Thursday, November 17, 2005

Your Seattle Update
By Zach


Really, I've got nothing to say that I haven't said before. This team, at a minimum, goes 11-5, and I'd be disappointed with anything less than 12-4. Right now, Sundays can't come quick enough. I suppose there's a bit of concern about the team coming out a bit flat against the 49ers, but I'm not worried. They crushed the Texans the week after going into St. Louis and winning, so I've got faith they'll again be able to crush a terrible team. The best part about this team is that their defense has been playing quite well, espeically against the run. Unlike previous years, this success hasn't been predicated on turnovers or exotic blitz schemes which tend to stop working as the season progresses.


After nearly being suicidal after the first few games (I'm joking NYU, really. No, don't take away my kitchen will I make dinner?), I've come to peace with several facts about this team. First, they just finished the toughest stretch of their schedule (travel-wise) for the year. Second, despite being 3-5, they're only 1 game out of first place. In other words, it doesn't look like the Northwest Division is going to run away from them quite yet. Lastly, I like the direction the team is headed. Last year's success, as exciting as it was, may have been a bad thing for the team. It raised expectations to unreasonable levels (I pseudo-seriously picked them to win the NBA championship this year) and it obscured the fact that the future of this team isn't Flip Murray, Danny Fortson, Reggie Evans, or even Vladimir Radmanovic. Instead, it's Rashard Lewis, Nick Collison, Luke Ridnour, Damien Wilkins, Johan Petro, and maybe even Robert Swift. If those guys can turn into good NBA players in time for Ray Allen to still be effective, all the better.

Thus I've decided that the only things I'll get down on Bob Weiss for are when he refuses to play those guys (and so far he seems to be on the right track, inserting Collison into the starting lineup), or when he simply shows a lack of understanding of game situations. Do I want the Sonics to win now? Of course. But even if they don't, I'll feel good about the future as long as it seems like the kids are progressing. The only way for that to happen is for them to play, and for them to play at the end of games.

Now, it would be nice to see the team play a bit more defense and maybe make some shots (oh, and get back on the boards), but hey, I'll take what I can get.


Ichiro sent some shockwaves through the team and the community by revealing earlier this week that he feels like some of his teammates don't care about winning as much as he does. First, this might well be the case. Second, this is bad news for the Mariners. While Ichiro won't go anywhere while he's under contract, who knows what might happen in two years when his deal is up. I'm less concerned about him leaving town than I am about the team trying to placate him with another large deal. It's one thing for the Yankees to spend $13 million a year on a Japanese outfielder with diminishing skills, the Mariners can't afford to make the same mistake. Well, actually, they can afford to make the same mistake, because god knows they make enough money off the team, but since they seem to insist on an $85 million budget, soothing Ichiro's ego with a big deal would hamstring the team.

The Mariners have plenty of problems to fix this offseason. It appears they might sign Japanese catcher Kenji Jojima, who may or may not fill the void at catcher. Still, to be competitive they need to add two starting pitchers (at a minimum) and at least one more power hitter (lefty, preferably). I'm not sure if they'll be able to land all those guys and stay under budget, but I suppose we'll have to wait and see.


First, this weekend is the Apple Cup. While I can't claim to hate WSU with much passion, it has been nice to see the Dawgs spoil seasons for the Cougs the last few years. This year, the only thing at stake is last place in the Pac-10. Maybe it's because I'm way the hell out here in New York, but I really could care less about this game.

What I do care about is the basketball team at UW. I'm really starting to believe that Lorenzo Romar can, and will, turn that program into a consistant winner. There's plenty of basketball talent in the Pacific Northwest, but Romar could become the first UW coach to keep the top guys at home for college. Too often in the past, blue chippers either went south to UCLA or Arizona or East to UNC, Duke, or the other top programs in the country. Now, by signing Jon Brockman last year (and Martell Webster, even though he jumped to the NBA) and Spencer Hawes this year, LoRo has shown that he'll fight tooth and nail for the local guys. Once you lock up a good portion of the local talent, you can start looking outside your borders. Much like UW football used to raid Idaho, Oregon, and California for talent, I think the Huskies can do the same in basketball. Their only consistant competition in the Pac-10 will be Arizona, and who knows if that can last after Lute Olsen eventually retires.

This year's squad may not get a #1 seed like last year, but with Brandon Roy taking over as the team's star, with Jamaal Williams and Bobby Jones (a Geballe family favorite) providing more senior leadership, and that great freshman class, I've got no doubt they'll be back in the tournament. Who knows, much like the Seahawks they may have to wait until some of the hype dissipates before really achieving their true potential.

So there's your update from the Emerald City (filed, of course, from Manhattan). I know you all care so much.


Blogger David Arnott said...

A) How much of the "local" talent (I know it's a longass way away, but UCLA and Cal compete for "local" talent) would you say is drawn to Gonzaga despite the inferior conference? Is it a non-issue?

B) If this guy can write "Letter From California" for the New Yorker, then you're perfectly qualified to give a Seattle sports update.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Zachary Geballe said...

Gonzaga doesn't really draw much of the talent from Seattle itself. They draw players from the suburban areas, but very few city kids want to go to the middle of nowhere to play basketball...they'll go to Arizona or UCLA, but not Spokane.

10:00 PM  

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