Category Archives: Featured Articles

Seattle’s Savior, Paul Allen

paulallenThere are many of us who still remember the lead news story on one fateful evening in February of 1996. As families turned on television sets across the region, we were informed that a caravan of moving trucks bound for Southern California had hit the road that day, packed to the gills with two decades’ worth of Seattle Seahawks history. Unceremoniously, our football team and all its belongings were gone, destined to become the Los Angeles Seahawks of Anaheim.

Owner Ken Behring, a festering pimple of a human being, was to blame for the heist. A real estate developer by way of the Bay Area, Behring had acquired ownership of the Seahawks in 1988 and proceeded to spend eight miserable years running the ballclub through the turf, beneath the concrete, and well below the surface of the ground.

While Behring, the real-life personification of a bumbling Scooby-Doo villain, acted quickly in shuttling the team out of town, the NFL and King County reacted with even speedier precision to halt the vans and return them to the Pacific Northwest. The shoddy relocation attempt was thwarted, and a humiliated Behring was forced to sell.

Almost immediately, a white knight emerged. He had built his fortune in the software industry, but his passion lay in sports, music, and later, philanthropy. He already controlled one major sports franchise – the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers – but had the bank account to afford another. Unlike his basketball team, this organization would be rooted in his hometown, rather than 173 miles south. With the stroke of a pen and a boatload of cash, Paul Allen committed to buying – and saving – the Seattle Seahawks.

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Six Radical Ways Baseball Can Be Improved Right Now

Baseball has spent much of the past decade looking for ways to speed up games, increase attendance, and attract a younger viewership. They’ve implemented changes like limiting mound visits, installing pitch clocks, and utilizing instant replay. But with each little change, few of the desired outcomes have been achieved. Games haven’t sped up all that much, attendance is about the same, and younger viewers are still gravitating towards other sports, like basketball and soccer.

So what’s baseball to do? They need help, and they need it fast. That’s why we’re here with some new ideas that will rock the boat and disrupt an entire industry. Some of these ideas are really stupid and mostly just serve as vehicles for throwaway jokes that the world would otherwise never read. But within the inanity there may be a gem or two. And before you ask, yes, alcohol was involved when this was written.

1. An expanded strike zone for pitchers who throw under 90 MPH

It seems like every big league pitcher throws his fastball 95-plus these days. Sure, velocity is fun to watch, but is it really fair to those guys who rely on finesse and savvy to get by? No, it is not.

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The Perfect Protest

It’s the perfect protest, really.

Silent, peaceful, powerful, and set against the backdrop of something Americans care about. This isn’t just a march through the streets on a lazy weekend afternoon. It’s an act of rebellion against the flag and the anthem, two symbols of this nation that still mean something to all of us.

The forum is ideal. A football field, the epicenter of Americana, the one sport that seems to rally citizens to come together, sit on their couches, drink beer, wear replica jerseys, and watch. Were it a basketball court, the outrage would be minimal – just ask former NBA guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who staged his own sit-down protest in the mid-1990s, and has all but been forgotten since. Even in Major League Baseball, where Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Carlos Delgado took a seat in the early-2000s, such an act was similarly overlooked. But football? Don’t mess with football.

If this wasn’t a big deal, columnists across the country wouldn’t be churning out opinions firmly entrenched on either side of this issue. Talking heads wouldn’t be devoting segment after segment to discussion of the topic. And those people you only kind of know on social media? They wouldn’t be lashing out at one another over differing viewpoints on the matter.

In today’s society, how else are you supposed to get everyone’s attention? We’ve created an atmosphere that rewards the loudest and most selfish of our species. We’ve designed online platforms that highlight how important we are and how much more cool stuff we can do than our so-called friends. Our cameras have been redesigned to take pictures of our own selves instead of the world through our eyes, and as a result the most ubiquitous type of photo we now produce literally oozes with egocentrism: the selfie.

Face it, in order to seize the public consciousness, we have to be a precise combination of brash, unique, and outlandish. And somehow, in sitting quietly while a song plays and colors are unfurled, a group of football players have managed to achieve the right mix.

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Paper’s Petty Personal Vendetta Impeding SoDo Arena

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For years, The Seattle Times and its editorial board have held a personal vendetta against Chris Hansen and his proposed Seattle arena.

Through the use of one-sided attacks on a plot of land owned by Hansen in an area ripe for infrastructural rejuvenation, to the scribing of non-sequitur op-eds on supposed “alternatives” to the SoDo project meant to distract and deceive, the Times has employed nearly every unethical tactic imaginable in an attempt to block the construction of a venue intended for multipurpose civic use.

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The Changing Narrative of A Loathed, Loved, and Enabled Steve Sarkisian

sarkA disease. A medical condition. A weakness. A flaw. An addiction.

Alcoholism is labeled in a number of different ways, which might be why it’s so hard for us to determine how we feel about it. It makes us sad, confused, angry, frustrated, hurt. Sometimes, amidst the laughter and jubilation of the atmosphere in which it is cultivated, we don’t even know we’re staring an alcohol problem straight in the eye. So as it cooks and bubbles and rises to the surface like hot magma inside a rumbling volcano, we pretend it’s not even there, that it’s not a thing.

We joke about it, we chuckle at every one of our friends we deem a borderline alcoholic, and we keep the party going until that climactic moment when we simply cannot rage any longer. And then, suddenly, it’s not fun anymore.

This is where we find Steve Sarkisian.

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A Letter to a Friend

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Hi Baba,

I can hardly believe it, but a year has already passed since you left us. I’m fairly convinced that, as we grow up, time does in fact move faster than it used to. I must be getting old.

There’s a fair amount of stuff that has happened since you’ve been gone. I figured you might want to hear about some of it, just in case you’ve been partying and getting crunk (that means “having tons of fun”) up there. I imagine every day is filled with scratch-offs that only reveal winners and puzzles with no missing pieces and I don’t blame you for indulging in the finer things.

Anyway, let me give you the bad news first.

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Sweet Potato Fridays

10366149_10103019981005758_1375243646822493341_nEvery Friday, we ate lunch together. My grandma was a fickle eater, but there were always certain things she’d pick at no matter what. Crispy breaded pieces of chicken, potstickers, milkshakes, sweet potato fries. She loved sweet potato fries more than almost everything else, a food she’d only discovered about a year ago. It was the one item she would specifically request. Everything else could come and go, but she always made time for sweet potato fries. These weren’t the healthiest foods in the world, of course, but they were necessary. At 90 years of age, my grandma needed to keep her weight up and any one of these menu selections would do the trick.

We talked about a number of things, her and I, but she liked to discuss the Seattle Mariners most of all. No one (outside of, perhaps, my other grandmother) was as loyal to the Mariners as my grandma, who watched every game on a giant flat-screen TV my parents purchased for her a few Christmases ago. Her day revolved around first pitch, while her bedtime often coincided with the game’s final out. If you asked her when the television broadcast was set to begin, she’d give you a time exactly thirty minutes before its actual commencement, a habit borne out of diligently watching the pregame show.

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Everything Wrong With “D3: The Mighty Ducks”

Dthree_the_mighty_ducksIn 1992, Disney released its very first hockey-themed film, The Mighty Ducks. Though they didn’t know it at the time, the studio’s $10 million project would become a hit, grossing over $50 million in box office revenue in the fall of that year. For kids of the ’90s, Mighty Ducks emerged as a seminal favorite, a timeless classic, however cheesy, that an entire generation would gravitate towards well into adulthood.

Beyond striking a chord with its target audience, the movie had a lasting impact in other ways, as well. It rejuvenated the career of its star, Emilio Estevez; made a star out of one of its young supporting actors, Joshua Jackson; and even inspired an NHL franchise of the same nickname. The success of The Mighty Ducks prompted Disney to release a pair of sequels over the course of the next four years, unveiling D2: The Mighty Ducks and D3: The Mighty Ducks (really creative names, guys) in 1994 and 1996, respectively.

While D2 capitalized on the triumph of its prequel ($45 million box office gross), D3 was not nearly as fortunate, resulting in just $23 million in box office sales for the studio that birthed Mickey Mouse. Besides overloading the market with Duck fever in such a short amount of time, Disney appeared to cobble together D3 hastily, producing a film that elicited the same clichés and predictable outcomes as its predecessors.

Along the way, D3 acknowledged that its audience, just like its young actors, was quickly growing into adolescence. This inspired (or forced) writers to present a whole new set of non-hockey issues for viewers to try and relate to. Luis looking up cheerleaders’ skirts! Charlie falling in love with someone other than his coach, his mom, or the old guys from the skate shop! A political uprising over an offensive team nickname! It all became a bit much to cram into one whimsical sports picture, and yet cram those writers did.

As a result of Disney’s efforts to squeeze every last ounce of Ducks hype out of its surprising franchise, D3 floundered as the worst installment of the entire trilogy. Some might even argue that it emerged as one of the worst sports movies ever, but the third installment of the Major League series would beg to differ.

After a recent viewing of D3, I took some time to outline everything wrong with the film from start to finish. Adult Me is not nearly as impressionable as Kid Me, you see, and in looking back at a movie I knew was trash even at age 12, I’ve only become more incensed by such a disastrous conclusion to an otherwise great sequence of motion pictures.

Beware: The following list contains numerous spoilers. If you haven’t seen D3 and feel compelled to watch it, it’s currently available for instant viewing on Netflix.

1. The most plausible story line in the entire movie involves Gordon Bombay becoming a high-ranking director of personnel for the Junior Goodwill Games.

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Donald Sterling, Michael Sam, and the Evolution of Society

michael_samI was nine years old the first time I ever realized how truly moronic people could be. The epiphany struck at recess on a sunny spring morning when one of my classmates approached and proceeded to make fun of me for being Asian.

I’d known this girl for a few years and was well aware that she was a devastating combination of annoying, unattractive, and dumb. I didn’t quite have a singular term for what I wanted to call her back then, but in retrospect the word “bitch” would have probably sufficed. So as I stood there watching this bitch use her hands to pull back her eyes and elicit “ching-chang-chong” sounds, I contemplated the utter stupidity of this occurrence to which I was paying witness.

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An Ode to the Emasculated

8777fb02b809e7b4_74583673.xxlargeI’ve seen you before. Once upon a time, in a previous life, I was that guy working a middling retail job on the weekends. I was the 21-year-old in a suit standing with my hands clasped at the waist pretending to give a shit about the seasonal sale going on around me, when in reality all I wanted was to be at a football game with my friends. I was that guy who stared you down and silently searched for any semblance of life, any hint of vigor, all while wordlessly pleading with you to GET OUT NOW.

I would have killed to be in your shoes back then. Weekends to myself, the freedom to do whatever I pleased, the ability to park my ass on a couch for eight straight hours and watch grown men beat the living piss out of each other, one quarter at a time. I wanted your life. Until I saw your face. Until I looked in your eyes.

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The Fantasy Life

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You will spend your Monday reading about the Sunday performances of real-life NFL teams, led by real-life NFL players, coached by real-life NFL coaches. You will consume and digest information about coverage schemes, reads, options, read-options, all of it. You will nod and you will agree with what you’ve taken in, not knowing what it all truly means. And then you will head on over to ESPN or Yahoo or NFL.com or CBS, log in, and check your fantasy team for the seventy-fifth time in the past three days.

This is reality. There was once a time many years ago when fantasy football was the sports equivalent of Dungeons and Dragons, a guilty pleasure that bordered on hidden obsession, the counterpart to viewing porn for hours on end. You played it, sure. But you didn’t talk about it with anyone you knew. Your leagues were limited to random counterparts across the broad spectrum of the world wide web or your very closest friends, no one else. And god forbid you got caught checking your team. Checking your team on any day, at any hour, differed in no way from adjusting your testicles in public. It looked all sorts of weird, awkward, and offensive, simultaneously. So silently, you played.

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How Not To Screw Up Your College Experience: A 5-Step Mini-Guide

College-Demotivational-Posters-4Once again we find ourselves in the twilight of August, that special time of year when the weather starts to cool, the leaves begin to turn, and the school year begins anew. For those of you headed off to college, this can be a confusing time. Adapting to college is never easy, and while you could spend your time reading how-to books on the best way to become a functioning member of university society, the best way to learn anything is via experience.

That said, before you consume all that college entails, I’d like to give you just a few tidbits of advice that may improve the overall experience you plan to live. My credentials? I spent six years as an undergraduate and have significant loan debt, so I might just be the ideal how-not-to candidate. I’ve since rebounded to maintain a real-life salaried job (a real, real one!) while occasionally updating this here website in my down time. As such, I can give you all my wrongs and hope you’ll use them to make many, many rights. Or if not all my wrongs, at least five of them.

1. Use your reproductive parts liberally.

The biggest regret non-promiscuous college students have is the fact that they weren’t going around humping like jackrabbits during their school days. If you were committed to monogamy in college like I was, you know all about those regrets. And why do those regrets exist? Three reasons.

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Otis

M3367S-4504I was 14 when my parents finally agreed to let us get a family dog. We had grown up with two cats in the house, both of whom had passed away within the year. Not that my brother, Cameron, and I were rooting for the cats to die or anything (I swear, we weren’t), but the clause in the unwritten contract stated that no dog could reside in our home until these two aging felines, both in their late-teens, moved on to that litterbox in the sky. When Rover first passed, and then later Butchie — my dad named the cats, so, yeah — Cameron and I diligently dug graves for each of them and stood in solemn vigil throughout the mini-funerals that accompanied their terminal rest. And then sneakily in the weeks that followed, we began dropping hints about that dog we had all talked about one day getting.

My mom began researching breeds (It was 1999 and we had just gotten the internet!) and decided we’d embark on a quest to find a German Shorthaired Pointer, commonly known as a bird-hunting dog. Never mind the fact that my parents didn’t even own a gun, let alone hunt, this was the breed of dog we’d be getting. And so it was that a search began.

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The Stupidity of Recruiting

Recruiting in college athletics is stupid. It brings out the worst in everybody. It exposes coaches as slimeballs, fans as batshit crazy whiners, and the high school prey as immature, entitled punks.

A short while ago, Doug Pacey of the Tacoma News-Tribune wrote this article on fans’ “nastiness” during the recruiting process. The piece could not have been more precise in explaining the ever-narrowing gap between fans and prospective college athletes, a divide that has been lessened with the rise of the internet age.

While college recruiting has always been a sleazy industry, hardcore fanatics have only really been brought into the fold over the past decade, as sites like Rivals.com and Scout.com (host to our very own Dawgman.com) have made prep athletics — and all which that entails; namely, recruiting — their primary focus. At the same time, social media websites like Facebook and Twitter have given fans direct access to the recruits themselves, a caustic union akin to mixing Tim McGraw and Nelly (every time I hear Over and Over, I’m quite positive a child in a third-world country is stricken with malaria).

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