Monthly Archives: January 2011

M’s FanFest Jan. 29-30; Caravan Skips Kitsap Again

Someone was wondering if the M’s Caravan would make a stop on this side of the pond and asked about dates for FanFest.

Bremerton used to be a year stop for the caravan, but not anymore. I think this will be the third straight year that the M’s annual winter tour is bypassing our area.

As for FanFest, it’ s Jan. 29-30 and Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez is scheduled to be at Safeco Field both days. Read more about FanFest here.

Seahawks Links and ‘Beast Mode’ Video

Wow, I woke up this morning and figured out I wasn’t dreaming. The Seattle Seahawks really did beat the New Orleans Saints 41-36 on Saturday.

Marshawn Lynch really did break 334 tackles on a crazy 67-yard TD run. Watch it again on this You Tube video. Wonder when somebody’s going to write a “Beast Mode” song?

Now that we know the Seahawks are going to be traveling to Chicago to face the Bears, let’s take a minute to look at what other people were writing about the Seahawks’ stunning victory and their rematch with the Bears:

Don Banks of says the Seahawks win over New Orleans tells us that we shouldn’t pre-judge any outcome of a playoff game. Read his story here.

A couple of Chicago players are anxious for revenge. Seattle beat da Bears23-20  in the Windy City in October. Read the story here.

Just the Bear facts in this report.

And how about this? If the Seahawks win, they could host the NFC title game at Qwest. Crazy, huh. Read on.

The always entertaining Norm Chad writes: “Imagine if this shabby 7-9 team now makes the Super Bowl – the entire East Coast might sink into the Atlantic Ocean and Peter King might drown in his venti cup of cinnamon dolce latte.” Read the full story here.

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times said the fans “were so into the game they practically played it.  They turned Qwest Field into decibel hell.” Read his column here.

Nobody is sure if the Seahawks will offer QB Matt Hasselbeck an extention, but he had a “ridiculoulsy good day,” on Saturday, writes John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune. Read his column here.

Dave Boling of the TNT gives coach Pete Carroll credit for getting the Seahawks to believe. Read the story here.

I touched on the same theme in my column because, well, how else can you explain what the Seahawks have done the past two weeks. These are not the same Seahawks who stumbled and bumbled their way through most of the regular season. Of course, I was also the same guy who predicted Saints 34, Seahawks 13.


Seahawks-Saints Game Thoughts

The sun  busted through for the Seahawks’ player introductions and the fans are waving white, 12th Man towels. There was a fly-over, and Walter Jones just raised the 12th Man Flag.

It’s game time: Saints won the toss and will receive.


It didn’t take Drew Brees long to put Seattle’s defense on its heels. He engineers an 8-play, 52-yard drive that ends in a 26 yard FG by Garrett Hartley. Reggie Bush dropped a pass on third down or the Saints likely would have come away with a TD.  11:43: Saints 3, Hawks 0.

Following a Hasselbeck interception (it wasn’t his fault; ball skipped out of Obamanu’s hands and Jabari Greer picked it off and returned in 10 yards to the 35. Eight plays later, Brees hit fullback Heath Evans with a 1-yard scoring pass. 6:21: NO 10, Seattle 0.

My thought? Who needs a running bame? Brees is picking apart the Hawks’ defense.

Seattle answers. Hasselbeck looks share in a 7-play, 57-yard drive that ends with 11-yard TD to wide open TE John Carlson on a play-action pass. 3:38: NO 10, Seattle 7.

New Orleans on the move as quarter ends. Saints held the ball 11:06 during the quarter and are in Seattle’s territory again.


Ex-Seahawk Julius Jones scores on a 5-yard draw to cap a 10-play 83-yard drive. 3 possessions, 3 scores for Saints. 13:38: NO 17, Seattle 7. If Hawks can’t figure out a way to get to Brees, it looks like it’ll be a long, long day. But that’s kind of what we expected, right?

OK, it looks like Hasselbeck was the right call. He’s sharp. He just lobbed a great touch pass to TE Cameron Morrah for 39 yards to set up a 7-yard TD to TE Carlson, who was wide open. 11:00, NO 17, Hawks 14.

Finally, the Seahawks defense forces a punt, but they don’t capitalize. Seattle gets the ball and goes 3 and out. Hasselbeck threw away passes on second and third down. He must have learned that from Charlie Whitehurst. In the past, Matt might have tried to force it, but not today.

Tie game: Raheem Brock forces a fumble on Julius Jones and LB Hawthorne recovers for Seattle at the Saints’ 19. Mare’s 29 FG ties it with 7:09 left. Seattle 17, Saints 17. Breaks are going Seattle’s way.

Wow! Hasselbeck just lofted a perfect pass to Brandon Stokely, who was wide open for a 45 yard TD. Hawks leads 24-17. 1:15 left in the half. Seattle 24, Saints 17.

Saints kick a FG with :03 left after going 77 yards in a little over a minute. End of the half: Seattle 24, New Orleans 20.

There’s a lot of raised eyebrows at Qwest Field right now. Who’d have thunk that the 7-9 laughingstock from the NFC West would be leading the defending world champions at halftime? Hey, the party’s still rocking. Wonder what the Football Gods have in mind for the second half?

I guess Coach (com)Pete was right when he named Hasselbeck the starter. I was in the other camp on that one, but what do I know. Hasselbeck’s 13 of 18 for 169 yards and 3 TDs.


First possession important for Seattle and they knew what to do. Hasselbeck’s 38-yard TD pass to Mike Williams, who made an over-the-shoulder catch around the 7 and dragged two defenders into the end zone. 11:48,  Seattle 31, NO 20.

Seattle just scored on its fourth straight possession and sixth of its last seven. Mare kicks a 39 FG. The score doesn’t surprise me, but I thought the Saints would have the 34. 5:27, Seattle 34, Saints 20.

New Orleans gambles on a  4th and 1 from its own 36 and comes up short. Seattle takes over. Another score here and it just might be (dare I say) … over. No, it’s too early for that. A delay of game just took the Seahawks out of field goal range. With 2:53 left, the Hawks still have a 14-point cushion.

Quarter ends with Saints on the move. First down at Seattle 37. Seattle leads: 34-20.

The statistics are fairly even. Seattle has 332 yards (75 rushing, 257 passing); New Orleans 312 (57, 255).


Seattle’s not giving the Saints anything deep and Brees is content to take the short stuff right now. Aided by a 15-yard penalty on Chris Clemons, New Orleans pulls within a touchdown. Jones scored a 4-yard rushing TD to cap a 12-play, 87 yard drive that took 4:12 off the clock. 13:11 left, Seattle 34, Saints 27. It seems like the Saints have gained the momentum back. We’ll see. Biggest possession of the season for the Seahawks right now.

Seattle go 3-and-out. Saints get the ball back with 12:40 left, at their own 44. Buckle up. Looks like we’re headed to a wild finish. Saints take 8 plays to go 53 yards and kick a 21 FG to pull within four. 9:13: Hawks 34, Saints 30.

THE SPREAD: The outcome might be in doubt, but those who took the Seahawks and 10 points are looking pretty good right now.

5:18: Hawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu and Saints RB Julius Jones both leave after a collision. Jones gained 11 yards on a reception from the 6. NO’s Reggie Bush left hte game earlier. The Saints are in trouble at the RB position. NO’s top two backs were put on injured reserve earlier in the week.

HANG ON TIME: Seattle has the ball with 4:20 left at its own 33 after forcing a punt. Both teams are down to their last timeut.
BEAST TIME: Seven New Orleans defenders got their hands on Marshawn Lynch, but they couldn’t stop him from scoring on a 67-yard touchdown run that should enough to get the much-maligned Seahawks to the next round of the NFL playoffs. Unreal run. Lynch ran by LB Scott Shanie (58), broke through two more defenders, shrugged off Jabari Greer (33), tossed Tracy Porter (22) aside with a stiff arm and ambled down the Seahawks sideline. Defensive end Jeff Charleston (97) dove at him and got an arm on one of Lynch’s legs, but it didn’t slow him. He cut back toward the middle of the field and angled toward the end zone. Another Saint (didn’t catch him number) got a hand on him at the goalline.

Somebody on Twitter reported that Lynch just broke 17 tackles.

NO QUIT IN SAINTS: New Orleans scores but comes up short on a run for two-points nd Seattleha sa 41-36 lead with 1:30 left. It was a 9-play, 70-yard drive with Brees connecting with Henderson for a 6-yard TD.

MORE HANG ON TIME: Everybody in the stadium knows it’ll be an onside kick. It was fielded by Seattle’s Carlson at the 47. 1:29 left. Saints take final timeout with 1:23 left. Game over.

Mr. Know-It-All Says Edgar Deserves To Be in HOF

Yeah, it’s Seahawks’ Saturday, but Mr. Know-It-All checked in earlier this week with his opinion on whether  Edgar Martinez should be elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame. Here’s are his thougths.

“Above, when I wrote about Jeff Bagwell, I mentioned that Bags was one of only 16 players to finish a career (min. 5,000 plate appearances) with an on-base percentage higher than .400 and a slugging percentage higher than .500. Martinez is one of those 16. He’s one of only 13 to also hit better than .300. Throw in his 300 homers, his 500 doubles … the names are suddenly: Ruth, Gehrig, Hornsby, Williams, Musial, Bonds and Martinez.
He was a fabulous hitter — an all-time fabulous hitter. I understand people being a bit hesitant about naming a one-dimensional designated hitter to the Hall, but there is some precedent (Paul Molitor played more games at DH than any other individual position), and if we really consider being a great offensive player who offers little-to-no defensive value as “one-dimensional,” then the Hall of Fame has quite a few one-dimensional players. I do think that for a designated hitter to be a Hall of Famer he needs to be a truly extraordinary hitter. I think Martinez was a truly extraordinary hitter.”  — Joe Posnanski

Above is a link to a discussion about Edgar Martinez’s qualifications to be in the Hall of Fame written by Joe Posnanski, who is Kansas City based baseball writer and a short snippet from the discussion.  He is especially singular as a writer because he understands and uses all of the arcane Sabremetric analysis to discuss players and the game in fairly straight forward English, which is to suggest he really knows his subject well.
Edgar Martinez was certainly one of the greatest hitters ever.  In THE moment of the whole thirty five years of Mariner baseball was the double and there are so many other hits of magnitude during that series and his next nine years off excellence.  I was asked to opine on his chances of making the hall of fame in light of his second run through of the voting for the hall and in the face of his positive vote going down. Before I address it, these hundred words slips out on how good he was.
He will continue to be eligible as long as he sustains a minimum percentage of votes cast.  There is some arcane formula.  If that does not prove out, then there is the veteran’s committee comprised of living hall of fame player members and the writers in the Ford Frick wing of the hall of fame.
Still I dance.  So here it is, there are concerns.  He was primarily a designated hitter (dh), which represents an issue for some voters.  It’s not like being caught for steroids, but it is still and issue.  In the hall of fame already is Paul Molitor, who was primarily a dh, and contrasted to Molitor, Edgar is like a Cadillac next to a Vespa.  So there is one item that feels like he doesn’t have to break down a barrier.
Second major issue is that he plays for the Mariners.  Have you looked a relief map of North America recently?  Seattle is so far away from anywhere else in the continental United States as to make it an afterthought in most baseball writer’s consciousness, or what passes for same.  Do the map thing, if you folded the map over so that the west coast was on the east coast Seattle would be about one thousand miles north of New York…as it is we’re just 3,000 miles away to the west.  For most of the Mariner’s history except the golden run from 1995 to 2003, or nine out of thirty five year, they’ve been very bad.  Seventy five percent of the time, precisely, which means nobody in baseball, in the context of hall of fame discussions every thinks much of Seattle or any of its players.
Seattle has had in thirty five years maybe 1,500 players on its active major league roster that have played.  That is an estimate.  It’s easy to list the good players and even easier the great players that have played here:  Dave Henderson, Harold Reynolds, Omar Vizquel, John Olerude, Dan Wilson, Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner, Randy Johnson, Chris Bosio, Floyd Bannister, Ken Griffey, Ken Griffey Jr., Cliff Lee, Freddie Garcia, Jamey Moyer, Carlos Guillen, Felix Rodriguez, Ichiro Suzuki.  22 of 1,500 is 1.4%.  That is really bad.
I may have missed somebody.  Nobody was intentionally left off the list.  Twenty-two people.  Of that list there are a few locks for the hall of fame:  Junior, A-Rod, Randy, Ichiro. Less certain but likely include Edgar and Omar and if he pitches well for ten more years Felix.  Twenty two good players out of 1,500.  That more than anything tells you how consistently bad the Mariners are and have been.
Edgar could have and should have been playing in the major leagues three or four years earlier, he played four years in Calgary where he hit ..353, .329, .363 and .345 stuck behind Jimmy Pressley who hit .275, .265, .247 and .230 during the same time in Seattle.  Part of the crew that made those decisions is still here by the way.
Bert Blyleven made it in yesterday.  His numbers, that measure what he controlled as a picture are what got him in.  In contrast to his production in the things he controlled, Edgar’s production is at the top of the heap.  In the top fifteen of all hitters as quoted above?  One suspects that Edgar’s case may struggle for a few years, but ultimately he will get in.  His track record suggests that he keeps after things and ultimately prevails. Writers need to articulate his cause and show how he’s comparable or superior to players there.  They need to be led to the water.

Seahawks-Saints Pre-Game Thoughts

It’s been a while since I arrived this early for a Seahawks game. You could feel the buzz all the week and it’s continuing to build. I opted for a quick nap on the car deck, but you could hear the fans on the 9:45 a.m. ferry. The 12th Man’s gonna be primed, that’s for sure.

What a difference. I remember coming to the Nov. 14 game against the Giants. I caught the Bainbridge ferry that day and they kept announcing that they had Seahawks tickets available at the Second Mate’s Office. They couldn’t give ’em away.

That’s not the case today. We’re still about an hour away from kickoff. The press box is packed and face-painted fans are trickling into the stadium. Pete Carroll’s been out on the field, pumping fans and slapping backs of his players as they go through their pre-game routines.

EWU TALK OF THE BOX:  There was a lot of chatter in the press box was about Eastern Washington’s victory over Delaware in the FSC championship game Friday night in Frisco, Texas. Renard Williams’ play didn’t go unnoticed. The junior defensive lineman from South Kitsap made a big impact on the game in the second half. Some wondered if EWU running back Taiwan Jones would declare himself eligible for the draft. The junior All-Americarushed for 1,742 yards and 17 TDs before being sideline with a foot injury. Jones didn’t play in the semifinals or finals for the Eagles.

THE WILLIAMS DEBATE: There was also a spirited discussion at one table about whether Seattle wide receiver Mike Williams was worth the three-year, extension with a reported value of $11.74 million. Most felt it was a good deal for Seattle, but Williams isn’t a No. 1 receiver. If Seattle can augment him with a legit No. 1 guy, Seattle will be set at that postition. One scribe insisted that Williams wasn’t all that, citing that he only had four good games and only scored two TDs during the regular season. Me? I like the move. Williams, 27, had 65 catches for 751 yards and I can see him being a Terrel Owens 90-catch kind of guy if he stays healthy.

THE WEATHER: It was a chilly walk to the stadium, but there’s no rain and only a slight wind (8 mph from the SSE according to guy who types up the inactive list). It’ll be about 40 degrees at kickoff. Drew Brees was wearing shorts when he first came out on the field.

THE PICK: In a column earlier in the week, I said the Saints would win 34-13. I still think the Saints will prevail, but my gut now tells me it’ll be closer. The Saints are pretty beat up, but there’s a reason why the oddsmakers have installed the defending champs as 10-point (it was 10.5 earlier in the week) favorites.

Here are my other picks for this weekend’s games:


AFC: Colts 26, Jets 24


NFC: Packers 31, Eagles 28

AFC: Ravens 23, Chiefs 12

Mr. Know-It-All Says Hasselbeck Is the Wrong Choice

There’s a lot of knowledgeable sports fans out there with a lot of opinions.

I’d like to introduce you to one of ’em. We’ll call him Mr. Know-It-All. He grew up in Seattle and now lives in West Sound. He’s followed the Seattle sports scene since he was a kid, and he’s savvy about the local sports scene, too. He’s always been willing to share his thoughts on today’s games, players, coaches and hot topics.

Mr. Know-It-All shared his thoughts on the Seahawks earlier today before it was announced that Matt Hasselbeck will be the starting QB for Saturday’s playoff game against New Orleans.

I don’t always agree with Mr. Know-It-All, but I think he’s pretty much dead on this time. Here’s what I found in my e-mail box this morning:

Last Sunday, the Hawks won the first down play.  They ran well enough on first down to control the clock and field position.  They stopped the Rams for the most part from successfully running on first down.  Very old school, fundamental Woody Hayes style of football.

With some obvious historical exceptions, that has been the way NFL championships are won.  With that lesson fresh in all the writer’s faces, they immediately beat the drums for the return of Matt Hasselbeck, progenitor of the 3-7 record in last ten games, thrower of ten picks in his previous four games, possessor of terminal happy feet, incapable of running from the pocket without hurting himself…I could go on.

He will self destruct and they will lose with him playing.  I hear well gee whiz he had 388 yards against them before…250 of those came when the game was already lost.

He was a wonderful qb when he was playing second and two after Alexander, Jones and Hutchinson ran big on first down.  At best a complementary player.

People forget the Bill Walsh-Paul Brown connection and thus to Mike Holmgren.  West coast offense is the dink and dunk safely versus the run off tackle.  It is very much not Don Coryell type of football and the move from Holmgren to Mora and even Caroll is what has exposed Hasselbeck.  He could throw deep at some point, but can’t now.

I can’t help but think if they try to manage first downs again they stand a better chance of winning.  If it is Drew Brees against Matt Hasselbeck, it is going to be a long, long day.

I’m going to provide Mr. K-I-A an outlet in from time to time in this blog. It might even turn into a point, counter-point at times. Please weigh in with your thoughts. You can’t get enough opinions or analysis when it comes to sports.

Seahawks Links

A day after winning the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks have been installed as 10.5 point underdogs against the New Orleans Saints for Saturday’s playoff game.

Here’s some samples of what others are writing about the Hawks:

Les Carpenter of Yahoo! Sports said the Seahawks are “simply a bad football team,” and it’s hard to know what to make of them. Read his story here.

For one game, the Seahawks got it right, writes Art Thiel of The homely kids got lucky. Read his column here. 

Nate Silver of the New York Times crunches some numbes and comes up with this conclusion: The Seahawks are the worst playoff team ever. Read his story here.

“Suck it up America. This is actually a good story.” That’s the view from Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times. Read his column here.

John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune says the odds are long (125-1) for the Seahawks in the playoffs, but at least they’ve got odds. Read his column here.

Dave Boling of the TNT writes that QB Charlie Whitehurst put together a performance that saved the season. Read his column here.

Jim Moore of says to expect another QB controversy this week in Seattle. Read his column here.

My take? Whether you believe in the Seahawks or not, they played like a team worthy of being in the tournament on Sunday. Read my column here.


The Seahawks announced today that defensive line coach Jim Quinn is leaving the team to become the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida. Read the story here.

Seahawks vs. Rams: The Surreal Bowl

Welcome to the Surreal Bowl.

The winner of the Seattle-St. Louis game will be NFC champs.

The NFL announced that the winner  will host the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 1:30 p.m. in a game that will be televised by NBC.

If the Seahawks lose, they will have the eighth overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, according to

There’s still a little suspense concerning Seattle’s starting QB. Will it be Charlie Whitehurst or Matt Hasselbeck, who strained a hip muscle last week. Hasselbeck warmed up before the game and seemed to be moving OK.  Seattle introduced its starting defense, so we still don’t know who will get the nod at QB.

Highlight play: Earl Thomas just nailed the Rams’ kick returner Danny Amendola with a one-armed tackle that flipped him head over heels.

There’s also some rumblings in the press box that the Seahawks are close to announcing a three-year deal with wide receiver Mike Williams.

Seahawks win the toss and Whitehurst will start at QB.

Good Start for Whitehurst

Charlie W was 5-for-5 for 85 yards, capping an 87-yard TD drive with a 5-yard scoring pass to Mike Williams. Seahawks 7, Rams 0, 11:38 left in first quarter.

Bogging Down

Seattle, faced with 2nd-and-1, couldn’t get a first down on consecutive runs on one possession.

On another, Charlie W missed a wide open Justin Forsett with a short pass that would have kept a drive going.

Still, with 8:54 left in the half, Seattle’s on top 7-3.

Okung Limps Off

Seattle rookie left tackle Russell Okung appears to have re-injured his left ankle. He was helped off with a little over 2 minutes left in the first half. He’s questionable for the rest of the game.

Halftime Thoughts

Seattle 7, St. Louis 3. The defenses have had their way for the most part. Seattle had 87 of its 167 yards on its first possession. The Seahawks have rushed for 22 yards; St. Louis has rushed for 34. Seattle’s going to have to win this one with its defense. So far, so good. I’m not sure if the football is as bad as some of us cynics up here in the press box are making it out to be. The best way to sum up  this titanic struggle: It’s NFC West football at its, ah, er … best. I think.

Charlie W. looks pretty good on paper. He’s 15 for 20 for 145 yards and a TD. No interceptions and a QB rating of 111.5. He’s also scrambled four times for 19 yards. Actually, he’s been pretty solid. The offense has been simplified and he’s doing what’s asked of him. He has, to date, outplayed ballyhooed rookie Sam Bradford, who was 10 for 16 for 93 yards and had four passes deflected or batted down at the line of scrimmage.

3rd Qtr Updates

Rams take advantage of first turnover of the game, a fumble by Marshawn Lynch, to kick a 27-yard FG at the 8:59 mark. Seattle 7, SL 6.

Okung is back on the field for the Hawks at left tackle, but guard Chester Pitts is out with a head injury.

Seattle goes 62 yards in 12 plays and come away with a 31-yard FG. Seattle 10, SL 6, 3:04.

“In the NFC West, they call this pouring it on,” said one wise scribe in the press box.

The Seahawks are on the move again as the quarter ends. They’ve got the ball at the St. Louis 40. It’s 3rd and 1. Twelve minutes away from winning the West and hosting a playoff game.

4th Quarter Updates

If you bet the under in this game, you’re probably like your odds right now. It was 41 1/2 points. Oddsmakers listed the Rams as 3-point favorites to win the game.

Seattle, after defense set up the offense with good field position, tacks on a 38 FG with 10:53 left. Seattle 13, St. Louis 6.

Seahawks chewed up 7:05 on a drive that resulted in another FG by Mare. Seattle, 16, St. Louis 6. 1:37 left.

Game Over

Seattle’s your NFC West champions. The 7-9 Hawks will take on the defending Super Bowl champion Saints (11-5) next Saturday. The celebration’s already started, but there’s 19 seconds to play. MVP? Charlie W? How about the Seattle defense that held the Rams to 184 total yards and two field goals.

If the Seahawks Win, Let the Celebration Begin

The NFL rewards division champions with a berth in the playoffs, so it’s not the Seahawks fault that they’re 6-9 and still have a shot at representing the NFC West in the postseason.

And the Seahawks won’t feel bad about it if they get there. And they shouldn’t.

When asked if they should apologize, running back Marshawn Lynch told Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports:

“Whaaaat? Man, [expletive], who said it was gonna be pretty? It ain’t always gonna be pretty, but none of that matters,” he says. “The only thing that’s gonna matter after the game is we’ve got to get ready for another week. We’ll start over with a new record: zero and zero, just like everybody else.”

Silver reminds people that the Arizona Cardinals won the West with a 9-7 record in 2008, suffering a 40-point loss to the Patriots in December of that year before making it to the Super Bowl in February. But these Seahawks have Charlie Whitehurst at quarterback, not Kurt Warner. These Seahawks are 3-point underdogs at home against a St. Louis team that starts a rookie quarterback. These Seahawks have lost five of their last six, seven of their last nine, and none of the losses have been close.

But IF they win, the Seahawks will be celebrating just like any other division champion celebrates. And they shouldn’t feel ashamed. Break out the hats and T-shirts and go crazy. And next year they’ll raise a banner at  Qwest Field in honor of the achievement. That, you must admit, would be a bit surreal.