Phil Caldwell

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The 10 Worst Trades in Seattle Professional Sports History

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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  Phoenix– Bostonchampionship 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)

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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

10 Reasons Why I Hate The New York Yankees

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NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 20:  Members of the New York Yankees attend the unveiling of late team owner George Steinbrenner's monument prior to playing against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 20, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (P
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
It’s that time of year again that all fans cherish!  When we can belch, drink stuff that might power a locomotive, and scream at bad calls from umpires while making pathetic excuses for why our team finished 23 games outWoe is us, the Seattle Sports fan.  We have very little to live for when it comes to our teams.  The Sonics are gone, the Mariners suck bad, the Huskies are two years removed from oh and twelve, the cross-state WSU Cougars are writing a new definition for “horrible,”  and the MLS Sounders appear to be the only playoffs this city will see in half a decade.  I can’t even remember what a bowl game looks like!

But there are plenty others out there in other cities who suffer with us, and nothing rubs salt in our wounds like watching the team with twice the money excel in the post season.

We’re fed up.  We’re angry.  But let me explain why.

Ten reasons why I would rather sit through six hours with a life insurance salesman than endure one more at-bat watching the New York Yankees!

No. 1 Mariano Rivera

MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 06:  Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch in the ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins during game one of the ALDS on October 6, 2010 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Yankees defeated the Twins
Elsa/Getty Images

How long has this nimrod been pitching for the Yankees anyway?

The main problem I have with Mariano Rivera, other than the fact that nobody can hit the guy,  is that it’s un-American to not sign with another team for at least half of your career!   This is how capitalism is supposed to work!

As a young man you are supposed to establish yourself  with hard work and many hours of training in warehouses.  Then later in the spring, most superstars have a “breakthrough moment” where they do something miraculous and astound the masses.  Soon thereafter your rookie contract is played out and another rival team makes you an offer you cannot refuse.

You being the highly ethical guy you claim to be, you tell the fans you’re happy where you are, and then you promptly jilt the devoted.   You make empty excuses like “well they didn’t respect me” and “I was insulted by their offer” but nobody believes you.

This is how it’s supposed to work, Mariano.  This is what all good athletes do.  This is what we fans expect from our stars.

Not so with Riviera.  This guy has been pitching for the Yankees ever since my grandfather was a small child.  He’s like those spooky people on NBC’s “The Event” that never  age.

I am not making this up.   I looked up the roster of the 1929 Yankees and you know who the closer was?  That’s right.  Mariano Rivera.   Same guy.

Quit already Riv, would ya?!?

No. 2 Alex Rodriquez

30 Sep 2000:  Alex Rodriguez #3 of the Seattle Mariners reacts to a teammates joke during their game against the Anaheim Angels at Edison Field in Anaheim, California. The Mariners defeated the Angels 21-9. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Gross/ALLSPORT
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Hating Alex Rodriguez is like hating cancer or rabid postulates growing randomly on your body.  You don’t need a reason to hate despicable things.  You just do.

As a very young player this Yankee superstar was adored by young Seattle Mariner fans.  He was on the bench when Junior scored in “the game” against the Yankees in 1995.

But then he got older and became a starter, then eventually a big stud with a huge batting average,  and then arrogant (not necessarily in that order).

There was, however, a small problem with Alex Rodriguez when he played in Seattle.   Every single time he came to bat during a big game that we simply could not lose,  he choked like strangled chicken.  And not just little choke, but BIG HUGE choke with us down by a run in bottom of the ninth one game out of first.

This is what I remember about Alex when he did NOT play for the Yankees.   His last September in Seattle, every time Alex came up to bat against the Yankess he struck out with men in scoring position.   One game at Safeco against the Yankees,  I remember this vividly.   Alex came up and struck out seven times in four at-bats.  I’ve never forgiven him for this.  On the other hand, he had an amazingly high batting average and a ton of solo shots during 10-0 routs where nothing mattered!

Little kids enjoy chucking beer bottles at him.  I too, enjoy chucking beer bottles at Alex Rodriguez.  In fact I’m chucking beer bottles at him right now as I write this.

Which reminds me of what else I hate about the Yankees…

No. 3 George Steinbrenner

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 20:  Former manager of the New York Yankees Joe Torre (3rd L) walks past the monument of late owner George Steinbrenner with his wife Ali prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 20, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bron
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Ok I realize the guy is gone and perhaps I may be lightning-bolted for scoffing at his image,  but they built that statue for him at Yankee Stadium this last summer.   I hate that.

See in Seattle, we don’t like statues unless they’re Marxist statues of Vladimir Lenin.  If the statue is of Lenin, then we LOVE statues!  We have them mounted in the Fremont district where lovers of that ideology can ponder wistfully the good old days of communism.    But if the statue is not of Lenin, we see that as worshipping false gods.

Steinbrenner was everything communism was not, so for that reason alone we always hated the guy.   Plus Lou Pinella  (a moment of silence please for the Pinella years) didn’t care much for good old George either.   We like Lou.   We don’t like George.

Actually Steinbrenner did provide some humor once in these parts.   A long time ago in a stadium long since imploded, during the “glory month of October” (we don’t have “glory years” here in Seattle.  We have “glory weeks”) during the 1995 ALCS there was a hand-painted banner that said “Beavis and Steinbrenner.”   Giggle.  We liked that.

But we hated Steinbrenner, and it’s because he was a big bully who pushed people around.  The opposite of what people in Seattle are like.  We much prefer ballet and men in tights with embarrassing bulges in inappropriate places.   We adore sensitivity and little pink unicorns skipping through the forest with butterflies. Those types of things.

No. 4 Johnny Damon

BOSTON - OCTOBER 02:  Johnny Damon #18 of the Boston Red Sox runs to first base during the game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on October 2, 2005 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Johnny Damon was the original pirate.   He had the pirate “look” thing going long before Jack Sparrow  ripped it off.

Kids thought Damon was cool.  Parents thought Damon was cool.  Shoot, even Grandparents thought Damon was cool.

Then he signed with the New York Yankees and like all things they touch, they ruined him.  He became boring and lost his sparkle.  Shorn were the locks, replaced by a boring lawyer look with lots of shaving.   He could have been teaching first grade Sunday School at very conservative churches when he played for the Yankees.

This ticks me off because the guy was a rock star wearing a baseball uniform in his early years.  If Keith Richards played baseball, this was how Keith Richards would have looked!   But now look at the poor pathetic fool!   He hasn’t played for the Yankees since last season,  but he still dons that dopey corporate IBM image thing.   Another forgettable ex-Yankee who could be running any hedge fund business or corporate scandal.

Don’t blame Damon.  Blame the stupid Yankees for forcing this on him!  Blame their ridiculous policy on the military look for all formerly badass ball players.

The New York Yankees force the corporate image on their ball players because they ARE the corporate image.

The Yankees are what all of us hate about baseball in the 21st century.  They are a billion dollar cable TV contract playing games in a billion dollar television studio.   And that’s all they are.  It’s not about fun anymore, it’s about making money.

Do you think the Yankees would have ever tolerated a Al Kaline or Ty Cobb?   Not a chance for these stiffards!

Look, I suppose I’ll have to tolerate the Yankees signing players for three times what anyone else can pay again this off season, but do you have to root out the personality while you’re at it?!?  This isn’t 1953 for crying out loud!  This is baseball in the modern era!

No, 5 New Yankee Stadium

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22: Members of the world championship winning China Youth Baseball League team throw out the first pitch prior to the start of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays during their game on September 22, 2010 at Yan
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

After decades of being humiliated by the Yankees,  the rest of the league got even by building new retro parks with restaurants, kiddie amusement parks and lots of bathrooms.  We were all feeling great about this because we could finally compete with the dollars of the Yankees and sign our own pack of free agents.  And since New York owned one of three famous historic baseball stadiums this country could not live with out, we all knew you were stuck.  Surely you would never dishonor the baseball gods by tearing down this historic icon.

Unfortunately New York tore down this historic icon.

Then you built yourselves a new cooler stadium than any of us have that earns the Yankees more than our stadiums earn us.   And what’s worse, you charge half the price of a new house to sit in the seats behind home plate, which means the only ones that can afford those seats are Wall Street jerks.

Now every time the TV camera shows a close-up of a hitter,  we fans across the nation have to endure smug Wall Street jerks in very wide leather seats eating lobster and drinking 100-year-old scotch.

Look New York, if you have to put these dullards somewhere close to the field, why not hide them behind mirrored bulletproof glass that doesn’t show on TV?  Sell advertisements on those mirrored panels.   I’d much rather look at two side-by-side bathtubs of naked retirees than these smug pinhead bankers behind home plate!

Hey here’s an idea:  Since the seats are usually empty anyways, why not fill them with Playboy super models in skimpy outfits?  This I could support.  But I do not want to see middle-aged overweight guys in three piece leisure suits with flapping gowels and hot towels, every time they show Derek Jeter from the right side!

No. 6 1995 American Division Championship Seattle Mariners Vs New York Yankees

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How on earth could anyone from Seattle hate the Yankees after that wonderful blissful series in 1995 that saved baseball for Seattle and still has us all skipping merrily because for once we beat the crap out of you money-grubbing scumbags?!?

There’s still buildings here in Seattle with painted scenes from that one game.   Remember?  At the Kingdome?   Mariners, best-of-five, Game 5.  We lost the first two games in New York, then they came back to Seattle and after trailing in all three games the Mariners came in all three games to win walk-offs?  Game 5, Randy Johnson came in as a reliever and shut down the Yankees for several innings.  Then he gave up a run.  We all cried and weeped and were near suicidal. But then in bottom of the same inning beloved Seattle hero Edgar Martinez hit the double down the right field line, Junior scored!   Tears me up just thinking about it.

Well here’s the problem:  15 years later that one game is STILL the greatest moment in Seattle Mariners history.   And this after winning 116 games in 2001.  It just goes to show how absolutely pathetic Seattle Mariner history is.

Dogs have been born, trained, fetched, and died in that much time.

Yes we beat the hated Yankees and we’re all still happy about that.  But it was 15 years ago for gawds sake, and we need to be making new memories already.

I blame the Yankees.

No. 7 Tino Martinez

20 Jul 1995:  Tino Martinez of the Seattle Mariners covers his plate during their 4-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at Milwaukee County Stadium in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

See this is what I really hate about the Yankees.

Seattle’s Tino Martinez lit up the Yankees during that very same series of 1995.  So what happened three months later?   The Mariners traded him to New York for a couple of lawn chairs and a half empty bottle of Corona.

Anyone outside of New York knows what I’m talking about here, right?   If your guy does well against their guys, they’ll sign your guy in the off season or force your team to trade your player to them for nothing.

Our teams have a total payroll of several thousand dollars.  Our guys drive used Volkwagon busses.   Meanwhile the hated Yankees build aircraft carriers for fun.  This is not fair.

And it happens every single time with any opposition player that shuts them down.  They do good, and the Yankees steal that player by offering hookers and huge contracts and tv stardom.

Well except for one guy.  Ken Griffey Jr.  Remember him?  Junior absolutely hated the Yankees and God bless him for that!    Because years ago a very young Junior got tossed from the Yankee clubhouse during a Cincinnati Reds visit.   For that, Junior usually hit dozens of home runs against them to teach them a lesson.   He tormented the Yankees in the outfield too.   Leapt up and stole a couple of clear homers from them, once in New York.  We liked that.

What we don’t like is how the Yankees have signed all our good guys.  Like Luis Soho, Jeff Nelson,  Tino,  Randy Johnson, and this other short stop we used to have.

This has been going on for decades too.   Remember when the Sonics were trying to sign Bob McAdoo in 1973?   Nope,  He went to New York.  The Yankees signed him.   And he was a basketball player.  This is how bad it’s gotten.

You get my point right?  Somebody does good against these jokers and the next thing we know, the hated and detested Yankees have signed him.  They have all the cash.  We don’t.  What’s not to hate?

No. 8 Alex Rodriguez

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 06:  Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees watches Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a return against Jurgen Melzer of Austria during day eight of the 2010 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 6,
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Yes I know I already mentioned Alex but I’m telling you, we really don’t like this guy.

Alex guy gave Seattle this big huge con job by saying how much he loved the Mariners and how he would never leave because “he wasn’t about the money.”

Well guess what?  He was about the money.

He convinced the Mariners to wait until after the season to negotiate his new contract by claiming he loved the team and the players.  Hall of Famers like Edgar Martinez meant so very much to him.  What a wonderful moment.

The Mariners didn’t trade him like they should have because of all this.  And the Mariner ended up getting nothing because of it, when he signed with Texas and bankrupted that team.  Now he’s on your team.

After he had left, Alex popped off about how he never liked Seattle much and wrote a nasty letter trying to convince Boeing employees in Seattle to move to y’allsville with him.   That’s fine Alex.   But you can’t mouth off about Boeing and expect anyone in Seattle to ever like you again.

Oh and there was that other thing about divorcing his wife and going for Madonna.

Actually we didn’t get too excited about that rumor here in Seattle, because when you think of it, hanging out with Madonna is punishment enough.    In fact I would wager that any Al Qaeda operative ensconced by authorities would gladly spill his guts if the alternative was a few hours in an eight-by-10 cell with Madonna.

No. 9 Seattle Has More Public Golf Courses

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This has nothing to do with the argument other than I need something to prop me up because I’m an emotional wreck after writing this.

Think about it.  The US Open in 2015, we can play it whenever we want, and no six-hour rounds here you suckers!

Twenty bucks gets you a pretty nice golf course on the weekend, and there’s 150 public courses within an hour’s drive of me.  Except for this one, which is about $185

Plus our tap water is not flammable like it is in New York!

Just sayin…

No. 10 27 World Championships

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 3: Manager Joe Girardi #28 of the New York Yankees carries the World Series trophy before play against the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 3, 2010 at the George M. Steinbrenner  Field in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Image
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Ok I’ll admit it.  The real reason I can’t stand the Yankees is because every year you’re in the playoffs and we are not.   The same reason all of you hate Microsoft and Real Networks.

They dominate.

The Yankees have been in the World Series several hundred times while the Seattle Mariners just rolled out their second 100-loss season in three years.  And we have lots of other 100-loss seasons before that to brag about.

In Seattle, we hang banners for every year we’ve won our division or done anything remotely impressive, and there’s only three other teams in our division.  We have five banners hanging at Safeco Field, and we awarded ourselves two banners for the same year.  Twice.

You wonder why Seattle folks are such huge fans of Lenin?   Because communism preaches equality and…well do I really have to explain this for you?!?

Written by PhilCaldwell

October 9, 2011 at 10:25 am

Seattle Mariners: Your Bonafied Postgame Traffic-Planning Commission at Work!

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At a Seattle Mariners professional baseball game last night, we were parked in the garage between the football and baseball stadiums in Seattle.  This was a perk for the front-row tickets given my wife by supervisors for all her good work of the past few months.  No nose-bleeders for this group on this warm late-spring night!

And no hiking tens of miles to the car following the game.  This time we would be the snooty royalty that annoys the masses of peons, and like snooty royalty, we would be parking across the street from the baseball stadium free of charge with the BMWs, Mercedes and exotic sports cars of the world.

Walking only a few yards to the car was really cool.

But after the game, not getting out of the same parking garage for over an hour, gridlocked in non-moving vehicles just outside the stadium, sort of ruined the thrill of parking in the garage where they charge mere mortals up to $50.

More disturbing, it became apparent that the traffic planners in our city were either bumbling idiots, or they deliberately make traffic as bad as they can for some sort of jaded devious reason, following typical sporting events.  Because the friendly Seattle police officers supervising traffic flow after games were making things far worse, not better!

How do I know this?

After waiting an hour in toxic fumes that could melt steel, I finally managed to escape the confines of the concrete garage, but was immediately ushered to the east side of Safeco Field where all vehicles did not move.  Nor could they move, because helpful, friendly Seattle police traffic officers were routing all 45,000 vehicles into the same one-lane alley south of the stadium.

Ironic, because I sort of wanted to go north, and catch the freeway on-ramp that would take me north, that I could see…ever so close.  Just cross the street and away we would go on I-5 north.

But the friendly, helpful police traffic officers were having none of that!  Nope, they insisted all traffic go south, right into a big gridlocked mess where nobody could move because other helpful police traffic officers were routing everyone there too.

So there we sat.  For a very long time.  Nobody moving and everybody getting extremely agitated.

Finally, the two-hour mark after the game hit, and like magic all the police officers hopped on their little parked motorcycles and sped away into the night, suddenly leaving all the gridlocked intersections unregulated.

And once they did, within five minutes the traffic had completely cleared out.

No more helpful traffic cops equaled no more gridlock.  Who would have thought?

38100566Seattle’s Traffic Planning Board of Directors

At that point many of us, as we drove home, asked the important and profound question most citizens in Washington State have asked after sporting events:

“Hey, if traffic is better without the friendly, helpful police regulation following games, perhaps the city is wasting its money by having each and every intersection littered with these fine, uniformed folks?”

Maybe a prudent plan would be to not spend the money for all these lovely traffic heroes, and instead let things be like they are during the rest of the week?

Why not let traffic do what traffic does, without the “help”?

Once, several years ago, following another game in which this exact same thing happened, I emailed the beloved traffic commission chairperson and suggested this wonderful and intellectual idea.

And just like the friendly, helpful police traffic officers at every corner last night, he eventually emailed me back with suggestions of various physical activities that I could do to myself.

He also mentioned that people as stupid as me don’t realize that this was actually a huge traffic improvement.  “You idiot!”

See this is because the Seattle Police Department, in co-operation with the City of Seattle and various inept mayors, has carefully crafted a set of hiring guidelines for every single traffic planner.  Here’s how it goes:

Clause No. 1

If the applicant shows college education or traffic planning experience, that person will immediately be disqualified for employment consideration by the PGSTPC (Postgame Seattle Traffic Planning Commission).

Clause No. 2

If said applicant shows any natural talent for common-sense thinking, that person too, will immediately be disqualified for employment consideration by the PGSTPC.

Clause No. 3

Preferred applicants will normally be found in chimpanzee cages at the Woodland Park Zoo, or found sleeping under bridges in frigid temperatures.

Clause No. 4

Habitual inebriation for each traffic planner is a plus.  In fact, if said applicant arrives at job interview immediately after consuming a fifth of Jack Daniels straight up, that applicant will vault to the top of the stack and may be immediately hired and assigned to supervise all traffic planning for the day, before sobering up.

Overall satisfaction with post-game traffic flow

WonderfulAdequateHorrendousSubmit Vote vote to see results

Contrary to what you might think, the goal of the PGSTPC is not to clear traffic out.  Nope.  The goal is to keep traffic confined in unmoving gridlock for as long as possible.

Speculation persists that the local business community is behind this reasoning, insisting that the longer you stay in their neighborhood, the more crap you may buy.  Oh sure, most of those businesses are closed by the time the Mariners games are over, but…well, please see Clauses No. 1 through No. 4 if you are confused about this policy.

Also, within the traffic code is the north/south directional concept.  If said vehicle prefers to travel north (because your house is north of the stadium), each and every regulated traffic corridor will insist you go south.  For many miles too.  Conversely, if your house is situated to the south, then the very same traffic corridors will route you north in the opposite direction you wish to go, usually into gridlock and parked contraptions that cannot move.

Years and millions of dollars were spent on little, unknown GPS chips that police officers read from your vehicle as you approach, like they do for the toll bridges.  Particular effort is put into stringent requirements insisting the direction of your vehicle goes in the opposite direction that it should.

Why?

Because it’s fun for intoxicated traffic planners to see all the cars not moving for hours after a sporting event.

And don’t bother screaming at localized traffic cops on corners about all of this, because that will merely make them cranky.  They didn’t do the traffic plan, they merely enforce it.  In fact, when frustrated motorists yell at cops, frustrated motorists may soon find themselves charged with heinous crimes and strip-searched in public.

What frustrated motorists can do, however, is write sarcastic articles like this one when they get home several weeks later, and then send them to every public official they can find.

That’ll teach those jerks.

Written by PhilCaldwell

June 18, 2011 at 10:42 am