They bribed us with a taco bar the night we first met Lorenzo Romar. A Qdoba taco bar, no less, the good stuff. And this was back before Chipotle had taken over the world of fresh express Mexican, when Qdoba was the very best for which any hungry, broke college student could yearn. The muckety-mucks in the UW athletic department were basically begging us to show up and meet the head coach of the men’s basketball team. And, if we were so inclined, maybe stick around for the game, too.
It was the middle of Romar’s second season at Washington, one that had begun rather inauspiciously, before taking a more promising turn of late. The streaky Dawgs had rattled off five straight losses to open Pac-10 conference play, then abruptly reversed course and managed five consecutive wins. A defeat at UCLA halted the winning streak, and then it was back home to where we now found ourselves, in the presence of the ground beef and seasoned chicken upon which we feasted.
We sat and scarfed down our meal in Hec Edmundson Pavilion’s auxiliary gym as we waited for the coach to arrive. A staffer let us know Romar was on his way, and that he’d be taking a few questions in the limited time we had together before tipoff. Seconds later, a door flew open and there stood the guest of honor.
It was a year to forget for Felix Hernandez. The regression he endured in 2016 was so abrupt and so sudden that even casual onlookers couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow at his performance.
The 30-year-old was far from regal, despite a nickname he’d earned years prior. As his pitching suffered, he began to look less like King Felix and more like John Goodman’s King Ralph.
The Felix Hernandez we saw in 2016 was the product of a decade of indulgence, one that any athlete or ex-athlete over the age of 30 knows all about. There’s even a saying that sage veterans of sport will pass along to naïve young bucks, full of boundless energy and equipped with perfectly adept bodies: “Wait ‘til you’re 30.”
The Seattle Sounders FC kicked off their 2017 campaign in inauspicious fashion on Wednesday, falling by a score of 4-2 to upstart Atlanta United FC in the first preseason bout of the year.
Taking place on a neutral pitch in Charleston, South Carolina, the loss was the club’s first true defeat since dropping a narrow 2-1 contest to FC Dallas on October 16th of last year. (The Sounders also dropped the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals on November 6th, but simultaneously won the series on aggregate scoring.)
The match was witnessed by new Seattle Times soccer reporter Geoff Baker, who will follow the club throughout their first season since winning the 2016 MLS Cup. Baker, a longtime journalist at the Times, brings an impressive résumé to his coverage of the team.
I’d certainly encourage anyone to go vote and help select the all-40th Anniversary squad. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the democratic process and witness Richie Zisk get elected Best Designated Hitter in franchise history, would you? Although I heard something about Edgar Martinez’s emails the other day, so… you know what, it doesn’t matter, just vote.
We went through and made our selections, stopping to enjoy the many photos of current and former M’s in their heyday. Some of the pictures were just too good to be ignored, so we decided to pay homage to the very best photos with the following selection of the greatest Mariners in history as selected by their ballot headshot.
If you find yourself stuck on who to vote for, always use the mugshot as a tiebreaker. That’s our theory, at least.
1B – Bruce Bochte
Bruce Bochte is probably best remembered for becoming the first Seattle Mariner to record a hit in an All-Star Game (at the Kingdome, no less), which makes him a worthy addition to the 40th Anniversary ballot. The photo, though? That’s another story.
Eight weeks ago, right before Halloween, a six-foot-three-inch, dreadlocked Harry Potter stepped to the podium at the Seattle Seahawks’ practice facility and delivered a weekly press conference on behalf of defensive back Richard Sherman. From the cloak to the spectacles to the wand he carried in his hand, the costume was convincing enough that onlookers couldn’t help but laugh.
How many professional athletes could have this much fun with their obligatory meeting with the press? How many celebrities would subject themselves to the silliness of a holiday for children by dressing up as a character from their favorite fantasy novel? This was Richard Sherman at his most human and his very best – charming, hilarious, witty, and fun.
It’s an unpopular take: We’re just happy to be here.
Seriously? Who on earth is just happy to be anywhere? That’s not how society works. We set goals for ourselves. We tell prospective employers where we hope to be in five years, when really, all we want is a job. We want more than what we have, no matter how much we’ve got, and above all else we need to be successful. We can’t just be here. Who does that?
You have to admit, though, you’re happy. At the very least, moderately pleased.
Just look how far we’ve come. Look at where we were only a few short years ago. We sucked. We were absolutely terrible. We got our asses kicked by nearly every opponent we faced. I know. I watched it all go down.
Some grew up in an era of Rose Bowls and Orange Bowls. Others still were fortunate enough to witness a championship. Me? I got the cringe-worthy Tyrone Willingham years. Don’t act like you’re not impressed.
Don’t take your small children to see R-rated movies. It’s a bad idea.
Also, it’s supposed to snow in Seattle this week. We’ll see about that.
The Mariners are making moves at the Winter Meetings, acquiring a pitcher who actually threw a no-hitter in the major leagues.
Will the Seahawks upgrade their offensive line this offseason, or instead bring back the likes of Kam Chancellor and Steven/Stephen Hauschka? Can they somehow find a way to do it all?
Plus, above all else, the Huskies are Pac-12 Champions and on their way to the College Football Playoff. Our entire crew is excited, even the resident Duck — who also happens to be celebrating the hiring of Oregon’s new football coach, Willie What’s-His-Name.
All that and more on the latest KE!
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