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.

If you can't get enough "Sounders"

Then please click on over to, for whom I am supplying Sounders-related content. Lots of it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mark and Eric GOOD SHOW GO! Episode 3

This week we talk about the draft, the Mariners, and spend just a few seconds on our green-clad soccer team.

How will the Sounders juggle the rest of their crowded schedule?

The Seattle Sounders are two games into the most crowded section of their 2012 schedule. They've already passed tests in Chicago and against LA, but they have three more matches by next Sunday, and two more before the end of the month. That includes Seattle's closest Western Conference competitors Salt Lake and Vancouver, as well as Dallas, Philadelphia, and Chivas. The next three games in particular will require some creative roster maneuvers to keep everyone healthy, while still trying to claim the nine points that are up for grabs.

I was somewhat surprised at how many minutes Sigi played the regulars against the Galaxy yesterday. The concern is that there will be some tired legs or an excessive number of reserves in at least one of these matches. The most difficult match of the three would seem to be Salt Lake based on their points per game. The Union are only looking at a single point per match, and will be without coach Peter Nowak for his part in a mid-game fight a few weeks ago. FC Dallas hasn't won in three weeks.

Below is a list of the Sounders that have played significant time in the last two matches.

John Kennedy Hurtado, 180 minutes
Jeff Parke, 180 minutes
Leonardo Gonzalez, 180 minutes
Osvaldo Alonso, 180 minutes
Brad Evans, 180 minutes
David Estrada, 180 minutes
Fredy Montero, 180 minutes
Eddie Johnson, 170 minutes
Michael Gspurning, 135 minutes
Mauro Rosales, 125 minutes
Adam Johannson, 90 minutes
Zach Scott, 90 minutes
Marc Burch, 55 minutes

Alonso has played every minute of every match so far. He needs a day off one of these games. This weekend versus Philadelphia might not be a bad time to do it. The following week in Dallas may be smart as well. Either way, I'm sure Schmid will want Alonso at full fitness against Salt Lake a week from Saturday. He may very well play all 90 minutes in every match this month, but it would seem prudent to be careful with Seattle's most important player, especially when he took such a "shot" early in the Galaxy match. He is the Honey Badger, but sometimes, he does care.

Also in need of a day off are both of our central defenders. I was shocked when both Hurtado and Parke were announced as part of the starting 11 against the Galaxy. Clearly I underestimated Ianni's back injury. Looking at the roster from Wednesday, Johannson and Burch were the only defenders available on the bench. Which begs the question; what does Seattle do if Parke or Hurtado get hurt? Right now, Ianni is Seattle's most important reserve player, and he almost has to play some minutes in these coming games. Our defense will not continue to post shutouts if Partado (TM) have to play every minute.

The situation at forward is more fluid. There is depth, and players that haven't barely spent time on the field. This is a good time to give Cordell Cato and Sammy Ochoa longer looks. Halftime subs in lead situations would give those players some needed experience as the Open Cup approaches while also keeping Johnson and Montero fresh for upcoming games against stingy defenses.

This strategy should also be used in the midfield, as Fernandez returns, Rosales attempts to build on his fitness, and Evans just attempts to stay on the field. Sivebaek should make a start, and an early sub in or two for Caskey would be prudent.

Theoretical lineups:

vs Philadelphia
GK: Bryan Meredith
RB: Adam Johannson
RCB: John Kennedy Hurtado
LCB: Patrick Ianni
LB: Marc Burch
RM: Christian Sivebaek
CDM: Osvaldo Alonso (sub Carrasco)
CM: Brad Evans
LM: Alvaro Fernandez (sub Estrada)
WFW: Fredy Montero
FW: Sammy Ochoa, Roger Levesque (sub Johnson)

vs Dallas

GK: Michael Gspurning
RB: Zach Scott
RCB: Patrick Ianni
LCB: Jeff Parke
LB: Leo Gonzalez
RM: Mauro Rosales (sub Sivebaek)
CDM: Osvaldo Alonso
CM: Alex Caskey
LM: Estrada (sub Fernandez)
WFW: Cato (sub Montero)
FW: Eddie Johnson

vs Salt Lake

GK: Michael Gspurning
RB: Adam Johannson
RCB: John Kennedy Hurtado
LCB: Jeff Parke
LB: Leo Gonzalez
RM: Mauro Rosales (Sub Burch)
CDM: Osvaldo Alonso
CM: Brad Evans
LM: Alvaro Fernandez
WFW: Fredy Montero
FW: Eddie Johnson (sub Sammy Ochoa)

This roster finds rest for every player while still fielding a threatening lineup. This is the last time they'll have five games in such a short amount of time, at least when it comes to MLS play by itself. If Open Cup and Champions League force further congestion, this sort of lineup shuffling should keep the roster healthy.

Two (or more)Thoughts from a repeat viewing: Sounders v Galaxy

  • Rosales is putting great through balls in to stretch the defense, and his deadly accuracy and timing is meshing really well with Eddie Johnson, who has a great sense for the onside run and the speed to back it up. Of all the players on the Sounders when the Johnson trade was announced, Mauro had to be the most excited. They go together like Felix and Larry. 
  • Ross Fletcher made a... can I say splendid without sounding ironic? whatever... SPLENDID call on Montero's shot. He turned a basic, run of the mill run in space and spun it into goal-scoring gold with a completely natural transition. I'm looking into broadcasting for my major, but I'm not sure I could pull off a call like that if I planned the events myself. I watched the goal 10 times, and then I listened to the goal ten more times. More of that please Mr Fletcher. "Montero, with plenty of options, one of which is the ABSOLUTE FANTASTIC STRIKE FROM DISTANCE!" Honestly, I'm not sure whether the goal or the call was better. 
  • The Seattle Times put up a poll wondering whether Montero or Johnson would finish the year with more goals. It's an interesting question, one that could be a toss up, assuming both stay healthy and productive. My gut says Johnson, whose size and speed mesh well with Rosales' assists and who will benefit from Montero's style of play. Montero obviously wants to score, and loves scoring, but I think he has realized this year just how good he is in the role he has been playing, which isn't necessarily as the biggest goal producer. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sounders 2:0 Galaxy

First of all, let me just say, HOLY CRAP WHAT A GOAL.
There aren't a lot of better ways to get off the snide than that. It's a goal that's going to be seen around the world through the weekend, perhaps even up for a spot in ESPN's "Play of the Year" awards (much like Hassli's shot last year, not that I give two blanks about what ESPN likes).
  • We only won 2-0, but I am struggling to remember a match in which the Sounders felt so flipping dominant. Seattle supposedly lost the possession battle 48%-52%, but I heard that it was more like 60%-40% at half. 
  • I'm unable and unwilling to name a man of the match in this one. Everyone had their best games of the season, from a back line that seemed impenetrable to a free-flowing midfield and a consistently dangerous forward attack. Everyone had a signature moment. Everyone touched the match in a big way. And it was brilliantly entertaining. If this were the Seahawks, they'd have to cut the ball up into 11 equally sized pieces. Not sure who on the team is the best mathematician, but I suspect it's Levesque. Something about that beard suggests there's a professor underneath. But it's times like this that you miss the Harvard grad Mike Fucito. 
  • LA's lineup today was the flipside of Arena's strategy to spend the entire team's salary cap on frontline starters, leaving little for the Galaxy's second line. The only major injury they sustained last year in their MLS cup run was to Donovan Ricketts, and it was the one position they had depth at. This year, they've already sustained a major injury in Omar Gonzalez, and tonight the drop between Buddle, Keane, Beckham, Magee, and Saunders to their backups was great. Healthy, they were the best team in the league. Not healthy, they're trying to start rookies at key positions and fall apart in the process. 
  • On the other hand, Seattle has used a more rounded strategy to roster creation, making sure they have great depth (which has been a hallmark of the rave green in their short MLS existence). It has paid off so far, with only Alonso playing every MLS minute so far and even Michael "Cerberus" Gspurning having to leave today with what sounds like a tight hip. Bryan Meredith stepped in for Gspurning unexpectedly at halftime, and while the back line kept him clean, the second year player looked confident and comfortable, playing balls with authority. With the way Seattle's back line has played so far in 2012, I'd feel relatively comfortable with our backup keeper in goal, and that's not something I'm sure I could have said in past years. 
  • Landon Donovan was by far the highest-paid player on the field tonight, but you wouldn't know it by watching him. He created perhaps a single legitimate chance in goal, didn't make good possession decisions, and was stymied by the Honey Badger all day. Donovan wasn't Donovan this week. I think even Donovan would tell you that Donovan didn't have his A-game. He'd probably say it just like that too, in first person and everything. "Donovan doesn't think Donovan had a good game today. Donovan will plan on being better with his touches in the next game, try to involve Donovan's teammates more." He probably doesn't talk in first person, but I'm just asking questions here. 
  • Alonso took a shot to a sensitive area in the first half. As a friend so aptly said later, clearly "The Honey Badger DOES care". Wonder what a conversation between Alonso and Adrian Beltre would sound like these days. "So, contused testicle huh? I know a thing or two about that". 
  • Here's me, or anyone else, after taking the shot that the Honey Badger took:

  • The postgame team on the radio threw out a stat near the end of their show tonight. It was a stat that I found interesting. The Sounders have lost once in the last 19 matches Brad Evans has started. It's an obscure stat, and one that is hard to draw much meaning from (considering the Sounders don't lose many games in the first place) but it's definitely interesting. I've been unnecessarily harsh on Evans in the past, especially before I really started "seeing" the game. If you're reading, Brad, consider this something of an apology. Keep up the good work.
  • I also owe an apology to Leonardo Gonzalez. Coming into the year, I was panicking at the thought of Gonzo as our starting Left back, and I felt legitimized in that thought after the Santos disaster. Since then, he has started the majority of Sounders matches and been a key piece of the best defense in MLS. You still make me darn nervous sometimes, but I'm going to attempt to be man enough to admit I was wrong. 
  • I just found out Penny Arcade Expo 3-day passes sold out in a matter of hours.

This has little to do with soccer, but it's upsetting nonetheless. After all, if I hadn't played Fifa 12 at last year's show, I probably never would have bought the game.

Monday, April 30, 2012

More on the Sounders vs Fire, not involving skirmishes

So there was a game beyond the final four-ish minutes (by Mr. Kennedy's watch) and it turned out pretty favorably for Seattle.

  • Estrada... that guy just needs to keep kicking it in the box. I mean, it's almost as if he's kicking the ball so hard that he's magnetizing the ball (real physics not included in this post). I don't know if you've noticed, but there's a Sounders employee that has been rather conspicuous standing behind the opposition goal this year:
  • That giant magnet may or may not also explain why the ball was always eager to head to the right of the screen during the match, regardless of the direction the ball is kicked in. That goal Chicago hit on the corner kick doesn't even come close without the ridiculous wind. There was a shot in the second half from beyond midfield, and it could have easily meant a goal if it had been on frame (and it didn't miss by much). 
  • Michael Gspurning, in MLS play this season: three shutouts, two nearly indefensible goals (possibly neither of which were intended to be shots), and one penalty kick allowed. He's quickly turning me into a believer, with the help of that back line. Even without Johannson and Rosales, the unit has been remarkably sharp on defense. If they keep this up, and Johnson/Montero get it going... their ceiling is a dynasty team, one of the bets in the short history of the league.
  • On the second goal, Montero had a terrific service into the box, and Johnson did well to put it away, but Hurtado's flick to keep the ball in front of the goal will stick out in my memory from some time. It took great reaction and top insight to get that done, and Johnson was able to start his account thanks to it. 
  • Johnson and Montero got SO close minutes earlier in the box. I think if they had been headed towards the opposite goal one of them might have scored, because the wind was probably as key a factor as any in denying Montero's poke (clearly caught in a gust) and Johnson's header off the woodwork (couldn't have missed by much more) from sending the Sounders off to a commanding lead.

This win felt more dominating to me than the score suggested. Chicago had some fast breaks, and they beat themselves a few times, but there was only one chance that the Fire felt legitimately dangerous on. Montero and Johnson still have some meshing to do, but the sky is the limit for this unit. 

Sounders, Fire make Pay Per View Fight Night

Previously posted on the Seattle Offside

Despite the Sounder’s sterling record against the Fire of Chicago, matches between the two teams have always had a good little spark there. (HAH.) That culminated last year with the US Open Cup, a thoroughly decisive win that upped the ante for all future matches.
The Sounders battled and came out of Bridgeview with what felt like a decisive victory. But tempers were running hot (AGAIN! I’m ON……FIRE!) and stoppage time of Saturday’s “Battle in Chicago” (not the same ring to it) resulted in a number of… let’s call them incidents for now. There’s a lot of he-said she-said going on, and it’s a little tough to know what’s true and what’s the Timbers Army influence (ever going to live that down? Probably not).
  • Gonzalo Segares took up what now appears to be becoming a tradition of trying to make Mauro Rosales permanently disabled. Each of Mauro’s previous three matches had been called short by notably poor tackles, and Segare’s were no exception. A yellow card was easily warranted. I don’t want to be in favor of special protection for notable players, but when teams start targeting them, the referee has to do something. Even if that means giving immediate yellows for tackles that are borderline.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Seahawks draft 10 in '12 + Depth Chart

Round 1:
Bruce Irvin, DE
Round 2:
Bobby Wagner, MLB
Round 3:
Russell Wilson, QB
Round 4:
Robert Turbin, RB
Jaye Howard, DT
Round 5:
Korey Toomer, MLB
Round 6:
Jeremy Lane, CB
Winston Guy, S
Round 7:
JR Sweezy, G
Greg Scruggs, DT

It's finally over. FINALLY. And like every other sucker, I watched nearly every minute of it. I don't know how these guys are going to turn out. You don't know how these guys are going to turn out. No one does. But I know that there's a few of the 10 new members of the Seahawk's roster that I'm rather excited about.

First and foremost on that list for me is Russell Wilson. There are few names in college football that I knew before the draft process started. That list is mostly populated by Huskies, Cougars, Ducks, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, and some guy that stole the Honey Badger name.

The only other one was Wilson. I've got a Wisconsin alumni as a parent, so when the Badgers were on, they were typically also on. And I couldn't give you the name of anyone else on that squad, but I could tell right away how good that quarterback was. Accurate, mobile, an all-around playmaker. He's like Tebow, but with the ability to play qb. And he played behind one of the biggest offensive lines in the country (INCLUDING the NFL)

For those who are vocally adamant that the Hawk's made the wrong choice (I'm looking at you Hugh Millen, you annoying bastard) based solely on his height... Do you reeaallllllllly think that the Hawks didn't notice he was short? Or do you just think they're going to try and put him in high heels to raise his eye level? I'm pretty sure Schneider himself (roughly the same height?) has pulled out the measuring tape himself to get a first-hand look at his 10 5/8 altitude. And if they plan on playing him, they're going to game plan to his strengths, the way they have for every other player on their roster.

Frankly, I see no reason why, with the Seahawks specifically, Wilson won't be able to succeed. The only question will be if or when he can outplay Matt Flynn and Tavaris Jackson to take the starting job at some point. He may not be ready to go in year one (though I think he's smart enough to do so) which is fine, because I want to see Flynn get a chance at the helm, or for Jackson to get a full training camp. But Wilson COULD be the quarterback of the future, and I'm okay with that. Because if he were a few inches taller, he would have been the third pick in the draft.

For the same reasons, I am optimistic on Michael Irvin. I didn't know who he was when his name sprang from the speakers at the Seahawks draft party, but listening to Mike Mayock talk about him I immediately called Chris Clemons to mind. The fun thing is that Irvin can be even better than Clemons has been the last two years, and for far longer. Even though he's raw, he was still about as productive a rusher as anyone in college ranks. That wouldn't necessarily be valuable to other teams in the league, the way Clemons wasn't valuable when the Seahawks traded Darryl Tapp for him and a fourth rounder. Even though Clemons has had double-digit sacks each of the last few years, he probably couldn't replicate that if he went back to Philadelphia. He doesn't fit their scheme. He is built for Pete Carroll's Leo position. Irvin is even more perfect. So no wonder he wasn't mocked higher than the second round. His skills are specialized in such a way that they're only really valuable to Seattle.

The last player I'm quite bullish on is Robert Turbin, the runningback out of Utah State. That's not to say I think Seattle's other picks were bad, just that I won't have an opinion on them until I see them don one of Seattle's spiffy new uniforms. Check out Turbin's story here. It's about time something went right for this guy, and now the "Hulk" gets to back up the "Beast". For such a big guy, he's surprisingly shifty. I don't know if he'll be another Marshawn Lynch, but he should be a good replacement whenever Lynch needs a breather.

I'm hoping that Wagner and Toomer are good enough to start in year one next to KJ Wright. It's time to start a new chapter in Seattle's linebacking corps. Additionally, hearing Mayock just GUSH over Jeremy Lane was exciting, though my first impression was that he seemed a little slow (4.5 isn't that fast for a CB). He's got that Carroll size though, and sounds like a playmaker. Just like me playing my copy of Madden 07, Carroll likes to stockpile cornerbacks. In fact, he runs a team like I do! I need to start making some money off this...

Wake me up when the rest of the picks make the roster, because after three days of watching the draft, the Mariners, and Sounders, my head hurts.

The new projected depth chart:

WR1Sidney RiceMike WilliamsRicardo LocketteKris Durham
LTRussell OkungPaul Mcquistan
LGDeuce LutuiJR Sweezy
CMax UngerLemuel Jeanpierre
RGJohn MoffitLemuel Jeanpierre
RTJames CarpenterBreno GiacominiFrank Omiyale
TEZach MillerAnthony McCoyCameron Morrah
WR2Golden TateDoug BaldwinDeon ButlerBen Obomanu
QBMatt FlynnTavaris JacksonRussell WilsonJosh Portis
FBMichael Robinson
RBMarshawn LynchRobert TurbinLeon Washington
LDEChris ClemonsBruce IrvinDexter Davis
LDTJason JonesAlan BranchJaye Howard
RDTBrandon MebaneLazarius LevingstonGreg Scrubbs
RDERed BryantAnthony Hargrove
OLB1Korey ToomerLeroy HillMalcolm Smith
MLBBobby WagnerBarrett RuudHeath Farwell
OLB2KJ WrightHeath Farwell
LCBRichard ShermanMarcus TrufantWalter Thurmond
RCBBrandon BrownerByron MaxwellJeremy Lane
SSKam ChancellorJeron JohnsonWinston Guy
FSEarl ThomasChris Maragos

Or something like this. I'm worried about Michael Robinson being our only fullback. Robert Turbin has the size for it, but his profile says that pass blocking is a weakness. Otherwise, it looks like Seattle has a full and respectable lineup. Next year, Seattle may not have any needs to draft, and "best player available" sounds pretty good.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Don't forget to catch the TV premiere of Sonicsgate, Friday on CNBC

The television premiere of a terrific documentary detailing the theft of our Sonics. It'll air at 7:00 PM Friday on CNBC, and again on Sunday at the same time. Be sure to tune in, even if you've seen it before. There will be new content debuting for the television version.

Also, be sure to visit this guy's blog for all things Sonics.

Mariners sweep Tigers

The Mariners took a much needed sweep of the Tigers over the last few days, showing the potential of their young core in the process. Each of the youngsters contributed with their bats over the three game stretch, from Saunders to Liddi (can't wait till he puts some Italian sausage on that "Grand Salami") to Smoak (what a three run blast!) to Ackley to Montero. Ichiro bounced back from a tough week to get his average back up at Ichiro levels. Felix was amazing again, and Noesi and Vargas did their jobs. In short, it was a fun team to watch again.

  • Damn it Figgins, can't you just make things easy for us? You haven't hit the ball for the better part of two weeks, and Ackley comes in and hits leadoff like it has a crush on him, and then you come back the next day and get three hits? STOP IT. Just suck for a whole month so we can let you go and play one of the young guys at third/left field. It's hard enough as it is finding playing time for Seager, Liddi, and Wells, and Mike Carp will be back soon. Get in a bare-knuckle brawl with Wedge. We all know you'd lose, so you wouldn't have any shame having to claim injury for a while. Then, in a month or so when the Mariners are in the driver's seat for the wild card, Jacky Z can throw out a press release 11:00PM on a Tuesday saying you've been designated for assignment. And you can take the millions of dollars the Mariners gave you to play competently and flip that towards a house in France, where there aren't any baseball fans that know how much you have sucked.

    Seriously, the Figgins era is over. We've got three third base prospects ready to go. Get out of here. 

  • Of course, it'd be so much easier to find playing time for everyone if Montero was catching more often. I understand that they are working him in gradually, and that Miguel Olivo brings a level of leadership to the clubhouse. But at the very least, use the DH slot on someone other than Olivo when Montero is behind the plate. I mean, if he can't CATCH a ball with a GLOVE, why would you expect he can HIT a ball with a BAT? He's been a black hole both behind the plate and beside it (his home run today notwithstanding). I defended him last year because, frankly, he was the Mariner's best option, but at this point I'd just as soon see Jaso be our everyday receiver.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

At last, the draft process is almost over

Sparring some sort of terrible disaster, tomorrow will be the end of the 2012 draft process. And with it, we will have the end of the daily draft commentary from people who may or may not know a damn thing about football or the people who play it. I'm looking forward to seeing who the Seahawks draft only SLIGHTLY more than I am to the end of the daily rehash of the same draft topics every hour of every day. 

That said, allow me to be a hypocrite for a quick second. I won't pretend I know all that much about the draft (I don't give two squats about college football). But I think I get a good sense of how good these players are just by digesting thousands of opinions on them (informed or not). 

Trent Richardson:
Marshawn Lynch had some winning over to do when the Hawks traded for him in 2010. I didn't think much of the trade. But win me over he did. Beast Quake made him a legend, but since then he has also become a pretty darn good running back. The Skittles shower run just added to his legacy, but his numbers were fantastic in the second half of the season. 
That said, he can't do it by himself, and having a competent backup could make Seattle's running game something to be feared. Imagine a split backfield with Lynch on one side and Richardson on the other. And picking Richardson, at the very least, would keep some miles off Lynch's tires. 
He's not likely to fall to 12, but I don't see Cleveland picking him up at number 4. 

David DeCastro
Or just imagine Lynch running behind three first round picks, including an Okung-DeCastro duo plowing open holes big enough for stampedes to clear through. Of the players likely to fall to number 12, I want DeCastro the most. He seems like a sure thing (though that doesn't exist in the draft) to be a pro-bowl lineman, and he did an excellent job protecting Andrew Luck. 

Justin Blackmon: 
He probably won't be falling to 12, and there is invariably one wide receiver expected to be an elite no.1 wideout, but the the chance persists that he could be that player. And Blackmon's potential across from a healthy Sidney Rice is really nice to think about. 

Sure, I guess:
Luke Kuchily:
Before the national media realized that the Hawks had a need at linebacker, Kuchily was an early second round pick. He is a product of the draftnicks, not a rise in stock. He might be good, and I like his combination of smarts and physical ability, but guys that shoot up like that scare me.

Quentin Coples:
There's been so much talk about whether this guy has the work ethic to be a true NFL blitzing badass like Jason Taylor. If he can, Carroll and Schneider will know that, and they'll pick him. If not, they'll know, and he won't be picked. He's an intriguing pick, but there's probably been far too much talk linking him to Seattle for it to actually happen. 

Chandler Jones:
Like Kuchily, Jones came out of nowhere to suddenly occupy Seattle's draft spot. It would be a very Chris Carpenter-esque pick, someone who had only sparingly been mentioned as a first rounder, let alone so early. He sounds like a good player, but if he's really that good, why wasn't he a first rounder before three days ago?

Ryan Tannehill:
I didn't believe the story about Carroll's giggling for a second. It reeks of smokescreen, and if it works, it could force someone to trade up into the top 11 picks to get him, which could cause another player to fall to 12 who otherwise wouldn't. No reason not to try. 

But. BUT. If it is true, and Seattle drafts him, I'll still be happy. Because it will mean that Carroll really likes this guy. And if we learned anything watching USC over the last decade, it's that Carroll knows what he wants in a quarterback. It won't happen. BUT IF IT HAPPENS. 

Trade Down:
Melvin Ingram:
Something about this guy just screams "Lawrence Jackson" to me. Which isn't really an insult, since I liked Lawrence Jackson. But, at number 12, the Hawks probably won't find the value they're looking for. 

In the end, I think I'll like whoever the Hawks draft. If they trade down, great. If they trade up, great. If they get Tannehill, great. I believe these guys know what they're doing, and even if they do somehow screw up the pick, they'll make up for it with later picks. 

By the way, if they don't pick Tannehill, I'd like to see them give a chance to Russell Wilson in the third round. He's got so much talent and is already used to playing in front of NFL-sized offensive lines. He can do professional football.