This week the club that replaced the Sonics has drawn not just national, but global attention by acquiring US National Team Captain Clint Dempsey. The talented midfielder who is expected to replace David Beckham as Major League Soccer's marquee attraction is expected to dominate the attention of American Soccer after leaving the Tottenham Hotspur of Europe.
This news is so good that I am not even forced to cite Frank Blethen's Seattle Times but can instead refer to SportIllustrated.com which implies that the amazing fan support and atmosphere provided by passionate Sounders fans played a role in Dempsey's surprising decision to return to the US.
The Sounders are a Seattle team and as such they will always have my support. I am blown away by the passion of their fans and have many friends who root for them feverishly. I also think they embody every attribute I am looking for in a professional team:
• Their owner, Paul Allen is a local rich guy who cares about his city and puts his money where his mouth is, participating in the growth of the city via his amazingly under-appreciated real estate arm Vulcan, Inc.
• From top to bottom they have shown a commitment both to winning and to fan experience, making significant commitments to winning as well as the small extra moves to show that their fans come first.
• They not only spend money, but they spend money well.
• Their commitment to winning both with the Sounders and Seahawks is ingrained. It is more than a gimmick or a way to lure fans but an essential characteristic of the franchise.
• They execute everything well, from the merchandise to the commercials to the game day experience it is hard to find fault in any action the franchise takes.
• They are philanthropic leaders in the community providing both franchise and player involvement not just because they are expected to or have minimum imposed requirements, but because they want to make the city better.
Honestly I could go on and on about the Sounders and their fans. I've enjoyed their games, bought jerseys for both my kids and wish them nothing but success. They really are that good and I encourage you to participate in discussion about them at www.SounderAtHeart.
So why do I hold something back?
I think I am still a little bitter over their hiring of Kevin Calabro to call games during their inaugural season in 2007. It was a brilliant move by the new franchise looking to fill the void left by the Sonics and capture fans disheartened by the Sonics departure.
It worked very well.
There is a part of me that is saddened by how effective the Sounders have been in capturing the hearts and minds of some Sonics fans. I find myself wondering if this thing I have fought so hard for is truly replaceable and if so why don't I just tell the NBA to go to hell and become a Soccer fan? Wouldn't it be easier to revel in the Clint Dempsey coupe than to be treated like crap again and again by an egomaniac commissioner who places an inappropriately lopsided value on his sponsors over his end customers?
I can't do it. I wish the Sounders well and will continue to try to build my enthusiasm for them. I'll take my kids to the games and at the end of the day believe the NBA runs the risk of losing an entire generation to Soccer but I am a basketball guy. I love the sport more and specifically love it much more on TV.
Does anyone else feel this way about the Sounders?
Despite working for an employer that receives public subsidies in excess of $70 million per year they look out only for themselves and do not give a damn about the city.
We saw this firsthand when they opposed the arena. If anybody cared enough to have a substantive conversation about the matter we could have really asked some good questions about guys like Max Veckich, leader of "Save Our Sodo" who proudly proclaimed in a county council hearing that after his overtime shifts he earns more than $170,000 per year. We would have asked why a publicly subsidized port is paying all this overtime when the union is using its archaic legacy system to restrict membership and hold all the wages for an entrenched few who feel entitled to every cent they can pry from the taxpayers.
Today our friend Cam Williams made more news, pouting over 4 jobs hauling muck from the viaduct site and demanding that those jobs be handled not just by union tradesmen, but specifically by ILWU members.
The ILWU does not reciprocate support their fellow union members. They are selfish and only in it for themselves.
The line that stands out to me in this article is this, "Contractors expect to save almost $4 million during the 14-month dig with building-trades workers, who can switch to other tunnel tasks when the muck isn't moving"
If you own property in Seattle you should ask yourself why you make a direct property tax payment to the Port of Seattle so that they can employ people who would stand around for hours a day collecting overtime rather than saving the city $4 million dollars? I believe that the city should demand that the Port of Seattle and its employees show a commitment to the public good or stop taking public money.
It is a disgrace.
Please remember that Ballots for the Mayoral Primary and other positions must be mailed in no later than August 6. Take some time Monday to personally text, e-mail or call people you know to encourage them to vote. Have a voice.