Remember it was only a couple months ago that the nation was making fun of Seattle? The Sonics had moved to Oklahoma City and changed their name to the Thunder, the Mariners finished another stellar season with more than 100 losses, the Seahawks won just 3 games and lost their leader Mike Holmgren to greener pastures, the Huskies did the unthinkable with an 0'fer season in football, with the Cougs not doing much better? We were the laughing stock of the nation. In fact, ESPN even wrote a story about how dreadful it was to be a Seattle fan.
And then something happened, the proverbial switch was turned on, and no one is talking about it.
Lorenzo Romar had the boys of the hardwood playing hard and winning, and his counterpart east of the mountains was doing much of the same with lesser named players. A couple months into the season in the Pac 10 tourney, the Huskies did what some didn't think possible and won the whole thing. The Cougs did not qualify for the NCAA's, but played in the NIT. The Huskies made a run in the NCAA Tourney, eventually losing to Purdue by 2 in a much contested game.
Seattle gave birth to a new team in the Sounders, who to much avail ran the first three games without giving up a goal. The fans came out in droves, faces painted, scarves were waving, voices loud, and they sang proudly. New city hero's were found, Montero, Keller, Alonso, Ljundburg, and Sigi. The fans in this town created a fever, blue and green being worn, people talking, and most importantly pride. The face of the organization, Drew Carey, marched proudly with the fans on the streets of Seattle showing the city and the state the Sounders have arrived. And I haven't even talked about the on field product. This team, and I do mean team, played in sync like they have been together for years. The went to Argentina on a couple week trip, Sigi obviously used the time to bring this team together and show them his way. It stuck, they listened and it has shown. They play solid team soccer, even when losing their captain, their leader last night, only giving up one goal, the first goal of the season, the stuck together.
Who would have thought that the Mariners manager would be a guy named Wakamatsu? The boys of summer arrived, names missing like Putz and Ibanez, and so far the chemistry has taken shape. Clutch hitting, for the most part solid defense, and clutch bullpen work. Our boys in blue are projected to fill the bottom slot of the AL West, and maybe they might, but at least this product, given the fact that its the first week of the season, fight for 9 innings. Look at the stats, heck, look at last night, 5 runs in the 8th. I don't know if the Mariners of the past 5 years would stay in it, or even battle for it. I would be a liar if I didn't say that I too believe they will struggle, I think some names need to go, starting with Ichiro and rebuild, but I have watched, and even with a cynical eye, I must say, so far I am impressed.
So all is not dreary in the land of the rain. Much like spring, the sports teams in this town are starting to blossom, some for the first time, some possibly like the times of 1991. Unlike the economy, we have something to rejoice in, and even for just a couple hours, not having to worry about the economy, our jobs, our government, they give us hope. So rejoice Seattle fans, heads up, be proud, all is not gloom.