Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Recovery for #Hansensarmy

For those of us who have been involved with the Sonics movement for even the last year, today is a setback for sure. The most cynical of us were proven correct on this day, and David Stern was able to enact his mammoth grudge to our immense pain for a second time. No bone was thrown, despite an incredible effort from our hero.
But this is not the time to give up. Instead, it's time to remember just how far we have come in a year and three months. It wasn't all that long ago that there was no hope and no timeline for our hearts to be made whole again. We've bought into a narrative that thisKings deal is the all or nothing situation for bringing basketball back. That if the NBA wasn't playing in the Key in September, it was over. It doesn't have to be that way. But that doesn't change the fact that we've been spurned again.
So it's time to just take a break for a while. Recharge the batteries. For those of you that have the time tonight, pop your favorite movie into the DVD player, or listen to your best album. Take your mind off of the Sonics for a day or two.
Chris Hansen didn't commit to this process based on the Kings or bust. It wasn't all that long ago that Sacramento had their "shit together", with the Maloofs and Kevin Johnson pumping their fists together. And through that time, Hansen was still working. Things change quickly. They can certainly change quickly down there, and they will change here. There's a will and a way in Seattle, and there is too much basketball passion here to be ignored.
Remember that summer afternoon in Occidental Park, where the Sodo Arena narrative flipped. Remember the 44,000 fans that took the time to be counted among those ready to spend money at the new arena. Remember only a few days ago, when Sonics fans rallied at Neumos in the face of incredible pessimism. We're better than David Stern, and we won't let him beat us. There's no more important time to rally than when our backs are against the wall.
Now that there's no more "Sacramento vs Seattle", the Hansen group is just 600 million dollars sitting out in the open. Does anyone want to bet against the NBA wanting to have their cake and eat it too? Is that smart money? It's no guarantee, but tomorrow is a new day, and in three months we may have a new source of optimism. Hansen has been insatiable so far. Every option will be exhausted. The least we can do is be ready to mobilize for his cause. For our cause.
Again, just do your best to take your mind off of this. Easier said than done, I know. Take a break, and report back tomorrow. We are #Hansensarmy, and we're in this for the long haul.

Friday, October 26, 2012

An Open Letter to Christopher Hansen

With the news a few weeks ago that the city of Seattle and King County have agreed to the Memorandum of Understanding with investor Chris Hansen, news has been flying around non-stop on the prospects of making Seattle a true sports destination. Commissioners are asked weekly about how they feel about this new building ready to be erected just south of Safeco Field, and investors are taking tours of the existing facilities, seeing just how ready we are.
Four years ago, all of this excitement seemed impossible. Seattle had been relegated by relocation, and it seemed that no one was willing or able to step up. That has now changed. And in this new time of excitement and hope, I write this open letter to you, in an attempt to share my thoughts and feelings.

1. Thank you. Thank you so much
Mr. Hansen, nothing can be said or done to properly thank you for what you have done for our city. Thank you for stepping up when no one else would. Thank you for allowing yourself to enter the limelight, becoming a rallying point for everyone who wants your project to succeed. Thank you for putting up with those who were so against this project that they found it acceptable to attack you personally. Thank you for handling the organizations who fought tooth and nail to prevent their new neighbors with class, staying above the fray. Most of all, thank you for sticking with it, despite the ugliness that came out and the politicians that always wanted just a little more from you. You are a great example of the best people Seattle can create.

2. Obtaining Teams
I may be in the minority, but if from your contacts you feel expansion is an option, please pursue that option over all others. We've already been far more involved in the culture of relocation than anyone would be comfortable with, and the last thing anyone here wants is to subject another fanbase to that same pain. For a team to be successful in Seattle, there is going to need to be some sort of connection. Some feeling of ownership on the fans part. That has been the key to success with the Sonics, Seahawks, Sounders, Storm, and even the 1990's Mariners. They were our teams, and our players. Not Sacramento's team. Not Phoenix's players.
I want Seattle to be a five sport city desperately. Dearly. And yet I am unwilling to sacrifice another fan for my joy. Even if it takes five years, or ten, or twenty, if expansion seems feasible, please make that the first priority.

3. Consider the NHL First
The Sonics will draw in numbers no matter when they come, or what competition there is. That legacy will make the desire only stronger the longer it takes to return. The same cannot be said for the NHL. While Seattle does have a history in professional hockey, the top flight memories are long gone. Few are left on this earth who would possibly remember the 1917 Stanley Cup victory at the skates of the Seattle Metropolitans. If they enter the league at the same time as a new NBA squad, they could easily get lost in the shuffle.
In the interest of all teams finding a fair share of the Seattle pie, letting the NHL get a foothold before the additional competition arrives would continue a legacy of attendance success for Seattle clubs. And if they can drop a puck on the 100 year anniversary of that Stanley Cup win, it would just be icing on the cake. Clearly the MOU wasn't designed for finding a hockey team first, but there is talk right now of NHL expansion. Expansion would allow for the arena to be built before the team begins playing, avoiding a situation where hockey is forced to play at the Key or delaying a move from another city for two years, and making bringing the sport to Seattle far easier. It is an opportunity that should not be missed.
Oh, and Totems is the name to go with, for the new team.

4. The Arena
If Seattle has one sporting tradition, one aspect it is known for, it would have to be the noise. Every fanbase in this town has created a reputation for engaged fans and a crippling home field advantage (Though the Mariners may have lost theirs). To that end, be mindful of the design of the building itself. Centurylink Field is shaped almost like a dome, and it keeps the noise inside. It would be a travesty if some side effect of the new home somehow mitigated the decibel level at ice/court level.
Additionally, there have been some musings/rumors that the roof of this building may be retractable. If that is something that can be done, I am all for it. Outdoor hockey is a wondrous thing. But just as importantly, keep the look of the two neighboring buildings in mind when mapping out the roof of the new arena. The supports for Centurylink and Safeco Fields are nigh iconic members of the Seattle skyline. A similar look would be much appreciated spanning the roof of your building.

5. The Key
Key Arena has been good to Seattle for a long time. From hosting the Sonics for 40 years to bringing us many events and shows, and drawing people to Seattle Center, it is an important building in our heritage. And it is still a great location for certain performances. But the building itself is in dire need of upgrade to even host lower level sports and entertainment.
Thankfully, you have pledged to spend money modernizing the Key. And my hope would be that that money would make Key Arena a permanent home for the Seattle Storm, Rat City Rollergirls, and perhaps even Washington Stealth Lacrosse. Because not every event needs a 500 million dollar arena, and the old Coliseum, with a reduced seating capacity, is the perfect home for teams that would otherwise play in a building too big for them, or out in Kent or Everett. These teams will be more successful in a building that fits them.

6. Again, thank you

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fences not to blame for Mariner's offensive offense

The cries can be heard for miles around. The Mariners go out of town, score 40 runs in a series, come home, and struggle to avoid shutouts. Immediately, a thousand voices shout in agony, and they grow louder with seemingly every at bat.


Look, I love the long ball as much as the next guy, and it is frustrating going to the ballpark just to see how inept the Mariners can be this week.

But the problem isn't the fences. Yeah, the game would probably be slightly more entertaining, a few more fans would go home with souvenirs, and the Mariners would be losing 3-5 instead of 2-4. Because (insert name of visiting team here) is probably more likely to benefit from those new dimensions than the Montero-Ackley-Smoak-Seager-Saunders Mariners.

Don't get me wrong; I'm satisfied with the development of these players, but none of them are looking like 40+ home run guys. They aren't Miguel Cabrera, or Albert Pujols, or Prince Fielder, or Josh Hamilton. This team is built on players that project to have solid averages, strong plate command, and the OCCASIONAL dinger.

(more after the break)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Take everyone you know (by force if necessary) to the Arena rally Thursday.

Four years ago, Seattle lost its oldest professional franchise, the Seattle Supersonics. And when they were gone, a void opened up in the sports landscape of the Puget Sound. The Sounders did a nice job filling part of that void, but the fact is there is still a period of time from the day the 12th man flags are lowered until the scarves rise up, where our scene is as barren and dreary as our winters. And for this period of time, we have no recourse but to either just shut things down, and go into hibernation, or look to out of town teams without a rooting interest. 
But all of that could change before the end of the decade. By 2017, this city could build a third jewel south of Safeco Field to house two more teams worthy of bearing the name "Seattle' on their chests, our crests on their sleeves. We've being offered a wonderful gift, and we have the opportunity to become one of a handful of cities (a club not including LA) to host a team in each of the five major sports. 
We have the size. We have the interest. We have the resources. But, like anything in Seattle, we have to give an extra effort to get anything done. 
And so I implore all sports fans in and around the Emerald City who have the ability to attend, please make time for the Sonics Arena rally in Pioneer Square Thursday at 4 PM. There are going to be a ton of guests and musical artists, and the more who attend, the louder the message will be to the professional sports leagues looking to see just how badly we want it. The images from this day will be burned into the images of the naysayers, and fans across the country. 
Over 8,000 have already submitted RSVPs. We can go even higher. Submit your notice here, and join thousands of your brothers to help NBA/NHL happen.
Occidental Park is two blocks north of the Centurylink Field parking lot. Free parking can be found under the viaduct and four blocks east of Safeco Field, near the BMW dealership.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The folks at the Port of Seattle are a bunch of hypocrites

The link above is to an article detailing the port's extracurricular projects over the last decade or so. After reading it, one would be surprised to hear that they are fighting a new SoDo arena tooth and nail.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Seahawks batting .900 on draft picks, Mariners to inquire

With Seattle's signing of Jaye Howard today (via Field Gulls), the Seahawks will have at least nine of their ten draft picks in town for... rookie minicamps? rookie otas? Is there even a "rookie" in the title? They should just call all of these VMAC get-togethers "PRACTICE". Nice and simple.

Point being, there aren't any holdouts this year. Bruce Irvin was the first of Seattle's picks to sign, and the first first-rounder (which I'm sure caused a number of double-takes among ESPN readers). Then, they signed seven others the next day, leaving only the DT Howard and Sea-Hulk halfback Robert Turbin.

Upon googling Sea-Hulk, I was surprised to find that Turbin will not be the only creature to be referred to with that name. The first was a boss from a video game. Final Fantasy of all things! The other was this:
Which you could say was from Seattle's Final Fantasy. Although, it'd probably be more accurate to call it the "Most Recent Fantasy". Because Final implies that it will never happen again, and I'd rather not believe that even if it is true. I'm not sure how well a game called "Most Recent Fantasy" would sell, but there it is.

While I'm concerned that Turbin hasn't signed yet (you're the last guy dude! What's the holdup? Even the Turtle guy has signed already! We drafted some weirdos didn't we...) it probably won't make a bit of difference. From what I understand, these guys can still participate even without having signed a contract, and Turbin seems like a good kid. For all I know, he could sign on the dotted line between now and when the security guard opens the gates to Seahawks headquarters tomorrow morning.