The other night I was sitting on my ass watching TV when a Gorton’s fish stick ad aired. I imagine Gorton’s would rather we all refer to them by their official title — Gorton’s Seafood — but let’s face it, what they’re known for is fish sticks. Frozen, rectangular conglomerations of mysterious fish parts. That’s all Gorton’s really is.
At the end of the commercial, a woman with a pleasant voice sang the Gorton’s slogan — “Trust the Gorton’s fisherman…” — and a thought crossed my mind. I’ve heard this jingle my entire life and never once have I actually put any faith in the Gorton’s fisherman. Does anyone trust the Gorton’s fisherman? Because I don’t.
The 2013 baseball season is underway and you don’t know how you should feel about our beloved Seattle Mariners. Fear not, M’s fans. I’m not here to tell you how you should feel (that’s no one’s place), but I can give you 11 reasons why you might be able to shed some cynicism and believe in this year’s team.
Without further delay…
11. Chone Figgins is gone.
Lest you think three years of vitriol directed towards the Mariners’ sometimes-third baseman was unwarranted, consider this:
In between Sunday afternoons spent watching Nickelodeon Guts and Family Double Dare and all the other kid shows that permeated every kid’s existence in the kid-friendly, kid-centric Nineties, I was a baseball fan. My summers were punctuated by bruises and scuffed knees and mosquito bites that only seemed to multiply each time I scratched them. I had a glove with Ken Griffey Jr.’s name burned into the pocket, a wardrobe full of blue and yellow Mariners apparel, snapback caps with an “S” on the crown, and this belief, however foolish, that I would one day grow up to be them.
Throughout the duration of every season, I would type up, print out, and maintain a list of each player on the Mariners’ active roster. Jersey number, name, and position. If Dann Howitt got called up from Triple-A, then by god you’d find me in front of a Macintosh Classic typing Howitt’s information into Microsoft Works. And if I went to a game to discover that Howitt’s jersey number had inexplicably been switched from 23 to 44, upon arriving home that edit would be made, saved, printed, and kept. I could give you the details on every single player, from No. 1 (Greg Briley and Brian Turang) all the way to No. 96 (Mak Suzuki).
*Editor’s note: With baseball season fast approaching, it’s time we gave you some insight into the world of the major league ballplayer. To kick things off, we’ve solicited the wisdom of a talented writer who also moonlights as a nanny to the stars, if you will. Revealing a behind the scenes look at the MLB lifestyle is Raija Sanford (@RSanford23 on Twitter), who you can check out on her blog here. Anyone could tell you about the Mariners’ rotation or the fate of the season-to-be. But no one else will let you in on Josh Beckett’s mockery of his pregnant wife…
By Raija Sanford
I have gone to private schools my entire life. In that circle, one hires a nanny; one does not become a nanny. But somehow, I became a nanny, and not just any nanny, a Major League Baseball nanny.
When I started babysitting for new families my friends always asked me about them and I would say, “Well, the husband plays professional baseball.” And somehow their follow-up question was always, “Oh. So what does the wife do? Why do they need a nanny?”
Well, let me tell you…
If you’re anything like my good friend Matt and I, you’ll be glued to your couch the next two days watching the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Matt and I have been planning this for awhile. We each took vacation time for no other reason than to watch 48 hours of basketball from my living room.
In order to maximize our TV watching, I’ve composed a chronological schedule of all opening-round games with locations, times, and TV stations and am sharing it with you. So now instead of panicking when one game ends, you can simply refer to this schedule and flip the station without thinking. I’d get you chips and beer if I could, but this will have to do for now. Happy viewing!
*Note: All times listed are Pacific. Because this is Seattle.
Day 1: Thursday, March 21, 2013
No. of games: 16
First game start time: 9:15am
Last game start time: 6:57pm
Approximate viewing time: 12 hours
Later in the afternoon, it was announced by Chris Hansen and the Sonics Arena team that a “Priority Ticket Wait List” would debut for prospective Sonics season ticketholders on Thursday. At that point, damn near ecstatic, I said to myself, “My goodness. Things just keep improving. Is it at all possible that this day could get any better? There’s no way. No possible way.”
But then I thought, actually, yes there is a way for this day to get better.
If the Mariners were to somehow reacquire Chone Figgins from the Florida Marlins with the sole intention of cutting him, that would make my day better. Much better, in fact. Possibly the best day I’ve ever had. And that got me thinking about how on earth we could obtain Figgins for our own sadistic pleasure of re-releasing him.
This will not be easy, of course. Not only is Figgins in the Marlins’ camp on a minor league deal, he has to be willing to ink a contract with the Mariners before he can come here and be released. So rather than just make this a baseball move, I figure we have to expand our mission to include all walks of life. That’s right, we need to look to cut Figgins from literally anything by which he can possibly be cut.
The truth is, in the labyrinth of my mind, all the paths my thoughts travel down ultimately lead to scenarios in which we not-so-coincidentally happen upon the Mariners’ ex-third baseman…and then cut him. Because honestly, has there been a greater day in the past year than November 28th, 2012, the day Figgins was officially released from his contract? Heck no, there hasn’t. So yeah, I’d like to continue reliving that moment over and over and over again. Let me tell you how I see it playing out.
The first time I ever saw Troy Hennum, he was following my buddy Phil around. Phil stood 6’7″, played for the University of Washington basketball team, and cast a long shadow over his much more diminutive tagalong. The alignment was symbolic — Phil silently and casually strolling into the IMA (UW’s student gym) with Troy damn near stalking the Husky athlete as he ran behind him, all while talking a million miles a minute. It was the personification of jersey-chasing, and it was awesome to behold.
They say that one of the best ways to find out about a man’s character is to play basketball with him. On that day, I played ball with Phil and Troy, Troy for the first time. Immediately, he bugged the shit out of me. This was a bro’s bro. A headband-wearing frat boy instigator, the ultimate in brodaciousness come to life.
Editor’s note: Every now and then we like to feature guest writers here at Seattle Sportsnet. Today, we bring you a piece from Matt Holt (@TheMattHolt on Twitter), one of my good friends who also happens to be an unabashed Husky homer. You may have noticed lately that I (among others) have spent a good deal of time ripping on Abdul Gaddy. While Gaddy may have earned some of the criticism coming his way, Matt writes up a defense, of sorts, in favor of Washington’s senior point guard. Take a look and decide for yourself: Will Abdul Gaddy’s legacy at Washington be that of a failure, or one of success?
By Matt Holt
I get it. It is really easy to make fun of Abdul Gaddy. I mean, really easy. He came in as the No. 2 point guard in his class, he encountered lofty expectations, and we were told he was going to lead us to the Sweet 16 and beyond. Those predictions never came true and Abdul’s career failed to unfold as we wanted.
To many people, Abdul is the core of our Husky problems. The program fails because he has failed. While there may be some truth to the statements people are making about Gaddy, there may still be a way the Huskies can salvage this season and, in turn, Abdul’s career. And all it takes is a few key wins starting now.
Outdated, out of touch, and seemingly out of ideas, ROOT Sports Northwest is quickly becoming the Aurora Mall of local sports television. Those of you in your late-twenties or older may remember Aurora Mall, a once-proud shopping center in North Seattle that was razed in the early-nineties in favor of a Costco, a Home Depot, and a handful of smaller storefronts. The mall fell victim to a lack of tenants, a lack of shoppers, and ultimately a wrecking ball. Perhaps it could have been saved with a little effort from owners. Sometimes effort is all it takes.
Much like Aurora Mall, ROOT Sports Northwest is losing tenants and shoppers in its own right. Less than a year ago, the Pac-12 Network debuted and began broadcasting a number of sporting events that had previously been aired on ROOT. For fans, the change was a welcome one, as ROOT had done little to endear themselves to viewers over the years. With low-quality technology (Do they have HD yet? No, seriously.), lackluster original shows, and on-air personalities that failed to relate to viewers, ROOT wasn’t giving its customers what they wanted. When the Pac-12 departed, an exodus of the viewership commenced.
Months have passed and ROOT has continued to struggle. Look at their daily programming lineup and one can’t help but cringe. But rather than write the network off as a joke that will die a slow death, I’d like to think we can still save the region’s premier (by default) local sports network. How are we going to do that? With the help of Twitter, I asked people how they would go about improving ROOT. This was what they had to say.
1. Create fresh local programs that people actually want to watch.
Because you need this awesomeness on a Monday.
Everyone has their line. One can only withstand so much anger, so much vitriol towards another human being before it becomes too much. Even if that venom is not directed towards you, even if it’s directed elsewhere, just witnessing the hate-fest from the sidelines can be taxing; it’s emotionally draining, to say the least. And while a part of every one of us may agree that harsh criticism can certainly be warranted, there is similarly a more humane part of each of us that aches when the subject of such criticism is repeatedly torn to shreds.
Thus we have Exhibit 1A in the form of Abdul Gaddy, Washington’s senior point guard who has come to personify the failures of a Husky Basketball season slowly spiraling down the drain.
Gaddy is a mercurial subject in that his personality would seemingly prevent him from becoming the target of pure loathing. He appears to be an intelligent, reserved, humble young man who utters nary a word of angst about his struggles. That alone makes him worthy of respect, no matter how much we may not like the guy. Anyone who can face adversity and bite their lip — especially with all the access to social media outlets that we enjoy today — is stronger than most of us will ever be.
Fighting with people on Twitter is about as pointless as it gets. In general, you both come off looking like douchebags, and no matter how heated your discourse becomes, there is no governing body to determine who wins and who loses. You can’t really out-debate one another in 140-character blurbs, and about all you’ll end up doing is pissing off the people who mutually follow you and your sparring partner, victims of timelines filled with petty drivel. You can punch and kick and scream and get worked up over words on a screen and you’ll be no better for it when the day is done.
There’s a very poignant moment at the outset of Season 4, Episode 10 of Saved By the Bell, an episode entitled Wrestling with the Future. The moment harkens back to a simpler time, when the college recruiting process wasn’t nearly as shady, complicated, overblown, or commercialized as it is now. It recalls an era that existed prior to the ESPNs of the world smearing their greasy fingerprints all over the one day of the year that teenagers sign the remainder of their adolescence over to a university and an athletics program, that lived before those same teenagers would sit under the lights of a crowded gymnasium and select baseball caps off a table.
It is in this moment in that particular episode of television’s greatest and most influential program (ever, in history) that the following occurs:
“The reader comments section, it’s a free-for-all. The level of discourse has become so inane and nasty. And it’s not just at the Times, it’s ESPN, everywhere – people, anonymous people, take shots at the story, writers, each other. Whatever you’ve achieved in that story gets drowned out by this chorus of idiots.” -Steve Kelley, in an article by Rick Anderson appearing in Seattle Weekly, Jan. 4, 2013.
It is January 31st, 2013. Today is the final day of Steve Kelley’s employment at The Seattle Times. For four decades, Kelley has been a writer. For 31 of those years, Kelley has been a writer at the Times, first in the old, grey structure at 1120 John Street, then more recently in a neighboring venue across the concrete expanse of a parking lot at 1000 Denny Way.
Over the course of his three-plus decades in those two buildings, the 63-year-old has done exactly what a newspaper asks its columnists to do: he has elicited reactions, and strong ones at that. Love him or hate him (and for most of us, there is no in-between), Kelley has motivated people to vocalize their emotions on a particular topic. Regardless of your opinion on the man, he has been one of few individuals consistently capable of achieving such feedback from readers for more than a generation. No matter the issue being discussed in the sports section each day, one thing always remained certain: Steve Kelley would have an opinion on it.
Yet here we are, on Kelley’s last day of work, staring down the barrel of a conundrum. As Kelley greets an uncertain future, we encounter one of our own, as well. For us, however, that uncertainty revolves around media and where it’s headed. It just so happens that the man leaving media behind, the man who happens to be the subject of these ensuing paragraphs, is a casualty of our uncertainty.