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Extra Points

Jerry Brewer explains the thinking behind his columns and invites readers to express their views on the sports world.

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November 20, 2008 3:16 PM

Life could be worse: Clay Bennett's wretched NBA team gets booed

Posted by Jerry Brewer

After another futile week in Seattle sports, we're left to ponder once again: Could life be any worse?

Well, just think about how bad this autumn would be if it also included the team formerly known as the Sonics.

The Thunder (ick) lost its ninth straight game Wednesday night and fell to a league-worst 1-11. Even more embarrassing, the fans in Oklahoma City booed their new team for the first time.

Clay Bennett hoped to revel in a year of firsts, didn't he?

I miss the NBA in Seattle, miss it something terrible. But I don't miss watching a team that was built to lose for several years so it could acquire lottery picks and cap space in order to rebuild.

Imagine if the city hadn't settled with Bennett, and we were subjected to another year of bad basketball while trying to rally support for the Sonics to stay. It would've been an impossible task, fighting for a once-proud franchise floundering under a clueless owner. And then Bennett would try to blame us for being apathetic about his awful product.

Having nothing isn't a consolation prize, but I must admit to grinning after learning that the Thunder had irritated their new fans within three weeks of their debut.

Maybe karma is a dish best served cold, too.

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November 19, 2008 9:03 AM

And for those who question Jack Zduriencik's logic, a message from his twin, Dr. Evil: Zip it!

Posted by Jerry Brewer

If you recall, I wrote last month that Zduriencik, the new Mariners general manager, looks like Dr. Evil from "Austin Powers." So click on the video above to see how I think he should combat all critics who think he should've hired a more seasoned manager.

Don Wakamatsu is the new field manager. Zduriencik and Wakamatsu -- what an unlikely pair to lead the Mariners into ... well, who knows? It'll be a fun ride, though, guaranteed. And in today's column, I told you I'm willing to give this new brain trust a chance.

In the comments section of my column, I've noticed there was talk that Wakamatsu got the job mostly because he has Japanese blood (Wakamatsu's father, a third generation Japanese-American was born in a detention camp near the California-Oregon border during World War II, and his mother is Irish-American), which pleases the Mariners' Japanese owner, Hiroshi Yamauchi. Well, that's hogwash. He was Jack Z's guy all the way. For proof, check out this excerpt Geoff Baker's blog:

There were people within the Mariners organization who favored Joey Cora for the job. But in the end, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik got total say over the decision and Wakamatsu was his man.

So, there. Wakamatsu was purely the best choice, and I'm happy to say major-league baseball has its first Asian-American manager.

He's a worthy hire. So, to ridiculous thoughts of a token hire, we go back to Dr. Evil.

Zip it!

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November 18, 2008 2:19 PM

Don't worry too much about Hoops Huskies -- yet

Posted by Jerry Brewer

We interrupt your regularly scheduled futility for a voice of reason:

So the newest hope for our dilapidated sports market, the University of Washington men's basketball team, lost to Portland on Saturday and plays its home opener tonight against a Cleveland State squad capable of dropping the Huskies to 0-2.

We've seen this before, huh? Every bit of fresh hope has gotten squashed early and never recovered in 2008. But I'm not here to tell you to start counting down the days to spring training. My mission is to convince you to give this basketball team more time before fretting about this season.

Reason No. 1: It's no longer surprising to see a team from a major conference lose to a little guy, especially on the road. This was a set-up game from the minute the Huskies agreed to it. And although many have questioned the logic of playing a season opener in Portland's house, the Huskies are sure to be better for it in the long run.

Continue reading this post ...

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November 17, 2008 3:10 PM

Quoth the Cougar: "Our bad is worse than their bad"

Posted by Jerry Brewer

Those words came from a Washington State fan calling into Ian Furness' show on KJR-AM. I was listening to the radio on my drive back from the Husky press luncheon, where the purple ones once again said very little in a very nice way.

Aren't rivalries supposed to bring out the arrogance in fans? Well, when 1-10 meets 0-10, you're forced to brag about how bad your team has it, I guess.

I've been thinking about writing a trash-talking column later in the week, given the difficulty the fans will have doing such a thing, but there's a part of me that wonders whether I should just let the fans prepare for the inevitable bumbling in peace.

Continue reading this post ...

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November 17, 2008 8:08 AM

Powerless Rankings: Counting down to The Rotten Apple Cup

Posted by Jerry Brewer

Our weekly tracking of the 10 most hapless stories in sports (with a new Monday morning time slot):

10. Rodney Stuckey's head
It's still on but barely. Check out the video above. Shaq met him in mid-air Sunday night and nearly beheaded one of our locals.

9. Jim Fassel
He's actually lobbying to work for Al Davis. That's like begging to help a burglar rob your house.

8. Doug Melvin
He's about to lose CC Sabathia to the Yankee money train, and he's not happy about it, wondering why they would bid $40 million more than what Milwaukee offered. Because money is Play-Doh to them, Doug. Play-Doh.

7. LeBron James' fandom
Speaking of CC, James, the Ohio native with diverse rooting interests, is happy his Yankees are poised to land the big pitcher. Let another round of LeBron depature speculation begin.

6. Charlie Weis
Didja see the man literally sweating out that victory over Navy on Sunday? He looked like a human water fountain. With the pressure he's under now, expect much more perspiration in the future.

5. The Detroit Lions
They're 0-10 and marching inexorably toward 0-16. Their remaining opponents: Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Minnesota, Indianapolis, New Orleans and Green Bay. Ouch. Don't go and do anything silly, Lions, like pull off an upset. History beckons.

4. Undersized Seahawks cornerbacks
They had no chance against Arizona's Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald on Sunday. As long as the rest of the Cardinals remain competent around them, they'll be the biggest headache the Seahawks face for years to come.

3. Husky Stadium
It didn't see the home team win for the first time ever. Can the university somehow spin that as a reason the state should pitch in on this renovation idea?

2. Aussie golfers and Facebook feuding
Ewan Porter and Wayne Riley are fighting -- in cyberspace. Porter called him a grape. Since Riley has been greatly defamed by being associated with fruit, a lawsuit should be arriving shortly.

1. The Rotten Apple Cup
What happens when bad meets worse? An intriguing game of terrible, we hope. And, by the way, which one is bad and which one is worse?

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November 14, 2008 9:03 AM

Crystal Helmet, Week 12

Posted by Jerry Brewer

College picks

UCLA 21, Washington 13
It's the most winnable game of the season for the Huskies. But when you're 0-9, what does that really mean? Rick Neuheisel's return to Husky Stadium is shaping up to be merely a mild affair for UW fans, with the team's poor play having sucked the venom out of this game. It will be entertaining but fruitless in the end.

Arizona State 45, Washington State 14
There's no use ruining a perfectly bad Apple Cup next week by having one of the teams win. The Sun Devils triumph, setting up the battle between two intrastate rivals who haven't really come close to a victory in Pac-10 play.

Oregon State 31, California 24
Arizona 37, Oregon 34
USC 42, Stanford 13

NFL picks

Arizona 28, Seahawks 20
Matt Hasselbeck to the rescue? Nah. Not with Kurt Warner channeling his late-90s mojo. The Cardinals are a superior team, at least this season, and even though the Seahawks are struggling, Arizona needs to beat the former NFC West top dog to signal a changing of the guard. The Cardinals will win the game, but I'm not so sure they will send a message of permanent change.

New York Giants 21, Baltimore 10
Tennessee 17, Jacksonville 6
Pittsburgh 24, San Diego 17
Denver 35, Atlanta 33

Last week's record: 7-3
Season to date: 74-36 (67.3 percent)

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November 12, 2008 9:24 AM

Life could be worse: Parents with newborn lose all their savings

Posted by Jerry Brewer

Did the Seahawks L in Miami leave you feeling like all was lost?

Don't use that cliche this week. It's been reserved by Dennis Deschamp and his girlfriend, Ashley English. The couple from Massachusetts just celebrated the birth of their first child, Zachary Michael, but now they're in financial despair.

Deschamp lost all of their savings -- $8,000 -- while unloading his car at the hospital. Check out the excerpt:

When it came time to leave the hospital with his girlfriend and their new son on Sunday, Deschamp carried the lock box out of the hospital in a baby blue gift bag with baby outfits on top. He also carried another bag and a large box containing a baby swing.

Deschamp set the two bags down in the parking lot while he carried the box about 30 feet to his SUV. He loaded the box into his vehicle in less than a minute, he said.

He went back for the two bags and saw the one with the money was gone and the other one had been moved about 10 or 15 feet. His stomach dropped and he began to cry. He alerted hospital security and the police, but nobody found the missing bag.

CNN did a story on this, too, which you can find here. Some people have speculated the couple made up this tale to get sympathy money, but my compassionate side prefers to believe they're telling the truth. Deschamp made a sad, heartbreaking mistake.

Funny, the Mariners are making the same claim about some of the $118 million they squandered. Richie Sexson, Carlos Silva, Jarrod Washburn and the rest just stole the Mariners' money bags while they weren't looking, right?

If it comes down to it, I wonder if Clay Bennett will make Deschamp's claim when Seattle comes looking for that extra $30 mil.

But, anyway, let the sad tale of Deschamp be a reminder for our loss-burdened city: Life could be worse.

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November 11, 2008 1:35 PM

About the Mariners' manager candidates

Posted by Jerry Brewer

The Mariners are rebuilding. They can call it anything they want, but they're rebuilding. And their list of seven finalists for their manager opening provides further proof.

I appreciate new general manager Jack Zduriencik for being so open about his candidates. Transparency is always a good thing, and whenever a franchise offers a look at their decision-making, it tells me the leadership is both confident it will make a good call and wanting to get ahead of the media because all the names of the GM candidates were leaked. Of course, it also means the M's are trying to prepare their fans for a manager with no major-league experience.

It's really shocking that Zduriencik doesn't have at least one proven manager on his list. It's refreshing, too, because baseball suffers from a frustrating affinity for retread managers.

Zduriencik is bold, all right. Or the franchise doesn't want to spend big money right now for a manager who will inherit a team that figures to finish last place in the AL West next season. There's something to be said for a manager who can grow with a team. Then again, there's something to be feared about a rookie manager charged with grooming a team that needs major work.

In addition, it's dangerous to put a rookie GM (which Zduriencik is) with a rookie manager or coach in sports. It's often been a formula for disaster in pro sports. With this dynamic, the Mariners must be about to unload more veterans in a full-bore youth movement, as Larry Stone suggested in his column today.

I'm willing to be patient and give this idea a chance, but there's plenty of reason to be skeptical.

As for handicapping the list of finalists, it's virtually impossible. The guys are so unproven. You'd think White Sox bench coach Joey Cora, a former Mariner, would get good consideration. But the two Boston guys -- Brad Mills and DeMarlo Hale -- might be better options right now. And Oakland bench coach Don Wakamatsu is said to be an impressive candidate, so don't count him out.

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More from this blog

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Crystal Helmet, Week 16

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Powerless Rankings: Knives, lies and bribes







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