Strange week: Most expected that the Seahawks would aggressively pursue outside free agents, but they didn’t, in fact making news for not making news — until the weekend, when they made a lot. Many figured the Sounders had a reasonable chance to advance to the semifinal round of the CONCACAF Champions League, but they had no chance at all, losing 6-1, the largest margin of defeat in franchise history.
MARCH 12-18, 2012
- GOOD WEEK — Terrence Ross helped take the sting out of UW’s NCAA Tournament snub by scoring 23 points in an 82-72 win over UT Arlington (11 points in fewer than three minutes) and a career-high 32 in a 76-55 rout of Northwestern in the first two rounds of the NIT. Unfortunately, teammate C.J. Wilcox helped put some of the sting back in when he admitted that, prior to playing UT Arlington, “I didn’t even know where the NIT was.”
- BAD (?) WEEK — The Seahawks did just fine re-signing their own free agents, but they also received an uppity diss from Peyton Manning (the NIT gets more respect than what Manning showed the Seahawks), were snubbed by Steve Hutchinson, and were unable until Sunday to convince quarterback Matt Flynn that he ought to sign with them. Actually, whether this is really a “bad week” remain week remains to be seen, depending on the seasons of Flynn and DE Jason Jones (ex-Tennessee) Saturday to aid their pass rush. But he had only three sacks in 14 games in 2011. Some aid.
- EX-SEATTLE JOCKS OF THE WEEK: Herculez Gomez, loaned to the Seattle Sounders of the United Soccer League in 2003, shredded the MLS edition Seattle Sounders FC with two goals in a 6-1 CONCACAF Champions League rout in Torreon, Mexico, eliminating Seattle from the tournament . . . Golden State vs. Sacramento Tuesday: Teaming up at the guard spots, Nate Robinson (ex-UW) and Klay Thompson (ex-WSU) of the Warriors scored 17 and 14 points, respectively, and throttled the Kings 115-89, who received 15 points and 2 assists from Isaiah Thomas (ex-UW) . . . Hope Solo, ex-UW and goalie for the U.S. women’s soccer team, boasted on her Twitter account that she picked 13 out of 16 winners in the first round of the NCAA Tournament . . . Peyton Siva, former Franklin High star, leads Louisville to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament.
- SUNDAY, March 18 — The Seahawks ink ex-Green Bay QB Matt Flynn to a three-year deal worth a reported $26 million, apparently only $10 million of that guaranteed. So much for the Tarvaris Jackson era . . . NIT Watch: Oregon roasts Iowa 108-97 in the second round of the NIT, setting up a Tuesday meeting at Alaska Airlines Arena between the Ducks and Huskies in Seattle with a trip to Madison Square Garden on the line for the semifinals . . . Peyton Manning Watch: Manning still hasn’t signed with anyone, but has shown Jackson, Matt Hasselbeck, Alex Smith, Tim Tebow, Chad Henne and Kevin Kolb just how expendable they really are.
- SATURDAY, March 17 — The largest turnout — 38,709 — for a Sounders FC MLS opener accords David Estrada wild applause after his hat trick, only the third in franchise history, leads Seattle to a 3-1 win over Toronto FC at the Clink. It’s Estrada’s fourth goal in his past two home matches and the Sounders’ third victory in a First Kick MLS match . . . Seahawks finally make a play in free agency, inking DE Jason Jones, ex of the Titans . . . Pac-12 Out: Colorado, winner over UNLV in the first round, exits NCAA Tournament (leaving conference with no teams in the field) in the second round, courtesy of Baylor, 80-63 (Colorado needs to figure out how to defend the 3 as Baylor’s Brady Heslip goes 9-for-12 beyond the arc). Following losses by New Mexico and Gonzaga, there are no teams from the West remaining in the tourney . . . Chone Figgins Leadoff Watch: Batting average drops to .190 (4×21).
- FRIDAY, MARCH 16 — Terrence Ross scores a career-high 32 points, C.J. Wilcox adds 20 and the Washington Huskies, playing their best basketball of the season, throttle Northwestern 76-55 in the second round of the NIT. The most surprising development: Leading scorer Tony Wroten produces seven assists and eight rebounds, but takes just five shots and scores just two points. “Just trying to become more of a point guard,” says Wroten. “That’s why I only took five shots. We have great scorers in Terrence and C.J. There’s no need for me to take that many shots when we’re playing that good” . . . Mariners: Felix Hernandez (2-1), making his third Cactus League start, strikes out six in a spring-high 6 shutout innings while throwing 80 pitches (50 strikes) in a 6-1 win over the Brewers. Dustin Ackley goes 3-for-3 with 2 doubles and an RBI . . . In Phoenix, Ichiro goes 3-for-4 in a 6-1 loss to the A’s, raising spring average to .409.
- THURSDAY, March 15— Former Seahawks guard Steve Hutchinson, who made three All-Pro teams before bolting to Minnesota in free agency (2006), remarkably snubs Seattle again, signing with the Tennessee Titans. Mario Williams, thought to be on Seattle’s radar, signs with the Bills for $96 million over six . . . Mariners: Mike Carp belts a HR and drives in three, but the Mariners see their 3-game Cactus League winning streak snapped in a 7-5 loss to the Giants, who score three off Hong-Chih Kuo in the sixth . . . State Has One Team That Can Play: Gonzaga routs West Virginia 77-54 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Pittsburgh. Gonzaga’s defense is this good: West Virginia didn’t score four consecutive points until the clock hit 3:25 remaining in the second half.
- WEDNESDAY, March 14 — Santos Laguna hands Seattle Sounders FC the largest margin of defeat in franchise history with a 6-1 thumping in Torreon, Mexico, that eliminates Seattle from the CCL tournament. Santos enjoys an aggregate goal advantage of 7-3 in the two-match quarterfinals, demonstrating that the Sounders aren’t quite ready for the world stage. “It was a pity that the score was that bad because I dont think we deserved that, but thats okay. Thats football, says Mauro Rosales . . . TE John Carlson bolts the Seahawks in free agency for Minnesota, which lavishes him with $25 million over five years despite the fact that Carlson missed all of 2011 with an injury. Seahawks then cut Robert Gallery in order to re-sign Paul McQuistan . . . Mariners: Vinnie Catricala 2-for-3 with 2 RBI and Kevin Millwood 4 shutout innings as Seattle beats Kansas City 6-2 to improve to 10-3-1 in Cactus clashes . . . Pac-12 Gag: California, one of two conference members in the NCAA Tournament, fails to score over an 8:55 span of the first half and gets throttled by South Florida 65-54 (critics were right: Pac-12 didn’t deserve two teams in the tournament).
- TUESDAY March 13 — Seahawks address one of their major priorities in free agency by agreeing with DE Red Bryant on a five-year, $35 million deal with approximately $14 million guaranteed. This means the Seahawks keep their top two unrestricted free agents, RB Marshawn Lynch having inked March 4 for $31 million over four years . . . UW Hoops: NIT contest vs. UT Arlington draws 2,801 to Alaska Airlines Arena (more people were boning up on Beowulf at Suzzallo Library than that) . . . Mariners: Local nine erupts for five runs in the ninth — Alex Liddi bases-loaded single, Michael Saunders 2-run double — and beats Milwaukee 7-4. M’s improve to 9-3-1 in Cactus clashes. What up with Saunders hitting .390? . . . Pac-12 makes it official by yanking men’s postseason hoopfest out of Los Angeles and depositing it in Viva Las Vegas (Elvis sings it here on You Tube).
- MONDAY, March 12 — Citing the popularity of the Seattle Storm (opening game Friday, May 18 vs. Los Angeles) and its large fan base, the PAC-12 announces it will move its postseason women’s basketball tournament to Seattle beginning in 2013 (thank you, but we’d rather have Peyton Manning) . . . Mariners: Miguel Olivo go-ahead 3-run HR, Jesus Montero 2-run double and RHP Blake Beavan 5.0 innings, allowing 2 runs, in a 6-4 win over the Rangers . . . Huh? Explaining Michael Saunders’ shocking .389 spring BA, manager Eric Wedge says, among other things, “He’s striding to hit” (what else would he be striding to do?). . . Chone Figgins Leadoff Update: After going 1-for-2 with a bloop single and a walk, Figgy is hitting a robust (for him) .222 . . . Peyton Manning Watch: Free agent QB, object of much lust, schedules visits to Tennessee (bad news for Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker) and Miami, following previous visits to Denver and Arizona.
TOP 5 NUMBERS
The first 3 NIT games involving Pac-12 teams (UW, Oregon, Stanford) had a combined attendance of 9,298 — less than a sellout at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Mariners reported loss of $7,344,000 from business operations in 2011, when they lost 95 and finished last in AL West for sixth time in eight years.
Sounders lost by 5 goals (6-1) in second CONCACAF quarterfinal, breaking old record for largest margin of defeat — 4 goals (Galaxy)
Tony Wroten (7 assists, 8 rebounds) took only 5 shots (2 points) in UW’s 76-55 NIT romp over Northwestern.
David Estrada’s 3 goals vs. Toronto enabled him to join Blaise Nkufo (9/18/10) and Lamar Neagle (8/27/11) as the only hat tricksters in Sounders history.
POLL OF THE WEEK
Rebuked by Peyton Manning, whose Final Four apparently includes Tennessee, Miami, Denver and Arizona (projected Terrific Two are the Titans and Broncos), the Seahawks re-focus their quarterback lust on career backup Matt Flynn (ex-Green Bay), who was given the royal treatment Thursday at Seahawks headquarters.
READS OF THE WEEK
- Wayback Machine: Kewpie Dick & The Rainiers: Emmett Watson, later to become one of Seattles most popular and prolific daily newspaper columnists, as well as one of its most eccentric celebrities (CEO of Lesser Seattle Inc., whose motto was “KBO,” or “Keep The Bastards Out”), spent the afternoon of May 16, 1948 at Sicks Stadium covering . . . MORE
- Thiel: Sounders Aspire To More Than U.S. Titles: Sounders FC seems to be straining the bounds of credulity with the notion that Wednesdays match in Mexico is the greatest opportunity in club history. Then again, the conceit is not a lot different than Major League Baseballs annual claim that its champion is the winner of a World Series, despite the absence of any other nation in the sports postseason exercises . . . MORE
- Seahawks Expected To Be Active In Free Agency: With National Football League free agency commencing Tuesday afternoon and the draft following six weeks later, the 2012 season has begun. This is the time when teams do their shopping, and the Seahawks have already checked off one of their major priorities . . . MORE
- Hutchinson Jilts Seahawks (Again), Goes To Titans: No more salmon for Steve Hutchinson. One day after taking a publicized tour of Seahawks headquarters in Renton, tantalizing the teams fans with a possible return, and also one day after the Seahawks discarded guard Robert Gallery, seemingly to make room for Hutchinson, the free agent, All-Pro guard joined the Tennessee Titans . . . MORE
- Dybas: Sounders Win With Estrada’s Hat Trick: The first person to yell about David Estrada being part of the Sounders was David Estrada. In 2010, when the Sounders plucked him from UCLA with the 11th overall pick of the MLS SuperDraft, Estrada had just walked into his Salinas, Calif., home and hopped online . . . MORE
- “This really is a profound statement on the disrespect for the Pac-12. We’ve been sliding the wrong way. A lot of it has been losing players to the NBA and losing players to other schools.” — Bill Moos, Washington State AD, on the conference sending just two men’s teams, Colorado and Cal, to the NCAA Tournament
- “I mean, it’s literally night and day from what we’ve seen in the past. He’s up there. He’s a little more aggressive, he’s seeing the ball better, he’s striding to hit, taking what they’re giving him and seeing the results.” — Eric Wedge, Mariners manager, on outfielder Michael Saunders Monday, after he improved his Cactus League batting average to .389
- “Obviously, it’s not what we wanted. But since we’re here, we’re going to deal with it and play like we are in the national championship.” — Tony Wroten, UW freshman Monday, as the Huskies prepared to meet Texas Arlington in the NIT
- When they made it 4-1, I think we lost our concentration. We have to look at why we started the game slowly, why we started the second half slowly. I have to look at that and see what I can change to make sure that doesnt happen. — Sigi Schmid, Sounders coach, after a 6-1 loss to Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals
- “We think you guys are some of the greatest fans in America!” We’re still trying to win a championship. We’d love for you to pack this place Tuesday night — and help us get to New York!” — Lorenzo Romar, addressing a crowd of 5,761 at Alaska Airlines Arena Friday when UW defeated Northwestern in the NIT
- He was one of a number of young players who weve drafted or brought in who were going to be battling for a roster spot and then playing time. At the end of the last season we started to see a little bit more, but Id be lying if I expected him to come in and score a hat trick on opening day” — Adrian Hanauer, Sounders owner/GM, after David Estrada notched a hat trick against Toronto FC
THE WEEK AHEAD (March 19-25)
- Monday (19th): Mariners vs. Cubs, 1:05 p.m.
- Tuesday (20th): Oregon at Washington (third round NIT), 7 p.m.
- Tuesday (20th): Mariners at Reds, 1:05 p.m.
- Wednesday (21st) Mariners vs. White Sox, 1:05 p.m.
- Thursday (22nd): Mariners fly to Tokyo
- Friday (23rd): Houston Dynamo at Seattle Sounders, 7 p.m.
- Saturday (24th): Mariners at Hanshin Tigers, 8:10 p.m.
- Saturday (24th): UW Rowing Class Day Regatta, Montlake Cut, 8 a.m.