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.

Aldon Smith and Marshawn Lynch in 2014 were all ’bout that action, boss. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest Every pro head football coach takes chances with the super-talented. The guy that is notably better than the second-best at his position can make the difference in a play, a game and a season that creates a championship. A number of the elites, for a variety of reasons, show up as damaged goods. Pete Carroll in his career has coached many of them, maybe dozens, depending on the definition. Some of them succeed, some don’t. There’s no science, no algorithm, to it.…

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As the rest of baseball’s contenders erupted with trades, Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto kept his powder dry. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest Now that the the MLB trade deadline has passed, a hard truth. The Mariners roster has been incrementally upgraded, perhaps enough to catch the decaying Oakland A’s, losers of 19 of their past 33 before Friday’s games, for the fifth and final playoff spot. But the Mariners also would have to finish better than than one among the Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees, teams whose improvements this week surpass the Mariners’ efforts. Even…

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Diego Castillo was a post-season star for the Tampa Bay Rays. / Tampa Bay Times In case you were thinking Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto was the only village idiot impugned by his own village, his more successful counterpart with the Tampa Bay Rays, Erik Neander, also was chided from within for trading closer Diego Castillo Thursday to the Mariners for what seemed to be beans. Fellow Rays reliever Ryan Thompson mustered the strength, despite being on the injured list, to express his disdain: https://twitter.com/R_Thompson15/status/1420890057666449411?s=20 Hey, it’s what happens at the MLB trade deadline: Everyone becomes smarter than guys who…

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The crowds have returned to the berm for practice at the Seahawks facility in Renton. / Art Thiel, Sportspress Northwest It’s a little early in the NFL season to declare victory. But it’s never too early for coach Pete Carroll to take a victory lap. The Seahawks are nearly 100 percent vaccinated against COVID-19, he said. Pending a handful of second shots, the roster score was 90-1. “The guys made an extraordinary effort to to take care of one another, particularly the guys who were uncertain about what to do,” he said Wednesday after the first practice of the summer…

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Kendall Graveman endured the bizarre baseball experience of being traded to the team his former employer was playing. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest General manager Jerry Dipoto told reporters Tuesday he expects more shoes are going to drop. Which Mariners fans hope is the case, because the first episode of the suddenly intriguing trade-deadline drama was a real clodhopper. The day after the most implausible win of the season, Dipoto injected some buzzkill into the euphoria. He traded the club’s best reliever, Kendall Graveman, to its most irksome rival — the Astros, whom they stunned Monday night with a rally…

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Catie Griggs helped Atlanta United become an instant success in MLS. / Dartmouth College After firing team president Kevin Mather, a 25-year club executive, basically for conduct unbecoming, principal Mariners owner John Stanton made sure that Mather’s successor was not from baseball’s old-boy network. He hired a woman whose premier pro-sports achievement was helping make an expansion MLS team an instant success in Atlanta. Catie Griggs, who for the past four years was the chief business officer of Atlanta United, a club that has led MLS in attendance each year since its 2017 inception, was named Tuesday as the baseball…

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Dylan Moore’s eighth-inning grand slam delivered an absurd win for the Mariners. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest file The sequence would have been sweet against any opponent. Since it was the Houston Astros, baseball’s loathsome varmints who are also perhaps the game’s best, the sugar overload from the Mariners’ Monday night preposterousness was a threat to every pancreas gland in Pugetopolis. To be down 7-0 and to win 11-8 (box) on a grand slam by a backup guy, Dylan Moore, batting .188, well, it was the living perambulation of the dream of every seven-year-old who sleeps in his uniform.

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Marco Gonzales is starting regain the form that made him the Mariners’ No. 1 starter. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest file They are superstar-free. They have no dominant personalities. They remain last in MLB in batting average. Their one stat leader is Ty France, tied for most times hit by pitch (16). They have lost games 16-1 and 12-1. They have been no-hit twice. They have had two episodes of COVID-19 that cost games from contributors. They have used 54 players, the MLB high, because of a heavily populated injury list. They are the only team to lose a pitcher…

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Matthew Beniers was a freshman star at Michigan, and may want to return to Ann Arbor for a shot at an NCAA title. / University of Michigan Anyone who questions the hockey toughness of a 175-pound 18-year-old who’s smart enough to gain admission to Harvard needs to understand that Matthew Beniers of Boston knows how to deliver a blow. Asked what he knew of Seattle, the Kraken’s newest player said, smiling, “You kind of gave us that Super Bowl.” Oof. Before Seattle sports fans consign Beniers to a lifetime in the sin bin for slashing their hearts, he insisted, “I…

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The 2021-22 schedule has a hard start for the Kraken. As if the grind to franchise launch hasn’t been sufficiently stout, the Kraken’s toil grew a bit more Thursday. The release of the 2020-21 NHL schedule of 82 games shows a five-match road trip in eight days that precedes the home opener at Climate Pledge Arena (not Climate Change Arena, as Commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday) against the Vancouver Canucks Oct. 23. Though not totally unexpected, it makes clear that the complicated arena build-out, delayed by the pandemic, will have done no favors for a fledging team that has never…

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