If you have been a Seattle sports fan since before 2008, you will know the heartbreak that is the NBA in Seattle. I work daily in Seattle so I get to walk around and see people doing their day-to-day business and it is crazy just how much Sonics gear I see (including myself). The fact that it is coming up on a decade without them, and this city is still so passionate about them shows the type of sports city that Seattle truly is. The arena deal has been “in the works” for God knows how long, yet there is still nothing to show for it. This past month however, has been extremely active and for many hoping for a Sonics return it has all looked positive.
If you have not been following it very closely the Mayor and city council have been listening to bids and plans for the remodel of Key Arena along with an offer from a group for a SODO arena. The group that ended up with the winning bid is known as “AEG Worldwide” and have done numerous stadiums and arenas including the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the AT&T Center in San Antonio. They are a very well-known group and have a lot of big names within the NBA and NHL behind them. Their bid is to completely renovate the Key Arena in every aspect except for the roof. They are leaving the roof because it goes down as a historic landmark and thus they will receive a major tax break while keeping it fully intact. I won’t break down their entire plan but the quick breakdown is they are planning do dig 15-20 feet underground and completely redo the entire arena from the bottom up. The idea is awesome and in theory makes sense but it does not address one of the major factors that everyone has been bringing up about Key Arena for years: traffic and parking. Anyone that has been down around Key Arena knows exactly why this is an issue. There is absolutely no parking and all of the avenues in and out of the arena are just not fit to support the amount of traffic a major NBA team will bring in. One of the craziest things I heard for an idea that AEG had to try to fix the traffic issue was to fly people in by drones? I mean, drones haven’t even proven they can deliver a pizza let alone a living human being. Not sure I would trust Uber by drone to go and see a Sonics game, but that’s just me.
The other arena proposal is the SODO arena which is headed by Chris Hansen. This idea is the favorite by the majority of Seattle fans just for the fact that you avoid the entire traffic situation right off the get go. This SODO arena has been in the works for quite some time, and in my personal opinion I think we can thank the SODO group for pushing so hard that it got the city council to bring in bids for the Key Arena rebuild. I was really hoping that the SODO arena would get the go ahead because a brand new arena, down right next to Centurylink Field and SafeCo Field would have just been awesome. Oh, and with this SODO arena I am fairly certain we would avoid the Uber by drone idea which is another plus. I have heard that Chris Hansen still isn’t throwing in the towel and is going to continue the fight to try to get this SODO arena done, and for that I say thank you sir.
The deal still isn’t fully done with the AEG group. They are saying negotiations will be ongoing for the next 6-8 months. Lets say they somehow come up with a deal in a quick 6 month negotiation, that puts us right up to January 2018. The plans state the arena would take 12+ months to build, so the arena could possibly be up by the middle of 2019. Phew, now that we got that out-of-the-way, Seattle in theory now has an arena suitable for the NBA half way through 2019. That being said, the massive TV deal that the NBA signed in 2014 will not end until 2022. The NBA has already stated they will not be expanding the league until at the earliest when that TV deal is done. (They have also stated they may even be in talks with owners about downsizing the league to 28 teams, which would give Seattle even worse odds on getting a team). We are now in 2022 and Seattle still does not have a team. Unless Seattle’s group feels as though they are going to go out and steal a team I do not seeing the city of Seattle getting one for the next 5-10 years. Trying to stay positive about the NBA coming back to Seattle but thinking like a realist we are going to be waiting a long, long time.
Unless we go out and take a team from a city (which I know most Seattle fans do not want because we know the heartbreak) we are looking at what could be two decades between NBA teams in the city of Seattle. And that my friends, is just outright ridiculous.
If you haven’t been the biggest fan of the World Baseball Classic in past years, I can’t really blame you. Team USA was 10-10 coming in to this years Classic. That doesn’t really scream, “come watch and get excited about our team”. A lot of people are saying that even this year Team USA doesn’t have nearly the team that they should and I can’t really argue. The fact that Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale are not on the roster will always make for a valid argument in that department. But the reason I am even sitting here writing this article, is because I want to talk about the team that IS on the field.
This year Team USA is on their way to the Championship Round. The fact that they have made it there, without even the best athletes from their respective country, says a lot about the team on the field. As I tuned in (beer in hand) to the first game of pool play, it was Team USA vs Colombia. I whole heartedly expected to watch a lack luster performance with guys on the field that seemed to not even be trying. More like a game down in Peoria at the beginning of Spring Training. Sorry, but the memories of Team USA on the field not even trying were just burned into my memory from the last World Baseball Classic. But man was I wrong with that assumption.
What I saw on the field were guys that had passion and wanted to show that they belonged wearing those beautiful red white and blue colors. They wanted to show the world that this year, Team USA was here to play. The Colombia game was supposed to be an easy W for Team USA but Colombia starting pitcher Jose Quintana (Chicago White Sox) threw an absolute gem. The turning point for me and what absolutely made me believe that this team was here to play happened in the bottom of the sixth inning, and it wasn’t a 400 foot bomb either. Arenado stepped to the dish with a runner on third and two outs. He had a decent at bat but ended up striking out swinging. On the swing the ball got passed the catcher and to my surprise, Arenado took off like a rocket to first base. I couldn’t believe my eyes, the Major League leading RBI man from last season just took off full speed out of the box on a third strike. (Nothing like a Bryce Harper strikeout where he just walks immediately to the dugout.) Even more shocking was that Arenado slid headfirst into first base, jumped up and was absolutely ecstatic to be called safe. For his efforts the runner from third scored and that tied the game at 2-2.
I was ABSOLUTELY all in after seeing that. Team USA must have felt the same because the passion that followed the rest of the game was unreal. It almost felt like playoff baseball (which as a Mariners fan I don’t have much experience with). Team USA walked off in extra innings with a W and that is how the Classic started for Ole’ Glory. Sitting on my couch, I could not wait for the next game. It was only March but these games mattered. You could tell the guys on the field felt the same way. From Christian Yelich to Adam Jones to Brandon Crawford, these guys were all in. I couldn’t help but sit back and just beam with sweet, sweet American pride. Just knowing that these guys were going to give 110% and represent Team USA had me searching for my American flag tank top and a Budweiser.
Win or lose in the Championship round, this team earned my respect. I just want people to start talking about the team that is on the field, and not the team the could be.
As a Seattle Seahawks fan, when my iPhone buzzed and I saw the notification that we had signed Eddie Lacy I just shook my head. Not out of disgust or excitement, but with a “what in the world did we just do?” I almost had to get on Twitter just to make sure the ESPN app wasn’t malfunctioning. But before I could even fire up the Twitter app, I had about 5 text messages from friends asking me what I thought so I guess it had to be true. The Seattle Seahawks had signed Cheeseburger Eddie.
All these scenarios were running through my head, from how does he help this team, to how business for Dick’s Restaurants is going to go through the roof. So I decided to pour a beer and start digging into the specifics of this deal. After looking into the details, it all started to make a lot more sense.
They signed Lacy to a 1 year deal worth $5.55 million with $3 million of that guaranteed. As you say that out loud, for a running back that ran for 1,178 yards with 11 TD’s, set the Packers all-time rookie rushing record and went to the Pro Bowl his rookie season, it doesn’t sound that bad. It sounds even better after digging deeper into this deal I found that there is a $385,000 incentive for him to make weight. If the Seahawks organization has shown anything in the past, it is that players really do enjoy playing for the organization so his motivation could be extremely high. I am by no means saying this guy will be any type of second coming of “BeastMode”, but for the price the Hawks got him for you can literally say he is a poor mans Marshawn Lynch. The Packers let this guy go for a one year “prove to us you want to play” contract. Either they know something the Hawks do not and decided to let him go, or Lacy just wants to play for a more player friendly coach. Either way, I am going to enjoy sitting back, drinking a beer and watching big boy run.
In my opinion the upside to this deal far outweighs the downside. If he shows up and cannot fit into pads, oh well. If he shows up lean and mean and wants to prove to his ole’ pal Aaron Rodgers that he wasn’t a waste of a second round draft pick, this deal is going to end up a huge bargain for the Hawks.
And that is exactly how the Seattle Seahawks franchise likes to roll.
Sources: www.espn.com, http://www.nfl.com, http://www.foxsports.com, http://www.seahawkswire.usatoday.com
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