John and Rachel got engaged in the offseason. Tom is bummed he can’t scream out “SUUUUUUB STURGIS!” since Nathan Sturgis left the Sounders in the expansion draft. Two rows down, Sabrina is a year older –probably eight now –and still accompanying her Dad to the games, which means we’ll continue to omit the “a**hole” from the traditional shout of “You suck, a**hole” whenever the opposing keeper takes a goal kick. Although maybe Sabrina is growing up faster than we think–I spotted her mouthing the lyrics to the aggressively violent Sounders song, “Take ’em all,”* which was a little disturbing.
First Kick was the first game of the long soccer season, which also meant getting reacquainted with my neighbors in Section 119. All of us have had season seats since year one. That’s a lot of beer we’ve drank together (except for Sabrina, I’m assuming). A lot of cheering. A LOT of griping. We’ve learned each other’s favorite cheers.
“Yell ‘Learn the Rules of Soccer!,'” Rachel commanded me from her seat a row below. “I’ve been waiting six months for it,” she said. I obliged moments later when the Galaxy committed a foul.**
Fun to be back, even if the Sounders blew several good scoring chances in a tough loss to the Galaxy, and even if standing in the rain for two hours will probably make this cold I’m fighting last another three weeks. The pre-game was international-quality, with a choir, the band, and uniformed military including Marines in full dress blues. The game was at least entertaining. Blaise “The Statue” Nkufo’s off the team. And the weather–well, it can only get better from here.
*Take em all, Take em all, Put em up against a wall and shoot em / Short n tall, watch em fall, Come on boys, take em all
**I like to append “soccer” to everything I yell at Sounders games. “Score a goal AT SOCCER!” “Win at SOCCER!” I think it’s because soccer is such a funny word. Or possibly because I’m a moron.
What they’re saying…
“Donovan, you got dirt on your skirt!” — some chick sitting in my section
“There were no problems, there were no issues, there was no problem with professionalism or anything like that. He’s a very professional player and he’s a quality player, but after we met we realized that maybe at this time it was best to go on.” — Sigi Schmid on Blaise Nkufo
In other news…
The new Mariners commercials are out. If you only watch one, watch the Felix one.
Rotation lock Erik Bedard pitched 3.1 decent innings in an intrasquad game, striking out six with 0 walks. He did allow two homers both by M’s minor league slugger Rich Poythress. The Erik Bedard Threat Level is at ELEVATED.
Former Mariner Ian Snell retired. Snell, who is only 29, came over in the Jeff Clement trade, which has pretty much a disaster for everyone involved. Though I suspect Snell will return to baseball at some point.
So, yeah, wild, but Blaise Nkufo is off the Sounders. Nkufo was simply beat out by O’Brien White, another big, not particularly fast, body. Though the way White missed on three chances around the goal last night, the Sounders may live to regret that decision.
Here’s Bob Rondeau’s call of the Isaiah Thomas shot.
Election/numbers guru Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight has a fascinating piece about NCAA seeding. Would you believe that a #12-seed is twice as likely to make the Sweet Sixteen as a #8-seed.
For tourney talk, check out my Pac-10 hoops podcast with Jeff Nusser of CougCenter.
Seven days closer to a championship…
Today, March 16
Baseball: Mariners vs. Milwaukee, 7:05 p.m. (FSN)
Thursday, March 17
First Full Day of NCAA Tournament: ALL DAMN DAY WOOOOO! (CBS, TNT, TBS, truTV)
Baseball: Mariners @ Kansas City, 6:05 p.m. (710-AM)
Friday, March 18
NCAA Tourney: Washington vs. Georgia in Charlotte, 6:45 p.m. (CBS-7)
Baseball: Mariners vs. Arizona, 1:05 p.m. (FSN)
Saturday, March 19
Baseball: Mariners @ Texas, 1:05 p.m. (710-AM)
Soccer: Sounders @ NY Red Bulls, 4:30 p.m. (KONG)
Sunday, March 20
Baseball: Mariners vs. San Diego, 1:05 p.m. (710-AM)
NCAA Tourney: Washington/Georgia winner vs. North Carolina/LIU-Brooklyn winner, Time TBD
Monday, March 21
Baseball: Mariners @ Cincinnati, 1:05 p.m. (no local radio, check MLB.com)
Tuesday, March 22
Baseball: Mariners vs. White Sox, 1:05 p.m. (no local radio, check MLB.com)
League will get traded before the deadline. Jack Z. has shown he doesn’t believe in investing heavily in closers as that he’s had JJ Putz, David Aardsma and League as the closers during his time as GM for the M’s. Wilhelmsen has potential and I’m sure Sherrill was brought in specifically to be the closer if necessary. The M’s could get something decent for League if they choose to move him.