Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesday Ramblings

Rambling about the Sonics mess was something I was going to lead off with, but you know what? I'm tired of it already. Yesterday both sides fired off letters, first Ballmer and the rest of the A-team signing an April 10th deadline to get this Key Arena deal done or else their $500 MILLION dollar gift disappears. Of course the state responded in their usual, BS way, this time hoping that a non-binding letter proclaiming that they will form a committee to review the idea sometime "next year"?? Uh, no. Not going to fly. Basically the statement is if they wait until next session, there won't be anything to study. As Ballmer has said, the "moons are aligned" for this thing to happen now, but it must be fully in place by 4/10, a week before the board of governors meet to decide the Sonics request to move. Here's a direct link to the letter. These guys are beyond serious here, and there is very little grey/gray area to what their intent really is.

What I found interesting is the Dino Rossi angle. Here's a guy who barely lost to Gregoire and many to this day still claim he should have won. And he came out swinging yesterday after meeting with the A-team, convinced like the rest of the general public that this is such an overwhelmingly amazing option for all citizens of King County that they just can't possibly pass on this.....can they???

I guess either the state is playing major politics here, waiting until the 11th hour to agree and look like heroes? Either that or our elected officials are certified morons that fit the image of bloated, slow-moving government to a T. I'm not fully giving up hope, but this ship sure seems to lack not only a rudder, but it's clear now that the captain has completely frozen in her tracks.

Moving on, and yes, FOOTBALL related stuff here! Most of you know that the school has released the spring depth chart. Cougfan does a great job of running it down here.

The thing that caught my attention the most is what Wulff has been saying all along, and that is we are not good on the defensive line right now. How bad is it? Stud LB Andy Mattingly is actually moving to defensive end (gasp!). Mattingly had a fantastic run once he took over as a starter 5 games into the season, and finished the year with a remarkable 91 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss including 8 sacks, an INT, 4 pass-breakups, 4 forced fumbles and a partridge in a pear tree. I think Mattingly was sighted selling popcorn in the stands when the offense had the ball. And he's moving to defensive end? I can't say I'm all that thrilled with the idea. Mattingly has NFL linebacker size at a legit 6-4, 241 lbs. He's already rated by NFLDraftScout.com as the #11 linebacker eligible for the 2010 NFL draft, and they have him as a "rising" player.

I guess Wulff and Sears and Ball are going to do what's best for the defense, but I just hate the idea of having him not playing in space. Then again, Mattingly doesn't appear to have the top-shelf speed burst in him that the great outside linebackers have. He's listed as having a 4.74 40-time, and that's clearly too slow for the NFL. But 4.7 is sure as hell quick enough as a defensive end.

Another thing that shows you how bad the d-line is? Andy Roof, who's now back in the program, is shifting to d-tackle. Roof is generally regarded as the strongest guy on the team, and he's got a nasty edge to him, no doubt, so maybe this move is OK. Just seems unusual given he'll be a senior and there seems to be an opening at left guard, but instead they are projected to go with Andrew Roxas.

One more thing here - I think spending too much time on the pre-spring depth chart this year is a little foolish. We know that by fall, when things get serious, it's going to look a lot different. We also know that other than Broussard and Levy, we have a brand-spanking-new coaching staff. They've barely got to know this new group of players, and this will be their first hands-on experience coaching them. We don't know how everyone is going to fit into Wulff's new system. So I think the thing to pay attention to here isn't so much what the depth chart looks like now, but instead to focus on what it looks like coming OUT of spring and in particular how it looks towards the end of fall camp. I think right now there are just too many unknowns to get bent out of shape about anything!

Finally, the Quacks are on the hoops radar for Thursday. Woody commented yesterday that Lunardi is doing some back-peddling on our Cougar seed, now firmly as a 7 in Raleigh, starting at a 2nd-round match-up with the Dukies. So maybe it is more important than we thought to go out and win a couple of Pac-10 tourney games after all? That appears to be our best hope of improving that seed. The thing is, I know I've heard Lunardi say before that when he does this thing, he gives it thought about not only where teams are now, but also he tries to project where teams will be by the time the brackets are announced. So maybe he's got us pegged for a 7 no matter what? I don't know, but we'll see how it all plays out. Personally I think the 3rd place team in what is regarded as the best conference in America should be better than a 7, but I don't spend any time studying how the hell this all breaks out, and that's basically Lunardi's full-time job!

Enjoy your Tuesday. Oh yeah, if you haven't already, e-mail the governor and Frank Chopp. Give a quick call at 800-562-6000. Tell them to do the right thing and save the Sonics. It's right there in front of their big, fat, bloated faces.


Anonymous said...

State leadership = Impotent.


1. not potent; lacking power or ability.
2. utterly unable (to do something).
3. without force or effectiveness.
4. lacking bodily strength or physically helpless.

longball said...

Ok, people lets have a LITTLE perspective on things here. State leaders are in charge of funding IMPORTANT things. This is an NBA basketball team for chrissakes. I am not thrilled that some hick from OK is cashing in on Howie Starbuck's selfish screw job on Sonics fans, but i dont think you can fault state leaders for not leaping at the opportunity to subsidise a bunch of gagillionaires with state money. There are a lot of things they could throw 150 mil$ at these days, like educating our children perhaps?

I actually dont think this is a horrible offer, or that they shouldn't do it, but the fact that our legislature isnt as enthusiastic as the "Save Our Sonics no matter what the cost!!" crowd just tells me they take their job seriously.

Are we really voting for people these days based on whether they saved a pro sports franchise? If so, at least we'll have some super crappy basketball to watch as we all plummet over Niagara in a barrel full of swords.

Sedihawk said...

Longball, I understand what you are saying. But there's some things wrong with your reasoning.

First of all, this isn't for those "greedy gagillionaires". This is for the beginning of a massive renovation that is Seattle Center. It's a $500 million dollar gift from the most wealthy people in this state to kick the whole project off. All with simply letting an existing tax, which is a SPORTS stadium tax by the way, run it's course. Even the anti-tax folks IN KING COUNTY like Chris van Dyk, who is paid for being against things like this, has said he has no problem with this public-private partnership, with so much coming from the private sector. Have you been to Seattle Center lately? It's falling apart as it is. Imagine what will happen if there is no major tenant down there. It's frightening to even consider going down there if it's just a ghost town!

Second of all, while it's nice you have a view, well, you are in eastern WA, not in King County. Whether they approve it or ignore it has no bearing on someone in Pullman. The only time you would feel it is if you came to King County and rented a car, stayed in a hotel or ate in a restaurant. And before you rail against that, you should get out and see what other major cities do for "out of towner" taxes. I rented a car in Long Island late in the fall last year and in looking at the final bill, the taxes were outrageous! This kind of thing happens everywhere.

Finally, and in all honesty from a WSU point of view? You should be hoping that this happens. Why? Because if it doesn't, guess who is going to be right back down in Oly next session, asking for that same money - if not MORE - for their cause?? That's right. HUSKY STADIUM. if you read the letter from the governor and Frank Chopp yesterday, you'll see that Husky Stadium is prominently listed as one of the groups that want access to that tax money. And if you think they don't have a chance at that money, you are sorely mistaken. Believe it when you see them acknowledge in a signed, official letter on state letterhead that they WILL get major consideration for Husky Stadium. Look up the governor's bio sometime and you tell me how she might feel for UW. Go look up where Frank Chopp's district is, and you tell me how he might feel about a renovated Husky Stadium.

So boil it down to that. You have no financial stake in this, at all. The state and the city can only benefit from an arrangement like this. Would you rather see the money go to an amazing Seattle Center and help save the NBA in a city with over 40 years of history? Or would you rather have that money go towards a $300 million dollar Husky Stadium renovation?? Talk about going over the falls in a barrel.

Woody said...

Great points. I think some things are getting way overlooked.

1. The only reason this group or King County for that matter has to ask Queen Christine and Speaker Chopp, is the way the original authority was written. You are right IT IS ONLY A KING COUNTY TAX. No other State resident is affected, unless they come to King County. The State only has to "empower" King County to use the tax in a different manner than originally written into law. Checks and balances if you will.
2. Anyone who tells you that giving this money to billionaires is taking away from education, roads,bridges etc. Is either misinformed or straight lieing to you. This money is not coming from the General Fund.
3. The point has been totally missed! By taking this deal now in front of them THIS WILL ACTUALLY FREE UP MONEY for all the other projects that need to be considered.
I have been told by my Rep.that there are other projects such as UW (yuck), low income housing, arts,etc. that also need to be considered. Ok, Great. Think about it for a second. If there are all of these projects asking for money. 300 million for the Seattle Center/Key, 300 mill for UW, 100 mill for this project etc. That is a lot of people grabbing for a piece of the pie. If they can take care of the biggest project, 300 million for only 75 million, that leaves a lot more pie for everyone else. It is like buying something that costs a dollar but only having to spend 25 cents! It leaves 75 cents for other things!
Half of this project is being funded by someone other than tax payers!
If they let this pass, Down the road King County and the City of Seattle will be coming to ask to use the Taxing Authority to do something with Seattle Center and the vacant Key Arena. Let's just say it stays at $300 mill, but now it will all be on the taxpayers.

The return on the tax investment is unprecedented. None of the other projects, worthy as they are, have a more than dollar for dollar match.

The Final Redunkulous notion of the week, is that there is not time to consider and vote on this issue. However, there is time to draft a non binding resolution, consider it and pass that. Are you kidding me!

Go Cougs!


longball said...

First of all i am a Seattle resident for going on 10 years now. secondly, i think the plan is a good one, like i said. BUt believe me, caring about what happens to the sonics makes me a minority in my neighborhood, and i'll admit, i barely care at all. After this whole clusterf-ck many seattle residents, and the legislators who represent them, are less than excited about keeping ANY franchise of the NBA in town. Fact is most fans actually like Key arena just the way it is, and lower queen ann businesses were understandably upset about the prospect of being taxed to fund what amounted to the construction of their competition (adding more dining and other amenities inside the KEY). Combined with the fact that the team is an embarassment and now Rossi, the great mesiah of suburban rubes, is on board and there just isnt that enthusiasm for keeping the Sonics round these parts.

Sedihawk said...

Sorry for the misunderstanding Longball. I thought you said early on that you were an Eastern WA guy, in fact I thought you said you are living in Pullman?

Anyway, if you are in Seattle and against the idea, than I understand. I guess I thought/hoped that people living in the Seattle area would be all for letting the King County tax run it's course, and one that would be part of the bigger pie, as Woody says, where monies generated from the in-place tax would be able to go wherever the state decided. But again, you have your rights to not like it since you are directly affected.

But I will keep coming back to the idea that it's not a good thing to let this plan go. It's just too strong of a gift. To me, it's deciding that we just don't want to be great. It's too risky of a political move at this juncture, that's the bottom line, and nobody down there is willing to stick their neck out to be a hero to a ton of people.

And Longball, sure, the Key is a great place to take in a game as the average fan. It's an intimate place and you are right on top of the action. But it is sorely lacking the extras that all the other NBA cities seem to come up with to remain competitive. And everyone, from the governor on down, has been saying that the Key needs some help in a pretty big way. If they say that now, what happens when the major tenant has left the building? It will only fester.

And why not want to have a world class facility? Why not want to get in on the major overhaul of the Seattle Center? I think it would be a great thing to try and get a Final Four, or a national convention, or something like that to come to Seattle in a first-rate facility. We are just so limited by Key Arena's current structure that those things will never come to be.

In the end it doesn't matter. You are dug in on your views and it's pretty clear where I stand, so we'll agree to disagree.

Woody said...

I am reminded of a story from the mid 90's. I was watching a Seahawks Game with someone. The Hawks were not very good, they had an owner that wanted to ship them out of town unless he got a new stadium. The person I was with turned to me a said What a pathetic team, who cares if they leave town.
That situation did not turn out too bad. Thank goodness we did not follow that line of thinking. Oh yes that person was my 10 year old nephew.

I guess I am just one of those suburban rubes, not as progressive as those city folks. But I think when as a region we can do a major civic project for essentially 25 cents on the dollar, it is such a great return on our tax money that it is worth fighting for. And as I mentioned before it frees up money for other projects.

BTW: It does not specifically represent all of the Queen Anne Restaurants, but the Restaurant Association is endorsing this plan. They take the brunt of the tax hit here on the service side of this tax.
I am sure that the Queen Anne Restaurants can't wait until Key Arena and Seattle Center is vacant.

Go Cougs!


James C Milne said...

Fact #1 the remodel of KeyArena form the coliseum happened all of 13 years ago.
Fact #2 There is NOTHING wrong with KeyArean. From someone who has been to the 'first class' areans that house the Suns, Blazers, Lakers, Pacers, Celtics and Mavericks. An arena is an arena...it is not a Baseball Park..they are all the same just a bowl of seats.

Fact #3 Steve Ballmer is worth $17,000,000,000.00 Him squabbling over 150million is like someone with 17,000 in the bank bitching about $150 bucks. Seriously...this is Rashard Lewis' contract we are talking about buy the team or don't. Do not ask for my help.

Fact #4 No one gives a rats ass about the sonics. Name the starting 5 right now? cant do it can you. The NBA finals last year got lower ratings then a Seahawks pre-season game.

Call your legislator and tell them you will vote out anyone who approves $1 of public money to remodel a 13 year old building that needs no remodeling. The money should go to Martin Stadium...a building in Dire need of updating.

Peace out...and go Cougs.

Sedihawk said...

How can anyone be expected to care about THIS Sonics team? Do you think that's the fault of the fans? It's the owner who traded away anything the fans could hold on to and stripped this thing down to nothing. But that is just part of his plan to move the team. You don't punt 40+ years and the only major championship in the city's history because this SOB for OKC wants to take his ball and go home. Isn't it worth fighting for what you want?

What strikes me is that everyone thinks the NBA is just a bad idea. If that's the case, then why do all these other major cities want to hold on to what they have? Why did they build arena's? Yeah, it's such a bad idea for cities like LA, Chicago, NY, Boston.

You also have to have some grip on reality. Nobody gets buildings built that are 100% private money, no matter their wealth. Why? Because you DON'T BOOK THE BUILDING FOR ONLY THE NBA! Look around at all the other things that happen at these buildings. To me this is not only saving a point of civic pride but it's also having an amazing Seattle Center for very little hit to the individuals that actually live here.

Enough already. It's coming to a head and we'll see what happens.

DixonInYourMouth said...

“KeyArena is owned by the people of Seattle and we will need to invest in it whether basketball remains there or not.” Nickels said. “This proposal is a good deal for people of Seattle because it does more than keep the NBA here, it ensures that KeyArena remains a great place for all of the concerts, shows, and civic events that happen there every year.”

The members of the local ownership group include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Seattle developer Matt Griffin, Costco CEO Jim Sinegal and wireless magnate John Stanton.

“This is a great opportunity to secure the future of KeyArena and keep NBA basketball here, where it has been a hometown favorite for 40 years,” said Slade Gorton, who was hired by the city to work on keeping the Sonics in Seattle. “With this partnership we have the opportunity for a win-win outcome - improving the Key and keeping our Sonics.”

Hmmm....let's see.....do I listen to Slade Gorton and Greg Nickels? Do I listen to the message that Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft? Do I pay attention to Jim Sinegal, regarded as one of the most caring, dynamic CEO's in America? They all seem to think this is a good idea. So much so they are willing to give half a BILLION to the cause.

Or do I listen to some message-leaving weirdo named "long-ball" or "james C milne"?

Sedihawk said...

A quacker drops by? That's nice.

Latest bracketology has us back to a 6-seed:


Lunardi is updating it daily until Sunday. Also, Oregon is now "last 4 in" and ASU is now "last 4 out".

AtantaCoug said...

I can live with 6 seed. But if we beat Oregon we should be #5.

As far as Sonics goes...Taxes for sports billionaires may be madness. I agree. But I still support them 100% because I love the Supes. Sure, I can't watch the 2008 version. But I also know it is temporary. But the mid-90's Supes lit Seattle on Fire. Am I just nostalgic for my youth? In the Mid-90's I also used to drink Keystone and skip 8 AM classes cause they were way to early. As usual, my posts have no real point or arguement. go Cougs.

millcreekcoug said...

Milne you are a douchebag.

I care about the Sonics.

And why would King County want to give tax dollars to Martin Stadium?

Why, instead, don't you pony up money for tickets and donations like the rest of us, and quit bitching while you sit and watch Coug games at the MVP each week?

longball said...

Like i said, now for the THIRD time, i am for the plan. I am just fed up with all the up-in arms talk on radio, blogs etc. that amounts to wanting to overthrow the state Govt. over a friggin sports team. Also, as far as arena's go, i am old school when it comes to sports. Places like Staples do not benefit the average fan at all. their extras only cater to the wealthy. Also, as a much bigger MLB then NBA fan, i just have an affinity for stadiums that has nothing to do with how many luxery boxes there are. The tide is going against fan friendly stadiums in baseball now too, but in the NBA it has been a total tsunami. Try and find me cub fan who wishes Wriggley had more luxery boxes and a Taco Del Mar.

Nate McMillan said...

THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH KEYARENA...Ballmer can buy the team and play there or he can choose not to buy the team. This is not a matter of the Kingdome vs SafecoField. This is a matter of Beasley Coliseum vs McHale Center. A gym is a gym. People plan vacations around going to Fenway or Wrigley or Camden; NO ONE vacations to see Staples or the TDBankworth arena or the United Center. An arena is an arena. There is nothing wrong with ours...if someone wants to move a business that he bought from our city then that is his right.

And stop with the "only championship" thing...So if the Bullets would have won 2 more games 30 years ago they would have less value?

BigSmooth said...

Thanks "Mac-10", but now that you work in Oregon your opinion no longer matters.

So let me get this straight....everyone - from the mayor, the city council, the state, the governor, David Stern, Clay Bennett and Howard Schultz before them - they are all WRONG about Key Arena and you are right?? Oh, ok. Call up Save Our Sonics. Tell them to go ahead and shut it all down. Nate has spoken. Call up the CEO of Microsoft, the CEO of Costco. Tell them never mind. the Key is FINE.

Oh, and "Only championship"?? Clearly it IS important. First of all try telling the people that were at the parade that day to stop with teh only championship. You know why it's important? Because YOU YOURSELF KNEW ENOUGH THAT IT WAS 30 years ago, you know who they played (Washington), and you know how many games they won by (4-2)! Can you or really anyone else name that about any other season? Don't even attempt to downplay a pro sports championship, in any sport, in any city. They are valuable because every other team in every other city is trying to win one.

Now go back to missing the playoffs in the Rose city will you? Traitor.

Pete Issacson said...

Smooth...Tell me what the Key is lacking that is going to magically transform it into the massive money making facility.

"I was totally going to go to the T-wolves v sonics game on Friday, but that building is just not good enough to watch a game in"

Funny that it is the exact same building and the same lease that was in place when schultz bought the team for $200million and when Bennett bought the team for $350million...but now it sucks all of a sudden?


BigSmooth said...

Stupid is as stupid does.

Bennett paid $350m because that is what Schultz's group charged him, and that's what he agreed to pay. Forbes estimated the team's worth to be around $225m or so at the time of the sale. Bennett overpaid because he was desperate to be in the club, and Schultz and company took the lifeboat to get the hell away from the whole mess.

I won't get into a pissing match with you, but you need to get over the idea that the Key is fine. It isn't, and every expect that has studied this thing for a living agree. Do some homework and realize how much it is behind the rest of the NBA. The landscape has changed dramatically, and 13 years ago it was fine, but today it isn't. If you need some proof, take a look at what the city is touting for the new Key: