Saturday, November 13, 2004


I'm sure this will be useful to some of our readers.

Here's the 2004-2005 North Carolina basketball schedule (from the official UNC basketball website). The one thing that leaped out at me about the schedule is that the ACC Tournament will be played in Washington, D.C. this season, not in Greensboro, NC.

The Tar Heels will be playing in the Maui Invitational the week of Thanksgiving, Nov. 22-24. They will play BYU in the first round of the tournament, Monday, Nov. 22 on ESPN 2 at 6 p.m. Pacific (8 p.m. Central). The winner of the BYU-UNC game will play the winner of the Stanford-Tennessee first round matchup. For more information on the Maui Invitational, here's their official website.

As for the rest of the Tar Heels' non-conference schedule, they will play USC and Kentucky in Chapel Hill, while they will travel to Indiana. And if you've followed college basketball, you know damn well that they will have a tough schedule in the ACC. The ACC is the best basketball conference in America this season as far as I'm concerned.

Go Tar Heels. F**k Duke. That's the spirit.

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Once again, special thanks to Jim Thomsen for getting us some press. We made it as a bullet point into the online edition of the Sun, which had me relieved after I learned that we didn't make it into the dead-tree edition of the Sun; we were squeezed out by ads for Floor Covering Direct and Tanya's Classic Glass. I was going to give Jim thanks whether or not we got any press at all in the A-1 article, because he consulted with us and told us that he was doing an article on Kitsap blogs. When I saw that we weren't in the print edition, I wasn't too ticked off because the other blogs that were featured in the article itself dealt with real life and more important things than sports. I didn't quite see us fitting in with those other blogs, and on the print edition, we didn't. But on the online edition, we got the last bullet point. Hoorah!

Of course, due to the fact that we were recognized by Jim, and therefore a press outlet, we can no longer claim that we're getting snubbed by every local media outlet that prints an article on blogs. The last shred we have is that we didn't get into print for the hold-it-in-your-hands edition of the Sun, so technically we've still gotten no ink. But today ends that Susan Lucci feeling for Jeremy and I, and we've got Jim Thomsen (also a USS Mariner commenter at times) to thank for that.

So if there are any readers coming to us from the Sun's online edition, welcome aboard, take a look around, peek through the archives, look through the specialty posts, it's good fun, and we've had fun doing it. We hope you have fun reading it.

Also in the Sun today was a little blip about North Carolina's second preseason game. Bremerton 2004 grad Marvin Williams came off the bench and shot 8-for-9 from the floor, ending up with 18 points and 11 boards. If either one of us here at Sports and B's gets in a rhythm with the North Carolina schedule, tracking Marvin Williams shouldn't be too tough, especially with the sure glut of games to be televised by ESPN.

Have a good evening, readers. If you're new to our Sports and B's madness, we hope you enjoy what you see, and we hope you keep coming back.

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Well, we're going to get some more hits, thanks to Jim Thomsen's article about Kitsap County bloggers in today's Bremerton Sun.

David and I weren't interviewed for the story, but we're mentioned in the blogosphere sidebar. Hell, to have Sports and Bremertonians mentioned in a mainstream paper is a big deal.

And for those of you who read the Sun story and want to find me in Bremerton or anywhere in Kitsap County, well...

I'm in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Although if you want to go on a road trip, you can definitely come visit me down here. I'll warn you though, there isn't a whole lot to do down here.

Will I ever go back to Bremerton? Yeah. Probably next July or August. I'm already thinking about next summer when I can visit Washington again, since I have a ton of relatives and friends to see. To go back to the whole "there isn't a lot to do in Arkansas" theory, I've already looked at the 2005 Mariners schedule. They play the Indians at Safeco the last weekend of July. We'll see how things go.

Anyways, welcome, readers of the Bremerton Sun. Friends, former teachers, and former classmates as well.

Now, I have to go do some other stuff...

Like watching college football instead of deer hunting. Deer hunting is the rage here in Arkansas today, since it's opening day. "Get-r-done!" (No, I would never say that out loud in public, because after all, I have some dignity.)

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So I was sitting here watching Maria Sharapova against Vera Zvonareva here on ESPN2 because the Hawaii/Fresno State game ran a little long (and had a field umpire get a neck brace). The point? I thought Monica Seles grunted loud while playing tennis, but that Maria Sharapova, my goodness, she's young and has many years ahead of her to be featured multiple times on Letterman's Late Show Grunt of the Day when the US Open comes around.

After opening up on that weird note, here's the daily bonanza...

Jeff Newman is close to being hired as the Mariners' next third-base coach. Manager Mike Hargrove says he wants his coaching staff to have "energy and good teaching skills." Newman and Hargrove have a few years of familiarity, as stated in the Finnigan article.

Well, the GM meetings are over, and it seems to me like it was a whole lot of nothing, but since no one could talk to other teams' free agents, that's not really a surprise. The only non-rumor oriented things that I remember coming out of these meetings (that I've read about) were instant replay, Kevin Towers' birthday bash, and the kidnapping in foreign countries, namely that Ugueth Urbina's mother is still being held captive.

Synergy. That's what the offensive line and Shaun Alexander have seemed to have as of late. As Jeremy has mentioned before in this space, the Rams are absolute dog meat against the run (Clare Farnsworth sets up the damning stats nicely in the article). The Seahawks are good right now running the ball. Put one and one together... I don't have to tell you what the game plan against the Rams should be on Sunday. Farnsworth also offers a golden rationale as to why the linemen would rather have the offense run the ball than throw it.

Bruised lung be damned, Ken Lucas will play on Sunday. He was able to breathe normally during special workouts, to which coach Holmgren responded, "[t]he human body is an amazing thing." As for other injuries, Grant Wistrom is taking the plane to Saint Louis (gametime decision), Chike Okeafor is coming off some aggravated back spasms, and Bobby Engram practiced for the first time in three weeks. However, Itula Mili (sore groin) and Ken Hamlin (sore knee) didn't practice. Also in that article, Jeff Garcia opened a "fitness location" in Eastlake.

Also, Grant Wistrom took snaps with the scout team, and gameballs for last week went to Darrell Jackson, Antonio Cochran, and Marquand Manuel (special teams), who might step in for Hamlin if the latter is unable to play on Sunday.

For my take on the game, scroll down or click here.

To the dailies...
Danny O'Neil gets to some stuff I didn't dig up. The Sonics sank three 3-pointers in the last five minutes of the game (Ridnour, Daniels, Lewis). Also, Reggie Evans found himself as a perimeter defender against Vince Carter on the final play of the game, and was able to hold him to a reverse layup attempt.

Jayda Evans has the Times' end of the recap madness. Reggie Evans had 12 of his 16 rebounds in the first half, no doubt helping the Sonics open up a 14-point lead heading into the locker room. After the game, Toronto coach Sam Mitchell lost his mind: "We're gonna find some guys in that (locker) room that are gonna play some team basketball. The guys that are not gonna play team basketball are not going to play. I do know one thing, if they do it their way, we're gonna lose, and if I don't do it my way, I'm gonna get fired. If I'm gonna get fired, then I'm gonna get fired doing it my way."

Yes, David Stern was in the arena. Percy Allen presents a lot of facts that were presented yesterday by Angelo Bruscas in the P-I. I guess the Sonics and the city of Seattle agree on one thing. KeyArena in its current structure is not economically friendly to either party, and Stern notes that the NBA player salaries are escalating at a higher rate than what the Sonics can come up with through suites and other revenue streams.

Lastly, Jayda Evans reminds us all once again not to be surprised if the Sonics come back down to earth. But can you guess why this article was printed at this time? The Sonics play Memphis at the Key on Sunday. After that, it's a killer road trip, lasting six games in length. Yes, the schedule makers have decided to let Seattle suffer once more, and this road trip will answer once and for all whether this Sonic team is a step beyond the one from last year.

Sunday: Memphis at Seattle
Tuesday: Seattle at Philadelphia

Jim Riley has a little Thunderbird blip/record-breaking WHL goalies piece. The Seattle blueline is not allowing opposing teams to get off many shots. Also, Aaron Gagnon is a teammate of Vancouver's Gilbert Brule on the WHL team which will face Russia in the Canada Russia Challenge in Red Deer/Lethbridge. Gagnon has the possibility of playing five nights in a row between the Thunderbirds and team WHL.

Everett beat Regina, 5-1. Everett snapped out of their 0-for-11 power-play funk over the last two games to go 3-for-6 tonight on the man-advantage against the Pats. Five different players scored for the Silvertips, and Curtis Billsten, Torrie Wheat, and Tyler Dietrich had one assist each to go with their goals. Backup goalie Leland Irving stopped 23 of 24 Regina shots as the 'Tips have tied Seattle in points for first place in the WHL's US Division (Seattle has three games in hand). Everett finished the five-game swing through the Eastern Division with a 4-1 record.

Spokane beat Seattle, 5-1. The Thunderbirds' recap won't tell you that Seattle has a games-in-hand lead over Everett, just that they still retain the lead in the division (and they do). The T-Birds lost this game to finish 3-1 on their road trip and head home for a six-game homestand at KeyArena. Bryan Bridges didn't have too good of a night, letting four shots out of 20 past. He was pulled after the Chiefs jumped out to a 4-0 lead just past the halfway point of the second period. Tyler Metcalfe scored the only Seattle goal 1:35 after Bridges was pulled in favor of backup Brad Lepp, but that was it for the T-Birds. Seattle outshot Spokane 35-25.

Portland beat Vancouver, 7-5. This was a wild one. The Giants scored five times and lost, their third loss in a row. Mitch Bartley staked the Giants out to a 1-0 lead, but Portland scored the next three goals to take a 3-1 lead after a goal early in the second period. Vancouver would score four unanswered goals to actually get a 4-3 lead heading into the third period, and JD Watt scored to get the Giants a 5-3 lead 1:41 into the third period. Then the Winter Hawks would negate the four straight goals scored by Vancouver with four straight goals of their own. Crazy game. Watt also rammed into Portland goalie Blake Grenier during the game, who had to leave the game with a related injury.

Manitoba beat Cincinnati, 4-2. Peter Sarno and Alexandre Burrows helped Manitoba jump out to a 2-0 lead on the Mighty Ducks and Russian World Cup goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. A frequent Anaheimer from last year, Stanislav Chistov scored on the two-man advantage to cut the deficit in half heading into the third period. But Manitoba made good on a two-man advantage of their own thanks to Lee Goren. Jeff Heerema added the dagger on the empty net with 28 seconds left. Wade Flaherty stopped 26 of 27. Regular goalie Alex Auld sat out with a concussion.

Puget Sound beat Tri-City, 5-3. The Tomahawks fought back from a 2-0 deficit early en route to their 17th win against only two losses. Jay McFadden and Chase Ambuter tied the game at 2-2. Mike Truex scored to get the T-Hawks a 3-2 lead, but the Titans got an equalizer. Truex scored again for the game-winner, and Carl Horten scored the dagger to account for the final score.

The rest of the hockey weekend...
Tonight: Vancouver at Seattle, Portland at Spokane, Manitoba at Cincinnati, Puget Sound at Tri-City
Sunday: Vancouver at Kootenay

Enjoy the stuffing out of your weekend. It's a weekend I'm using as a placeholder...I just want Tuesday and volume 3 of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force DVDs to come out. Onward!

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Well, that was quite a win. The Sonics didn't blow the other team out of the gym, didn't have the past few nights' gaudy numbers from Danny Fortson (he was getting a whistle every five seconds for setting illegal screens), didn't score 100 points, didn't have good shooting nights from Vlad Radmanovic and Rashard Lewis, didn't have very crisp passing in the second half, didn't have Ray Allen for the last 5:20 after he fouled out on a questionable offensive foul call (I knew once he got his 5th that he was going to foul out), didn't give Chris Bosh or Matt Bonner enough elbows to the chops (the Sonics let those two have way too much), and turned the ball over way way waaaaay too much in the second half. Still, they managed to squeak out with the victory.

Antonio Daniels scored the game-winning shot on a night in which the ball always seemed to find his hands and find the bottom of the net with the shot clock running down. On the final play, Daniels was left unguarded in backcourt, then he rolled off a screen on the left wing beyond the arc and drove to the lane. He went full bore and backed off just a tiny bit when he released his shot, as three defenders converged in case Daniels decided to drive through. The ball bounced up and through with 7.2 seconds remaining, though Lewis would have probably tip-jammed it had it missed.

The Daniels game-winning shot was no doubt aided by the Raptors' possession right before that. It ended with Vince Carter airballing a three with 20 seconds left to go. Carter also had the ball for the final shot of the game, on which his reverse layup hit the back right side of the rim. Earlier in the game, Carter took the ball by himself on one halfcourt set, moved around a bit, didn't really try to create anything, and just put up a three. Said Kevin Calabro: "that's a selfish shot."

After Carter's final miss, the Sonic players knew they'd gotten a tough win and huddled at midcourt amidst the vibes of happiness. They're 5-1, but for some reason these wins seem a lot more impressive than those from the starts of the last two years.

And now, a look at the boxscore to correlate with the stuff I already talked about. Rashard Lewis and Vlad Radmanovic were a combined 8-for-31 from the floor, though both did hit some pretty important shots. Something I didn't notice was that Radmanovic grabbed 11 boards. Ray Allen was nuts (29 points on 10-for-19 shooting) even without being able to play the final 5:20. Reggie Evans got Danny Fortson's numbers tonight, scoring 13 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. Antonio Daniels had the game-winner, part of his 16 points. Luke Ridnour had 8 points (okay), 7 assists (way to create), 3 rebounds (that's a bonus), and 5 turnovers (eek! Not so good). The Sonics shot 33-for-80 (41.3%) as a team, and outrebounded the Raptors 46-35.

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Friday, November 12, 2004


So how can the Seattle Mariners improve themselves?

After all, they lost 99 games in 2004. While their less-than-stellar offseason last winter was a bad omen for the 2004 season, losing 99 games was certainly a surprise to most, if not all, Mariners fans. But as the old saying goes, there's nowhere to go but up.

I'm starting to feel a little better about this ballclub again. I liked the hiring of Mike Hargrove as manager. While Bob Melvin was a nice guy, he wasn't the answer in the Mariners dugout. Maybe Hargrove is. Or maybe he isn't. We'll see though.

Now, I'm not going to be too statsy here. I can promise you that there won't be any "Miggy Hot Stove"-slogans this offseason. All I care about this offseason is that the Mariners improve themselves. Translation, give me a ballclub that I won't feel embarrassed about watching next season. I think that's what we all want, right?

Do I expect the Mariners to be a playoff team in 2005? No. But I do expect them to be better. If this team can go .500 next season, then I'll be somewhat happy. Not all the way happy, but somewhat happy. I just don't want to see another 99-loss team trot out onto the Safeco Field diamond.

So without further ado, here's my offseason plan for your Seattle Mariners:

Sign 1B Richie Sexson to a 2-year deal with an option for a 3rd year.
---David and I are huge Sexson fans. While I would have been more excited about landing Sexson at this time last year, he's still a good ballplayer, even though he missed most of the 2004 season with a torn left labrum. If he can stay healthy, look out.

Sexson can flat out mash the ball. Yes, Safeco Field isn't a hitter's park. But if you can hit the ball, well, you can hit the ball. Sexson can definitely hit the ball. And the Mariners do need a first baseman. I don't want to see Raul Ibanez at first base next season. I hope the Mariners heed my advice here.

Sign 3B Corey Koskie to a 2-year deal
---As good as Adrian Beltre is, I'm not fully convinced that his 2004 season wasn't a contract drive. I'm not totally in favor of signing Koskie, but the Mariners are known to sign these types of players.

If the M's were to sign Koskie, Scott Spiezio would be relegated to the bench, which isn't a bad deal IMO. Spiezio could be very valuable off the bench, although he would be an expensive bench player.

Sign SP Russ Ortiz to a 3-year deal
---I'm surprised that Ortiz's name hasn't come up more. He did win 21 games in 2003 for the Braves. While he struggled in the second half of 2004 for the Braves, he's a solid pitcher who'll get you 15-17 wins.

I like Matt Clement and I think he's a very realistic possibility for the Mariners. But I like Ortiz just a little bit more. He's not an ace, but then again, who is an ace out there on the free agent market this ofseason? Nobody.

Sign LH reliever Buddy Groom to a 1-year deal
---Groom is a lefty that the Mariners should have acquired 2 years ago instead of Doug Creek. But here we are, 2 years later, and 99 losses later.

Anyways, Groom is familiar with Mike Hargrove. The Mariners need to shore up their bullpen and signing Groom would definitely help matters. Yes, Groom is 39 years old. But as much as I would want Steve Kline to come to Seattle, I think the Yankees or Red Sox will sign him instead.

Sign RH reliever Paul Shuey to a 1-year deal
---Shuey missed the entire 2004 season with a ruptured tendon in his right thumb. But despite that, he's a solid reliever. As with Groom, he would also be beneficial to the Mariners bullpen. And he's a former Hargrove player, from his time in Cleveland. Don't underestimate the Hargrove factor this offseason. At least some of Hargrove's former players aren't crap, like Melvin's were.

Sign IF Pokey Reese to a 1-year deal
---Oh, the irony here. See the Ken Griffey, Jr. deal.

Trade OF Randy Winn and SP Ryan Franklin to Los Angeles for 1B Hee Seop Choi and SP Kazuhisa Ishii
---Coming up with this trade idea, I knew that it wasn't going to be a great trade for the Mariners, if it were to happen. But this is a deal that the Mariners would definitely pull off.

Winn is expendable because of Jeremy Reed. I think you give Reed the everyday center field job in 2005. As for Franklin, I just feel that he won't be a Mariner in 2005. So this is my way of making that happen, I guess.

Choi would be insurance for Richie Sexson. But more importantly, Choi would be a damn good bat off the bench for the Mariners. He's a lefty with power. Granted, hitting coaches aren't that important. But I think new hitting coach Don Baylor would be a tremendous asset to Choi, who will only be 26 when the 2005 season starts.

Ishii hasn't been the pitcher that the Dodgers expected him to be when he signed with them before the 2002 season. Which is why I think he's expendable this offseason. Ishii would provide insurance for the Mariners especially if Joel Pineiro and/or Gil Meche aren't healthy in 2005, which is a real possibility.

Trade RP Julio Mateo to San Francisco for OF Todd Linden
---Since I think Willie Bloomquist will be gone, the Mariners will have to fill their Kitsap County-quota with former Central Kitsap star Todd Linden.

I like Mateo. But for some reason, I just see him being dealt this offseason. And in true ex-Mariners fashion, he will light it up for the Giants. Linden would be the 4th outfielder for the Mariners.

Will this deal go down? Most likely not. But as Dave Mahler once said when he impersonated Lou Piniella, "you can do whatever the hell you feel."

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This is my 2005 Seattle Mariners roster, without the use of fancy tables and graphs...

CF---Jeremy Reed
2B---Bret Boone
1B---Richie Sexson
DH---Bucky Jacobsen
LF---Raul Ibanez
3B---Corey Koskie
C----Miguel Olivo
SS---Pokey Reese

SP--Russ Ortiz
SP--Bobby Madritsch
SP--Jamie Moyer
SP--Joel Pineiro
SP--Gil Meche

Closer-----Eddie Guardado (if healthy)
LH Setup---Buddy Groom
RH Setup---Paul Shuey
Reliever---Shigetoshi Hasegawa
Reliever---George Sherill
Swing Man--Kazuhisa Ishii

C---Dan Wilson
IF--Scott Spiezio
IF--Hee Seop Choi
IF--Jolbert Cabrera
OF--Todd Linden

If everyone can stay healthy, this team has a chance of being .500. But realistically, I see 75-81 wins for this team. Hopefully I'm wrong.

This is a huge offseason for the Seattle Mariners. No fancy slogans needed here, just get the job done, Howard, Chuck, Bill, and crew. Or as the folks in these parts like to say, "get-r-done".

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I love the internet.

And come Sunday, I'm going to bust out the Sprinkler as well. However, don't expect to see any pics of me doing the Sprinkler to show up at Sports and Bremertonians anytime soon.

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Go figure.

Last week, I was 7-7 (.500).

But I did get my upset of the week correct, Buffalo. Not to mention I also got my lock of the week right as well, New England. No way in hell were the Patriots going to lose 2 in a row. Thanks, New England. Not just for making me look good last week, but for helping the Seahawks out as well.

So we're now at Week 10 of the NFL season. The contenders start to separate themselves from the pretenders. It should be a fun second half of the season, no doubt about it.

Here they are, my Week 10 picks.


Seattle at St. Louis (FOX, televised in Arkansas)
(I expect Shaun Alexander to have a big day against the awful Rams run defense)

Baltimore at New York Jets
(No Chad Pennington? Uh-oh.)

Tampa Bay at Atlanta
(The Bucs will win in a close one)

Pittsburgh at Cleveland
(UPSET OF THE WEEK. I still like Ben Roethlisberger, but this looks like a trap game to me.)

Detroit at Jacksonville
(Who knew? The Lions are better on the road.)

Chicago at Tennessee
(The Titans have no business losing this game)

Houston at Indianapolis
(Hoo boy, this could get ugly)

Kansas City at New Orleans (CBS, televised in Arkansas)
(The Chiefs should still win this one despite the loss of Priest Holmes)


Cincinnati at Washington
(Chad Johnson will show up this week)

New York Giants at Arizona
(Again, thanks for playing, New York Football Giants)

Carolina at San Francisco
(The Panthers may have to bring Tim Biakabutuka out of retirement)

Minnesota at Green Bay (FOX, televised in Arkansas)
(This could go either way. But I'll go with the Moss-less Vikings.)


Buffalo at New England
(LOCK OF THE WEEK. Yeah, those Patriots, they're pretty good...)


Philadelphia at Dallas
(Too bad that this game couldn't have been played on Thanksgiving. T.O. is a turkey.)

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For those of you who are wondering who's going to call the Seahawks-Rams game on FOX on Sunday, it will be Dick Stockton, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa. Seahawks fans are Curt Menafee-free for a few weeks (the 'Hawks won't be on FOX again until Dec. 12 when they play Minnesota).

And I'll get to watch the 'Hawks this weekend. It sure beats having to find audio links on the internet so I can listen to the game.

For the 545th time, this is a must-win for the Seahawks Sunday in St. Louis. Win and the 'Hawks go 6-3, 2 games ahead of the Rams. But lose, and both the 'Hawks and Rams are tied at 5-4. The Rams would be leading the NFC West by virtue of their 2 wins over the 'Hawks.

So it's pretty simple. The Seahawks must win on Sunday.

And they will.

Enjoy the games.

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Is everyone enjoying half-assing it at work because you had the day off yesterday and now it's Friday? I thought so. Here's what I've got for all of you today...

Larry Stone puts the names of Delgado, Sexson, and Glaus at the top of his article. The common thread between all three? Injuries. Either lots of them, in Delgado's case, or catastrophic ones, as was the case for Glaus and Sexson.
I like Sexson the most out of these three still (surely you remember the Sexson-to-Seattle campaign we had going here last offseason), though not quite as much as before; that's what a season-ending labrum injury will do. I wouldn't mind if they somehow got him at a post-injury/hometown (sort of) discount, though the thought of giving him three years does make me cringe a bit. But you know what? I'm not sure if it makes me cringe any more than the thought of throwing money at Adrian Beltre (young as he is) and having him flop (it was only one good year) to the tune of an eight-year deal (if anyone gives him ten, that's just what Boras wants...we need tacit collusion!).
Make no bones about it, this is definitely a high-risk offseason. Of course, if the Mariners did pick up Sexson, then that'd thwart any plans to move Raul Ibanez to first base. But as I've suggested in the past, Ichiro should be playing centerfield anyway. Move Ibanez to right, and find a leftfielder, make Jeremy Reed play there, something (it's not really instrumental to the semi-point I'm about to make). Sexson and Bucky Jacobsen in the same lineup could be seen as an organizational about-face in terms of the anti-strikeout stance that most in the blogosphere thought the Mariners' people had taken over the past few years, and most notably toward Mike Cameron. I'd set the over-under on strikeouts for Sexson/Jacobsen at 275 combined over a season. The point is further illustrated when Preston Wilson's name comes up in the article (i.e., you could have kept Cameron, the defense, and the strikeouts).

Of course, Richie Sexson's agent Casey Close says there's been no contract talks with the Mariners. At least the Mariners won't be going after Sammy Sosa, though, as unequivocally stated by Bill Bavasi. The article also tells us that instant replay is dead, and it's got some QuesTec data. I've been under the assumption all year that they'd expanded it to all 30 parks, and I need to go find the article that misled me. This greatly irks me.

Yes, it can be said that Seahawks/Rams has developed into a rivalry, and that's good since the Seahawks don't get those two games against the Broncos and Raiders (I attended two Raiders/Seahawks games, and did security at one) every year like they used to. Of course, I'll remember the game against the Rams last year where Grant Wistrom was on the questionable end of a penalty, leading to the game-winning drive for Seattle.

Yeah, I don't think Grant Wistrom is going to play on Sunday, but I've been wrong before. I just hope he doesn't get hurt even worse if he does get onto the field. But man, it'd be sweet if he played and the Seahawks had a pass rush, and sacked Marc Bulger 16 times or something crazy like that, and Bulger threw 495 interceptions. That'd be some good times right there.

It's inevitable. Of course salt is going to be poured repeatedly on the wound created by the loss against the Rams in Week 5. We're two days short of Week 10, and it's still a topic of conversation. Granted, the fact that it was the last game against the Rams has something to do with it, and so does its correlation with the start of a three-week nosedive. All said, this Sunday's game in Saint Louis is a must-win, and I've been saying it since after the game last Sunday.

For whatever reason, it appears for the third year in a row that the Seahawk offense has bided its time before kicking into full gear. Here's to hoping that keeps up and we have eight great games of Seahawk football left to be played. Can we all agree that we want a division title and a first-round bye out of this? Jeremy's suggested this before, but can we please get a home playoff game at the Q? It'd be good clean fun.

I knew the Sonics would eventually be involved after I heard last week on KING 5 News that Seattle Center was nearly $10M in the hole. Angelo Bruscas notes that the Sonics are a part of this whole mess. Yes, attendance declines over the past four years have put the city out over $3.4M. Combine a little player personnel ineptitude on the part of Wally Walker, a somewhat quirky (and very long) lease signed by Wally Walker, and a buttload of suites opening up at Safeco and Qwest fields, and you get the situation the Sonics are in.

But who better than Art Thiel to put a majority of my thoughts into words; a slam dunk, really. KeyArena, as the Seattle Center Coliseum was renamed after it was remodeled and reopened, is apparently obsolete just nine years later?!?! Ugh. Thiel gives a five-item version of a perfect storm that has put the Sonics in their current place and suggests that Wally Walker has just been plum afraid of the salary cap.

Danny O'Neil gives Danny Fortson some ink. He's physical. He rebounds. The Sonics haven't had that in a while. He played the same position as Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas, which is the reason Mark Cuban gave (quoted) in the article as to why he traded Fortson. Cincinnati Bearcats coach Bobby Huggins (watch here as David restrains himself from bashing Huggins' players' graduation rate) has nothing but a sprinkling of compliments for Fortson, saying he just gets to balls that other players wouldn't get.

The Toronto Raptors and the Sonics square off tonight at 7:30 (I'm really not a big fan of these 7:30 starts). I'm not sure if I can live with the Sonics in their current state getting beat at home by some team that has the current version of Vince Carter on it. Let's just hope the Sonics keep playing sound basketball, setting screens and picks, freeing up shooters, rebounding, etc. And by the way, thank goodness those Ray Allen-for-Vince Carter trade rumors didn't become reality. For now, thank goodness for the same for Ray-for-Peja. I'm still sketchy about that one.

Tonight: Toronto at Seattle
Sunday: Memphis at Seattle
Tuesday: Seattle at Philadelphia

Everett beat Brandon, 2-1. Captain Torrie Wheat scored both goals for the Silvertips, one with under a minute to go in the second period to tie the game, and another for the game-winner with 3:42 left in the 3rd period. However, Everett went 0-for-5 on the power play, making them 0-for-11 on the power play in their last two games (hey, reminds me of last year's Canucks). Mike Wall turned away 24 of 25 shots from the Wheat Kings.

Cleveland beat Manitoba, 3-2 in a shootout. The Moose scored the first goal (Kevin Bieksa), but the Barons scored goals three minutes apart before the first period ended to take a 2-1 lead. After a scoreless second period, Jason King tied the game at 2-2 on a powerplay early in the third period. Overtime got nowhere, so a shootout decided things. After nine total shots gave both teams one goal apiece, Ryane Clowe scored on the tenth shot of the shootout to give Cleveland their first home win on the season.

Here's your hockey weekend...
Tonight: Everett at Regina, Seattle at Spokane, Portland at Vancouver, Manitoba at Cincinnati, Puget Sound at Tri-City
Saturday: Vancouver at Seattle, Portland at Spokane, Manitoba at Cincinnati, Puget Sound at Tri-City
Sunday: Vancouver at Kootenay

Have a half-productive Friday, and if any of you are heading up to the mountains anytime soon, remember to refrain from eating the yellow snow. I've held back, and look where it's gotten me; it's not so bad.

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Thursday, November 11, 2004


This is America
POD and Santana live in La Casa
Live and direct for you and yours
Yo America, America

---Santana featuring P.O.D. "America"

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Johan Santana is your 2004 American League Cy Young Award winner. Santana led the Twins to their third straight postseason appearance, going 20-6 with an ERA of 2.61, which led the A.L. In the second half, Santana was 13-0 with an ERA of 1.21 in 15 starts.

Barring a trade, Santana will start for the Twins on Opening Day at Safeco Field against the Mariners April 4. This is pretty definite, unless Ron Gardenhire unveils his secret plan and starts Carlos Silva instead. Fun.

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Trying to dodge the thunder in these parts, I watched the Kings-Sonics last night on ESPN with Brent Musberger and Tom Tolbert. No, I didn't participate in the Brent Musberger Drinking Game because 1) I had no beer whatsoever in my fridge, 2) the game didn't involve a Big XII team, and 3) see reason #1.

Folks (drink up, in the spirit of the Brent Musberger Drinking Game), Danny Fortson is what the Seattle Supersonics needed. Too bad that it came a few years too late for this franchise. It figures.

Fortson was a huge reason why the Sonics routed the Kings 108-78 in Key Arena last night. He had 16 points, but more importantly, pulled down 13 rebounds. The Sonics are outrebounding their opponents by 8 rebounds a game this season. Oh, and the Sonics were last in the rebounding category during the 2003-2004 season. I'd say that Fortson has made an impact so far.

I'm with David here, I can't see this goodwill lasting for the Sonics. They still aren't a good basketball team. But with the addition of Fortson, they will at least have more toughness on the inside.

Well, the Southern schools have decided that Veteran's Day isn't an important enough holiday to take off. That's right, we have school today here. Unbelievable. I don't get it. Most, if not all, of the public offices in this area are closed. Yet the schools are still in session? Way to honor the Veterans, folks. (Drink up again, you can do it!)

Thanks to our veterans, past and present, including my father. Without the veterans, I wouldn't be able to do posts like these. Thank you.

Now, let's go to our buddy, Jack Arute.


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Welcome to Thursday, and Veterans' Day, dear readers. There's some light sprinkles around all the sports here, and the Sonics won the back end of a back-to-back set. Enjoy your read.

One tidbit before starting the show -- NASCAR has ended the ban on liquor sponsorship. Juvenile interpretation: kick those cigs to the curb, and get yer drank on! Yes, the Nextel Cup was called the Winston Cup for decades before this year and was (I'm pretty sure) the last tobacco sponsor to bite the dust in NASCAR. I remember the Kodiak/Skoal/Copenhagen/etc. cars of years past. And now that we've seen the liquor advertising ban lifted on TV in recent years, get ready for post-race quotes such as "we had a great car today, but I couldn't have done it without the pit crew, Roush/Jack Daniel's Racing..." I guess there's terms in the sponsorship agreement that say the liquor companies have to also stress responsible drinking, but I just hope if anyone's getting bit after a day of racewatching, it isn't whoever's driving home.

David Andriesen warns us to beware the Boras. Though I'm glad that Bill Bavasi is receptive and has some rapport with Scott Boras (definitely more than Gillick), the whole "good relationship" with Bavasi (i.e., I think he'll get taken) thing mixed with the obvious Boras motive and results has me a little apprehensive about what could happen. Let's just say that if the Mariners give Boras what he's seeking for Jason Varitek (five years with a no-trade clause, according to the article), I might just bash my head in with a sledgehammer because Varitek will be 38 when the deal runs out. Yuck. Who knows what Boras will command for Derek Lowe, if the Mariners want him? Boras has so many players and so much leverage it's sick. Out of the crop of free agents mentioned in the article (Beltran, Beltre, Drew, Varitek, Ordonez, Lowe), Magglio is probably the one that Boras has the least amount of leverage with. All the other ones will more than likely be makin' bank, or beaucoup bucks, whatever, when they sign their new deals. And here the Mariners sit, with a grip of money (insert your preferred payroll figure here) waiting to be spent.

The Mariners' spring training schedule is at the end of the Andriesen article. The prices have not changed at the ballyard in Peoria, as clarified by the Stone article (next) saying that the low ticket is $6 (grass) and the high ticket is $23.

Larry Stone brings us more on Don Baylor. Here's a quote: "I definitely believe in RBIs. That's the name of the game — driving in runs." Okay, I like the sound of that. Next quote: "You can tell guys all day long to give themselves up and move the runner over. ... Most guys don't trust themselves enough to go ahead and get the guy over the best way they can. That's what I'll try to sell" [emphasis added]. My optimistic side here wants to interpret this as "hey, you don't have to bunt, you can just hit the ball to the right side, work the count and see what happens, whatever. As a fan that got sick and tired of bunting last year, I hope I don't see as much of it next year, though as we know, a hitting coach only matters so much.

As for other things in baseball...
Instant replay? It's a topic on the docket today at the GM meetings. Most indications suggest that if it were instituted, it definitely wouldn't be on balls and strikes, but more along the lines of fair/foul (especially on homers). Mariner manager Mike Hargrove says "it could be a benefit." Something has to be said for umpires conferring (as they did multiple times during the ALCS), however, and whether that renders replays unnecessary. I have to say though, that if they did pull through with it, I'd want a video judge either in the stadium or at the league office like in hockey for questionable goals. I've never agreed with the way the NFL does the instant replays right now, the way the referee goes to the replay machine thing, exposed to the crowd (only matters if it's hostile, I guess). I think all these replay decisions shouldn't be made by anybody on the field after replay resources are summoned. Of course, I'm sure a referees' union would be ticked off if the referees suddenly were asked to forfeit the ability to make decisions after going under the replay thingy, but I just think an independent off-field judge would make it better.

Buck Showalter and Bobby Cox are this year's AL and NL managers of the year.
-- For Bucky, I've trashed him in the past, but I know I picked them to finish behind the Mariners before the season, and while we know how that turned out, who would've thought the Rangers would have been in the playoff hunt until the final week of the season? That's a hittin' team right there. Just think how good they'll be when they get some more decent starting pitching. This is what ticks me off: the Mariners had a few years' worth of a window where not only could they and should they have gone for it all, they could almost guarantee that the Rangers were going to finish last, and therefore only had to worry about leapfrogging Oakland and Anaheim. Not so anymore. Dammit.
-- As for Cox, I've trashed him countless times in the past, and never believed before this year that he was an above-average manager. Then I'd try to back it up with the a-monkey-could-have-managed-a-team-with-Maddux-Glavine-and-Smoltz argument (I use the Johnson-Schilling argument with Bob Brenly too, who was in his first year as a manager when he won his World Series), but this was the first year where the Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz argument didn't apply. That team of Braves this year was without Gary Sheffield, Javy Lopez, and Greg Maddux, sucked out of the gate (33-39) and then played .700 ball (63-27) the rest of the way. Crap, even Jaret Wright was good.
-- Thankfully, Phil Garner finished fourth in the NL voting and was a non-factor. I may have thrown up everywhere if he would have won the award.

Lastly, Roger Clemens won the NL Cy Young Award, and then got beat by the Japanese All-Stars. Granted, it was only a 3-1 loss. In a not-so-related question, how many athletes out there can say that they alienated not one, but two fanbases during a career?

It's midseason report card time for the Seahawks, and Greg Bishop and Jose Miguel Romero are the ones handing out the grades. I like how in the blip about for wide receiver/tight end, no name is dropped of any Seahawk tight end, though drops of passes are unsurprisingly mentioned. They come out with a B grade, then say the average is 2.84, which to me is closer to a B-minus (2.7) than a straight B (3.0), but that's just me. There's a part about special teams, and though the blame's not solely on Josh Brown and Donnie Jones, something's got to be done about the fact that opposing teams seem to be getting the ball too much on the wrong side of the 30 yard line (or 25, if you think that's a little harsh). It's Brown and Jones if the kick is short, but it's the punt/kickoff teams too for allowing all these 15-yard returns. I miss Alex Bannister.

Jeremy will love this. Mike Martz done lost his mind. "We don't hold hands and get in a seance and (sing) 'Kumbaya, my Lord.' I'm not into that. We've got a direction we're going, and you're on the train or you're not. Get out. Period." Once again, to reiterate, the Seahawks absolutely have to win on Sunday. This has to happen. Send the Rams into a tailspin, please. I would like nothing more.

That last article also says that Ken Lucas feels fine (doctors still erring toward caution), and that Grant Wistrom will be a Sunday decision.

As for the rest of the NFL...
Imagine you're at training camp last summer for the Denver Broncos. Imagine you coach the DBs and just got Champ Bailey in your backfield. Imagine the anticipation and heightened expectations that brings. Imagine you get fired before Week 10. Ouch.

Clark Judge brings us the Ricky Awards. Yes, they're an homage to Ricky Williams. Semi-hilarity ensues.

For my take on the game, scroll down or click here.

Here's the Danny O'Neil wrap. Brad Miller, who was T'd up in the second half, had this to say, "Danny Fortson's physical, but the way Reggie Evans played that's not physical. That's just grabbing and holding, pushing and shoving and hoping they don't call it on you." Chris Webber, held last night to 2-for-13 shooting from the floor, had some assessments as well for this version of the Sonics. Kevin Calabro and Craig Ehlo on the radio thought Webber might have been severely limited in terms of mobility due to his knee.

Here's the Percy Allen wrap. The beginning of the article focuses on setting screens, which Antonio Daniels says the Sonics have bought into. One play in particular comes to mind in the game, and that was the Mike Bibby play where apparently he called timeout, though the crowd, Calabro, Ehlo, and I all wanted a travel to be called. Bibby was bringing the ball up the court, and I think Ridnour backed off a bit from defending him in back court. Then Radmanovic came back the other way after noticing Bibby's head was turned and set a pick on the other side of the halfcourt line. I can't remember if Vlad stayed on Bibby after he set the pick, but Bibby ended up falling all over himself and he apparently called timeout as he was falling toward the floor in front of a Sonic defender.

Friday: Toronto at Seattle
Sunday: Memphis at Seattle
Tuesday: Seattle at Philadelphia

Before I get to the one game tonight, let's give some space to the US women's team, who put a hurtin' on Finland by a score 6-1 in first-round play in the Four Nations Cup (Canada and Sweden are the other teams). Team USA outshot Finland 44-14.

Seattle beat Vancouver, 5-0. The Giants returned home from their road trip and got smacked. Despite the score, the shot totals were pretty low for both sides, with the Thunderbirds outshooting the Giants 21-13. Tyler Metcalfe scored twice for the T-Birds, with Aaron Gagnon, Nate Thompson, and Ladislav Scurko accounting for the rest of the goals. Bryan Bridges stopped all 13 shots he faced for his 9th Seattle shutout, and Marek Schwarz stopped 16 for the Giants. Seattle extended their lead over Everett to four points atop the US Division.

But there is some good news for one Giant, as 17-year-old centre Gilbert Brule will be representing the WHL in the 2004 ADT Canada Russia Challenge (because they couldn't just sponsor college football's national championship). Mark Fistric was also named to the WHL team earlier in the month, but is currently out after breaking his jaw for the second time this season. A team of WHL players will be taking on a select team of Russians December 1st and 2nd in Red Deer and Lethbridge. Big fun.

Tonight: Everett at Brandon, Manitoba at Cleveland
Friday: Everett at Regina, Seattle at Spokane, Portland at Vancouver, Manitoba at Cincinnati, Puget Sound at Tri-City
Saturday: Vancouver at Seattle, Portland at Spokane, Manitoba at Cincinnati, Puget Sound at Tri-City
Sunday: Vancouver at Kootenay

I'm watching the Cristina show (I learned in past Spanish classes that she's the Spanish Oprah) right now on Univision, and this episode is kids-oriented, and there are kids sitting on stage, and sharing the stage with Barney, and some beautiful latex-clad dancing woman. I'm not sure where she fits into it, but I've noticed that on Univision, 98% of all females shown are extremely beautiful, and I'm wondering whether that's on purpose or if it's an adequate representation of the Spanish-speaking population at large. I'm leaning toward the former because 98% is astounding. In a related story, look at the time when this was posted.

It's Thursday, everyone. It's also Veterans' Day. Thanks to all the veterans past, and to all the troops and veterans in the making.

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I'm torn. I want to pan this 4-1 start off and say that there's no way it will continue and sustain, but I really haven't seen the Sonics clean the glass this well and play such sound basketball in a long time. I mentioned in this comment box that if the Sonics keep outrebounding their opponents (54-39 in this game against the Kings), they'll be able to weather the storm if Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen tank it. While Rashard and Ray definitely didn't tank it last night (Allen had 20, Lewis had 18), they shot a combined 12-for-30 from the floor, hardly the dead-on marksmanlike efforts of the three games beforehand. The Sonics put up 108 points, with no scorer getting more than 20 (Allen). Vlad Radmanovic (14), Antonio Daniels (12), and Danny Fortson (16) combined for 42 points off the bench, and Luke Ridnour started and had a line of 17/5/5, spurring Craig Ehlo to make an obligatory "use the force" reference. Fortson had 13 boards to go with his 16 points in 21 minutes, though he only shot 3-for-8 from the floor. He got to the line 12 times, though, and sunk 10 of his free throws. Reggie Evans also chipped in with 12 rebounds, his second straight game with ten or more. In the Jerome James Watch, he piled up fouls in a hurry, and got 4 points and 2 rebounds in 12 minutes.

Before I get to my final Sonic thought of the post, I have to say that the Sonics have done it so far without Ron Murray coming off the bench. You know what would absolutely screw this team right now? If Danny Fortson caught the injury bug. He's only had two full seasons in his career, and the others have been riddled with injury. Here's to hoping for 80 games or so out of Fortson for the sake of everyone's sanity.

Though I'd slept through the first half of the game, I had Kevin Calabro and Craig Ehlo on the radio, all the while muting Brent Musberger and Tom Tolbert on ESPN(2). This was the first night of the year where FSN wasn't carrying the game, so Calabro/Ehlo were purely on radio and not simulcasting over the TV. In years past, I've thought that Calabro has handled the simulcast almost flawlessly. This year, it's kind of different since Brian Davis is getting tons of face time as the sideline guy, fishing out interviews or reporting other stuff around the arena left and right. For example, the other night, he was talking to Nick Collison's parents. Fine and dandy, I like Collison, I like those Kansas teams. Great. The interview ran a bit long, but hey, it's Collison's parents, not so bad. The interview then ran the length of a few plays. Not so good. Davis tossed back to Calabro, who picked up the action. But if you didn't have the TV on, you were in the dark, because you didn't know how the last play and the couple of free throws fared. I don't think I'll blame this on Calabro, because he's done these simulcasts with relative ease in the past (he's surely not used to anyone getting as much air time on the sidelines as Davis is now), but I hope they hash this out, because the radio audience is getting screwed when this happens, and it's happened a couple of times. I would almost suggest making Davis do play-by-play on TV and hiring another color guy for TV (and a sideline reporter, I guess), but that'd take more money, and if I were Calabro, I'd probably be offended.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2004


This is gold. Gold, I tell ya!

Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest was suspended by coach Rick Carlisle for two games yesterday.

But get this, it's because Artest asked for time off because of his busy schedule.

He has a rap album coming out on November 23, so he wants to promote it. If I get a chance to listen to it, I'll trash it at Rambling On Music.

"I've been doing a little bit too much music, just needed the rest," Artest said. "I've still got my album coming out Nov. 23. After the album comes out I'm going to make sure all of my time is focused on winning a championship."

This is the quote of the year, no question about it. I thought Artest was an insane person before today. But that quote just makes him even more insane. Who knew?

Let's keep in mind that the Pacers and the rest of the NBA just started their regular season last week. Yet, Artest is already tired. Oh, those damn promotional appearances, they can sure wear a brother out...

"My body has been aching, I was going to take some time off and I said it the wrong way," Artest said. "Everything that happened wasn't too negative. I kind of surprised the team by wanting to take some games off, just to get back together, maybe stay home for a little bit, rest a little bit and come back."

The Pacers are currently getting their asses kicked by the Clippers, 93-60, late in the 4th quarter. Wow.

Oh, and Utah is not a city, Stephen A. Smith. And yet he's on the "Dream Job" panel?

The NBA, it's fannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnntastic!

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The day after a surprising win by Sonics in Denver, there's amounts of news that accumulate in areas other than minor-league hockey. There is also news for the Mariners, who added a new addition to the coaching staff...

The base-coaching slots are all that remain, as beanball king Don Baylor has been named Mike Hargrove's hitting coach for the Mariners. Andriesen uses the words "feisty" and "outspoken" to describe Baylor, words which surely couldn't be used to describe his predecessor Paul Molitor. I'm just glad that Hargrove was hired first as the manager so that I didn't have to see Baylor take the head post. Luckily, he'll be in here as a hitting coach, and I haven't seen anyone provide an adamant case against his hiring as a hitting coach (almost the opposite, in fact), so I think I tentatively like this hiring. At the very least, he's been teaching the game longer (post-playing career) than Molitor.

Bob Brenly is now in the Chicago Cubs' play-by-play chair for the departed Steve Stone. I never liked Brenly as a manager, but I said during the NLCS that one guy out of the three in the Fox booth sounded out of place, and it was Steve Lyons. I thought Brenly brought a lot to the broadcast, and...you know when someone's just got a voice that sounds like at home it belongs over a broadcast when you're hearing it? I thought Brenly had that in spades over Lyons.

Clare Farnsworth brings up what I pertained to the morning after the game against the 49ers. The team just needs to take care of business and they'll have their 10 wins and a likely playoff appearance. Of course, that business entails a win in Saint Louis on Sunday (they absolutely cannot let the Rams have the head-to-head tiebreaker) before running the table on the home schedule so they don't have to depend on a sketchy possibility of a road win at Minnesota, the Meadowlands (J-E-T-S), or Atlanta. Read the rest of that article, too, because it covers a lot.

Also, Greg Bishop throws a few questions at Kris Richard, now getting playing time thanks to Ken Lucas' bruised lung (he's questionable for Sunday).

Shaun Alexander is a mere 13 yards short of the NFL's rushing lead (Priest Holmes, 892). Just think how much he would have if the playcallers had their heads on straight about two to three games earlier? Alexander naturally does some brown-nosing toward his offensive line and lauds "Coach Holmgren's secret play" for the 3rd-and-10 play from the Seattle 6 that was converted for a first down.

Steve Kelley describes the plight of Eagle fans and Red Sox fans in comparison to what we Seattle fans are going through. He also says Matt Hasselbeck has a chance to be Seattle's David Ortiz (interesting because Ortiz could have been Seattle's David Ortiz), and says that "[r]eal sports fans ignore the rational voices in their heads telling them their optimism is useless. Real sports fans forget all the disappointments from all their yesterdays. Real sports fans always believe in the irrational magic of tomorrow."

The Huskies went on a 21-0 run out of the locker room at halftime to bury puny NAIA Westmont College. Westmont's head coach praised the halftime speech of Lorenzo Romar (whatever it was) after the Huskies' most anticipated preseason game in recent memory.

According to the 26th annual Long Beach Press-Telegram's Best in the West poll, the Huskies should be landing the top two recruits on the west coast today when Jon Brockman of Snohomish and Martell Webster of Seattle Prep put in their written commitments to the U. As bad as it is right now if you're a Husky football fan, it's an exponentially better time to be a Husky basketball fan.

For my take on the Sonics tonight, scroll down or click here.

Hard work. That's what's gotten the Sonics their three straight victories, two of which they had no business getting, according to preseason conventional wisdom. The scoring was a little less balanced and more centered on Lewis and Allen, but the Sonics cleaned the glass against Denver. Danny Fortson outrebounded Kenyon Martin 8-7. Martin played 36 minutes; Fortson played 14. It's very early, I know, but these three Sonic wins have looked great. The team is rebounding!! They absolutely killed the Nuggets on the boards by a 45-29 margin. On the offensive glass, they outrebounded the Nuggs 15-9 and got 9 second-chance points. Of course, the last two seasons, the Sonics have started out 6-2 and 8-2, so at the very least, enjoy this while it lasts.

I forgot to mention that the Sonics went 10-for-23 from downtown, and didn't let the altitude get to them, which it seemed like quite a few recent Sonic teams have. I'm not referencing the Sonics' first-seed team that lost to the eighth-seed Nuggets, either, though they did lose two games in Denver after having that 2-0 lead, then they came back to Seattle. You know, Dikembe Mutombo lying in the paint holding the ball with glee, etc.

I watched NBA Nation on ESPN last night (not sure how this is any different from NBA Fast Break), but Marc Stein picked the Boston Celtics to win the Atlantic Division in the Put Up or Shut Up segment. I'm speechless. My head also exploded during a shouting match between Stein, Greg Anthony, and Stephen A. Smith. ESPN getting NBA television rights is the best and worst thing to happen for NBA coverage since NBC lost the rights to it.

Luckily there's a good news item about the Everett Silvertips on this night before we get to the game results. In a trend spanning their existence (i.e., since last year), the Silvertips have been playing just as well or better on the road as they do at home. Also in that article is the outcome of a WHL writers' poll, which ranked the top 5 teams in the league as Medicine Hat, Saskatoon, Seattle, Calgary, and Red Deer.

Moose Jaw beat Everett, 3-1. Well, you can only hold down a winless team for so long. The Warriors snapped their season-opening 19-game winless streak (now 1-14-4-1) against the Silvertips, who no doubt assisted in the victory by going 0-for-6 on the power play. Brady Calla scored the only Everett goal in the third period, and Mike Wall stopped 18 of 20. The 'Tips have two games left to go on the five-game Eastern Division road swing, on which they are 2-1.

Tonight: Seattle at Vancouver
Thursday: Everett at Brandon, Manitoba at Cleveland
Friday: Everett at Regina, Seattle at Spokane, Portland at Vancouver, Manitoba at Cincinnati, Puget Sound at Tri-City
Saturday: Vancouver at Seattle, Portland at Spokane, Manitoba at Cincinnati, Puget Sound at Tri-City
Sunday: Vancouver at Kootenay

Relax, everyone, you're halfway through the work week.

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I'd be a lot more encouraged about this win if I didn't know that the Nuggets are pretty much in a tailspin, and even more so after this game. The Sonics just handled a team that was supposed to be better than them, they did it on the road, and they beat them by twenty points. I didn't see the entire game, so I can't immediately discern Jerome James' "defensive presence" or if he got injured or just plain sucked (2 points, no rebounds, 1 block, 13 minutes). Notable lines from the boxscore were those of Ray Allen (30 pts/7 rebs/7 ast), Rashard Lewis (27 pts/7 rebs/3 stl), Reggie Evans (6 pts/14 rebs), Danny Fortson (6 pts/8 rebs), and Luke Ridnour (9 pts/11 ast).

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Tuesday, November 09, 2004


You know the Seahawks haven't forgotten about this.

This is what I need to see on Sunday afternoon in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

A little spike always goes well with the sprinkler.

I can't wait for Sunday.

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First of all, I love the new Leone For Third. Good work, fellas.

Second of all, I hate the record industry (more on this later at Rambling On Music, a site that needs some hits like Michael Phelps needs good P.R.)

Finally, well...

I'm in a rambling mood. Yeah.

---The Mariners will introduce gift cards to the Northwest marketplace. The gift cards can be purchased at Safeway in $25 and $50 incriments. They can be used to buy tickets, merchandise, and food at Safeco Field and in the team stores. As a former Mariner merchandising employee, I can honestly say that I'm shocked that it took the Mariners this long to come up with a gift card. They may not be a championship-caliber ballclub on the field, but boy, they knock it out of the park off the field, that's for sure.

Oh, and as far as gift cards go on a personal note, if I never have to sell another gift card again, I'll be better off for it. I'm not joking.


---Here at Sports and Bremertonians, we've been searched for many things, including "Trading Spaces" host Paige Davis. Well, I have a legitimate reason to bring her up here. She's in Pine Bluff, Arkansas right now as I type this. Yes, I should be looking for her and Genevieve Gorder right now instead of typing this. But you know how it goes.

If you have no f**king clue as to who Gorder is, she's the hot blonde woman in the black dress in those damn Swiffer commercials.

---In all seriousness though, Davis and her "Trading Spaces" crew are in Pine Bluff making over a women's shelter. I won't begin to get into the issue of domestic violence here, because this isn't the place for it. But we sure as hell don't tolerate it, that's for sure. I just hope that when this shelter is remodeled, that the women of Southeast Arkansas can feel comfortable there. The Pine Bluff episode of "Trading Spaces" will air Christmas Night on The Learning Channel (check your local listings). Will I watch it? Probably, since I'll be sick and tired of the Kobe-Shaq matchup that night (Heat at Lakers, ABC Christmas Day).

---Roger Clemens has won his 7th Cy Young Award, his first in the National League. That's nice. Really. His kids' names start with the letter K. K this!

---So Richie Sexson may become a Seattle Mariner, according to the Boston Herald. David and I are big fans of Sexson. I don't care if he's a right-handed hitter, the dude can mash. If you can hit the ball, you can hit the ball. Yes, I want Sexson in Seattle. (Yes, my offseason plan is coming sometime this week. It won't be too statsy or too wordy, so I'm just warning everybody ahead of time. You know how we do it here at Sports and Bremertonians.)

---Congrats to Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey, and Larry Murphy on their induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Here's my post from June 9 when the announcement was made on their induction.

---I love this. Maurice Clarett is now claiming that Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel gave him improper benefits during the 2002 season. Hoo boy, if this is true, then I'm going to laugh. Loud and hard. Haaaaaaaaa! Yes, I'm still a little bitter that the Buckeyes have had a Mississippi River-sized bucket of luck in the past 3 seasons. Oh, and screw Big Ten/Eleven Football.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

Leading us along.

You laughed, you vomited, you cried. If you did any of those three things while reading Sports and Bremertonians today, you have had a good day. Well, at least I've had a good day. Not sure about the rest of you.

Anyways, time for me to fly. Believe it.

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Not for us, mind you (the furthest we've thought of a change is changing what goes before "blogspot.com"), but for the Jeff/Trent/Devin triumvirate at Leone For Third, who have taken their new domain at LeoneForThird.org. It's worth a look just for the banner that's at the top of the page. It's great.

Congrats to L43 and their new domain.

Update your bookmarks accordingly.

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A couple things before the normal post here...

-- The crap just hit the fan. I logged into my Hotmail account and it's gone from 1 Mb to 250Mb of capacity. Seriously, I don't even know what to do with myself now. Of course, the Hotmail account has just been used to accumulate my junk for the past few months, while I've used Gmail and Hotmail accounts to actually mail stuff from

-- I finally finished watching the second disc of the Ren and Stimpy DVD set tonight, and started on the third. Powdered Toast Man had to rescue the Pope (played by Frank Zappa), who was kidnapped by Muddy Mudskipper.

-- Just one click away from a site that was obviously referred to Sports and B's by the Next Blog button was a site for the Frag Dolls. Yes, it's real. Favorites?

-- If it's late at night and there's nothing to watch, I usually end up choosing from the International Channel, the CBC, or Univision. I have no idea why this is.

-- Michael Phelps...buddy, come on. Six gold medals and a DUI. I thought if he was going to go nuts, he'd wait at least a year.

Okay, time to stop spacing out on my part.
The glass case of 262 is officially in Cooperstown, filled with a bunch of game-used stuff of Ichiro's. It's good that this case permanently puts him in the Hall of Fame in some capacity, because I seriously kind of doubt he'll make it into the Hall of Fame as a player, if only for his years in Japan. There's been debate in hockey over Peter Forsberg and whether he should be considered for the Hockey Hall of Fame when he's done playing, since he'd played in Sweden for quite a while. Though I'm not a big fan of Forsberg, he deserves it because it's the Hockey Hall of Fame, not the NHL Hall of Fame. It may be purely semantic, but the place in Cooperstown is called the National Baseball Hall of Fame. How I think people would read this is that the accomplishments presumably happened on our shores, fair or unfair as that may be. Ichiro can render this moot if he piles up 3000 hits. He might do it if he keeps a breakneck pace (250 hits/yr).

Three cheers for Jason Bay, who went nuts last year en route to winning the first NL Rookie of the Year award for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Unsurprisingly, Bobby Crosby came away with the AL award.

It turns out Ken Lucas doesn't have a bruised sternum from having Brandon Lloyd land on top of him on Sunday. It's a bruised lung. Also, there's a chance that both Bobby Engram and Grant Wistrom will be available to play against the Rams in Saint Louis on Sunday.

Gonzaga is 25th and Washington is 22nd in this year's preseason AP Poll. Kansas is number one, while Marvin Williams and his North Carolina team are fourth.

The defensive intensity has been present for all of two games, but it's making the Sonics feel a lot better about their chances tonight against Denver and Kenyon Martin. A big part of this is the play of Reggie Evans, who is suddenly scoring in addition to his usual glass prowess. He's also laying stuff up with the left hand, which Kevin Calabro noted right away during the game against the Spurs on Sunday.

Speaking of Evans again, Percy Allen has a piece on the 'tweener Evans. Sure, Evans has developing a little bit of offense, but coach Nate McMillan wisely gets everyone back into reality with, "I love his energy, but we're not diagramming any plays for Reggie Evans right now." He also had a talk with Bill Russell, too. No word if Russell turned him into a Trekkie.

Congrats to three of the game's best blueliners, Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey, and Larry Murphy for their inductions into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday. They went in with former Maple Leaf exec and current member of the Phoenix Coyote brass Cliff Fletcher. The three players combined for nine Stanley Cups.

Jaromir Jagr is moving from the Czech league to the Russian league, probably because the Russian league is paying more. Following Jagr on the gravy train to Russia is Alexei Kovalev, who has signed with AK Bars Kazan.

Who could forget about that horrific Mike Danton story? He'll need to use soap on a rope for the next 7 1/2 years. He's already served seven months and may be prohibited from entering the US after doing his time. The CBC article also provides somewhat of a timeline of the whole twisted affair.

Tonight: Everett at Moose Jaw
Wednesday: Seattle at Vancouver
Thursday: Everett at Brandon, Manitoba at Cleveland
Friday: Everett at Regina, Seattle at Spokane, Portland at Vancouver, Manitoba at Cincinnati, Puget Sound at Tri-City
Saturday: Vancouver at Seattle, Portland at Spokane, Manitoba at Cincinnati, Puget Sound at Tri-City
Sunday: Vancouver at Kootenay

Just remember, Mount Saint Helens and Mount Rainier do NOT have connected magma chambers, and Saint Helens is still the most likely out of the Cascade chain to erupt. There are few things I'm sure about after graduating with a geology degree, but that's one of them. The Rainier earthquakes are somewhat periodic, as UW seismo guy Bill Steele told KING-5, showing a graph of about the last decade-plus. The Rainier quakes (tens or so yesterday) were also nowhere near as plentiful as the Saint Helens quakes (thousands per day).

I don't know where that geology aside came from. I'm probably just getting it all drained from the system.

And I will not miss Making the Cut tonight. They have to release a DVD set of that show when it's all said and done.

Enjoy Tuesday, everyone.

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Monday, November 08, 2004


According to the Miami Herald (registation required), Dave Wannstedt will resign as Miami Dolphins head coach, effective Tuesday.

Dave Wannstedt is expected to resign today, ending a five-season tenure as the Dolphins head coach, according to club sources. Defensive coordinator Jim Bates will be named the interim head coach during an afternoon news conference at the team's Davie training facility.

I'm only posting this because the Dolphins next game is at Seattle Nov. 21. They have a bye this week. Needless to say, the Dolphins-Seahawks Nov. 21 matchup just got some hype added to it. Hell, I'm just glad the Seahawks don't have to worry about stopping Ricky Williams.

Hey hey hey hey.....smoke weed everyday! Right, Ricky?

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It was a good Sunday after all. In a somewhat rare event, both the Seahawks and the Sonics won on the same day, and I watched about six solid hours (consecutively) of sports thanks to their games yesterday. As is usually the case after such periods of inactivity, the sportswatching was followed by a lengthy car drive.

Well, it appears that there isn't any bad news, nor is there any good news.

Seahawks 42, 49ers 35. Jeremy covered the big numbers out of Hasselbeck, Jackson, and Alexander in his post. My game post is more of a long-ass play-by-play type monster, with some commentary thrown in here and there. I guess the other really big numbers were one interception by Anthony Simmons, and one sack each for Antonio Cochran and Marcus Trufant.

Clare Farnsworth reminds us of some injuries that some Seahawks had to come back from. Sure, I knew that Darrell Jackson hadn't practiced all week and had a great day yesterday, and I knew when I saw Steve Hutchinson on the field that he was coming back from injury (same with Jerry Rice), but I'd forgotten all about Anthony Simmons having shoulder surgery just two weeks ago. Simmons had probably the biggest play in the game, picking a late pass for a touchdown.

One key change for yesterday's game? Holmgren put Anthony Simmons on the tight end Eric Johnson instead of Chad Brown. That pretty much worked, and of course Simmons had that interception on a pass intended for Johnson.

J-M Romero says yesterday's game was basically a microcosm of what we expected when it came to the Seahawks -- great offense, and enough defense to get by. He also brings up the play I totally forgot about, where Darrell Jackson had first-down yardage and fumbled, but it was called an incomplete pass. Romero also says this team could be 7-1 right now, and still has some vital stuff to improve on. Also, Ken Lucas went to the hospital after bruising his sternum on probably the best coverage play all day by the backfield. Kris Richard took Lucas' place after the latter was carted off the field. Also, Joe Starkey (49ers' PA guy) called Jerheme Urban "Jerome." His first name is spelled quite unusually, so I can sort of understand where "Jerome" would come out of it. Taco Wallace was the odd man out after Darrell Jackson came back to play. Also, Tara Kirk was honored with other Olympic athletes at halftime. A great day for all, indeed.

Monday wouldn't be Monday without Steve Kelley and Les Carpenter having something to say about the Seahawks. Kelley covers the Darrell Jackson story. Jackson said he had no doubt all week he was going to play. The ankle loosened up after he ran some pre-game routes. From personal experience (four sprains in 16 months once), having an immobilized ankle sucks because it can get deathly stiff. Working out of the stiffness is quite unbearable. Carpenter covers the "Alexander apologized to Hasselbeck for being a jerk" front, also bringing up the 3rd-and-10 call where the ball went to Alexander, even as the Seahawks were pinned close to their own goal line. Shaun got the first down on that play, and got a bunch more touches on that drive.

For my take on the game, scroll down or click here

Danny Fortson says there's only one thing that can stop him: referees. The Cincinnati grad had nine of his 11 second-half points from the free-throw line, where Calabro said Fortson has been a pretty good free-throw shooter his whole career. So Fortson's a big man who can rebound and is a good free-throw shooter. The Sonics gave up Calvin Booth to get him. It's only been three games, but I think I know who got the better end of the deal with Dallas.

Fortson also was a big reason why the Sonics had 17 second-chance points. In the I-Can't-Believe-He-Hasn't-Sucked-Horribly-Yet file, Jerome James blocked three shots in the first quarter. Also, Reggie Evans scored in double-digits for the second straight night after only getting 10 or more points once in 67 games last year.

In other weird and hard-to-explain news, CBS SportsLine has a dunk-o-meter.

Tuesday: Seattle at Denver
Nov 10 Sacramento at Seattle
Nov 12 Toronto at Seattle
Nov 14 Memphis at Seattle

In other NBA news, Mike Montgomery, you should have stayed at Stanford.

One lighter note, and one considerably more grisly note before some other stuff...

Someone paid $575.96 in an auction for Bobby Hull's three front teeth. Yes, they are dentures, and yes, there is a picture.

I'm not sure if this is karma or what, but Dany Heatley has been seriously injured after being hit in the eye with a puck off a shot by BC Bern (Swiss) teammate Daniel Briere in a game against Geneva-Servette. He was taken to the hospital, where his eye was drained, and the team website reported he had a fractured orbital bone, which would require surgery. Do I wish these types of injuries on anybody? Heavens no. Might karma be a bitch after Thrasher teammate Daniel Snyder was killed in the car he was driving in 2003? Yes.

Calgary beat Vancouver, 7-2. Riley Merkley got a natural hat trick for the Hitmen. Adam Courchaine and Mitch Bartley got the two goals for the Giants. Vancouver was down 3-0 after the first period and were never able to get back in it. It was the first WHL start for rookie goalie Jordan Kaczmar. He was pulled after giving up the fifth Calgary goal, and usual starter Marek Schwarz finished the game, stopping 20 of 22. The Giants finished their brutal road trip 2-2-0-1.

Since there's no action tomorrow, I'll post how the teams I've been following are doing...

WHL BC Division
Vancouver Giants 10-7-0-2, 22 pts, 3rd place, (Kootenay 1st w/24 pts and one less game played, Kelowna 2nd w/22 pts and a game in hand)

WHL US Division
Seattle Thunderbirds 12-4-0-0, 24 pts, 1st place, 2 games in hand on Everett and Portland
Everett Silvertips 9-5-2-2, 2nd place, 22 points
Portland Winter Hawks 9-8-0-1, 3rd place, 19 points

AHL North Division
Manitoba Moose 8-4-0-1, 17 points, 1st place (Edmonton is tied in points, but has only 7 wins)
There are no tie games in the AHL, for anyone who doesn't know. The final two columns are for overtime losses and shootout losses.

NorPac Junior B Western Division
Puget Sound Tomahawks 16-2-0, 32 points (Portland has six games in hand and has 22 points)

Enjoy your new work week, all. Make that a school week if you're being all studious like I was at this time last year. One thing I'm going to miss about Ellensburg: the chance of looking out the window and seeing snow. It rarely happens here.

[Edit ~1:33p -- Morgan notices the flaw of me flipping Hasselbeck and Alexander when I was talking about the Carpenter article. The change has been made.]

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Well, the Sonics certainly weren't supposed to do that. Seattle played a near-flawless first half of basketball, held their ground in a very physical and somewhat sloppy third period for both sides, and then scored on 13 straight possessions in the fourth quarter to drive the dagger into San Antonio's victory hopes. The Sonic defense did a masterful job in the game, and somehow (well, throwing a ton of bodies at him) held Tim Duncan to 4-of-16 shooting from the floor. Duncan still got 17 and 10 boards, but he really couldn't get anything going offensively. Most notably, Danny Fortson made Rick Sund look like a genius for making that Calvin Booth trade, as Fortson threw his wide body around in the key, crashing the boards and banging inside to the tune of 15 points and 10 rebounds. Hooray for double-doubles. Kevin Calabro said he hadn't seen that type of toughness on the Sonics since Vincent Askew left town. Of course, it also helps when the Sonics shoot 50.6% from the floor. Ray Allen was feeling it (24 points) at times, and Rashard Lewis had a little 27-point game of his own.

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Sunday, November 07, 2004



(If you want a long, long post on the 'Hawks win in SF today, go to David's post)

The Seahawks have to find a way to keep Shaun Alexander.

Yes, the defense is a mess right now. But I'm going to talk about Alexander, since I'm in a glorious mood. Glorious.

I've been an Alexander fan since his days at Alabama. I really hope that the Seahawks find a way to keep him in Seattle. You tell me who's going to replace Alexander if he were to leave Seattle? Maurice Morris? Kerry Carter?

Alexander is one of the best running backs in football. Why is it that some outsiders think that way but some Seahawks fans always find a way to criticize him? I don't get it, I really don't.

What does Alexander do today in San Francisco after last week's 195-yard performance?

More of the same.

160 yards on 26 carries, 2 touchdowns

And yet there are some fans who want him gone. Ridiculous.

Today was the first time all season that I felt that this offense was clicking. Matt Hasselbeck had a very good day, going 17-for-28 with 285 yards and 3 touchdowns. I'd say it's his best game of the 2004 season, no doubt about it.

Darrell Jackson showed me something today. He didn't practice all week because of an ankle injury, yet he goes out there today, catches 5 balls for 114 yards and has a pair of scores. Clutch.

Koren Robinson, 2 receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown. You know, can we just get his suspension over and done with? I can't remember where I heard it from, but check out this conspiracy theory: Koren gets suspended this week, therefore missing the next 4 games. He would miss the Dec. 6 Dallas game, which is on Monday Night Football. No K-Rob for the 'Hawks means more Jerry Rice, which is what the NFL and ABC would want. I'm just sayin'. Well, that person who brought up the theory was just sayin'.

What about the defense?

Come back, Grant Wistrom. Soon.

Ken Lucas, get well soon.

Anthony Simmons, welcome back.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

The Seahawks are now 5-3 and could be in 1st place in the NFC West if the Rams lose to the Patriots in St. Louis (it's 40-22 New England with 2:28 left in the 4th quarter). I'm in total agreeance with David, next week is a must-win. You can't give the Rams any sort of tiebreaker advantage.

This season is not over, not even close. If the Seahawks offense can play like they did today, look out. I still feel that the NFC is wide-open. I've felt that way since the offseason.

But I'm not worried about the NFC right now. I'm just worried about the NFC West.

Next week, St. Louis. I'll get that game on my local FOX affiliate. Yessir. The Rams can't stop the run, so if I'm Mike Holmgren, keep running Shaun. Pretty f**king simple, I would think.

This is going to be a fun week. I can feel it.

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Here's what I've got for game notes on the Seahawks/49ers game today.

Good God, I'm sick and tired of seeing Curt Menefee and Tim Green on every freakin' Fox broadcast of the Seahawks.

Oh man, that Randy Johnson/Roger Clemens morph commercial just scared the crap out of me.

>> 1st Seattle possession (SEA 25, flags for Seattle illegal block...pushed back to SEA 15)
14:50 Shaun left then right through the line for 7
14:14 Hasselbeck hurried, runs forward, almost gets to line of scrimmage (3rd/5)
13:44 Engelberger sacks, the offensive line protects absolutely nothing

>> 1st San Francisco possession (SEA 23, after crappy punt and crappy punt coverage)
13:27 Kevan Barlow to the SEA 8 for a first down, THIS SUCKS!!!!!!!!
12:49 Barlow to the 3
***12:08 Barlow runs outside to the right for a touchdown (SF 7-0)

Raise your hand if you've got a bad feeling about this game already. A three-and-out, a brain fart by the punt team, and a touchdown in three plays. Absolute crap.

>> 2nd Seattle possession (SEA 39, flags on Rocky Bernard hold to push back to SEA 16)
Two kickoff penalties and crappy punt coverage...not a good start for the special teams by any means.
11:51 Alexander through middle for 18, down by contact, no fumble
11:18 pass right Koren Robinson for first down (SEA 31)
10:45 pass left Darrell Jackson for 11 and first down (SEA 42)
10:18 Shaun twisted and turns through line right for 8
9:49 Shaun through line left to SF 46 and first down
9:07 pass right sideline to Jackson pulls him out of bounds, nice blitz coverage by the line and blockers
9:02 Shaun through the middle for 6 (3rd/4)
8:19 Strong through line left keeps the legs moving, and almost gets the first down (bad spot)...his knee was called down early

Another drive goes down the drain. Handing the ball off to Mack Strong on a 3rd-and-4 seems like a peculiar call to me, as there were nice pass completions on that possession.

>> 2nd San Francisco possession (SF 1, the punt team somewhat atones, as the ball is saved from going into the end zone)
7:33 Barlow through left for 3
6:44 dumpoff to Beasley right side for 2 (3rd/5)
6:06 Brandon Lloyd right sideline past the chains almost gets a hold of poorly-thrown ball, nearly a first down

A three-and-out is exactly what the Seahawk defense needed on that possession with San Francisco pinned deep in their own territory. Nice job by the defense, building on what the special teams gave them.

>> 3rd Seattle possession (SF 33, after a crappy punt -- I guess it goes both ways)

5:52 Shaun runs outside right for no gain
***5:15 pass left, Jackson beats his man, bobbles and catches for touchdown (7-7)

Now THAT is more like it. The Seahawk offense had a short field, and cashed in after two plays. If there's one bad thing, I guess it's that the defense has to go right back onto the field, but they did force a three-and-out last time, so they can't be too tired. I guess the last couple possessions would be comparable to short shifts in hockey.

>> 3rd San Francisco possession (SEA 39...another big return on the special teams)
5:04 dumpoff right Beasley for 5
4:41 checkdown dumpoff to Terry Jackson right side for loss of 5 (3rd/10)
4:04 San Francisco false start (Johnson, 3rd/15)
3:40 pass right sideline to Johnson to SEA 48 for first down (DAMMIT)
3:12 pass right sideline Lloyd for first down on wobbly pass, with flags (hands to the face on Orlando Huff, declined)
2:45 Barlow up the middle for 6...oh good God, Fox is listing Tony Ventrella as a sideline commentator
2:06 Rattay hurried, dropped short of the line (3rd/4)
***1:23 Curtis Conway pass left, runs to the end zone with no one on him (SF 14-7)

The Seahawks are getting beat by Tim f*$&ing Rattay. I hate myself. The Seahawk defense can't make a stop on 3rd-and-15? Come freakin' on.

Hey, Fox network? I don't need to hear any more Chingy or Fabolous. I'm pretty sure they've been running bumpers from one of those two, and I find them to be the most annoying voices in rap today. Almost as annoying as Ja Rule.

>> 4th Seattle possession (SEA 21)
1:17 Jackson runs forward before the snap for a false start (SEA 16)
1:11 Shaun runs outside left with blockers for 11 yards (2nd/4)
0:47 Mili soft pass right overthrown (3rd/4)
0:43 SF showed and brought the blitz, and the Seahawks had an empty backfield. That math doesn't add up. Hasselbeck hit for grounding

Darrell Jackson...Shaun with an 11-yard run...just another three-and-out for the Seattle offense.

>> 4th San Francisco possession (SF 44)
0:27 Beasley run through line for short gain

14:56 Johnson pass right for a few yards, Brown plows Rattay (3rd/5)
14:14 pass left nearly picked by Lucas, who is still down on the field after a commercial break. With Lucas up to his knees, another commercial break is taken

Hey, the Patriots/Rams game is on CBS here...and Tom Brady just fumbled in his own end zone and the Rams recovered. I hate myself even more now. In related crappy news, Lucas was carted off the field. Green speculates that maybe he could have broken a rib or worse.

>> 5th Seattle possession (SEA 13, fair catch)
14:02 Koren underthrown across middle
13:56 Shaun pitchback left for 9 (nice block, 3rd/1)
13:38 Strong through line for first down (SEA 28)
13:06 rollout Mili right side for first down
12:33 Shaun run right for three (SEA 44)
11:53 pass Stevens middle on third option, one yard short of the first down (3rd/1)
11:19 Hasselbeck sneak for first down (SF 48)
10:42 49ers blitz, no one picks up Winthorne, Hasselbeck runs backward for loss of 11 (2nd/21)
10:03 pass Urban right side to SEA 42 (3rd/4)
9:23 Shaun pitchback run outside left for gain of 12 and first down, flags after play (illegal block in back by Jackson, trying to stop while blocking, unintended, backed up to SEA 35)
8:54 pass Stevens to SF 15 for first down after some moves
8:21 Shaun through line right for gain of 1
7:37 pass left Strong for 3 yards (SF 11, 3rd/6)
6:57 pass right sideline Jackson makes sure to get feet in bounds for first-and-goal (SEA 1)
6:39 Dennis Erickson throws the red flag, thinking Jackson didn't get the right foot down...I flipped to the CBS game, and Ed Hochuli is about to make a call. I think Hochuli and Dick Hantac are the current referees I'm most familiar with. Back in the old days, I liked referee number 9, who called a lot of Seahawk games...Erickson's challenge was denied, as Jackson's right foot had planted first
6:37 Shaun through the middle for a touchdown (14-14)

Man, did they need that. A drive lasting over six minutes, keeping the SF defense on the field for a long time. Hopefully the Seahawks can get the ball back quickly and put some more points on the board before halftime.

>> 5th San Francisco possession (SF 1, Maurice Hicks with a boneheaded play, stepping out of bounds)
6:31 Barlow through line right to the 6...Bernard almost nailed him for a safety
5:57 Barlow through line right (SF 8, 3rd/3)
5:17 Barlow through line left, stuffed by Simmons short of chains (SF 9)

>> 6th Seattle possession (SEA 47, booming punt by Leask)
4:28 Rice pass right to SF 48, with obligatory ovation
3:49 Shaun through middle to the SF 39 and a first down
3:19 Shaun stood up left, gain of only one yard
2:31 Jackson catch over middle, fumbles, 49ers recover, but pass is called incomplete...I think the Seahawks caught a break here. Play unchallenged, but Green says it wasn't a challengeable play
2:26 pass over middle (looked like someone hit Hasselbeck's arm) to Robinson incomplete, Robinson plowed, flags...PASS INTERFERENCE!! FIRST DOWN! (SF 25)
2:20 Jackson left sideline to SF 7 before the two-minute warning; the pass beat the camera
1:57 Shaun through right side for touchdown, with nice blocking (SEA 21-14)!!

The Seahawks take advantage of mistakes by the 49ers, as well as a beneficial call. Even with the help, cashing in is exactly what they have to do. This time, they've done it.

>> 6th San Francisco possession (SF 32)
1:47 pass right Lloyd dropped; Lloyd tried to run before he caught it, though Rattay has been uncorking some crappy throws
1:38 desperation dumpoff to Barlow, but he gets to midfield
1:15 Conway right side for first down (SEA 41)
0:51 Johnson over middle for first down (SEA 30), 49ers call timeout
0:46 Johnson over middle for 11 yards and a first down (SEA 20)
0:27 Conway slips on pass left, incomplete
0:22 Conway pass first down left to SEA 9
0:11 Rattay spikes (2nd/goal)
0:07 pass end zone right to Conway batted away by Bobby Taylor, no flags (whew)
***0:04 Peterson from 27 (SEA 21-17)

I'm glad the Seahawks didn't just allow a touchdown on a two-minute drill by Tim Rattay. I would have been questioning my sanity at that point. Rattay threw the ball at will and all the blitzes were picked up, but that Barlow run was the key to that drive. Naturally, Rattay started completing a bunch of passes after I criticized a couple of his wounded-duck throws.

>> 7th Seattle possession (SEA 33)
0:00 Kerry Carter's kickoff return ran the clock out

Jeanne Zelasko and Terrell Davis for the halftime show? To say that's a letdown compared to JB, Terry, Howie, and Jimmy would be an understatement.

Blogger throws yet another curveball. I can't say I've ever gotten the "unexpected error" page out of Blogger before, but at least it wasn't "500 Internal Service Error." Thanks for keeping it fresh and hosting over a year's worth of our stuff, Blogger.

The Seahawks lead 226-161 in total yards at the half.

>> 7th San Francisco possession (SF 33)...Menefee just used the phrase "fat beats"
14:49 pass right Cedric Wilson puts move on Trufant, gets first down (SEA 49)
14:29 Barlow through line right for 6, with flags (offensive tripping...tripping on Johnson for ten yards...spot at SF 42)
14:01 pass left Lloyd to SEA 41 (2nd/2)
13:22 Barlow through line left for easy first down, not sure why they brought out the chains (SEA 39)
12:41 Lloyd wide f*$#ing open in the right side of the end zone, had Trufant burned (SF 24-21)

Way to come out flat, defense. Way to go. Just saw the replay, and I don't know what the hell Trufant was doing on that play. There goes the lead. Didn't Mike Holmgren say he didn't expect to see that for the rest of the year? I guess Trufant was running forward to cover Rattay if he decided to run the ball himself down the sideline, but no one else was covering Lloyd.

>> 8th Seattle possession (SEA 27)
12:29 pass to Urban over the middle for 33 yards all the way to the SF 40 for a first down
11:58 Stevens right side, rumbles for 15 and a first down at SF 25
***11:18 Hasselbeck audibles at the line, pass right Koren, Koren slips but it buys him time and a missed tackle, and he runs to the end zone (SEA 28-24)

Well, I feel a lot better thanks to the offense striking back quickly and picking up the crappy play of the defense to open the half. Whew. What a play for Jerheme Urban's first pass.

>> 8th San Francisco possession (SF 23)
11:03 Walker pass right for two after Rattay is hurried (2nd/8)
10:36 Rattay pressured, sidearmed wobbly pass to Johnson incomplete to right side (3rd/8)
10:32 Richard plows Lloyd before the ball gets there...I thought he was going to get flagged

It's a three-and-out. I like. Very much.

>> 9th Seattle possession (SEA 32)
10:13 Shaun handoff right for one yard
9:42 low throw right side, though the blitz was picked up
9:37 pass over the middle through Stevens' hands, flags for illegal motion declined

It's a three-and-out. I don't like. At all. That's no way to take what the defense gave you.

Is anyone going to watch the Dallas reunion on CBS tonight? Me neither.

>> 9th San Francisco possession (SF 33)
9:20 Barlow runs outside left for 4
8:42 quick pass right Lloyd, who gets the first down (SF 45)
8:06 Arnaz Battle pulls down the ball (doesn't throw) and gets 6 yards on the clueless Seattle defense (2nd/3)
7:30 Barlow drops Barlow left in the backfield for a loss of 1 (3rd/4)
6:54 pass left to 22, but Hamlin knocks him back short of the chains to force punt

It was looking bleak to me when the Seattle defense allowed Battle to rumble for six yards after he decided not to throw -- they should have had him wrapped up in the backfield. That said, Cochran stuffing Barlow and Hamlin on the pass play on third down were key.

>> 10th Seattle possession (SEA 6, ball caught and downed behind the returners)
6:06 pass to Stevens right tipped (let's not have a bunch of tipped passes. Okay, Matt?)
6:02 pass left to Koren broken up by Spencer, catch would have been a first-downer (forces third down)
5:55 Shaun through the left side for 13 yards and a first down to put him over 5000 career yds (SEA 19)
5:16 Shaun through the right side with blockers for another nine yards (SEA 28)
4:37 Shaun plows through the line again for a first down (SEA 35)
4:02 Shaun through the right side for 7 (SEA 42, 2nd/3)
3:27 Heath Evans handoff left for loss of 1 (third down)
2:47 Ryan Hannam quick pass left for second career catch and first down to SF 40
2:23 Shaun outside left for one yard
1:39 blockers pick up the blitz, Matt has all day to throw, but it's through Koren's hands over the middle (3rd/9)
***1:32 SPRINKLER!! Hasselbeck to Jackson along the right sideline for a touchdown (SEA 35-24)

The Seahawks were flawless on third down on that drive, as they converted three times. The ballsy call was handing the ball off to Shaun Alexander on 3rd-and-10 from the Seattle 6. The play turned out great, but man, I would have raked Holmgren over the coals if that one didn't work. Shaun bailed him out.

>> 10th San Francisco possession (SF 32)
1:16 Koutouvides forces Rattay out of bounds after pressure (SF 38)
0:56 Battle on a sidearmed pass right side for a first down (SF 48)
0:15 Barlow handoff right to SEA 47

Everyone does remember that the return-of-Jack ad campaign was the main reason behind Jack in the Box bouncing back after the E. Coli scare of more than a decade ago, right?

14:57 Trufant sacks Rattay, who never picked him up (3rd/9)
14:52 Rattay over middle to Wilson FOR A FREAKIN' FIRST DOWN (SEA 40)
14:06 Barlow through the middle for 15 freakin' yards with blockers (SEA 25)
13:22 Rattay almost overthrows Hicks, who one-hands it, with flags (Simmons on an ineligible receiver? I need to think about that one more. Anyway, it's a first down)
12:59 Barlow handoff outside right, dropped in backfield for 5-yard loss (SEA 25)
12:22 pass right Wilson for 12 (3rd/2)
11:41 Barlow through line right, short of chains (4th/short)
11:12 San Francisco timeout
11:09 Peterson from 30 (SEA 35-27)

The pass to Wilson on third down was something I could have done without, and quite frankly, there's no way Kevan Barlow should be rumbling for 15 yards. That said, I'm glad the 49ers didn't come away with seven on that drive. Rattay is 21-for-29 today with 249 yards and two touchdowns. Yikes.

>> 11th Seattle possession (SEA 29)
10:53 Shaun through left line all the way to to SF 49
10:15 pitchback Shaun left runs over Spencer, who was pancaked, no gain
9:29 quick pass Stevens right to SF 47 (3rd/8)
8:48 Hasselbeck hurried with nowhere to throw, throws it away

One big running play by Alexander is wasted. At least the 49ers wouldn't have really good field position after this. But the Seattle defense needs a stop. Then the offense needs to put this team away.

>> 11th San Francisco possession (SF 15, Battle coughs up and recovers)
8:33 Rattay hurried, throws it away left side as he is getting dropped
*#*#*#8:27 ANTHONY SIMMONS PICKS DOWN LEFT SIDELINE AND RUNS TO END ZONE (SEA 42-27), the pocket was collapsing on the play...see what a little pass rush can do? Grant Wistrom, come back quick!

The big play goes the Seahawks' way. The defense doesn't just stop, they hit paydirt. They need at least one more stop, but this was a biiiig play.

>> 12th San Francisco possession (SF 33)
8:17 Rattay wounded duck right incomplete
8:10 pass Johnson right for 9 yards (3rd/1), play stopped to bring out chains
7:41 Barlow outside left is short of chains (4th/two footballs' length)...SF 5-for-7 on 4th down this season
7:10 Barlow through the middle for first down
6:35 Rattay sacked by Cochran for loss of 9
6:07 Barlow dump over middle for 4 (3rd/15)
5:31 out of shotgun, Rattay nearly picked by Trufant...Rattay pummeled after throwing)

A big sack by Cochran. I didn't expect the Seahawks to stop the 49ers on 4th down, but keeping them off the board is a good thing.

>> 12th Seattle possession (SEA 17)
5:17 Shaun through middle for one
4:34 Shaun outside right to SEA 32 for a first down
3:50 Strong through the middle (2nd/7)
3:08 Shaun outside left within a yard of chains
2:26 Kerry Carter through middle for first down
1:57 Carter left for no gain
1:55 San Francisco timeout
1:48 Carter outside right to SEA 48, with flags...holding on Chris Terry, declined
1:41 Carter outside left for first down to SF 45
0:57 knee
0:26 knee


Whew. What a big day for Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander, and Darrell Jackson (who didn't practice this week). The defense did manage to get to Rattay a couple of times, though not quite as much as I would have liked. The Simmons interception was big. The only really big mistake other than the third-down conversions by the opposition was the Trufant gaffe that resulted in the touchdown pass to Lloyd. Also, hurray for Jerheme Urban getting his first NFL catch and for Ryan Hannam getting his second career catch; both of these catches were good for key first downs for the Seahawks. Hooray for Kerry Carter, who had a couple of first down runs in garbage time to seal the deal. Hooray for the offensive line for protecting Shaun and Hasselbeck and doing a well above-average job. The Seahawk offense did not have to settle for a field goal at all today.

Here's to hoping the Patriots can hold off the Rams. If that happens, the Seahawks have a chance to put a two-game cushion between themselves and the Rams for the division lead. Next week is a must-win, as far as I'm concerned. You can't give the Rams any sort of tiebreaker advantage.

The Seahawks just put 42 points on the board, 35 of them on offense. Is the offense finally on the way back? They sure did look good today.

I may have more to say about this game tonight when the articles roll in.

Seahawks. Rams. Next Sunday.

[Final update ~4:23p]

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