Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I Could Get Paid to Write Like This?

Welcome, everyone, to a post I am currently writing on a beautiful Easter afternoon here in Arizona. Before I continue, allow me to wish everyone out there a very happy Easter, and to inquire if anyone has found the part of Adrian Beltre that used to be good. I would appreciate that part returned to him as soon as possible. Oh, and please return to the 1st base umpire a set of functioning eyeballs, with which he can see a glove firmly planted on a runner's stomach. Both items would be greatly, greatly appreciated.

But, alas, it is not the Mariners to which I turn today, even though I am pleasantly surprised at their 6-7 start with nothing from Beltre, Ichiro, Everett, Guardado, and even King Felix, though that mark will quickly be 6-8 after Gil Meche finishes getting plastered in Boston tomorrow morning. That should be fun.

No, no, instead I must write about an article that I happened to read today during my daily perusal of the Seattle Times. The title of this piece happened to be, "Sonics are in limbo, so let's shake things up," by esteemed columnist Steve Kelley. I have yet to understand what we are to shake up after reading this article. Follow me down this path of discovery, won't you?

They threw away this season. Chucked it like it was leftover meatloaf. Acted as if they had more important and much different games to play, far, far away from KeyArena.

Chucked it like it was leftover meatloaf? Seriously, you actually wrote the phrase, "chucked it like it was leftover meatloaf"? Personally, I would have wrote, "hurled it like it was Kate Moss' lunch," or "tossed it like it was Caeser's first salad". But leftover meatloaf? You wouldn't throw that away!

Oh, and the whole "acting like they had more important games to play" bit? Nice jab at all the Sonics right there. Personally, I wonder what other sorts of games the Sonics would play. Rashard Lewis and curling? Luke Ridnour and "Risk"? You know Robert Swift loves to play "Cranium", and no Frenchman worth his salt (Petro) would let an entire season go by without playing "Axis and Allies", the WWII board game where you can be Germany, Japan, Russia, Great Britain, and the United States, but surprisingly the French are left off. It's almost as if...... France didn't exist for much of the war.

The Sonics let Nate McMillan, who coached them to a Northwest Division championship and a first-round playoff win over Sacramento, leave for Portland. They tried to get away with a coach-on-the-cheap, Bob Weiss, then ditched him after 30 games.

Yes, we "let" McMillan leave for Portland (last time I checked, McMillan really had no thought about staying, and followed the moolah south on I-5), and you can tell that McMillan is an awesome coach from the amazing job he did in Portland, right? Why, Portland is back on the road to awesomeness, right? Well, except for Darius Miles getting sent home. And Zach Randolph still not developing into a superstar. And them playing no defense. And everyone obviously tuning out McMillan late in the season. Now, Weiss was obviously not a good move, but wouldn't you call ditching him a move to "shake things up"? If we hadn't fired him, we would be even more in limbo, right?

Two paragraphs in, still no point. Let's continue.

They signed Reggie Evans, Flip Murray and Vlade Radmanovic to one-year contracts that were prescriptions for disaster. They didn't seriously address the loss of backup point Antonio Daniels until the trade deadline. And they didn't do anything in the offseason to increase their athleticism in the low post.

Now, Gavin and I would agree that the 1-yr contracts should not have happened, especially to Flip (dribble dribble dribble) Murray. Side note: all three of those players are going to the postseason! Yes! As for seriously addressing the loss of Daniels, the Sonics thought that (a) Ridnour was going to continue to progress (nope), and (b) Brunson wasn't going to be stuck the entire year with plantar fascitis, or whatever the john he had. As for the "athleticism" remark, I wasn't aware that had been part of the plan, but can see how it would have helped to begin this year.

Again, though, Kelley is still recapping errors made from LAST SUMMER that were ALREADY addressed by the Sonics during the season. The 1-yr guys? Gone. The backup point guard? Say hello to Earl Watson. The athleticism in the low post? Say hello to Chris Wilcox. Again, the whole point of this article is how the Sonics need to wake up, get out of limbo, and shake things up. All three of the above points are actually proof of the Sonics ALREADY waking up and getting out of limbo. Come on, Kelley, my boy, where's the meat of your article?

They could have built on the momentum McMillan, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis and last season's Sonics created. Instead they squashed it. They created a team that couldn't play defense, and the result is another postseason on the outside looking in.

Still here, huh? Yes, we get your point. Defense was not well-done, and that is the reason that they are not in the postseason. Actually, that's the sole reason they are not in the postseason. Offensively, this team was well above-average. Defensively, this team was perhaps the worst ever (according to John Hollinger at Again, the squashing happened last offseason and the beginning of this season. Problems were addressed and, since the trades, the defense was improved and the Sonics had a winning record.

Now, in the fifth year of chairman Howard Schultz's phony five-year plan (there never was a workable plan), the Sonics, with their all-too willing accomplice, NBA commissioner David Stern, are threatening to leave.

Stern, who comes to Seattle about as often as a foot-deep snowfall, is insulting the city that has consistently given its heart to this franchise, foolishly saying Seattle isn't interested in the NBA.

A foot-deep snowfall? Another killer simile there, but shouldn't you say, "about as often as one throws away meatloaf?" I'm also shocked that you would call out Howard Schultz on his five-year plan. SHOCKED! You mean to tell me that owners will sometimes claim to have a championship plan put into place without really knowing what is going on? Up is down, black is purple, spaghetti is meatloaf!

Yo, David, your league is full of problems. How dare you be so smug.

Yo, Steve, your column is full of what comes out of my dog at about 7AM every day. And way to go using the "How dare" line. I remember people saying that. Well, I remember my mother saying that. And people in movies from the '80s. They said it.

Seattle isn't interested?

Stern should have been at Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers. A meaningless game in a going-nowhere season and late in the game when the hapless Sonics' defense needed a stop it couldn't get, the crowd still was on its feet, loud and involved as if the playoffs were coming.

This is true. Seattle fans are awesome, and Stern should realize that. By the way, how is this fitting into the whole, "Sonics are in limbo and should shake things up" thesis of this column? Did you write two equally crappy columns and just combine them into one craptastic column?

The Sonics say they want a new building, just like the Mariners and Seahawks got. What they don't realize is they got the first new arena, the rebuilt Key, in the 1995-96 season. It's not the fans' fault the building was obsolete the day the doors swung open.

Schultz may not have owned the team then, but he knew the deal he was getting into when his group bought the Sonics from Barry Ackerley.

Also true. Also not the point of this article.

The Sonics like to tell every writer and broadcaster who comes into town they have the fourth-best record in the league in the past 11 years. That comes under the heading of lies, damn lies and statistics. The stat is accurate, but its implication is dead wrong.

Lies, damn lies, and statistics? There's a heading for that now? How cute, sort of like the circulation numbers that the Times likes to trot out every now and then to prove that they aren't hemorrhaging money.

Counting this season, this franchise will have won one playoff series in the past eight years. It won't make the playoffs this season for the fifth time in eight seasons.

Most of the success in this 11-year period came before Schultz bought the team and was done with a roster built by former president Bob Whitsitt, not Wally Walker.

So stop with the misleading numbers.

Yeah, stop it! We're actually NOT the fourth-best franchise in the NBA right now! Don't try to make people believe that! Again, though, I must bring up the point, once again, that there appears to be no point to this article. This appears to be topic #3, after the horrible offseason and David Stern.

This is the franchise that squandered tens of million of dollars on Vin Baker, Jim McIlvaine and Calvin Booth. It could have used those wasted dollars on a down payment on a new building.

Now, mired in a 33-46 season, they are threatening to leave town. And the commissioner is making outrageous insults.

Oh, we're back on topic #2 now. Terrific. Why not throw Jerome James onto that list?

The temptation in circumstances such as these — like the time Jeff Smulyan tried to sneak the Mariners into Tampa, Fla., and the time Ken Behring briefly moved the Seahawks to Los Angeles — is to tell owners to please leave and take your losing ways with you.

But I believe in the importance of sports franchises to the texture of big cities. City Councilman Nick Licata was way off base when he insinuated the Sonics add very little to the community.

Didn't he feel the excitement in the city last May when the Sonics beat San Antonio twice at home and tied their playoff series at 2-2? Sports teams can have a magical, galvanizing effect on a city and on a region.

The Seahawks' Super Bowl run and the Huskies' second consecutive trip to the Sweet 16 are the latest examples.

Yes, the texture (snicker) of big cities is helped by sports franchises, though multiple studies have concluded that franchises often overestimate (sometimes by a wide margin) the positive economic impact on the city. Oh, and obviously Stern must not be the only person insulting people, if Mr. Councilman is talking this up as well. Just be honest (no lies and damn lies here, Kelley), and present the proper implication, which is that this is a battle of testosterone and stubbornness on the part of the Sonics, Stern, and city officials, all of whom want to come off as the martyr. Stern and Schultz are no worse than any councilman, and, besides, this doesn't strike me as a looming problem anyways. Heck, trucks haven't even loaded up the team headquarters to go to California!


And for all their problems on the floor, the Sonics have been good citizens off it. They've built playgrounds. They've encouraged kids to read. And their All-Stars — Allen and Lewis — have been among their most visible ambassadors.

Yes, keep the franchise because Allen and Lewis encourage kids to read. Argument closed. Oh, forget the drunk driving stuff for Lewis. Ssssh. That never happened. They are good citizens.

On the floor, the Sonics did too little, too late for this season. But they have been marginally better since the trade deadline. Getting point guard Earl Watson and power forward Chris Wilcox made them competitive and gave them life.

Hey, Kelley remembered about these guys! Does he remember his earlier arguments?

Young, talented centers Robert Swift and Johan Petro could be huge pieces around which to build a playoff contender. No other NBA team has two 7-footers with their potential.

True, and we have Petro because the Sonics drafted an athletic post player, which, again, goes against what you were saying earlier. Do you actually read what you write, or are you too busy eating (and then throwing away) meatloaf?

The Sonics are better now than they were in November. But how much better?

How much better? 37.

Don't get too excited over the improved play in March and April. The record, 11-10 since the beginning of March, is a bit misleading. This is the loosey-goosey part of the year. Nothing is at stake and the Sonics have played pressure-free games. This is like September baseball for a team out of pennant contention.

Right, because those teams fighting for playoff berths? They actually don't care about winning, and will let the Sonics run right over them. Oh, and "loosey-goosey"? Another classic literary move. That 11-10 record must be another damn statistical lie, by the way. The real implication of that record is that we went 5-16. Finally, we all know how awesomely the Mariners have played in September the past few years because "the pressure was off". Oh, wait a second.... you mean the Mariners actually sucked in September? Hmmmm. Maybe the wins were happening because of, I don't know, improvement?

Wilcox, a restricted free agent, is playing for a contract. Will he continue to play with the same hunger after he signs his fat new deal? Signing him to a long-term contract, something the Sonics have to do, is a giant gamble.

Signing Wilcox is about as sure a thing as there is in the NBA.

So this is what we have with the Schultz Sonics — a team in limbo and a city on the brink.


Are the Sonics worth saving? Absolutely. Do they belong in Seattle, or at least Bellevue? Of course.

OK..... SHAKE THINGS UP!!! (Oh, and probably not Bellevue. The correct witty add-on would have been Tacoma. Tacoma.)

But let's hope the franchise is sold to new, more committed local ownership. Let's hope Stern keeps his threatening, ill-informed mouth shut and that creative powers-that-be can come up with a new plan that works for the team, and, especially, for the fans.

OK..... SHAKE THINGS UP BY..... selling the team, keeping Stern's mouth shut, and coming up with a vague "plan" that magically "works" for the team and for the fans. Wow. Brilliant. I never.... NEVER.... would have thought of that.

The Sonics, even this latest in a series of remodels, are worth fighting for.

Steve Kelley, everyone. A toast to what must be one of the most scatter-brained columns that I have ever read.

Again, Happy Easter, everyone!

posted by colin_hesse @ 4:01 PM  0 comments


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