Author: Art Thiel

Never having met a metaphor he could not twist beyond recognition, Art has been illuminating, agitating, amusing and annoying Puget Sound sports readers for a long time. Along with Steve Rudman, he co-founded Sports Press Northwest because it didn’t seem right that the Google monster should aggregate daily journalism into oblivion without at least a flesh wound from somebody. Thiel and Rudman labored under the Seattle Post-Intelligencer globe until the print edition died an undeserved death in March, 2009. Art continued on at its online successor seattlepi.com while working on SPNW’s creation. His radio commentaries can be heard Friday and Saturday mornings and Friday afternoon on KPLU-FM 88.9. In 2003 he wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between historylink.org and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom. A graduate of Pacific Lutheran University as well as two dead papers and a live one, the News Tribune of Tacoma, he has become a fan of entrepreneurial online journalism because it allows him to continue a lifelong passion to take the English language to places it rarely visits willingly, and does not involve the cleaning of kennels or stables.

Julio Rodriguez is rated the No. 2 prospect by Baseball America. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest file The simultaneous collapses of the local pro and semi-pro football seasons were objects of perverse fascination. By mid-October, the Seahawks were crumbling after Rams DT wrecked Russell Wilson’s finger. At Montlake, a 2-4 record for the Washington Huskies ran counter to all logic, reason and the optimism of the head coach. In Pullman, the improving Washington State Cougars were facing local and national ridicule for having to fire their head coach and half the staff for refusing COVID-19 vaccines despite a state requirement…

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Two Sonics greats, Lenny Wilkens and Spencer Haywood, celebrate Wilkens’ selection for the Paul Allen Award for community service at the 78th annual Star of the Year event at Benaroya Hall in 2013. / Scott Eklund, Red Box Pictures The Sports Star of the Year Awards Show, longest-running celebration of its kind in the nation, is undeterred by COVID-19 and back for its 87th renewal. Normally in February, the 2022 edition, presented by the Seattle Sports Commission, will be live at the Westin Hotel May 26 — hopefully beyond the reach of the pandemic. For the first time, FOX 13…

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Pete Carroll and Ken Norton Jr. were together a long time, but friendship always finishes a cold second to results in the NFL. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest Whoever succeeds Ken Norton Jr. has to be comfortable with two awkward things: Pete Carroll is really the defensive coordinator, and SS Jamal Adams. Right away, the awkward things limit the field of candidates. Carroll’s football roots are on defense, and Adams has no roots, at least as far as knowing how and where he should best be deployed, which is a not a good sign for the unit’s most expensive player…

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Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, who took a hard hit from Arizona’s Budda Baker, scored his second rushing touchdown, a four-yarder, of the season in the fourth quarter of the final game. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest Now that his agent has fired anonymously the first volley in the Russell Wilson Winter of Discontent Saga, Part Deux, and after the week’s NFL development playoff developments, a question arises before the House of Seahawks: How would Wilson know where the chances for his stated goal of winning three more Super Bowls are better served than in Seattle? After one quarter of NFL’s…

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Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny laid waste to Cardinals defenders Sunday. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest In addition to rushing for 671 yards over the Seahawks’ final five games, most in the NFL in that span, RB Rashaad Penny struck a blow against sports-language abuse. He gashed the credibility of the phrase, “injury prone.” One of the most over-used terms in sports, it implies a vulnerability that is non-existent, unless an athlete has a condition such as lactose intolerance, which might increase the chances for bone breakage. But sports fans, and most of their predecessor hominids, have to have an explanation…

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Seahawks QB Geno Smith looked as if he had an NFL future against Jacksonville. He damaged his chances Sunday night on I-90. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest Among the many what-ifs in a 7-10 Seahawks season that included five losses of three points or less, I was intrigued with the adventures of Geno Smith. Backup quarterbacks were an acutely trendy topic this NFL season, given the seemingly higher injury rate among starters, coupled with absences because of covid protocols. Plus, there were the unvaccinated QBs like Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins, who managed to play all their games despite helmets…

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Seahawks FS Quandre Diggs bears down on Arizona RB James Conner at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ Sunday. Injuries kept both from finishing the game. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest If the Seahawks make the playoffs in 2022, the 38-30 win Sunday in Arizona may well be be seen as the moment when the franchise’s clumsy football fall regained balance. But that potential outcome is a year away, or in covid time, forever. What is likely to linger from that game is more visceral and vivid — the televised image of tears streaming down the contorted face of FS…

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RB Rashaad Penny scores on a 62-yard run with 4:34 remaining to seal the Seahawks’ 38-30 win over the Cardinals at Arizona Sunday. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest The subtle benefit to having a crappy seasonal record in the NFL is it allows a team to get to the future more quickly. The Seahawks arrived at their future Sunday in Glendale, AZ. The rest of the NFL has moved on to the postseason party for the 2021 season. But by beating playoff-bound, 11-win Arizona, 38-30 (box), the Seahawks won their first game of the future.

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As Cougars fans stormed the Husky Stadium field after winning the Apple Cup, star DBs Trent McDuffie (22) and Brendan Radley-Hiles strike studiously defiant poses, as if they are taking names for the rematch next year. Instead, they are taking their talents to the NFL. / Art Thiel, Sportspress Northwest Remember when Jimmy Lake said that the Huskies football program didn’t compete for the same kind of players as hated rival Oregon? He said Washington’s standards were higher; “academically prowess,” was the unfortunate term he used to describe the distinction. Here’s the reminder: https://twitter.com/ESPNRittenberg/status/1455293058606673922?s=20 The quote, inaccurate as well as…

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Two Lakers fans, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bobby Wagner, got together at Seattle University in 2016. / Town Hall Seattle Among the many skills necessary to prosper as an NFL middle linebacker, the foremost is vigilance. At the vortex of 21 other large men running swiftly to make collisions, no detail can be overlooked in order to avoid having one’s head removed. For 10 years, Bobby Wagner has kept his head. The game doesn’t get past him. That’s among several reasons why someday he’ll be in the NFL Hall of Fame. One day five years ago after a Seahawks practice, Wagner…

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