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.

Shohei Ohtani, here in his rookie of the year season in 2018, leads the majors in homers with 32. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest It would be tempting to suggest that his appearance in Seattle this weekend is the lounge act for next week’s MLB All-Star Game in Denver. But Shohei Ohtani doesn’t do lounge acts. He’s the headliner wherever he goes. Stadiums. Restaurants. Bathrooms. At Coors Field, he’ll be in the Home Run Derby Monday. Tuesday, he’ll be in the American League lineup, as well as on the mound. By Wednesday, if we’re lucky, he’ll be baseball commissioner too.

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Gary Payton went hard at Michael Jordan, but he and the Sonics were up against the best player and team in NBA history. / Youtube.com The 1979 Sonics faced in the NBA Finals the defending champion Washington Bullets, led by Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld. Good foe, not a great one. The 2013 Seahawks in the Super Bowl went up against the Denver Broncos, the then-highest-scoring team in NFL history, led by QB Peyton Manning. Very good, not great. The Seahawks returned to the Super Bowl next year against the New England Patriots, led by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.…

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Yusei Kikuchi ‘s three-year chore of mastering major-league baseball has been rewarded. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest In a Mariners season of long shots starting to cash in, no one hears ka-ching louder than Yusei Kikuchi. His selection Sunday to his first MLB All-Star Game came in his contract year following three mediocre seasons. Until April, Kikuchi’s deal, worth up $56 million, was shaping up as one of the bigger financial busts for club with a robust history of such misdeeds. Finally, the decision is being validated. Not only is Kikuchi the staff ace, he’s one of the most dominant…

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Jake Fraley returns toward the celebration after his walk-off single beat the Rangers 5-4 in the 10th inning Friday. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest Went to a ballgame Friday night, and life broke out. At least, a sporting life that looked familiar — 28,638 fans on a comfortable, 75-degree July night in Seattle’s Sodo district. Yelling, drinking, eating, hustling, chatting, cheering. They seemed happy. Know how I could tell? I could see their faces. Their team made them happier. Down 3-0 in the fifth inning, the Mariners (44-39) beat the Texas Rangers 5-4 in 10 innings on CF Jake Fraley’s…

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The “greatest setting in college sports” may become Washington’s No. 2 marketing pitch, after “Straight cash.” / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest At risk of overloading the reader with more news of the business of sports, you gotta see this stuff. In preparation for the 21st-century version of the 1889 Oklahoma Land Rush, the University of Washington, Washington State University and most big-time sports college unleashed sophisticated online programs designed to appeal to athletes who are about to get, after more than a century of willful negligence by the sports overlords, what they and their predecessors long deserved. Money for their…

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The Pac-12 will be allowed to play the NIL game starting Thursday. For sports fans of Washington, Washington State, Gonzaga and the rest of the state’s schools immersed in highly competitive big-time college sports, word came Monday that they won’t be left behind as the NCAA’s once-formidable empire falls into decay. In the absence of state legislation permitting third-party payments to college athletes for use of their names, images and likenesses (NIL), schools in the state of Washington and more than 30 other states learned they can join their quicker competitors Thursday at the start of the massive convulsion. The…

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Perhaps practicing his swearing-in technique during a 2017 visit to Seattle, Commissioner Rob Manfred may be ready to find a culprit for his enforcement of old rules about cheating. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest Some day the Mariners are going to be the talk of baseball. For baseball results. Until then, they get to be part of the sideshow. The occasional controversy, followed by ennui. The Mariners beat the AL Central Division-leading White Sox (45-32) two of three over the weekend in Chicago. Last week at home, they swept four from the then AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays. Seattle has…

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Kraken GM Ron Francis, left, and CEO Tod Leiweke flank new head coach Dave Hakstol Thursday at the Edgewater Hotel on the Seattle waterfront. / Art Thiel, Sportspress Northwest Employers seeking top-end employees sometimes use off-the-wall questions or stunts to elicit fresh responses from the applicant. Seahawks coaches have asked prospective draftees, like punter Michael Dickson, to engage in a staring contest to see how long he could go without blinking. It was test for intensity, because if a player blinks in the NFL, he’ll likely lose. Former Mariners CEO John Ellis, fearing he was about to lose managerial candidate…

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The NCAA headquarters sign in Indianapolis is not a tombstone — yet. / NCAA If you’re scoring at home, the NCAA still hasn’t been able to get a hit off of federal law. The judges continue to have a perfect game after the U.S. Supreme Court this week closed out an eight-year-long case with a profound rebuke of college sports’ prized illusion of amateurism. As if more truth were needed to demonstrate the pervasive haplessness of the NCAA argument that amateurism is a virtue in a capitalist economy, the justices were unanimous in their decision that the cartel violated anti-trust…

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Shed Long, whose first homer of the season was a walk-off grand slam Sunday to beat Tampa, is one of several young players making themselves assets with unexpected playing time. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest As a member of the original 1977 expansion team, catcher Bob (Scrap Iron) Stinson didn’t contribute a lot to Seattle Mariners lore besides a cool nickname. He did say something memorable, to the point of unintended prophecy. During the first spring training in Tempe, AZ., he was asked by Seattle Times baseball writer Hy Zimmerman when he thought the Mariners would be eliminated from the…

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