Monday, November 17, 2008

The Worst Sports Year Ever (At Least for Washington)

With the election finally over and done with, I feel I should delve into some less important topics such as that alternate universe of escapism we call sports. Although, those suffering from the agony of athletic ineptitude and deprivation that those living just to the north of me are, may disagree about this topic’s level of importance.

What I'm obviously referring to is the epicly bad year Washington residents are experiencing when it comes to sports. Despite all the whining you've heard from Philadelphia or Chicago or Cleveland over the past 20 or 30 years, nothing even comes close to comparing with the absolute horror experienced by Washington sports fans in 2008.

We'll start with baseball. I figure I should get the boring sports out of the way quickly so I can end on a bang. And the only thing more consistently boring than baseball is bad baseball. The Seattle Mariners make for a brilliant example of both the former and the ladder. They went an AL worst 61-101. Ichiro is still doing his thing, but everyone else is just stuck in fail mode. The Mariners have now missed the playoffs seven straight years.

Moving on to football, things get more entertaining but certainly get no better for either Washington’s professional or collegiate teams. The Seattle Seahawks, playing in Mike Holmgren's final season, have been riddled by injuries and are now just 2-8, which will almost assuredly end their run of 5 straight division titles. Even worse is the fact that those two wins are twice as many as both the University of Washington and Washington State combined!

Washington can at least say they've lost star quarterback Jake Locker to injury, but does that excuse being 0-10 and losing six straight by 20 points or more? How about Washington State, they did beat 1-AA Portland State, but have been simply atrocolicious (words don’t describe how bad they’ve played so I made one up that would) in league play. They rank last out of 114 College teams in scoring defense (giving up an other worldly bad 50.2 points per game) and are second to last in scoring offense (13.9 points per game). Yes they are being beat by an average of 36.3 points per game! In Pac-10 play they've given up 60 points four times, along with 58 and 59 and have been shut out three times! They are truly boys amongst men. Thank God for these two teams that they play each other next week in the annual Apple Cup - A game I almost want to make the six hour drive to just to see how awful a game of college football can actually be.

Basketball gets a bit better, than a whole lot worse. Their college teams were actually pretty decent last year, but have graduated some good players and are expected to be middle of the pack this year. The Pro Team, well they were bad, real bad, and then they were gone. In the 2007-08 season the Seattle Sonics went 20-62, the second worst record in the NBA. However, Sonic fans knew it would be a bad season; they traded away Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis for a bunch of picks and young players. Plus they had just drafted Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant who averaged over 2o points a game in his first season. The future looked bright.

Too bad that future now looks bright in Oklahoma City. In 2006, after failing to convince Seattle to help pay for a new stadium, Howard Shultz decided to sell the team to Clayton Bennett. Bennett subsequently held the city hostage by demanding they either build a new stadium or he'd move the team to Oklahoma City. First of all, cities shouldn't be helping private owners pay for new stadiums in the first place, but this case is particularly awful. Not only was there a Dog Day Afternoon like hostage situation, but it appears the plan from the beginning was to move the team, as the new Sonics co-owner Aubrey McClendon told an Oklahoma City newspaper "we didn't buy the team to keep it in Seattle." Unfortunately, unlike the movie, Clayton Bennett will probably not be shot in the face at the end.

So yeah, Washington and Seattle got screwed by Bennett and his cronies. And unfortunately, for perhaps the millionth example that karma doesn't exist, Bennent is doing just fine and all the rest of Washington's sports teams have utterly collapsed into an unwatchable mess of athletically inept garbage. But hey, cheer up Washington sports fans, there's always next year (well for all your teams but the Sonics that is).

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