Peter Steinbrueck may or may not be a bad guy, I don’t know for sure. But I do know that the 2013 City of Seattle Mayoral candidate vehemently opposes things I enjoy — namely, the return of the Seattle Supersonics — and that’s enough for me to dislike him.
It’s almost not fair to base your entire opinion of someone around their stance on a solitary issue, but I’ve done that because I’m a simple-minded, sports-loving asshole. Does that make me a bad person? Maybe it does. But I think I carry the assholery around with me well enough to justify my stance.
I bring all this up in light of recent events that occurred on Twitter, events that were chronicled in print by KIRO Radio here and Seattle Weekly here. In reading over the published CliffsNotes version of a social media movement that transpired over the course of an evening in which I watched all of a SyFy Network original movie entitled Blast Vegas (starring Frankie Muniz, aka Malcolm in the Middle), you’ll find that the hashtag #SteinbrueckFacts is now going on 14-plus hours of relevancy, relevancy that may (or may not, we’ll see) have peaked last night when the topic began trending locally. Oh, Twitter.
The whole thing started out of boredom — as if the excitement of watching all of Blast Vegas wasn’t a clear signal of my relative boredom — and slowly devolved into a cesspool of online entertainment. Triggered by the evening’s mayoral debates and remarks made by Steinbrueck about our beloved Sonics, the inspiration for facts about the former City of Seattle Councilman was laid upon my veritable doorstep. And thus it all began.
In fairness to Steinbrueck, he’s a really easy guy to dislike. He presents himself as pompous and arrogant, and like many of the individuals opposing current mayor Mike McGinn, he’s made the bulk of his campaign about refuting the building of a new multi-purpose sports arena in Seattle’s SoDo district. (Kudos to McGinn for forcing his opponents to take this unpopular tactic.) Given the opportunity to trash a guy that seemingly hates sports, sports fans around the city did just that, using the #SteinbrueckFacts hashtag as a marker of their enthusiasm for the subject, I suppose. It got to the point that people who didn’t even know there was a Peter Steinbrueck began joining the movement simply to issue wisecracks. Social media, everyone.
Beyond the spectrum of punch lines and giggles, there is a real depth to this particular subject. For those of us who want the Sonics and the NBA to return to our fair city, this year’s mayoral elections are incredibly pivotal.
Mike McGinn, our mayor of the past three-plus years, is up for reelection. As most sports fans know by now, McGinn has evolved over the course of his term from the bike-lane-loving hippie we once poked fun at to a hero that has professed his desire to return our favorite green-and-gold-clad basketball team back to its rightful place on the map. For those of us who share McGinn’s dream of resurrecting the Sonics, we absolutely need the man to earn reelection and lead this city for another four years. The bulk of that span will allow McGinn and his staff to oversee the entire five-year duration of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that Chris Hansen and the Sonics Arena team engaged in with the city. Should McGinn fail to achieve reelection, there’s a very good chance that the MOU could be rendered null and void by whomever assumes office instead. Reneging on the MOU would almost certainly end all hope of the NBA (or even the NHL) coming to Seattle.
That’s why guys like Peter Steinbrueck — he of the borderline insane “we only need one basketball team here: the Storm” mentality — must be stopped. And if taking to Twitter to come up with ridiculous pseudo-facts about a man helps stop him, then so be it.
But make no mistake about it, this isn’t as much about Steinbrueck as it is Mike McGinn. If you value basketball in this city, then you value McGinn. A vote for the guy is a vote for the Seattle Supersonics, because somehow, some way, all the candidates in this election have made the Sonics and the team’s future arena the preeminent issue of this race. So follow Mayor McGinn on Twitter, keep up with his campaign, do all that good stuff, and with any luck we’ll have our team back soon.
Forever and always, Go Sonics.
*Photo credit: @HomersApparel