Karate Emergency, Ep. 38: The King Meerkat

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The esteemed Jason La Canfora, NFL reporter extraordinaire, joins us in-studio for what is undoubtedly the most fun we’ve ever had on Karate Emergency.

A resident pain in Mitch Levy’s ass, which we love, and the king of all the meerkats, we talk Seahawks, NFL football, Russell Wilson, and most importantly, the MLB playoff race.

Plus, was Sunday the greatest day in Sounders history for non-soccer fans?

And how many f-bombs can we get a respected media presence to say on-air before we wrap this shit up?

All that and more on this week’s Karate Emergency!

 

Beware the Unstoppable Force

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In beach towns the world around, towering wooden posts affixed with oversized speakers dot the coastal landscape. Blending in beneath the mercurial skies that quickly shuttle across their seaboards, these manmade edifices serve as gentle reminders of a possible storm that could arrive at any moment.

Should these speakers ever sound a siren, those who call such hamlets home know that the unstoppable force of a tsunami heads their way. With waves that enact true natural disaster, the sirens act as a warning to all who lie in the path of imminent devastation. The force cannot be stopped, of course. But those who may meet its violence head-on have one final opportunity to take cover.

Perhaps it is a unique coincidence that Seattle’s baseball team chooses to employ a nautical theme. Mariners, navigators of the open water, don’t often leave destruction in their wake, however. Mariners, 25-man compilations of ballplayers, rarely wreak havoc, themselves. In this particular season, though, that seems to be changing. So maybe it’s time we let everyone know about these guys.

The patriarch is a king, both by nickname and reputation. Armed with the nastiest of change-ups, he has sat atop a veritable throne as one of the game’s best pitchers for more than a decade. Even the most average of fans has probably heard of him.

There is a second baseman, cool as an autumn breeze, who blows pink bubbles as he deftly destroys baseballs hurled in his direction. And should a batter mistakenly hit a ball his way, it will be scooped up and used to spell one’s very demise before ninety feet have passed, don’t you know.

His partner in crime, a barrel chested behemoth they call Cruz, effortlessly pummels pitches with the confident authority of a veteran pugilist. His batting practice sessions might as well be promotional giveaways – thousands of fans have surely left the park with a souvenir on his behalf.

The first baseman wears a silver charm necklace and beams ear to ear with the cherubic grin of a toddler who just discovered his favorite toy. He is plush, like a teddy bear, beneath the billowy draping of his oversized uniform. But don’t let the look fool you. At the plate, he coils like a rattlesnake, kicks, and unleashes venom upon the most unhittable of heaters.

Across the diamond, his corner counterpart is a matter-of-fact model of consistency. From his golden glove to a swing that pounds out singles and doubles with a steadiness aligned with his everyday approach. His alias is as simple as his ever-reliable grasp on success, Simply.

The closer is devastatingly filthy, so sick he’ll make you sick, his fastball hot as habañero ipecac, his slider seemingly doused in tainted mayonnaise. The best hitters will look physically ill flailing at even his worst stuff; his best stuff will crush one’s hopes and dreams.

There’s one southpaw from up north who throws one-hundred miles per hour. Another who dazzles with more casual stuff, whose name literally translates to “Wade the White,” mystical in nature, not unlike his potential distant ancestor, Gandalf.

There is a bear with a no-no to his credit, a center fielder allowed to fire a bazooka on unsuspecting opponents, a catcher with Herculean power, and an arsenal of hard-throwing rejuvenated renovations in relief.

A backup first baseman who hits walk-off dingers, a utility man whose name an entire stadium chanted in unison, a handsome devil who spurns the advances of left-handed pitchers, and a dad who serves as a surrogate father to all the righties he’s owned.

This is it.

This is the team.

They’re scraping and clawing their way towards a postseason berth for the first time in fifteen years and it’s time the world took notice.

It’s Seattle’s time now. The Mariners are coming.

Consider this your siren.

Beware the unstoppable force.

Karate Emergency Ep. 37: First-World Problems

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Why aren’t more fans optimistic about the Mariners? Should they be? Despite failing to improve themselves at the trade deadline, the M’s keep winning and have a shiny new toy to showcase. We discuss in depth the fate of their 2016 season.

Plus, the usual irritation of grumpiness is unleashed, and Tindermonials is put on the backburner for some deep relationship revelations that warrant conversation.

All that and more on this week’s KE!

Karate Emergency Ep. 36: The Kid

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The most iconic athlete in Seattle sports history is in the Hall of Fame, which means it’s the perfect time for us to reflect on his legacy, his induction speech, and whether or not any of today’s local athletes can match his status atop this city’s Mount Rushmore.

Plus, how does our perception of athletes change as we grow up, and what do we want from our sports stars off the field?

All of that, plus Russell Wilson’s new poster, a fair amount of grumpiness, Slick’s love life exposed for all to hear, and a new installment of Tindermonials!

Go For It, Jerry

Jerry DipotoSports fans are inherently selfish. If it was up to us, rebuilding years wouldn’t exist and every single season would involve a championship pursuit. Money would be no object, and like monopolizing board game tycoons we’d buy everything in sight and kick our competition’s ass all up and down St. Charles Place.

We are never satisfied, sports fans. We want it all and more. We want the rings and the trophies and the gaudy commemorative gear. We want our guys to be the best and your guys to be the worst. We actually yearn for wins with our tangible promotional giveaways, and we crave the taste of success, not sorrow, amidst the bubbles of our ten-dollar stadium beers.

This is the backdrop for our 2016 Seattle Mariners, who have pieced together the type of campaign that warrants a serious decision in the coming days: win now at the expense of later, or win later at the expense of now.

Continue reading Go For It, Jerry

Thank You, Ken

CoJwCboXgAAWVteI will start with my family.

Ken Griffey, Jr. has no idea what he has done for my family, so let’s begin there.

We love baseball, my family. When I was little, my dad would take us to games at the Kingdome a few times each year. We would get there two hours beforehand, as soon as the gates opened, and race up the concrete ramps until we reached the first base side of the 300 level.

It made little sense, arriving so early to take in batting practice from a location where not a single batted ball would travel, but we did it anyway. We liked being up there and soaking it all in.

Continue reading Thank You, Ken

The Responsibility We Face

APTOPIX Police Shootings Protests Dallas

Over the last few months, hate and intolerance have risen to an inescapable prominence.

No matter how we might choose to disregard its uglier aspects, the authenticity of the world we live in will always persist and can only truly be altered by those of us who exist within it. We can pretend we don’t see what’s out there, what’s really going on, but at a certain point ignoring reality any further becomes nothing short of irresponsible. It’s time we took responsibility.

What are we doing right now? We’re killing each other for no reason. We’re paying witness to murder. We’re sensationalizing disaster. We’re inching closer and closer towards a race war that is being fought out of fear and ignorance. We have mass shootings on a weekly basis. We have innocent citizens being executed in handcuffs. We have officers of the law under attack. And with every incident, we’re becoming more and more numb to the otherwise jarring essence of what we’ve encountered.

We’re not patriots or freedom fighters, defenders of liberty. We’re not republicans or democrats, liberals or conservatives, right wing or left. We aren’t colors of the spectrum or places on a map. We aren’t us and them. We’re not allies or enemies. We’re none of those things.

At our core, we are all the same. We are human. And in moments of weakness, of pain and panic, we seem to forget that. We’re people. Any other labels we pin on ourselves are arbitrary, interchangeable, and in the end, meaningless.

It’s hard to make sense of everything we’ve seen lately. The constant aggravation of every facet of each subsequent failure of mankind seems to further divide us from the common goals we all seek. It’s bad enough that these failures occur in the first place. But the way we often react only heightens the ire.

We’re fighting battles against one another over elemental fragments of every tragedy we incur, and worse yet we’re doing so in a realm that is mitigating our ability to progress. No one has ever changed the mind of an idiot on the internet, but damn if we don’t keep futilely trying.

It seems to be our only recourse in the wake of sheer cataclysm. We take our feelings to social media and utter a near-conditioned response, almost Pavlovian in nature. We resort to platitudes – “Stop shooting each other,” “Be nicer to one another” –  to assuage ourselves. We tweet our “thoughts and prayers” into the ether, wait an hour or two, then go back to whatever it was we were doing prior – until the next time we’re inspired to react. We’re trying to solve the world’s problems with hashtags and emojis, and we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re doing it.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a start, to be sure. The conversation is being kept alive thanks to our online forums. But there’s more we can do to move our world forward towards a greater good.

For starters, we need to look people in the eye and talk about these issues face to face. Part of what is giving hate and intolerance the credence it needs to survive is the anonymity that exists behind the glow of a laptop screen. Those who spread bigotry are allowed to do so while silently walking amongst us every day, leading double lives inside the comfort of their computers.

And as fearful as many of these people are of others, just as many of us without prejudice live in fear of calling them out. We need to bring the uncomfortable topics to the forefront and force accountability. The more we talk, the more we communicate, the more we let everyone know out loud that this won’t suffice, the better we become.

Next, we need to forget about our differences, our unique identifiers, and embrace our humanity. Sit down and spend a few minutes learning about each other and we’ll likely find we have more in common that what a single glance may indicate. This almost goes without saying, but we are not helpless in reshaping the biases of others. Sometimes the worst of us just need to be enlightened through the welcoming words of another.

Finally, we need to understand that it’s okay to grieve over tragedies without exclusively categorizing each new sorrow. We can sympathize for the police who lose their lives in the line of duty, just as we can do the very same for the innocent people who have been murdered when terrible individuals are granted the privilege to uphold the law. Sorting death into buckets that help strengthen political ideals and personal agendas won’t solve anything. We’re prioritizing ulterior motives ahead of utter sadness. These are people we’re losing. Not battles over centuries-old documents or civil birthrights. We can’t ever forget that.

We are not powerless. We are not destitute. We are not resigned to a fate over which we have no control.

In these terrible times we face, we have the strength to put a stop to this civil war we’re crafting for ourselves. This is a destiny we have yet to script. And above all else, we are capable of writing a happy ending.

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