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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:


POSFIRSTSECONDTHIRDOTHER
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
POSFIRSTSECONDTHIRDOTHER
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). 

TAKE HIM TAKE HIM TAKE HIM NOW!
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. 

Some times, a picture comes around...

How're you feeling about hitting third in the lineup, Ichiro?

Mark and Eric Good Show GO! 4/24/12

video

Mark and Eric Good Show Go! 4/18/12

video

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mariners win series 3 over Oakland

I'm sure Oakland's bloggers are saying the same things about us (do the A's HAVE bloggers?) but I'm so happy we won't be seeing the balancing Elephants again until mid June. Baseball's 162 game schedule is exacerbated when it feels like you're playing every single game against the same team. And for the last month, that statement has been nearly true. 

Since opening day in Japan, the Mariners have played seven games over two series with the Oakland A's,  going 5-2. By this time next week, the Mariners will have played over 1-10th of their games in the 2012 season, and almost have of them will have been against the A's. To which I say, at least our opponents can only get more interesting from here. I mean, outside of Yoenis Cespedes, I'm not sure there's a single interesting player on that team. Okay, Eric Sogard is interesting, but that's just because you don't usually see ballplayers wearing prescription glasses. He's interesting in the same way that Nascar is interesting, in that you watch to see if something terrible is going to happen. If it were me, I'd be constantly terrified that a wayward pitch or a funny bounce is about to lodge both baseball and shards of glass in my eyes. 

Which is one of the many reasons why I haven't posted about the Mariners much over the first few weeks. I don't know how stat-oriented guys like Jeff Sullivan and Dave Cameron make posts on baseball after every game (sometimes MULTIPLE posts!) because in effect, these guys (who are clearly allergic to small sample sizes) are forcing themselves to find even a little bit of meaning in 1/162nd of a season. Even after two weeks, it's not clear
  • Whether Chone Figgins or Ichiro have truly bounced back (my gut says the latter has, but the former has not)
  • Whether Michael Saunders or Justin Smoak are going to take that next step
  • Whether Kyle Seager is legitimate
  • Whether we should be worried about Felix (no?)
  • What the hell the Mariners are going to do with the rest of their starting rotation when the phenoms are ready
  • When the Mariners will drop Olivo (I like the guy, but three catchers on the roster is like two kickers on a football team).
Sullivan, Cameron, and Baker have tough jobs, and only one of those guys is getting paid to do what they do (I think?). I find it remarkable to say the least. 

But anyway, what Seager and Jesus Montero have done so far this season has been encouraging. While having two rookies leading your team offensively isn't typically a good sign, It's nice that the Mariners finally have multiple players hitting .280 or higher. Off the top of my head, I'm not sure the Mariners had anyone like that last year, at least over a full season. Interesting to note that Jesus' OBP is lower than his average right now, thanks to his lack of walks and a sac fly or two. But if he keeps having eight-game hitting streaks and home runs to dead center, I'm not sure the free bags are going to bother me too much. 

I didn't think much of Seager prior to this year, and he could just be having a hot streak, but right now he's the best hitter on a Mariners club that isn't last in hitting. He doesn't seem to have the traditional corner power expected of a third basemen, but then again, he's already hitting the ball much harder than his size would suggest. I hope and believe that the Mariners will ride his train as long as he keeps conducting it. I assume he's playing 3rd base because he doesn't have the range for SS, but if he continues at his pace, I don't know what the Mariners will do if Alex Liddi or Vinnie Catricala start knocking at the MLB door. Perhaps Ackley to the outfield, Seager to second, and Liddicala at third? But as usual, I'm getting ahead of myself. 

It's true that a traditional batter to bat third in your lineup would be someone that hits 30 hrs a year, but Ichiro has looked like a natural in the role so far in 2012. Not that he was a stranger to hitting in an RBI spot (it was his position in the order for nearly his entire career in Japan) but he has had no trouble finding the outfield grass and has four extra base hits on the season. If Ichiro manages another 200 hits this year, I'll be disappointed if the Mariners don't sign him for another two or three years. The Ichiro hate wagon has been riding strong for more than five years now, but he stuck with this team through thick and thin, and he deserves another playoff appearance in a Mariners uniform. Ichiro may be a first-ballot hall of famer, which would be a first for a career Mariner. Unlike other past Seattle icons, maybe this time we don't have to drive them out of town, instead letting him retire on his terms. 

Brandon League, 5 for 5, 0.00 ERA. Hard to take any meaning from it, but if he learned anything from those rough stretches last year, he could be the game's best this season.

Next up is Cleveland. I feel like the Mariners will take two of the three and retain second place in the west. And on that note, I don't know if I put it in writing on this blog, but if not, I'll say it here for everyone to see: The Angels aren't going to compete for the AL West this year. They weren't that good in 2011, and they didn't get much better in 2012. Their core players are mostly old, and Pujols is simply blocking a roster spot that Trumbo or Trout could be taking. I wouldn't be surprised if they lost 80 games this year. 

Sounders 1-0 Rapids



Under normal circumstances, Saturday's match would be pretty forgettable. Other than an excellent header by Zach Scott in the final third of the match, the Sounders faithful were treated (or...not...) to a game lacking a lot of excitement or close plays. Scott had another chance on goal in the first half that missed just left, Fredy Montero came close with a few free kicks, and Eddie Johnson almost found his first assist in a near-perfect service to Montero, denied only thanks to a great read from Colorado keeper Matt Pickens. Outside of those plays, and a couple of cards, it was about as lackluster a win as the Sounders will take all season.

But this matchup, which sent the Sounders into a tie for third place in the west with 10 points, had added significance, especially for the near 40,000 standing at attention on the sunny Saturday afternoon. It was the return of public enemy number 1, Brian Mullen, for the first time since his horrific tackle on Steve Zakuani about a year ago. And as was to be expected after 350+ days of hate and vitriol were unleashed on the internet in the aftermath, and with Zakuani himself in attendance, the crowd let Mullen know how they felt about him with their voices. Every time Mullen touched the ball (which seemed to become less frequent as the game went on, perhaps out of pity from his teammates),  something between a smattering and a cacophony of boos rained down upon the pitch (though not quite to the effect of the weather in Sunday's Chicago-Houston matchup).

On top of that, the game had even more meaning for myself, inviting an old co-worker and friend to his very first Sounders match. In town for a week from him home in St. Louis, we had a few drinks before the March to the Match, before I treated him to a Sounders gameday. He came away impressed, and I fully expect the Sounders population in Missouri to grow by one. Few things bring me more joy these days than creating new fans of Sounders and the "Beautiful Game".

Back to the game itself... The finishing is still a concern, but the coming week off should do wonders for this battered team. When Seattle next takes the pitch at Toyota Park in Illinois, they should have their best 11 on the pitch, with Rosales, Johannson, Fernandez, and Hurtado all returning to duty, and Johnson ready to play the full 90. Assuming Rosales doesn't get hacked down for the fourth straight game, it will be our first look at the true potential of our team.

Elsewhere in Cascadia:
Vancouver-Bye
Portland 1-3 LA

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sounders tie DC in frustrating match

The Sounders came close to pulling out a victory at dilapidated RFK Stadium in Washington DC today, as substitute Marc Burch nearly scored the winner on a diving header in stoppage time. But that shot bounced harmlessly away off the post, and Seattle now flies home to Seattle in a game that easily could have gone either way.

Michael Gspurning used his frame well in punching away a number of threatening balls brought in by Chris Pontius and crew, and the woodwork did it's fair share as well in keeping intact Seattle's second clean sheet of the year.

As good as the Sounders back line has been over the first month of the season, it's a little frustrating watching the team send long ball after hopeless long ball up the side lines in hopes that a Rave Green will win it, frequently to no avail. Scott and Levesque simply can't play ball possession the way Johannson and Rosales can (not that the left flank was free of guilt). It's equally frustrating that the Sounders haven't been able to field a healthy lineup yet this year. But I assume the goals will come, and as long as the defense continues to play well, Seattle's destined for big things.

(watching the Mariners while I type this; Smoak, I like you, and expect you to be a Mariners cornerstone for years, but you are a TERRIBLE base runner. Just saying. )

Friday, April 6, 2012

Mariners "Sort Of" Opening Night



With the shadow of Howard Lincoln's TERRIBLE PR move hanging over the team like Galactus from that awful Silver Surfer movie, the Mariners begin the 2012 season already two games into mediocrity. While the spring has been good to many of Seattle's batters, only the regular season will show whether this young lineup is ready to compete for playoffs again. For the first time since he took over, this really feels like the team that Jack Zduriencik wants to put out on the field. Well, except for Chone Figgins.

But I, as the eternal optimist, see this team winning over 80 games this year, including quite a few over the Los Angeles Angels of Middle Earth. Pujols does not a team make, and unless he's got anti-aging cream hidden in that gigantic bat of his, the rest of his team hasn't gotten any younger. In fact, much of that team has been aging in a very anti-Benjamin Button way for the last few years. and Albert is no spring chicken himself. Why the Angels signed him when they have Mike Trout on the rise and Kendrys Morales coming back from injury is beyond me.

But enough about the Los Angeles Angels of Palaven. The eternal optimist in me says crazy stuff some times (fire is frequently involved) but I see our young core scoring enough runs to turn those 1-run outings by King Felix into wins. I see Ichiro bouncing back and getting one more 200 hit season, with a few gappers to the wall along the way. I see Chone Figgins getting booted by the all-star break and Kyle Seager or Alex Liddi making a name for themselves.  And I see our bullpen not pitching nearly as poorly in the friendly confines of Safeco Field as they have in the bandboxes of the Cactus League.

Even I kind of think I'm crazy to expect anything from the Mariners, but with the starting pitching Seattle has had, and what they might have in the future (Ramirez, Hultzen, Paxton, Walker) it's not hard to believe that three runs can win nearly every night.

Seattle Sports court case: Mariners V Sonics/Totems



The past week in professional Seattle sports has had a few headlines. The Seahawks unveiled their new look for 2012 and beyond, the Sounders Women began to appear in Starfire to begin training for the best women's club team in history, and the Sounders saw Steve Zakuani find the field again for the first time in nearly a year. I wrote articles about most of these events (sorry Hope Solo!).

Perhaps it was conspicuous that I have neglected to write about the recent craziness involving Howard Lincoln, Chuck Armstrong, and the arena traffic kerfuffle. As I understand it, the Mariners, specifically Lincoln, sent Seattle mayor Mike McGinn a letter on Tuesday evening laying out their feelings on why an arena for basketball and hockey would not be a good idea in the Sodo area commute-wise. Beyond the two new teams that would be playing and whatever other events would be held in a building south of Safeco would of course be the Mariners, Seahawks, and Sounders along with thousands of Seattleites that work along the waterfront and "South of Down Town".

In truth, these are completely understandable concerns. As things are right now, traffic in the area isn't good, especially on a game night. Even with several new routes and overpasses, parking and commerce are at a standstill from about 5pm until the 7pm gametime. After hundreds of hours spent with Sim City 4, there are few things about Seattle (after its sports) more interesting than city planning.

But help is on the way, and there are solutions to be found to the gameday traffic problem. In four years, Sound Transit Light Rail will have extended north to the University of Washington and south past the airport. Construction will have begun on two additional lines across the floating bridges to the Eastside, which personally would probably mean an end to driving into Seattle ever again. The Viaduct will be torn down, and the replacement tunnel will be in place, further easing the agony of getting in and out of that area of the city.

For freight and the port, the best possible fix would be a previously promised overpass at Lander St, as mentioned in Lincoln's article. As someone who frequently parks at Lander and 6th and take Light Rail a stop or two down, I know that freeway access there is about as good as it gets before a game. The truck drivers know that too, but the trouble is that they are frequently held back by the train tracks that cross only a few blocks from the freeway entrance. Building an on-ramp across those tracks similar to the one on Edgar Martinez Dr. would be a somewhat expensive but possibly ideal fix.

But you know what would cause even more serious traffic problems? Putting the arena ANYWHERE ELSE. Unlike the SoDo area, which over the last two decades has seen its freeway access and public transportation options streamlined, renovating Key Arena or building in Bellevue or Renton would cause said cities to slow to a crawl for five hours each game day. They simply don't have the same traffic capacity. Anyone who has ever tried to park for a Sonics game knows how much easier SoDo is, and Bellevue/Renton would each be far more difficult. Each of those cities are bad enough WITHOUT game day traffic.

I'm not really worried about schedule conflicts between the (hopefully) five pro teams occupying the Stadium District in the near future. The sheer numbers of fans won't be an issue, even in the rare occurrence of three (could four be done?) teams playing in a single day. After all, if the Seahawks and Sounders can manage upwards of 67,000 with all the construction going on today, having 20,000 for basketball followed by a max of 47,000 for the Mariners shouldn't be a problem five-ten years down the line.

As Softy said so aptly on KJR today, when Christopher Hansen is doing something so great and giving Seattle such a great deal, and all we might have to do is settle some road infrastructure issues, we should be delighted to step up. And compared to the cost of an arena, something like an overpass is chump change.

I don't know whether the Mariners are actively trying to sabotage the arena deal, and I don't want to think that they are. But the idea that SoDo won't work for a new arena is absurd. There's no better place to plop Hansen's gift, especially considering he has already bought the land. I'd rather see the Mariner's efforts go towards sharing their considerable knowldege of the area to make sure traffic and parking work down there, rather than simply telling everyone how bad an idea it is. And maybe that is still to come. After all, they said in their letter that if SoDo was found to be the best option, that they would get behind the movement. Hopefully, by the time these teams get here, the Mariners will be competitive again and won't have to worry about what might happen to their bottom line.

Future Seahawks Green Uniforms?

It's a little sloppy, I know, but Just thought I'd put this together really quickly.
It'd be a snazzy look, and I hope they get around to wearing it at some point.

Makes me wish they had done these right when they wore green in 2009. Colored numbers makes them look so much better.