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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

November 28, 2008 at 7:01 AM

Who’s the worst in Seattle?

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Most of the 2008 sports season in Seattle has been spent ridiculing the Mariners for the general blemish they have brought to the city. I’ve been front and center in that regard. When you’re expected to win the division by a vast number of prognosticators, then lose 101 games with a $117 million payroll, the ridicule is deserved.
But for some reason, I just don’t sense that same level of tar and feathering (see illustration, next page) going on with the football Seahawks. Maybe it’s the five consecutive playoff appearances, which are now coming to an end. Or the fact that the baseball regular season is six months long, compared to only four in the NFL? But I just don’t see the same hand-wringing with the Seahawks. Here’s the thing: I think the Seahawks’ season has arguably been worse than that of the Mariners.
The numbers support me on that one.
The Mariners had a winning percentage of .377; the Seahawks are at just .167. Not even close.
The Seahawks are second worst in total offense in the NFL and fourth worst on defense (total yardage in both cases). The Mariners were fifth worst in runs scored and sixth worst in earned runs allowed. There are 32 teams in football, only 30 in baseball. So, once again, the M’s have it over the Seahawks.


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In baseball, the Seattle club played in a tougher American League, in arguably the middle division of the three (though that’s up for some debate). The football team, though, plays in a conference most people still consider inferior to the AFC. And the NFC West is, without fail, generally considered the worst division in the entire league. Sort of what the NL West has been in baseball for years.
Anyone who watched the Thanksgiving Day games had to come away with that conclusion. The worst team in the NFC East, the Eagles, wrought by turmoil all week (I know, because I’m currently in Philadelphia), just blew the first-place NFC West Cardinals off the field. They outhustled and outhit them in all facets. The Seahawks were destroyed by a Cowboys team missing its top running back for half the game. Yes, I said destroyed. They were manhandled on both sides of the line of scrimmage when it mattered. Forget all this “team that doesn’t quit” stuff. It’s one thing to make a score somewhat respectable in the second half, as the Seahawks have been doing for much of the year. But I’ve seen a lot of football, both of the three and four-down kind. And my book says the team trailing 24-3 midway through the second quarter is usually going to lose the game. That you can turn off your set 99.999999 percent of the time knowing who has already won without fear of being proved wrong.
So, that’s been my Seahawks experience.
And yet, I still don’t sense the same level of shame amongst local sports fans. I mean, very few people, other than John McLaren and Jim Riggleman, were calling the Mariners — “the team that doesn’t quit.”
Maybe it’s because Mike Holmgren is more respected as a head coach than those other two men?
I know that Seahawks president (GM) Tim Ruskell is getting some heat. But Bill Bavasi was already long gone two thirds of the way into the Mariners’ season.
Yeah, the Mariners “got old” real fast at some key offensive spots. Uh, so have the Hawks.
Again, maybe it’s just the sheer number of games played in baseball. No “one-off” situations. You have to play at least two, and usually three games in a series. Not much chance for flukiness. When a team loses 101 games, it’s real bad and everyone knows it. In football, though, a team can lose 10 of 12 and have fans lamenting injuries and saying “if only we’d won two more, we’d be right in the playoff hunt!”
Well, too bad. Baseball is baseball and football is football. Two different sports. Much different measuring sticks. I’d argue that the Seahawks are a lot more geared-up for each and every game than any baseball team could possibly be for one contest out of 162. That the football record is just as representative of what the Seahawks truly are as the M’s 101-loss season was.
And for me, the fact the Seahaws are 2-10 while playing in a division as bad as the NFC West is an indictement. Who knows, if not for playing in that awful division — where the only two Seattle wins have come from — the Seahawks might be challenging the Detroit Lions for a winless campaign.
And to me, that’s just as bad, if not worse, than what the Mariners pulled this year. We’ll leave the football Huskies out of the discussion for now because they are not professional athletes. Maybe their pitiful performance has mitigated some of the teeth-gnashing for the Seahawks, I don’t know.
But what do you think? I think the Seahawks, expected to cruise to a division title this year, are the worst team in Seattle in 2008. Let’s hear your take. And your explanation. A simple: “Baker you’re a know-nothing…” isn’t going to cut it. Use your brains and explain your argument.
Why is this important? It’s not that important, it’s a blog. Meant to entertain. But I think, in the hearts and minds of most fans in this city, the M’s are an absolute disgrace, while the Seahawks — undoubtedly a big disappointment — don’t inspire the same cries for massive change and uprooting. And I find that a very curious sentiment indeed because the numbers don’t bear it out.
For those of you who can’t live another moment without Hot Stove news (hello, Chris from Bothell), here’s an interesting item I spotted in the Boston Herald over the holiday. The Red Sox are exploring possible replacements for Jason Varitek. Among the names said to have been offered up to Boston are both Kenji Johjima and…Jeff Clement. Very interesting. Yeah, I’d love to see the M’s get Jacoby Ellsbury as well, but trust me. That ain’t happening. Anyhow, enjoy.

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