Highlights and lowlights: The weird and wonderful from a decade of Seattle sports
Ichiro quotes, Eddie Guardado pranks and a roll call of bad Sonics centers. A look at the good and bad from 10 years of Seattle sports.
Seattle Times deputy sports editor
Man, has it been a decade already?
Seems like just the other day we were peeking over the canned green beans and out the basement window to discover we'd all survived Y2K.
On the other hand, as the decade dawned ...
• Alex Rodriguez played for the Mariners;
• Barry Ackerley owned the Sonics;
• Jake Locker was in sixth grade;
• and the Kingdome was still standing.
And if you were a Seattle sports fan, you know the big stories: The Sonics left town. Ichiro is good. Toward the end of the decade, it seemed nobody here knew how to play football.
But, as coaches love to say, it's the little things that count. With that in mind, a few items that might not have shown up in the box score during the past decade:
Athletes (and team owners) say the darndest things
In April 2007 Ichiro was asked about facing Daisuke Matsuzaka and unleashed the best quote of this or any decade:
"I hope he arouses the fire that's dormant in the innermost recesses of my soul. I plan to face him with the zeal of a challenger."
And who can forget ...
"I'm a man possessed." — Clay Bennett, who proved it by stealing the Sonics in broad daylight.
"We want the ball and we're gonna score." — Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. OK, so maybe they didn't, but you've gotta love the attitude.
"Alcohol and a lighter, bro. That's all it takes." — Mariners prankster Eddie Guardado, who burned Adrian Beltre's shoes because Beltre was in a slump and Jose Lopez's because they were ugly. Eddie really knew how to spice up a quote with a well-placed "bro."
If these guys had been in Spinal Tap, they'd have been drummers
The Sonics had already proven they could find bad centers in any decade (Jim McDaniels, Olden Polynice, Benoit Benjamin, Jim McIlvaine, Vin Baker — had enough yet?), but they really outdid themselves in the 2000s.
The team wasted first-round picks in the 2004, 2005 and 2006 drafts on Johan Petro, Robert Swift and Mouhamed Sene.
Sene was an honorable-mention all-league player. In the D-League.
Swift got a lot of tattoos.
Petro, the only one of the three still in the NBA, has blistered the nets for 12 points this season for the Denver Nuggets. Not per game. All season.
Wish you were still here
Huskies swim program.
Western Washington football.
Nate McMillan. (True, there's not much for Nate to do in Seattle these days, but it would be nice just to see him around.)
Eddie Guardado, bro.
You, not so much
Good riddance to the Kingdome, imploded on March 26, 2000. As a baseball park, football stadium, basketball arena and concert venue, it wasn't much. But it blowed up good. Blowed up real good.
Wouldn't it be great if they were as good at sports?
Ben Broussard, guitar/vocals. The former Mariner is a talented musician. The bio on his Web site says, "Ben left major-league baseball in 2009." Not to pick nits, but didn't major-league baseball leave Ben in 2009?
Craig Terrill, guitar/vocals. The Craig Terrill Band has received great reviews after local gigs, and not just because the Seahawks' 295-pound defensive tackle could snap pasty-faced music reviewers in half.
Scott Spiezio, vocals. Bill Bavasi's mistake was an original member and lead singer for mediocre metal band Sandfrog.
Miguel Batista, soprano saxophone. Kenny G fan spent some of his down time with Mariners taking sax lessons at UW.
Coach most likely to appear on "best coaches" AND "worst coaches" lists
Coach most likely to appear on just one of those lists
Best Seattle sports documentaries
"The Heart of the Game (2006)," featuring star player Darnellia Russell, coach Bill Resler and the Roosevelt High Roughriders girls basketball team.
"Sonicsgate (2009)." In case you forgot who to blame for the Sonics leaving town.
And the best Seattle sports documentary that will be made next decade: Steve Cox, an Oregon filmmaker, is putting the final touches on "The Seattle Pilots: Short Flight into History." Cox, who says he is aiming for a Feb. 1 release date, organized a 40-year reunion of Pilots players last summer in Seattle.
Ken Griffey Jr. returned to the Mariners, not the player he was when he left but a welcome presence and contributor to an improving club.
Seattle U., which played in the Final Four back when Elgin Baylor roamed First Hill, has returned to Division I.
Jessica Pixler. Seattle Pacific runner came back after stress fractures in back and leg to win her second and third NCAA Division II cross-country titles.
Jay Buhner and Edgar Martinez teamed up in 2009 to film the 100th Mariners commercial. Not as great as classics like The Clapper (Edgar: "That's a problem.") but still fun.
Lyle Beerbohm, a former meth addict and inmate at the state pen in Walla Walla, is an undefeated mixed-martial-arts fighter who wears neon-striped trunks made by his mom and answers to "Fancy Pants."
A decade worth of NCAA titles for Huskies
The Huskies won a Rose Bowl game this decade. Coach Lorenzo Romar and talented players like Brandon Roy, Nate Robinson and Jon Brockman revived the men's basketball team, which won a Pac-10 regular-season title and a Pac-10 tournament, and was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
But when it comes to national titles, the UW women did most of the work.
Danielle Lawrie pitched the Huskies to the NCAA softball championship last spring.
A group of talented runners, led by freshmen Christine Babcock and Kendra Schaaf, captured the 2008 women's NCAA cross-country title.
Christal Morrison, Courtney Thompson and Sanja Tomasevic helped the Huskies dominate the 2005 NCAA volleyball tournament.
And the women's crew won NCAA varsity-eight titles in 2001 and 2002.
There was one men's team to win national titles. The men's crew won IRA championships in 2007 and 2009.
Don't we know you from somewhere else?
The Seattle Times has learned that the "Dancing with the Stars" guy, Apolo Ohno, is actually a pretty good speedskater. Turns out Ohno won five medals at the Olympics in 2002 and 2006, including two golds.
These guys drive really fast
Kasey Kahne, Enumclaw driver, was the NASCAR rookie of the year in 2004 and is a nine-time winner in the Sprint Cup series.
Dave Villwock, the world's greatest hydros driver, piloted the Miss Bud to victory at Seafair in her final race, Aug. 8, 2004.
Welcome to Seattle
The last year of the decade was the first for many promising newcomers:
Sounders FC. MLS soccer comes to Seattle, and Seattle proves what we've known for years — we're a great soccer city.
Rock 'N' Roll Seattle Marathon. The sun is shining. Bands are playing all over the course. What's not to love? The marathon debuted to rave reviews.
Steve Sarkisian. Huskies football team improved from 0-12 to 5-7 in Sarkisian's first year as coach. With Jake Locker back, maybe UW will even have a winning season and play in a bowl game, something it hasn't done since 2002.
Jack Zduriencik. The Mariners general manager benefits from comparisons to his predecessor, of course, but in his first season with the team, he made all the right moves.
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.