Category Archives: Mariners

The Top 11: Seattle sports villains, #6-2

The recap of villains #11-7, which can be found here: 11, Jim McIlvaine; 10, Shaun Alexander; 9, David Stern; 8, Erik Bedard; 7, Jeff Smulyan.

6. Tyrone Willingham. There’s a theory in dating that says if you aren’t very good looking, then you better have a great personality to make up for it. Apparently Paint-Dry Ty felt he was either the exception to this rule growing up, or was one hell of a sexy guy. Either way, the soon-to-be former head coach of the Washington Huskies football team has had without a doubt one of the most scrutinized tenures of any coach or manager in Seattle sports history, thanks in large part to two factors: his complete lack of personality and his inability to win ballgames.

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KIRO 710 AM to switch to all-sports

Jayda Evans of The Seattle Times is reporting that KIRO 710 AM radio will become an all-sports station beginning April 1, 2009.

If you’re a Seattle sports fan, this is fantastic news. For as long as I can remember, there has really been only one sports station in the area, 950 KJR AM. KJR does a decent job with their local sports talk, but really provides no national perspective on issues until around 10:00 PM each night when they switch to an ESPN feed. If anything, this development should breed competition between the two outlets and force both the old (KJR) and the new (KIRO) to step up their on-air game on a daily basis.

My only advice to KIRO is to leave the objectivity at the door. I can understand trying to appease the Hawks and M’s (and Sounders, I guess) by toning down the on-air criticism, but fans are entitled to voice their opinions and hear those of the on-air personalities, as well. In the Mariners first go-round with KIRO (which ended a few years ago), the station would always have New York Vinnie host a post-postgame show where the conversation could get a little salty at times. I say bring back Vinnie and have another go at that, he’s not doing anything these days.

And on a side note, I can’t tell you how happy I am that the Mariners are leaving KOMO Radio. There’s no reason why anyone should listen to KOMO unless they’re stuck in traffic. KOMO spent the last couple years butchering Mariners broadcasts to death and seemingly attempting to take down the career of Dave Niehaus with all their ridiculous BS. The pre- and post-game show hosts they had were straight garbage and offered nothing more than an elementary school opinion on the quality of play; honestly, if you listened just to those broadcasts you wouldn’t be able to tell if the Mariners were in last place or first place, it was that bad.

In addition, almost all the postgame calls they received came direct from retirement homes, with old guys demanding more playing time for Willie Bloomquist. “What about that Bloomquist fellow, why don’t we play him more? Put him at first base in place of that Sexton, see what he can do there. I don’t understand why they’re not playing, don’t they want to win….” Yeah.

The Top 11: Seattle sports villains, #11-7

Everyone likes lists, which is why here at SSN we’ve created the Top 11. The Top 11 is a weekly listing of the greatest 11 Somethings to ever occur in Seattle sports history. Our Top 11 is much like a Top 10 list only one better…and 11 is also the number once worn by such Seattle icons as Edgar Martinez, Detlef Schrempf, and Marques Tuiasosopo, so it can do no wrong. Without further ado, on to the list.

11. Jim McIlvaine. It’s hard to do anything wrong when you don’t do anything, but Jim McIlvaine did all he could to disprove that theory during his short stint in Seattle. McIlvaine, the 7’1″ shot-blocking waste of space that he was, came to the Emerald City in 1996 thanks to a horrible decision on the part of the Sonics front office. Given a four-year, $34 million contract by the club, McIlvaine was supposed to be the guy to take the team to the next level, the perfect complement to the likes of Schrempf, Gary Payton, and Shawn Kemp. Instead, Big Jim (really at no fault of his own) set off a catastrophic series of events that drove the franchise into the ground and ultimately led in the Sonics’ departure from Seattle twelve years later. How did all this happen? Let’s review.

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In your face, Seattle: Piniella wins Manager of the Year

Welcome to the maiden voyage of a piece I like to call “In your face, Seattle.” Here at IYFS, we’ll examine a wide range of sports-related topics that are essentially salt in the wounds of Seattle sports fans. Whether it be Jim McIlvaine returning to the NBA with a 50-point performance off the bench of the Oklahoma City Thunder or Bobby Ayala closing out Game 7 of the World Series, IYFS will be here to cover it and get the fan reaction.

Our first IYFS is dedicated to former Mariner manager Lou Piniella, who today was named National League Manager of the Year. Piniella led the 2008 Chicago Cubs to a first-round playoff exit (not exactly MOY-type material, but the voting is conducted before the playoffs begin) and a National League-best 97 regular season wins in capturing the award.

Piniella, as many of our sober readers may recall, managed the Seattle Mariners from 1993 to 2002, before gracefully taking his leave to be closer to his family in Florida following the ’02 season. Major accomplishments include the Mariners first winning record in 1993 (82-80, .506 winning percentage); first postseason appearance in franchise history in 1995; subsequent postseason appearances in 1997, 2000, and 2001; and an all-time record 116 regular-season wins in 2001 (tying the 1908 Chicago Cubs for that achievement). Piniella also posted a winning record in seven of the ten seasons he was in Seattle, which may not seem that impressive to the untrained observer, but is pretty much grounds for Hall of Fame induction here in the Northwest.

Though he’s been somewhat of a nomad in the six years since leaving Seattle (having spent three years as the manager of the then-moribund Tampa Bay then-Devil Rays, one year as a color commentator for Fox, and now two years with the Cubs), Piniella has seemingly found the greener pastures he went searching for more than a half a decade ago in Chicago. While we applaud the successes of one of our former hometown heroes, it really serves to underscore the municipal sports scene when a man who walked out on us like a weekend parent with three kids is still near and dear to hearts in the Emerald City. So in your face, Seattle, Lou Piniella is doing just fine.

Cora in ’09?

It’s official, Joey Cora has been interviewed as a potential candidate for the Mariners open managerial post. The interview took place Tuesday afternoon and early reports indicate no tears were shed by either of the involved parties, so good news there.

All jokes aside, the real question we should be asking right now is, “Is Joey Cora a good fit for the Mariners?” He’s without a doubt the most recognizable figure amongst a crowd of no-names–Brad Mills and DeMarlo Hale (Red Sox), Chip Hale (Diamondbacks), Jose Oquendo (Cardinals), Don Wakamatsu (A’s), and Randy Ready (Padres) are the other six candidates, none of whom (including Cora) have Major League managing experience–and is easily the fan’s choice for next M’s skipper, but let’s be honest here: Does Joey Cora really strike you as the managing type? And for this ballclub?

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