Phil Caldwell

Sports Blogging With a Grin

Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners May End Up On Outside Looking In

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Originally published September 21, 2011

All month college football fans have been tantalized by the prospect of two arrogant and yet hated college football programs potentially ruining their conference. Rolled eyes have accompanies all these rumors of recent meetings and scary goings-on behind closed doors and oil wells.

Texas and Oklahoma. Sort of the Ma and Pa of college football in a creepy inbred sort of way.

Storied programs? Yes, but perhaps not made of the fabric we out west would like to see in our snooty football league.

Letting these two join the Pac-12 would be like building a chicken-roamed trailer park square in the middle of Beverly Hills. Who wants this riff-raff in our neighborhood?

Two misinformed, yet self-righteous programs under the illusion that the rest of the country is dying to have them join. Just like an unwanted party guest who shows up with a drunken siliconed-induced fake-blond on his arm, even though his invitation was “lost in the mail.”

First of all, there’s the Texas Longhorns. Nobody cares nearly as much about the Texas Longhorns as the Texas Longhorns care about the Texas Longhorns.

Stadiums full of unruly fans showing up in ripped shorts and cowboy boots, grazing fries and duds on their 20 foot grills midst a hootnanny of down-South country music. Kick up the crap y’all, here comes painted-on jeans and tattooed loose women. Yeeehaw!!

This is a program with its own television network, gotten from backstabbing the Big 12 a mere 18 months ago during another edge-of-your-seat yet disturbingly similar potential Big 12 breakup caused entirely by—ahem—the Texas Longhorns.

The regents of the University of Texas used the insecure league to wrest control of full TV monies, similar to the Notre Dame deal with NBC, with the one exception being that people across the nation actually care about Notre Dame.

But the Texas Longhorns in Florida or Portland?

Not so much, unless you count replanted uncie and auntie’s lawn party of similar decrepit Longhorn fans throwing eggs at the neighbors and puking on your nicely kept lawns.
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And then there’s the Oklahoma Sooners. Fans in these parts fondly remember Oklahoma for their idiot fans parading a horse-drawn wagon onto the field in the 1984 Orange Bowl, or the big Brian Bosworth scandal in which Bosworth bilked the Seahawks out of $11 million soon before being steam-rolled by Bo Jackson on Monday Night Football with Howard Cosell.
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But Oklahoma in Seattle? I don’t think so.
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We still haven’t forgiven this cow-infested area for ripping off the Sonics in typical flat-topped fashion of deceit and lies, so you really think we’re about to cave in on the sanctity of the beloved Pac-12 for this group of paid amateur athletes?
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No we’re just fine with the way things are, and being as we just allowed the admission of two other storied yet un-kosher programs into this league with far more class, you really think we need all the gun racks and flat-red GMC pickups in these parts?

That’s why we have the Oregon Ducks, to serve those uncouth yet rare needs for the uneducated and stupid.

Nope, if it were up to me, I’d pass on the dusty tornado division where showered women are as rare as Texas rainstorms in July, and opt instead for local programs that continually screw up the BCS Bowl picture in December.

How about the bucking Broncos of Boise State, along with someone like the Hawaii Warriors as potential members for a new super Pac 16 conference? Oh sure, Boise would have to lose that cornea-searing blue field they’re so proud about, but you’d think they’d be willing to trade up for big-time tradition.

And Hawaii? Are you kidding me? How many of us would rather hit the beaches of Waikiki on a road trip than the dusty Motel Six located across the interstate from local tractor bone yards? Who cares a

bout the money these programs would bring? I’m talking vacations during November.

Sand. Long honey-blond hair over firm and tanned bodies. Surfer-dudes with surfer-chicks on big curling waves. Sounds a bit more appealing than aging wind-leathered motorcycle mamas with grizzled skin and hairy pits.

For that matter, Oklahoma State and all the other Texas programs need not show up either. I’d much rather have San Diego State and/or BYU in the Pac-12. There is no comparison for road trips in San Diego vs road trips in Texas.

After all, the Pac in the Pac-12 stands for “Pacific,” as in “Pacific Ocean.”

Nope, y’all schools back there in Hicksville need to either work things out with the Big 12, or start your own league of saw-toothed students and Hooters-employed cheerleaders. Out west we do things a bit differently and we don’t need all the Texas arrogance riding in here like a posse on steroids.

You too Oklahoma. Take it elsewhere. You’ve already burned your bridges out here in the west with that last NBA dog and pony show that we’re still ticked off about!

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Read more from the same author:

Auburn vs Oregon: Cockroaches and Flying Insects Killed from ESPN’s pregame coverage!

or

Boise State vs Utah in Las Vegas: Broncols Defeat Utes for Absolutely No Reason

Seattle To Get a New Privately-Funded Retractable-Roof Waterfront Arena and Concert venue?

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(Originally published in Bleacher Report on 10/3/2011)

Don’t look now kids, but remember that wild retractable roof basketball arena that Fred Brown proposed?  The one we all forgot about?

Well rumors are flowing that the concept might not be dead after all, and in-fact is very much alive.  There’s a big group of high-powered suited architects with designer haircuts frantically working on conceptual plans to present to the city.  Names known to many but will not be mentioned here.

Back in 2008 during the failed negotiations to save the professional basketball for Seattle, out of the blue came a rather radical vision led by former Sonic Fred Brown and public-relations executive Dave Bean, to build a new privately funded project known as the Emerald City Center.

It would be a $1 billion sports and exposition complex that would include a a retractable roof arena capable of housing both an NBA and NHL franchise.

Once fans across Seattle stopped laughing and listened to the proposal, it wasn’t as crazy as it sounded.  In fact, it was sorta cool.

Especially since Seattle had a popular “Summer Nights on the Pier” concert series located at Pier 62/63 along Alaskan Way, that was sucking in tourists from across the planet.  That was until, the pier deteriorated so badly that the series had to be relocated.

But it was a big hit all summer long when it was going on, with 18-22 concerts played by well-known artists on warm summer nights with private small craft swaying to soft waves midst the setting sun.  Glistening waters of the Puget Sound, seagulls in the night, the Olympics beyond.  The works!

A huge tourist draw, but the venue was too small for the really big acts.

Seven years ago all the sports stations in Seattle were summoned for a new radical idea for a retractable roof basketball arena on the Seattle waterfront.  Fred Brown’s group didn’t have the funding, nor a secure site, nor even a plan, other than a conceptual plastic model on cardboard.  Hardly the kind of fiscal structure necessary to get the project rolling.

Enter Seattle developer and high-end residential consultant Nitze-Stagen & Co, who has been trying to wrest control of the 89 acre Pier 46 site from the Port of Seattle since before 2003, which back then leased it to the agency’s largest shipping customer, Hanjin, for 10 years with an option to extend it another five.

The Port, with their tight lease deals already signed,  has long scoffed at this group of developers, according to Frank Stagen, who claimed back in 2004 that one port official mocked “You don’t own one spoonful of the dirt” when Stagen’s group were probing for planning details and irritating DCLU officials for info.

Things have moved along ever since.

In fact Nitze-Stagen, the same group that just cut dirt on the new North Lot apartment project by Centurylink Field, and is involved with massively redeveloping parts of the Pioneer Square area, has a glitzy website with snazzy schematic drawings bragging about this Pier 46 project.

Entitled “Vision 46,” the debate for the site was between Containers vs Condos.  Nitze-Stagen argues the entire cargo area, which was created from backfill during the 1970s, should today be redeveloped with a mix of high-density urban village activities, such as a major hotel, thousands of housing units and offices, a cruise ship terminal, retail, education and even a trolley line.

Included in residential buildings and commercial space, is…ahem…an anchor arena building right on the water, that looks very similar to what Fred Brown’s group proposed in 2008.  A new basketball/hockey arena, just perfect for concerts and whatever else might want to retract a roof.

It’s the perfect location too.  Located at the south entrance of the new waterfront tunnel project, there’s already existing freeway connections to nearby Safeco Field, the convention center and the football/soccer stadium.

With all the connections already built, it’s a cinch.  Plus it’s close enough to the ferry’s for walkers, and light rail already connects the area too.  What’s not to love?

And with construction gearing up as the viaduct is about to be razed, the timing appears perfect too. Which is why architects are working frantically behind-the-scenes, on drawings and budgets, and why this group just managed to get the Longshoreman union to agree to let someone else use this site.

A big huge deal and reportedly THE major hurdle that was holding everything up.

Rumored to be key in this project is a retractable roof arena design.  And why not? 

On the water, large crowds of 20-25,000 could swoon to summer tunes with a removed roof in the summer.  Shows wouldn’t have to worry about the weather, because any formerly rained-out events could still carry on.

Especially if the venue was open on the water side, with a “U” shaped arena bowl facing fans towards the Olympic Mountain Range.

Imagine a new Sonics team playing Game 7 of the finals under partly cloudy skies with the water in background.  Imagine an NHL team doing the same.  Or a national political convention with sunsets and flying fish.

Not so crazy an idea after all, now is it?  But enough to get city nimrods on board who still look stupid for their comments about how the Sonics offered no cultural value?

This project has something for everyone, and with private developers leading the charge, we might actually be looking at a viable candidate,  in terms of proposed arenas in the Seattle area that have a chance to be built!

Oregon Ducks 2010 Football Team Lunch for 1991-92 Washington Huskies?

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19 Oct 1991: Defensive tackle Steve Emtman of the Washington Huskies tries to break through the line during a game against the California Bears at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California. Washington won the game 24-17.Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Yesterday, two nimrod ESPN announcers with bad haircuts and worse suits debated whether the 2010 Oregon Ducks Football team could have beaten the best defensive team to ever walk on the field, the 1991 Washington Huskies.

Once every Husky fan across Washington picked himself off the floor after a dozen minutes of side-splitting laughter, we fans yearned for that famed team that knocked off No. 9 Nebraska and No. 7 California on their way to total college football domination in every way possible before routing No. 4 Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

These two TV twirps claimed, “it would be a close game,” because “Oregon is the best offensive powerhouse we’ve ever seen.” Quite an ironic claim, given that this is the same argument they were trying to make before the Ducks barely limped by California last month.

You remember that game right? The one where Oregon waddled past an unimpressive 5-4 Golden Bear team by a mere two points.  And that required a stutter-step miscue by California kicker Giorgio Tavecchio in the fourth quarter to erase what would have been the go-ahead field goal.

The absurdity of such a suggestion is blasphemy deserving of torture and stake-burning. The Ducks are hardly qualified to clean the jocks of Steve Entman and company, let alone last four quarters on a football field against them.

And the arrogance of these pip-squeaks! To think a newly arrived Duck team could ever compare to the storied history of the Huskies is enough to give even the most apathetic Washington fan stomach cramps, especially since the Ducks have written some of the worst football history ever known to mankind!

1782104_crop_340x234Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Let’s have a look, shall we?

Wikipedia says this about that Husky team (learned only after several hostile pop-ups by Wikimedia Executive Director Sue Gardner trying to leverage cash donations):

“The  Washington Huskies football team have won 15  Pacific-10 ConferenceChampionships, seven  Rose Bowl Titles and four National Championships. Washington’s all-time record of 653-398-50 ranks 20th in all-time winning percentage and 21st in all-time victories.

“The team also has two of the nation’s  longest winning streaks and holds the Division I-FBS unbeaten record at 63 consecutive games.”

OK, now let’s compare this to Oregon Duck history.

Hey what’s this?  I see that the Oregon Ducks began their stellar tradition of running up football scores against weaker teams back in 1910, when Chip Kelly’s great-great grandfather, Benito Kelly, ordered a hurry-up offense with a scant 108-point lead late in the fourth quarter against the University of Puget Sound to win 115-0.

Kelly claimed it wasn’t his fault because the 1910 BCS would have punished his team in the final poll.

According to cash-strapped Wikipedia, the Oregon Ducks have won six  Pacific-10 Conference Championships (counting this year’s), one single  Rose Bowl (during the first world war era) and zero National Championships. Oregon’s all-time record of 585-474-47 ranks so far down that there is no overall ranking.

258874_crop_340x234Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Ironically however, the all-yellow uniforms the Ducks wore in 2009 are rated the number one cause of all eye problems in 2010.

Suppose it’s for those reasons that Oregon and the rest of the sissy Pac-10 conference were all happy when the Huskies stumbled to 0-12 under Stanford coach Tyrone Willingham a couple years ago?  Finally revenge for the oft-slaughtered and maimed Pac-10 speed bumps.

All told and put into proper perspective, it means the 2010 version of the Oregon Ducks is like a sensitive men’s figure skating team wearing pink leotards, in comparison to the 1991 Huskies. The Ducks aren’t worthy of cleaning the ’91 Husky toilets with tooth brushes.

ESPN ran a survey a decade ago in which readers rated that particular Husky team as the third-best ever in college football, behind only the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers and the 1994 Penn State squad.

Most die-hard Husky homers would probably admit, however, that the early 1970′s USC teams could have given any college team fits, as well as some of the mid-century Notre Dame teams.

But the Ducks?

Well I’m sorry, but if LaMichael James tried one of his finesse tip-toe sally runs up the middle against Steve Emtman and two-time All-American Dave Hoffman, he likely would be picking his head out of the 15th row end stands mixed with chips and corn nuts.

POLL: Which team would win?

  • 1991-92 Washington Huskies

    77.0%
  • 2010-11 Oregon Ducks

    23.0%

Total votes: 761

If you remember, nobody ran up the middle against Steve Emtman and the 1991 Huskies.  Oh sure, there were those fools who tried, like Michigan’s QB Elvis Grbac in the 1992 Rose Bowl or Arizona’s George Malauulu to start the 1991 game, but few tried that more than a couple times.  None were so foolish.

Perhaps because Emtman and Hoffman were the anchors of a UW defense that allowed just 67.1 rushing yards and 9.2 points per game, both numbers among the best in NCAA history?

Emtman was just the ninth collegiate player ever to win both the Outland and Lombardi Trophies in the same year, and was the fourth-place finisher in voting for the 1991 Heisman Trophy before becoming the No. 1 overall pick in the 1992 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.

And it wasn’t only the opposition that got under Steve Emtman’s skin. In 1991, Sports Illustrated ran a story describing how Emtman had no problem getting in the face of his teammates if they didn’t perform up to then-Husky standards, in both games and every day practices.

In fact, 76,304 Nebraska fans, who certainly had seen their share of national championship appearances in the 1980’s and 90’s, gave that same 1991 UW team a standing ovation as the Huskies exited the field following their landmark come-from-behind road win in Lincoln over the then-No. 9 ranked Cornhuskers.

The same Cornhuskers who the previous year had the nation’s number one rated offense!

258948_crop_340x234Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The 1991 Washington football team led the Pac-10 in total offense, rushing offense and scoring offense.

Even after Rose Bowl MVP Mark Brunell missed the first two-thirds of the season with a broken knee suffered during spring practices, the Huskies rolled.

And there was sensational receiver Orlando McKay, running back Beno Bryant, future NFL all-pro Lincoln Kennedy, middle guard D’Marco Farr, bruising linebacker Chico Fraley, future NFL Pro Bowl cornerback Dana Hall, Darius Turner, Mario Bailey, Donald Jones and too many other stars to mention.

It was simply a great team whose time had come, and although that team never had a shot at co-champ wuss Miami, few in Huskyville doubt what the outcome would have been.

Nor do they doubt what would happen to the 2010 Oregon Duck offense’s prowess if they faced a defense as stout as the 1991 Washington Huskies.

So Oregon, our Husky hats are off to your so-far undefeated team heading into the BCS National championship, but let’s keep things in perspective shall we?

The 1991 Husky team would be spitting out your feathers in two quarters. I’m sorry. Don’t shoot the messenger here. That’s just the way it is.

So yes ESPN, there actually is a huge difference between the 1991 Washington Huskies and the 2010 Oregon Ducks.

The Huskies were a much better team.

The 10 Worst Trades in Seattle Professional Sports History

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Seattlespaceneedle_crop_650x440

The city of Seattle is known for many things.  The Space Needle.   Fishies jumping to and fro from glistening water lining the shorelines.  Sunsets skipping across snow clad ridges.   The deep blue of winter skies.   Tossed salmon through the Pike Place Market.

It is a city in a wonderland of outdoor bliss, where rugged mountains and skiing are within an hour’s drive of 150 golf courses played year round.

But the city is also known for assembling pathetic professional sports teams run by inept and/or confused general managers.  This is the city, after all, that fumbled its beloved and seemingly permanent NBA basketball franchise with four decades of history, away to a tiny town in the tumbleweed-infested plains of Oklahoma.

Where oh where does one start in pointing out terrible trades and mind-boggling player movement associated with this metropolis?   Perhaps an impossible task with dire consequences, sure to invoke scathing rebukes by the faithful.

The top ten worst trades in Seattle sports history!

10) Mariners – Tino Martinez & Jeff Nelson to the Yankees (December 6, 1995)

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 15:  Infielder Tino Martinez #24 of the New York Yankees smiles during the game against the Oakland Athletics at McAfee Coliseum on May 15, 2005 in Oakland, California.  The Yankees won 6-4.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

I spit on the ground at the mere mention of this travesty.  The Mariners drafted Tino in 1988, and Martinez began his career playing under  Lou Pinella who was a friend of his father back in Tampa.  He had several mediocre seasons, but broke out in  1995 when he drove in 111 runs, hit 31 home runs and batted .293 during that fateful ALDS series of long ago.  In 1995 the Seattle Mariners played the Cleveland Indians for the American League Pennant,  riding the backs of two upcoming stars:  pitcher Jeff Nelson and first baseman rookie Tino Martinez.

All the team needed to do is keep what they had for years of similar outcomes.  So what did they do?  The morons shipped off Tino and Nels to the hated and despised New York Yankees for prospects  Sterling Hitchcock and  Russ Davis.

Over the next four seasons Martinez provided key hit after hit as the Yankees romped to four world championships.  Martinez hit two memorable home runs in one series, with his season statistically in 1997 when he was second in the AL MVP voting after hitting 44 home runs with 141 RBI’s.

Meanwhile outspoken Jeff Nelson, traded twice to the Yankees for mouthing off about player moves (certainly understandable) pitched for five seasons in New York, including four World Series and was a most valued set-up man for Mariano Rivera.  And although Russ Davis did hit the first home run at Safeco, this trade was a dog and one that Yankee fans are still applauding as perhaps Karma, a make-up for the Bueller for Phelps debacle.

9) Mariners – Five players to for Erik Bedard (February 9, 2008)

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 27:  Erik Bedard #45 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum on May 27, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Bill Bavasi, one of a long list of outsmarted Seattle General Managers,  assumed he was getting a sorely needed staff ace when he traded highly touted prospect and number one pick Adam Jones, left-handed reliever George Sherrill, and three minor league prospects to the Baltimore Orioles for 13-game winner Erik Bedard.   Instead they got a very temperamental and oft-injured mediocre pitcher,  who at age 29, was rumored to still living in the basement of his parents home.

When he did throw, the moody Bedard rarely exceeded 100 pitches.   Worse was the extent of a un-communicated shoulder problem that came with him, which finally led to two lost seasons of rehab which is spilling into a third.   Meanwhile newly acquired and near-rookie Adam Jones became Baltimore’s everyday center fielder, with Sherrill saving 31 games for the Orioles during an All Star summer before landing in New York the following year, and eventually to the Dodgers.

Meanwhile throw-in prospects Chris Tillman developed into a Orioles starting pitcher,  fellow throw-in Kam Mickolio pitched several games in relief this past season and continues to develop.

8) Sonics: Kennedy McIntosh for Garfield Heard (October 20, 1972)

Garfield Heard and "the shot heard round the world"
Garfield Heard and “the shot heard round the world”

The infant Seattle Supersonics were fleeced by the Chicago Bulls for a Seattle player who later played in many playoff series for three different teams.  Kennedy McIntosh, originally drafted in the first round of the 1971 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls, best season in Seattle was in 1973-74 when he averaged 7.4 points per game.  McIntosh left the NBA in 1975 due to injury after only six games and lots of time riding pine.

Meanwhile the player they traded, Garfield (Gar) Heard, is best known for a buzzer beater made in Boston to send Game 5 of the  1976  PhoenixBostonchampionship series into a third overtime.  This feat is commonly known as “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World “

Fans had stormed the court after the time was erroneously allowed to expire, and one particularly boisterous fan attacked referee  Richie Powers after it was announced that the game was not over yet. Future Sonic  Paul Westphal then intentionally took a  technical foul by calling a timeout when the Suns had no more timeouts to use. It gave the Celtics a free throw, which  Jo Jo White converted to give Boston a two-point edge, but the timeout also allowed Phoenix to inbound from mid-court instead of from under their own basket. When play resumed, Heard caught the inbound pass and fired a very high-arcing turnaround  jump shot from at least 20 feet away. It swished through, sending the game into a third overtime. However, Boston eventually won the game and the Finals, four games to two. Heard had scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in Game 5

Heard went on to play eight more seasons in the NBA and was a solid veteran, with many Sonic fans stung to fury knowing they received nothing back for key defensive stalwart who seemed to always be in key playoff series for the Chicago Bulls, Buffalo Braves, and Phoenix Suns.

7) Mariners: Carlos Guillen for Juan Gonzalez and Ramon Santiago (Jan 8, 2004)

ATLANTA - JUNE 27:  Carlos Guillen #9 of the Detroit Tigers against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on June 27, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Guillén was signed by the  Houston Astros as a non-draft amateur free agent in 1992. He was traded to the  Seattle Mariners with pitcher  Freddy García and  John Halama in the trade deadline deal that sent  Randy Johnson to the Houston Astros.

Guillén made his debut in 1998 and was traded to Detroit at the end of the 2003 season after a trade for Omar Vizquel fell through.   In Seattle, shortstop Guillén was forced to play second and third base with incumbent  Alex Rodriguez at shortstop. After Alex Rodriguez signed with the  Texas Rangers for the  2000 season, Guillén moved back to his natural position. He had a league-average campaign in his first full season with the club.

The Mariners dealt Guillen for Santiago and Gonzalez who went on to play a combined 27 games for the Mariners (all of them by Santiago). Meanwhile, Guillen blossomed into a pretty solid run producer for the Tigers, hitting .318, .320, .320, 296, .286 from 2004 thru 2008 for the Tigers.  Today he remains on the team and is a utility player providing veteran leadership.

6) Sonics – Lenny Wilkens for Butch Beard (August 23, 1972)

Lennywilkenscard_original_display_image

No trade in Seattle sports history ticked off local fans as this early introduction to professional sports, by the Sonics.

Owner Sam Schulman pushed his staff to trade five-time NBA All-Star Lenny Wilkens, who the team had acquired three years earlier for guard Walt Hazzard, to the Cleveland Cavaliers for guard Butch Beard and Barry Clemens.

Wilkens was arguably the first Seattle superstar and clearly the most popular player in early Sonics history.  He led the club to a team-record 47-win season, just missing the playoffs, but the year following this trade the Sonics plummeted to a paltry 26-56 record.   But he was a player-coach, and then owner Sam Schulman demanded that Wilkens choose one over the other (coaching or playing).  Once Wilkens decided to play, the Sonics deemed it too difficult a situation for the succeeding coach and promptly traded him to Cleveland.

His coaching replacement, Tom Nissalke, was fired after only 45 games.   Meanwhile Butch Beard bore the brunt of everyone’s frustration while trying to please hostile crowds   He pressed and lost confidence,  and things got progressively worse as his scoring average dipped from 15.4 points per game with the Cavs to 6.6 in Seattle.

Sonic fans, feeling jilted for perhaps the first time, packed the sold-out Seattle Coliseum the first time Lenny Wilkens returned to Seattle after giving him a two minute standing ovation during introduction, making it the franchise’s second-highest game attended to date.  Wilkens’ every move was cheered while the home team was booed nonstop, beginning with the first pregame layup drill. Cleveland won 113-107

“It was brutal,” recalled Bob Houbregs, former UW All-America center and the Sonics’ general manager responsible for the ill-fated trade. “I felt so badly for him and his family. They took so much abuse and it wasn’t right.”

Soon-to-be-discarded Beard got even with the Golden State Warriors the next season by winning an NBA title with the Warriors, one of his five pro teams.  Later he coached the New York Nets & went on to other managerial positions in the NBA.

5) Mariners: David Ortiz to Minnesota for Dave Hollins (August 29, 1996)

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 10:  David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after striking out in the sixth inning of their game against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 10, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ez
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Losing David Ortiz to Boston goes down as one of the poorest trades in Mariner history.  Albeit a somewhat forgivable move since absolutely noone foresaw Ortiz developing into what he ultimately became: a six time All Star who set a single-seaon record in 2006 for 54 home runs.

Ortiz was a post-deadline throw-in completing the trade for the pinch-hitting David Hollins as oft-ignored “player to be named later.”   Turns out the Mariners donated the farm by throwing in “Big Papi” during an unsuccessful push for the promised land of the postseason.

The Mariners were shocked when this cast-off eventually became the powerful team leader that Boston fans have adored ever since.  Ortiz’s lovable easy-going nature has been a rock in the Boston clubhouse during tense pennant races and perhaps THE most influencial party during the stunning Boston come-back against the Yankees in 2002.  His intensity with a bat is second to none. Ortiz is one of the greatest team leaders ever to play in beantown and has taken on near worship status in a city that loves their baseball team like no other.

4) Seahawks: Tony Dorsett for No.14 Pick Steve August (May 3, 1977)

16 Nov 1986:  Running back Tony Dorsett of the Dallas Cowboys looks on during a game against the San Diego Chargers at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California.  The Cowboys won the game, 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Ken Levine  /Allsport
Ken Levine/Getty Images

After using their first-ever draft pick on Defensive Tackle Steve Niehaus in 1976, Seahawk management and GM John Thompson decided the team needed help in many key positions rather than just one glory running back who would get crushed behind an expansion offensive line.  Dorsett felt the same way, whimpered that he would never play for Seattle, and thus even with Dorsett’s NCAA rushing records and Heisman Trophy out there for the taking, the Seahawks went for quantity rather than quality.

Seattle made two proposals to the Cowboys. The first involved some Dallas draft choices and Linebacker Randy White. “The Cowboys bounced that back faster than we could spit it out,” Thompson says. The second was the deal that eventually was made.

Dallas general manager Tex Schramm, was rightly euphoric about landing Dorsett. “Dorsett is the outstanding back to come out of college since maybe O. J. Simpson,” he said. “He doesn’t have O.J.’s size, but there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be as successful as Simpson.” Then Schramm talked like a businessman.

“People can argue whether what we did at Seattle was good or bad,” former Seahawks front office member Bob Ferguson said years later, “but all I know is that those guys all ended up starting for us and we went 9-7 in our third year in the league.”

Fair enough point, but considering Dorsett ran for more than 1,000 yards in eight of his first nine seasons, led the league in rushing during the strike-shortened ’82 season (when his string of 1,000-yard campaigns was broken), won two Super Bowls and retired as the second-leading rusher in NFL history behind Walter Payton, there’s a strong argument that this was an epic mistake.

3) Mariners – Jason Varitek & Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb (July 31, 1997)

ST PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 27:  Catcher Jason Varitek #33 of the Boston Red Sox works behind the plate against the Tampa Bay Rays April 27, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Both Boston fans and team management are still laughing about this pig of a trade.

The trade happened literally minutes before deadline, and apparently Woodward was working the phone lines hard. He ended up with too many irons in the fire, and as everything fell apart, he came back to Heathcliff Slocumb. Rumors leaked out that the Red Sox were asking for Derek Lowe OR Jason Varitek, but not both.   It was the Mariners that came back offering both of them.  Needless to say, it didn’t take long for Boston to agree to the deal.

Slocumb had over 30 saves in 1995 and 1996, sporting ERAs in both years around 3.00. By traditional numbers, he looked fine, but the wheels started to come off in 1997, to the tune of a 5.79 ERA with only two fewer walks than strikeouts at the time of the trade.  Looking beyond Heathcliff’s ERA (or watching him in person for that matter), Slocumb always struggled to throw strikes, and didn’t counteract that with an eye-popping strikeout rate.

His split-finger was a swing-and-miss type of pitch, but hitters often felt no need to expand their strike zone with his questionable control. Still, despite the obvious signs the Slocumb wasn’t a strong rebound candidate; M’s GM Woody Woodward bit the bullet, and put some trust in him.

In Woodward’s defense, Slocumb was added to one of those epic mid-’90s terrible Mariners bullpens. Although Heathcliff wasn’t great, he was 1 of 20 pitchers used in relief by the 1997 Mariners, which says plenty about the talent level of that bullpen.  In Seattle the rest of the season, as the closer, Heathcliff got about a strikeout an inning and his ERA went down nearly a couple runs. However, Slocumb showed his true colors again in 1998, and was gone by the end of the season.

In the end, the deal sort of worked for three months. The price was excessive, to say the least. Derek Lowe, who made his MLB debut for the 1997 Mariners (and was ineffective in his nine starts), did not take long to establish himself as an All-Star caliber pitcher for the Boston Red Sox where he posted a 21-8 record with a 2.58 ERA and candidate for the Cy Young in 2002.

Jason Varitek was still a prospect in the Mariners system, but went on to become a three-time All-Star and  Gold Glove Award winner at  catcher,and a  Silver Slugger Award winner.   Varitek was part of both the Red Sox’s  2004 World Series and  2007 World Series Championship teams.   In December 2004 he was named  captain of the Red Sox, only their third captain since 1923.

2) Scottie Pippen for Olden Polynice (June 22, 1987)

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Seattle held the fifth pick in the 1987 draft, but on draft night 1987, the Chicago Bulls acquired Scottie Pippen by convincing Seattle to exchange for the eighth pick, center Olden Polynice, a second-round pick and the option to switch first-round picks in 1989.   It sounded advantageous to the Sonics at the time since they intended to take Polynice anyway, but it is now known nationally as quite possibly one of the biggest stinkers of all time.  Pippen would later be named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history.

The Bulls got this seven-time All-Star who became a vital component of the Chicago Bulls’ six NBA Championships in the 1990s.   During his seventeen-year career, he played twelve seasons with the  Chicago Bulls, one with the  Houston Rockets and four with the  Portland Trail Blazers, making the postseason sixteen straight times.  He racked up the second most playoff game appearances (208) behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (237). But above and beyond, his all-around game was the prototype for the next generation of small forwards.  The Bulls got the perfect compliment to Michael Jordan and one of the greatest, most versatile players of all time who could do everything.

Polynice played for eight different NBA teams in his 16-season NBA career, including two stints with Seattle.  Zero championships, always known as a somewhat mediocre if not slow methodical player and career back-up whose best scoring average was just over 12 points per game.

1) Dennis Johnson for Paul Westphal (June 3, 1980)

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How can I call this trade the worst in Seattle history in comparison to the other dogs we just mentioned?  Because this trade ruined the chemistry on TWO former contending teams, not just one.

The balance which had worked so well in both Seattle and Phoenix no longer worked as well in either city, although both teams did do well the year following the trade.  But with the exchange of these two All-Star players in this straight-up trade, neither found the dominating form that had made both teams the elite they had been during the previous years.  Part of that was obviously due to the Lakers drafting sensational rookie Magic Johnson and vaulting the Lakers to heights previously unknown, but the impact Dennis Johnson’s defense had for the Sonics is unmeasured.

Dennis Johnson was a 6-foot-4 guard and five-time NBA All-Star who averaged 14.1 points, 5.0 assists and 3.9 rebounds over his 14-year career. When Johnson retired in 1990, he was just the 11th player in history to have 15,000 points and 5,000 assists.  He was named to nine straight All-Defensive Teams.  He was a member of three NBA championship squads, two after leaving Seattle.

In what could be the best draft pick the Sonics ever made,  Seattle selected Johnson in the second round of the 1976 NBA Draft with the 29th pick and was given a four-year contract which started with a salary of $45,000 in year one and ended with $90,000 in the last year.

He had grown up on the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, one of 16 children. He didn’t make varsity until his senior year of high school and went to work driving a forklift in a tape warehouse after he got his diploma. He played ball in local leagues and was “discovered” by Jim White, coach of Los Angeles Harbor College.  From there, Johnson went to Pepperdine. The Seattle SuperSonics drafted him as a “junior eligible” in 1976

Four years later Johnson and teammate Gus Williams were both named to the All-NBA Second Team, and Johnson was also named to the All-NBA First Defensive Team for the second consecutive year.  After the Sonics made it to the Western Conference Finals for the third straight season, it would be the last time that the backcourt of Williams and Johnson would play together in SuperSonics uniforms.  Dennis Johnson was traded to the Phoenix Suns before the start of the  1980–81 season.

Wilkens felt Johnson was too moody and erratic, too immature and a “cancer” on an otherwise championship team.

Paul Westphal was no slough either.  Drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1972 out of USC,  Westphal played three seasons and earned a ring in 1974, and then was traded to the Phoenix Suns where he earned another in 1976.  He was a prolific scorer if not a bit soft on defense, yet defensive plays may be what he is best known for three decades later after his role in the triple-overtime win game 5 Phoenix win at Boston.  He spent one year in Seattle before being shipped off to the Knicks the following year, eventually going back to Boston and then ending his career back in Phoenix.

Meanwhile Dennis Johnson was shipped off to Boston after several years in Phoenix,  in another Red Auerbach fleecing for Celtic and former Kentucky lumbering big man Rick Robey, and Johnson went on to be a centerpiece in the legendary Lakers / Celtics rivalry on the 1980’s.   In Sports Illustrated, teammate Larry Bird, who was not known for lightly tossing around compliments, called Johnson “the best I’ve ever played with.”  Meanwhile in Seattle the Sonics were never quite the same and eventually declined into mediocrity following Gus William’s season long contract hold-out, the Sonics change in ownership and consequent move to the Kingdome.

Written by PhilCaldwell

November 26, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Oregon Football: The College World Despises Ducks Fans, but Why?

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During this time of the college football offseason when teams have long since wrapped things up, the bored faithful tend to get restless.  On Feb. 2, fans watched excitedly as new football recruits signed on with their new teams.

We all got all worked up about it; threads were humming with rhetoric and debauchery about which school was getting which recruit.

And yet, four years later, the college football recruiting rankings on Scout.com and Rivals.com rarely resemble the final BCS polls.  So how important are they?

Now this week comes news that a crazed 62-year-old Alabama fan, poisoned the tradition-packed 132-year-old oak trees on the Auburn campus known as Toomer’s Corner.

The proud fan then called a local radio show hosted by Paul Finebaum to pop off about it, identified later after police promptly arrested the nitwit, as one Harvey Almorn Updyke Jr.

Alabama folks will quickly point out that there is some doubt as to whether this guy ever attended their university in the first place. Many claim he’s an uneducated high-school drop-out who just glommed onto the program as most of the worst fans of programs do.

Nevertheless, on the radio he bragged up his despicable act, and claimed it was in retaliation for Auburn fans toilet-papering the same trees in celebration when famed Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant passed on.  Auburn fans often toilet paper these trees for celebration, as they have for some  eleven decades.

Auburn fans deny the Bryant rumor ever happened, while Alabama fans insist it did, and each fanbase is bitter because of it.  Both claim the opposing fans are the most obnoxious in America.

This is where the Pac-10 comes in.

Speaking as a UW Husky alum who has had to tolerate the adolescent habits of Oregon Duck fans for three decades, I would have to contest that last point.

Yes certainly there may be some mentally-challenged individuals in the SEC who do stupid things like this, but are the fans in that conference anywhere as raw than our pals down in the tractor-lot-infested middle of I-5 Oregon?

I think not, and apparently many other fans of Pac-10 schools agree with me.

Evidence?  On the next page is a fan poll that was presented to each school in the Pac-10 this past year, asking  who they rated as the most derelict in the league?  Guess who won?

 

 

Poll Showing How Pac-10 Fans Rate Those From Rival Schools In The Conference

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Pac-10 fans were asked point blank: Which school has the most boorish, unsophisticated and classless boobs rooting for their team? 

Not surprisingly to anyone outside of Oregon, the color-challenged Ducks won in a landslide, with 38.10 percent of across-the-board Pac-10 fan vote. It dwarfed the next-closest team, the California Golden Bears, who finished a distant second with 16.67 percent of the vote.

Nor is this the only poll.  Sports Illustrated also ran a poll with roughly the same results during the same year of 2009 (see below)

As a humble and cheerful Washington Husky fan, I wondered why?  Why do most in the Pac-10 think the Ducks are a bit light in the brain department when it comes to what they say and how they act towards other fans at football and basketball games?

Oh sure there are the numerous reader comments that have littered my own articles for years, with Oregon fans screaming profanities and threatening my family.  I’ve always assumed those were the nutty exceptions. But after seeing this poll, now I’m not so certain.

Surely the rest of the Duck faithful cannot be as vocally deficient as those commenting on my articles?  Or could they?

Then as I researched the topic for this article, I began to learn I may be giving Oregon Duck fans way too much credit. I could hardly believe what I was finding, and there’s so much of it!

The following is the tip of the iceberg. Attached are eight exposés of quotes from others about why they can’t stand the Oregon Duck athletic program and their fans.

I wrote very little of this material.  Instead, I merely pulled up quotes off of fan forums and various articles from web sites, and am re-posted them without edits for us all to enjoy.

Turns out the team that is desperate to be accepted that they go to extremes in dressing themselves, like donning fluorescent knee socks against Auburn last month, and wearing dozens of goofy $600 designer helmets, is vivaciously disliked by a great many.

Here are some of the reasons!

 

Link to Sports Illustrated poll:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/ncaa/specials/fansurvey/2009/pac10.html

 

 

8. Mar. 18, 2004: Storming the Court after 1st-Round Victory in NIT Tourney

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I’m not sure why this particular basketball game got so many people riled up, but there was a first-round game back in 2004 in the NIT basketball tournament between Oregon and Colorado.

Long before Oregon had accomplished much in football, Duck fans apparently stormed the court after the game and were mouthing off about their huge victory.  In the NIT tourney that doesn’t exactly garner the eyes of multitudes.

While a great many are still laughing about it seven years later, for others, that single act was a felonious display of low class that still has not been forgiven. Especially by new Pac-12 member Colorado Buffalo fans, who are still whining and whimpering.

Check out these comments from some who witnessed this spectacle:

“The one tournament no one cares about.  What’s so significant about a first round NIT victory?  Boy, these Oregon fans have to be among the WORST in the country.  Storming the court after a victory over Colorado?  Pathetic. Oregon fans SUCK!”

Or this one:

“You have shown yourself to be just another bitter Buffalo fan. If you don’t like the fact the Duck students come out on to the court after games fine. Don’t watch us. Of course that will severely limit the amount of Duck basketball games you will be watching for the rest of this season because this is what we do at Oregon.”

If that bugged Colorado fans, you may be near suicidal after a few seasons showing up in Eugene for various sporting events!

What’s interesting about that fan comment is the claim this is an Oregon tradition. I don’t remember them doing this after losing to UW time and again.

But whatever. No big deal, right? Fans upset over losing a tourney? So what. Oregon fans did what most college fans periodically do. How is that so bad?

Keep reading.

 

 

7. Mouthing Off about Too Few Accomplishments

BOISE, ID - SEPTEMBER 3: Safety T.J Ward #2 of the Oregon Ducks  tackles tight end Kyle Efaw #80 of the Boise State Broncos in the second quarter of the game on September 3, 2009 at Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won the game 19-8. (Photo by
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Even though Auburn won the championship game last month, apparently some of the Tigers faithful were downright ticked off at Oregon fans and their antics during the buildup.

Many scorching fan comments absolutely ripped Oregon fans for whatever it was they were doing.  But none so effectively as Bleacher Report’s own Kevin Strickland, who shared a number of observations about the Duck fans in a rather humorous way.  Allow me to quote him:

“To the decrepit Oregon fan at the sidewalk café who kept trying to trip Auburn patrons with his cane?  People saw you. You and a flock of others like you are the reason many Auburn fans left Arizona determined to cheer for Beavers, Trees, Huskies and Bruins against your team in the future.”

“People like you are why many of us will put aside our regional differences and support a Bayou beatdown when LSU travels to Uncle Phil’s Camp for Day Glo Children to open next season. 

Here’s a hint to Oregon fans.  When your team has a signature win under its belt (and we’re not talking just this season, we’re talking historically); when your team isn’t staring at a 2-7 bowl record over the last nine seasons with the only wins coming in the Holiday Bowl and Sun Bowl; when you’ve beaten a handful of top 25 teams in the same season, then maybe you can run non-stop smack. Until then, perhaps you could tone it down a little.”

Now what is amazing about Strickland’s observations, is how quickly Auburn fans picked up the same vibe that the rest of us have complained about for decades, when it comes to our feathered friends from down south.

Strickland, obviously still hacked off, then went on to add:

“To the Oregon fans who tried to explain the great fan atmosphere at Oregon games, were you aware you were cooking on a Foreman Grill?  In the south, gameday grills are the size of your Prius.  Burgers aren’t made of carrots and beans.  Animals have to die in order to make a real burger.

“To the Oregon fans who boasted about consecutive sellouts of their home games, do you know what you call 55,000 people at an SEC stadium?  A spring game.”

Meanwhile when it comes to Oregon fans, so ok, so they do uncool things while on the road.  We all knew that. What about general sportsmanship while teams compete?  Next slide please …..

 

6. Cheering When Players From Opponents Suffer Serious Injuries

BERKELEY, CA - NOVEMBER 13:  Brock Mansion #10 of the California Golden Bears in action against the Oregon Ducks at California Memorial Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

As Oregon played the California Golden Bears this past year in football, the Bears used a rather interesting tactic for defense to slow down the huddle-less Ducks offense.

When they were caught in a defensive scheme with the wrong personnel on the field, suddenly a Cal player, usually a defensive lineman, would fall without warning to the ground in an act of pain that would have made the Hollywood Screen Actors Guild proud.

Well Oregon fans were so ticked off about this that were urping up their dinners and throwing empty “Mickies’s Big Mouth” bottles at anything that moved.  Perhaps infuriated because their 15-13 win over California hardly justified claims they’d been making the previous week, about the Ducks having “the best offense in college football history.”

The rest of the Pac-10 would have still been rolling our eyes over that one, but then that bare squeeker win made it particularly delicious!

Well Oregon papers were hacked off! The Oregonian’s John Hunt wrote, “He confirms what we were showing you an Saturday night, that the California Gold Bears faked injuries!!” 

Hunt, an obvious Duck devotee, went on to write, “A source within the Bears football program confirmed that this was indeed ‘a big part’ of the defensive game plan, although not all Cal coaches were on board with this strategy.”

(All of this was from “unidentified sources.”)

And then to really drive the anger point home, he added, “Tedford deserves to have someone back-stab him like this. While faking injuries may not be illegal it certainly is classless.  No wonder why Tedford can’t win a big game. 

“It also sends a message to your players that they are not good enough to beat Oregon.  With that little trust in your players, it’s no wonder why Tedford can’t win a big game.  At least he’s at Cal where he can just call out his freshman backup quarterback or his kicker every time he loses a big game.”

But it wasn’t the only time Oregon was insecure about this topic.  Following the Arizona game were comments like this flowing from fan forums:

“Yah you would be booing too when a team actually admitted to faking injuries.  Not saying Arizona did but it was kind of fishy when those 3 players who were injured came back in a few plays later perfectly fine. 

It always seemed when the Ducks offense was gaining rhythm too.  Anyway I just find it funny that you guys are so mad that Oregon just won’t lose so you find anything you can to bash them.  Your favorite team has “those” fans too and you know it.”

Ah yes, consoling words by those lovable folks at Oregon, if not a bit hypocritical.  Said someone else about Oregon:

“Yes every team has ‘those fans,’ but the entire stadium chants profanity and cheers when opponent players get injured at Autzen…and if you think that’s normal behavior anywhere else in the nation you’re delusional.”

5. Jan. 2008: Racist Profanities Hurled During Arizona-Oregon Basketball Game

EUGENE, OR - MARCH 8:  Nic Wise #13 of the Arizona Wildcats lays up the ball agianst Maarty Leunen #10 of the Oregon Ducks at MacArthur Court March 8, 2008 in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Wrote John Wilner on Jan. 30, 2008, in the Bay Area College Hotline:

“No longtime Pac-10 watchers—at least nobody I know—was the slightest bit surprised about the way some Oregon students treated UCLA freshman Kevin Love last weekend.

“They held offensive signs and showered Love with insults, some of them reportedly homophobic, that went far beyond ‘it’s part of the game’ classification.

“This was hardly the first time the students have behaved like jack—–.  It’s not all of them; it’s probably only a few; but it has happened repeatedly over the years.  As one Oregon official said: “It’s an ongoing thing to get our students to behave properly.”

“In the mid-90s, fans sitting close to the court yelled the “N-word” at Arizona guard Damon Stoudamire.  (I was there, I heard it, Stoudamire heard it, he talked about it, and I wrote about it.)

“A few years later, several UCLA players complained about the same six-letter word.

“It seems the nasty faction of Duck students saves their nastiest stuff for Oregon natives (Stoudamire is from Portland, Love from Lake Oswego). Maybe they’re upset the players did not sign with the Ducks.

“Anyhow, Oregon athletic director Pat Kilkenny apologized to UCLA and left messages for Bruins Coach Ben Howland and for Love’s father, Stan, who played for Oregon.

“A nice and proper gesture, for sure. But it won’t stop the abusive fan (ie: student) behavior in Eugene, which, like I said, has been going on for years and years.”

4. Jan. 13, 2006: Phil Knight Cutting Off Track Funds

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Nor does is tend to be confined to only one sport.  This from ESPN’s Mike Fish on Jan. 13, 2006, who suggested that Phil Knight might be the best owner in college sports:

“Here’s a tip: If you’re cashing paychecks from the University of Oregon, treat Phil Knight with unabashed love; even genuflect at his Nikes if the occasion calls for it.

“Just don’t tick him off or, heaven forbid, fall shy of grandiose designs for his beloved alma mater—lest you might end up following Martin Smith down Interstate 5.

“Suspiciously, the longtime track coach resigned a day before the Ducks’ season-opening meet this past March, leaving with three years on his contract.

“The $500,000 buyout he reportedly walked away with makes it sound more like a firing. If so, his testy relationship with the Nike co-founder didn’t help.

“Nor did the almost sacrilegious idea that Smith, a prickly character who refused to seek input from Knight or former Oregon distance running star Alberto Salazar, delivered a successful program around a core of hurdlers, jumpers and throwers—not seasoned distance runners like those who’d given legs to Oregon’s storied track tradition and birthed a sneaker giant.

“So, in the showdown leading up to the coach’s exit and eventual shuffle to the University of Oklahoma, Knight cut off his financial support to the track squad. The identical don’t-cross-me tactic Knight deployed after president Dave Frohnmayer earlier aligned the university with the Worker Rights Consortium, a group critical of Nike’s labor practices.

“‘The bonds of trust,’ Knight said, ‘have been shredded.’ Eventually, the university reversed course and Knight turned the financial tap back on.

“‘That was the worst moment, by far,’ recalls Frohnmayer, still apologizing for the decision he made five years ago. ‘It was terrible for him.’

Some of us had the misfortune of watching Mr Knight spend a half-hour patting himself on the back when the new Oregon arena opened.  Others have written that Knight was instrumental in the last football coach firing, and routinely dicates game decisions in football games.

The truth?  Who knows.  But clearly this is a relationship unlike any other in college football!

 

3. Comments Made to Opposing Fans after an Oregon Duck Victory

EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 31: Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans throws a pass in the second quarter of the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on October 31, 2009 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon defeated USC 47-20. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Gett
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

How about if I just let a website called “The Displaced Trojan” do the talking on this topic, although Lord knows we Husky fans know what this guy is saying first hand.  Here’s what he said:

“The Ducks football team has enjoyed some success at the national level recently, they’ve got the best owner in college sports, they train in state-of-the-art facilities, they wear the worst uniforms of all time…but they will always play second fiddle to USC.

“We know it.  They know it.  And this leads to hate.

“I know this because I’ve experienced this hate in person.  Back in 1999, I was at a USC game in Eugene, Oregon, when we lost in triple overtime after Carson Palmer broke his collarbone just before halftime.

“After the game, instead of exchanging pleasantries—like most fans with class and an appreciation for an exciting game, nearly every Oregon fan we came across heading out of the stadium (and there were a lot of them) had something ugly to say. 

“‘Go home you f””kin loser!’ or ‘I bet it feels like sh*t to be wearing that USC jacket about now, huh.’ 

“I’ll spare you the various versions of ‘USC Sucks!’ and the sophomoric condom lines, but needless to say there wasn’t a lot of class and sportsmanship in Eugene that night.  I’m sure there are a few Duck fans who may justifiably take exception to this, but in my experience, Oregon has the most vulgar, low-rent fans in the Pac-10…And that’s saying something with Cal in the conference.”

 

2. Testimony from Actual Fans

EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 6: Wide receiver Josh Huff #4 of the Oregon Ducks jumps into the crowd during the team introductions before the game against the Washington Huskies at Autzen Stadium on November 6, 2010 in Eugene, Oregon. The Ducks won the game 53-16
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Is it only sports writers that feel this way?  Or is it the general public?  Three stories from fansabout their experience:

“I was about 13 years old and I was with my dad at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. Awesome tournament, I’m getting autographs from Jon Elway, Mike Eruzione, Charles Barkley, Jason Kidd, Ray Allen, Chris Webber, Mike Schmit, Jerry Rice.

“It’s a dream come true for a kid that loves collecting sports cards.  So we’re walking around watching some of the golfers and we come across Rick Neuheisel, then the University of Washington head football coach.  Rick was teeing off.

“Now my dad was a huuuuge Ducks fan, thus having a big influence on me and the school I would eventually choose, and he collected every football poster since 1991 until 2005 where I have picked up the tradition. 

“So while us Ducks are routinely included in the ‘Worst Fans In The Pac-10′ discussion, my dad and I quietly wait while Neuheisel tees off between the 15 or so people watching his foursome.  Neuheisel swings and everyone but my dad and I golf claps.

“Who knows why but my dad turns to this elderly guy next to him and quietly says, ‘I’m an Oregon Duck fan and I’ve always thought this guy (Neuheisel) was an a**hole.’

“The guy turns to my dad, pauses, and says bitterly, ‘Oh ya?  Well I’m his dad and I think you’re an a**hole!’

“Ackward to the fullest.  Neuheisel ended up being a nice guy and actually apologizing personally to my dad at a big dinner later, but even despite all of this I’m still a big hater of his.”


Not like this was necessarily unique however.  Here’s another fan story:

“My wife and friends and I travel to at least one away game per year, but we have decided to stop going to Eugene.  The people there really are different than at any other venue.  They wear their rudeness on their sleeves like a badge of honor, and will cuss you out (and challenge you to a brawl), not caring if there are kids around or anything.

“Meanwhile, if you go to Pullman, Tempe, Palo Alto, etc, strangers will invite you into their tailgate parties for a beer and treat you like on of their own.”

And said another fan:

“I grew up in WA and live in Oregon now, and I have to say the Duck fans are the worst I’ve encountered…friends in the marching bands of OSU, Stanford, and UW have all mentioned appalling treatment by duck fans in Eugene (things getting thrown at them, getting cursed at, having to take security measures walking around Eugene, etc).  While I do have friends who are diehard Ducks fans, by and large their fan base is just obnoxious.”

 

1. Lastly, What Ducks Fans Have Written to Me

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And lastly, let me just share my own experience here on Bleacher Report.  In an article I wrote about uniform expenses and the potential advantages for recruiting that alumni money can have on a program, here’s what I was hearing from Oregon fans in response.

And keep in mind, this is only one of about 50 or more similar comments, and the guy writing this tripe was not a young guy.  His photo (before he mysteriously pulled it) showed a guy in his late 50′s/early 60′s!

One Randal Fitzhugh, apparently a diehard Oregon fan, was miffed that I would dare write about his beloved Ducks or suggest the whole thing with Phil Knight was getting a bit weird.  Here’s what he wrote:

“Your writing is totally despicable and you’re an obnoxious whiner and let’s see what else…a pretentious ass.  Your claims are blatantly self serving.  You pretend you’re bringing some value to the sports world with your commentary, but you get off on your little power trip…?  Man, you are so pathetic words can’t describe the level of petty, spiteful thoughts that must go through your head to write the articles you’ve written.  Using BR to vent your pettiness is also disingenuous to the readers, which (IMO) shows your obvious lack of moral character.” 

Not that I am alone in this guy’s wrath.  Here’s what he wrote on someone elses Bleacher Report article:

“Why not title your article ‘Fu*k Everyone Who Ever Thought a Bad Thought About Auburn?’ It’s not other writers, Alabama fans, Duck fans, sports analysts, etc. who denigrate Auburn…it’s hacks like you who prove that Auburn has fans who are poor winners and that sportsmanship certainly isn’t in your repertoire…what a paranoid, pathetic article…and your team won?”

Nice happy people, aren’t they?

So, as I said in the forward for this piece, I didn’t really have to write much on this one.  In fact I wrote very little of this, and rather just gathered and re-posted the tons of bits and pieces from other fan forums, about Oregon Duck fans.  There’s is so much of it out there.  This is just a mere sliver of the mountain of venom coming from Ducksville.

If I was a Duck fan, I might start doing some inward examination before launching accusations toward everyone else! And rather than write scating comments towards authors who point it out,  I might ponder why everyone else sees my own program the same way!

 

Written by PhilCaldwell

November 26, 2011 at 11:16 am

Washington Husky Fans Shouldn’t Be Disappointed Over Loss to Oregon Ducks

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Relax Husky fans!  Before you go jumping off the nearest bridge, think about how far this program has come in three short years!

Last year the Ducks put up 53 points to the paltry 16 the Huskies could manage.  A mere year later the Huskies could have, and probably should have, won the last game ever played at beloved Husky Stadium before the big renovation.

Had Keith Price not generously donated the ball to undeserving Duck cornerbacks, not once but twice, the Huskies could have left the field at halftime enjoying a two touchdown lead instead suffering the same at the hands of Oregon, bequeathed 14 easy points by driving a total of half a football field.

Washington completely out-played and out-classed Oregon in the first half, amassing 11 first downs to Oregon’s 6, with twice as many offensive plays.  What the stats could not show was a far more hungry squad of Husky upstarts, jacked up by the presence of the eyes of the undefeated national champ team of two decades earlier.

But in spite of the play inequity, the total yards were nearly equal.  Precisely the problem when playing the high-energy Ducks, especially when they donned the old Oakland Raider uniforms with the only school color being an out-of-place green “O” on silver helmets.

In the third quarter Oregon did what Oregon always seems to do.  They came out on the opening drive with quick sideline strikes of 15 to 20 yards using both sidelines, stretching the defense and setting it up for what would come next.  By the time the harried and panting Huskies caught their breath,  Kenjon Barner and LaMichael James were suddenly shooting up the center of the field with five straight healthy gains,  ended only by a nice juicy TD on 12 plays that consumed barely two and half minutes.

What had been a game the Huskies should have been winning, was suddenly 24-10 with a potential blowout looming.

But the Huskies didn’t pout.  They came screaming right back up the field with their own quick 9 play drive, to answer with their own impressive touchdown.  Keith Price threw a lofter on the left side of the end zone to five-star recruit Kaysen-Williams, for a Husky TD to bring it back to 24-17.

Williams, the all-world freshman recruited heavily by every team on the planet only last year, made the prettiest catch of the night and perhaps in his brief Husky career, stretching high to snag the pass with his big toes barely skimming the surface before they hit the sidelines.

Chris Polk was no slouch either, running up the middle from the shotgun formation on four straight draws with healthy gains on all but one.  Oregon suddenly looked like deer’s in headlights, with zero defensive answers, especially when the suddenly resurgent sold out Husky crowd of over 72,000 were going nuts and creating noise mayhem.

All week long there had been festivities and hoopala for what would be the last game ever played at Husky Stadium, where past greats had dwelled on Saturday afternoons since 1920.  In fact a full team of Husky greats were in the stands, intimidating both teams with the same glaring eyes that had mutilated every single opponent on the way to a national championship two decades prior.

Back when the current Dawgs were still urping up Mommy’s milk in their high chairs, these middle-aged guys with paunches and thinning hair had been wreaking havoc across the land, scoffing at east coast insistence that the also undefeated Miami Hurricanes would have had any chance of staying with them on the field.  But they never got the chance to prove it, since this was long before the BCS system of placing undefeated teams in bowl games.

And yet back to the future, the Huskies were having a hard time understanding how the Ducks could have a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter, given how silly UW was making them look.  But this is what the Ducks do to opponents, lead when they’re being dominated.

Keith Price missing receivers by sailing passes 10 yard over their heads did not help.  Passes with open receivers that looked to be sure touchdowns, ended up going the other way twice in the first half, and Price ran for his life in the onslaught of much quicker Duck defensive lineman.

Following the first Price debacle, Oregon needed just three plays to take the lead, starting from the Washington 38, which ended when LaMichael James scampered up the left side 18 yards for a disturbingly easy touchdown.

A quarter later it only took four plays starting at the UW 34, after Price duplicated his first quarter error in exactly the same way, lofting the ball high over the head of a bedaffled Jerome Kearse and into the hands of a by-himself Eddie Pleasant standing on Duck 17 yard line, which he promptly returned 49 yards.

Oregon didn’t need many offensive plays to lead by 14, but when the Huskies kept hanging around it was clear this game would have little similarity to the seven straight 20+ point blowouts that preceded it.

On the six plays where Price took what should have been normal time throwing the ball deep, patiently waiting for his receivers to run their routes, he was sacked badly.  A dozen other plays had Price rushing to throw the ball, which didn’t allow for feet to be set long enough for a stable foundation.  Hence the ball sailed high into wide open Ducks.

When Oregon started their drive from their own 30 yard line with 8:34 left in the third quarter, it was do or die time for the Huskies.  Trailing by only seven, if they didn’t stop Oregon on this drive the game would be lost for good.

They didn’t.

Oregon’s rickety quarterback Darron Thomas drilled David Paulso for 34 yards across the middle on the third play from scrimmage, and followed it with another to Josh Huff for 19 more yards.   Two running plays later it was 31-17, and Husky fans were muttering in their frigid seats at the old dilapidated stadium.  It was over.  UW knew it and the hated Ducks knew it, especially when the next Washington drive stalled at mid-field with a confused and ugly 4th and 4.

Oregon had the ball and a big lead with only 3:40 left in the third quarter.  But when a wide-open Daryle Hawkins dropped his third pass of the night at the five yard line, Oregon was forced to kick a field goal, which was certainly no gimmie considering how bad Duck kicker Alejandro Maldonado was.  In fact 35 yards was his limit, and he barely managed to sneak it over to cross bar to give the Ducks a 34-17 lead with a buck 49 left in the third.

Things really got hopeless when little-used Husky Michael Hartvigson was stripped by Terrance Mitchell at the Husky 32 yard line in just two plays, but were bailed out by a couple of knucklehead Duck penalties, and an ugly pathetic miss by Maldonado from 46 yards, short and off-line to the right.

Still, by now Oregon had slowed down the offense, and were burning large chunks of time by running the clock down to the bare bones with each play.  Sometimes Oregon would walk to the line and return to the huddle several times, just to drive everyone crazy with the trickery and confusion.

Never-used sophomore Nick Montana woke up the crowd with an impressive 53 yard strike to Kasen Williams down the right sideline to the Duck 27, but when a wide open Kevin Smith dropped a nice easy pass that hit him in the numbers as he stood alone in the end zone, the Husky faithful could tell it was not their night.

But it was the best game played against Oregon in a very long time, and if nothing else, the Ducks went away feeling a bit fortunate to have won so easily.  It certainly wasn’t because they played well.  The Ducks easily could have lost this game had the Huskies not been so sloppy and charitable, and by the time things wound down, Oregon could tell that this would be the last easy game for years to come.

The Huskies are still thin in only their third season since being terrible, have kept even with Oregon and the rest of the league with recruiting, and suddenly look like a team to be reckoned with starting in 2012.  Especially since another set of Sark recruits will come rolling into town.

And with the NCAA sniffing the crotches of devious Duck activity all winter long, how long can this go on?

Oregon’s core are still only juniors, but stars such as Darron Thomas and LaMichael James are likely to bolt for greener pastures in the NFL, hence the chances of this Duck bunch staying together after this year is looking grim.

So while clueless Oregon fans were mouthing off on their way to the parking lot tonight, failing to appreciate that all streaks eventually end, the rest of the Husky faithful are recognizing this game for what it was.  The Husky program is back and getting better each year.  We know it.  The Ducks know it even if they won’t admit it, and by this time next year the rest of the country will know it.

And with NCAA sanctions drifting in like eerily gray November clouds, this same Oregon squad will likely be moping come this time twelve months hence.  The mini era of the Ducks dominating the Dawgs has likely seen it’s last chapter, as the men of Montlake return to their 1991 roots and tradition!

Seattle Seahawk Fan Criticism of Tim Ruskel Over 2009 NFL Aaron Curry Pick Unfair

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Fans in Seattle are aghast at the sudden demotion and trade of a player pre-destined as the next Dick Butkus, before he was drafted with the first pick in the 2009 NFL draft.

Seahawk management felt this “safe pick” was one where they could not miss, to fill a position they sorely needed filled.  At 6 feet 2 inches and 255 points with 4.52 speed, he seemed like a sure thing.  An expected Pro-Bowler with great personal character, to anchor the fledgling Seahawk defense for years to come.

He was the highest drafted linebacker in franchise history, and the highest linebacker picked in the NFL draft since Lavar Arrington in 2000.   But when he agreed to renegotiate and shorten contract with unguaranteed money, the handwriting was on the wall.  Especially when fourth-round pick KF Wright ultimately won the battle for the starting strong-side spot.

Curry was promptly shipped off to the Oakland Raiders this week, for a paltry seventh-round pick in 2012, a conditional draft pick in 2013, and a case of Cheese Cheetos to be delivered Seahawk headquarters by noon on Friday.

It would be easy to criticize Seahawk management for blowing the pick, but criticism today is merely the worst form of Monday morning quarterbacking done by folks who have no idea what they are talking about.   Who among us has ever drafted a player using the vast complexity it takes to evaluate talent?

In this case, studying old Wake Forest tape does not categorically decipher whether Aaron Curry was truly great because of his own talent, or  because of the talent that surrounded him.  Especially on a team like the feared and loathed Demon Deacons, in the ACC, which is not a football conference that tends to knock the knees of potential opponents.

The third smallest school in FBS in terms of enrollment behind Rice and Tulsa, it is by far, the smallest school playing in a BCS conference.  Therefore it’s not prone to attract national attention unless they upset a more storied football program, which in their case could be anyone they played.

On teams like this, where underrated players are the norm, and these guys surround the favored media-declared superstar, the favored guy might get the accolades when the others actually deserve it.

How difficult it must be, for talent scouts to sort that out.  And even then it’s a gamble.

You can’t tell, for instance, that in the much quicker NFL that he would be slow to decision-make during a play, or that he would tend to overrun plays where he should have stayed home.  How could you know this?

Especially when he showed such promise during his first five games, and had every pundit in the land pointing to his can’t miss credentials as a great guy off the field as well as on.  He is smart, caring, and does everything a professional organization expects of their stars.

It’s not like the Seahawks could have brought in Aaron Curry to play a few games with the professional team before drafting him.  Thus it’s a bit of a cheap shot for fans to rip on then general-manager Tim Ruskell and other Seahawk talent scouts after-the-fact.

Two Seahawk coaches, Jim Mora and Pete Carroll, both targeted Curry as a strong side linebacker, where you have to be strong and athletic and crazed enough to react with instinct instead of head smarts.   And yet in the ACC, where players are certainly not as quick and determined as they are in the NFL, how could you possibly know how Aaron Curry or anyone else for that matter, would react on a professional football field?

You can’t know, all you can do is play the odds.  You can evaluate to your heart’s delight, but it comes down to game day players who have that extra gear that kicks in when games that count start play. 

As a coach and talent scout you can’t measure that in collegiate athletes, all you can do is put stop watches on their speed, and evaluate how they play during a scant handful of post-season games where other college stars are brought together.  Games in which sure-thing picks tend to avoid.

None of this is precise, nor is it guaranteed.  And thus players like Aaron Curry, and Steve Niehaus, and Brian Bosworth, and Rick Mier, all high can’t-miss Seahawk draft picks, went bust.  They didn’t pan out in the long run.

That’s not to say that Aaron Curry will be ensconced with this group for the remainder of his career.  But is to say that the critics need to stuff socks in their pie holes and back off.  It’s very easy to launch missiles from the safety of the unpaid sidelines of fandom.

It’s not so easy when you’re the guy in the hot seat evaluating Aaron Curry and a whole host of other “can’t miss” college football prospects following what could have been a freak high-performance season they may never repeat.  And thus even professional talent scouts miss the sure things while others get lucky finding untapped free agents who eventually become better.

Welcome to the NFL.  Welcome to professional sports.  If it was easy, we’d all be doing it.

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As published at the FanVsFan website:

http://fanvsfan.com/articles/seattle-seahawk-fan-criticism-of-tim-ruskel-over-2009-nfl-aaron-curry-pick-unfair

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Read more from the same author: 

Auburn vs Oregon: Cockroaches and Flying Insects Killed from ESPN’s pregame

or

Bosie State vs Utah in Las Vegas: Broncos Defeat Utes for Absolutely No Reason


Written by PhilCaldwell

October 13, 2011 at 12:23 pm