstacles blocking the path to achievement. The three biggest issues for the Huskies? We’ve compiled them right here.
Issue No. 1: Recruiting
I’m ethically opposed to siding with the people who want to fire Steve Sarkisian from his head coaching position at the University of Washington. It’s not that I’m completely against canning the guy — with each subsequent loss, each confounding play call, and each season of unmet expectations I find myself considering the possibilities of life after Sark — because I’m not. It’s that those diehard radicals who spend every waking moment of their blubbering existences calling for the man’s head are part of the problem. It’s them, not the prospect of a sacrificial firing, that I have a hard time agreeing with.
But first let’s get the obvious out of the way. Steve Sarkisian has not achieved the goals everybody had for this team back in 2009, when he first took the reins of a Washington program very much in disarray. Coming off a winless 2008 campaign, the bar was set as low as it had ever been in the history of Husky football. And yet when Sarkisian was hired in December of that year, spirits were immediately raised, anticipation was at once rekindled, and expectations — in the forms of Rose Bowls and conference titles — were instantly set in place.
Your 2013 Seattle Seahawks are 10-1, which in and of itself is a problem because obviously, hah, they’re not a perfect 11-0. Yeah, they might be the best team in the NFL right now, but there’s always room for improvement. That’s why we’re here today to point out 11 of their greatest flaws. Trust me, when we win the Super Bowl, you’ll be grateful we addressed these problems so early on. Go Hawks.
11. Marshawn Lynch’s Beacon Plumbing ad, which is frightening.
Their slogan is “Stop freakin’, call Beacon,” but in reality the freakin’ starts with the ad pitched by the Seahawks’ starting tailback. The tone with which Lynch delivers his endorsement of the local plumbing company is the type of tenor you might expect to hear right before you get stabbed in the heart or kicked in the testicles. Maybe Beacon can consider public speaking classes for the celebrities giving their testimonials in the future, but for now the entire Greater Seattle area lives in fear of clogged drains.
10. There aren’t enough police officers at CenturyLink Field.
The five-year anniversary of the day I started this website came and went on Tuesday, November 12th, and as those 24 hours marking a half-decade elapsed, I tried to piece together the exact right words to explain what it all meant. The words are harder and harder to come by with each passing year. These moments of reflection aren’t just about the 12 months preceding a birthdate, if you will, but also about the bigger picture of this very thing that has come to define a significant portion of my life.
For starters, when I first launched the site in 2008, I really didn’t think I’d still be doing this in 2013. I figured by now I’d be consumed by a career, by a job that took my attention away from this hobby I partake in. In fact, that has occurred, at least somewhat. If you visit with any kind of regularity, you know I don’t write nearly as often as I once did. I have excuses – finding the requisite passion and energy to do any extracurricular activity is occasionally sapped by the reality of work, for one – but mostly it just sucks that I can’t write as much as I’d like. Writing makes me happy and who doesn’t want to do things that evoke happiness? At the same time, writing and the frequency with which I’ve done it in the past has entered the realm of rec sports and partying and all that other crap we leave behind as we quote-unquote grow up.
But the act of transcribing one’s thoughts is cathartic, to say the very least. And in experiencing all of this first-hand, I’ve come to realize how beneficial the brainstorming, the whispering, and the typing can be. Thinking, then speaking aloud, then tapping plastic squares on a laptop is more meaningful to me than almost anything else. I could never give it up. I need it.
During Sunday’s game against Atlanta, you may have noticed Cliff Avril going ape shit on the sidelines in the second half of an all-but-secured Seahawks victory. Avril appeared to be passionately berating his teammates for reasons unknown to many, including coach Pete Carroll, who said on Monday that he wasn’t sure why his starting defensive end was so upset.
We may never get to the bottom of the Cliff Avril freak-out, but we can surmise at least 11 reasons why Avril acted the way he did. At the very least, I think we can all relate.
Why was Avril so angry? Well…
11. All those Candy Crush invites on Facebook.
“I don’t want to play Candy Crush, Richard! STOP SENDING ME INVITES! I WILL DE-FRIEND YOU!”
I’m a bowl prediction junkie. The white board in my work office currently displays a ranking of each Pac-12-related bowl as an object of constant reference. I obsess over bowl projections throughout the season and do my best to forecast at which destination each team will end up. It’s selfish, mostly. My friends and I travel to every University of Washington bowl game and turn the trip into our annual holiday vacation. As a result, we have quite a bit invested in where the Huskies’ postseason contest is played.
Over the past couple years, I’ve spent so much time analyzing bowl prognostications that I got to thinking I could probably just predict this stuff myself. And hey, since I have a website at my disposal, I put two and two together and here we are today.
I won’t pretend I know enough about the rest of the teams around the country to forecast the matchups of every single bowl bout. But I have outlined the likeliest postseason outcome for each Pac-12 football program below. Ranked from most prestigious bowl to least, here are your 2013 Pac-12 bowl predictions.
Good teams win games like the one the Seahawks won on Monday. Regardless of the opponent, the venue, the spread, the conditions, or any other hurdle one could dream up, good teams – championship-contending teams – prove victorious in adverse contests.
It’s important to remember that fact, because over the course of three hours on Monday evening, fans of Seattle’s football team conveyed the entire gamut of negative emotions as their ballclub battled – and ultimately triumphed over – the St. Louis Rams. From tweets of “Fire Bevell!” to verbal lambasts of every player on the field – Sidney sucks, Russell sucks, Marshawn sucks, Sweezy sucks (okay, he kind of did, but still) – to declaring the season cooked, toast, stick a fork in it, done, the 12th Man went full overreaction Monday in the midst of a game that, once again, good teams win.