Recently, Forbes.com named Seattle America’s most miserable sports city. I, for many, take exception to the report. As a senior copywriter in the Seattle area—I have hometown honor to defend. As an author of three sports-related books, I have a love of the games our teams play.
Forbes based their misery rankings on comparisons between the number of postseason appearances by a city’s teams and titles won, the ratio of total seasons to championships, the number of years since the city won a title, and franchises leaving town. (What about venues of play? Fan loyalty? And the all-important quality of concession stands?) To qualify for consideration, cities had to have accumulated 75 MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL seasons combined.
Okay, I admit that having the Seattle Sonics leave town to become the Oklahoma City Thunder left a dark cloud over the city. But let’s be honest. With Seattle’s rainy season, we’re used to having dark clouds overhead. Not having a basketball franchise within our city limits doesn’t mean we don’t have a team to cheer for. Local boyz making good from the ’hood include Brandon Roy, Martell Webster, Marvin Williams, Aaron Brooks, Spencer Hawes and Jamal Crawford, to name a starting five and 6th man of the year. What’s more, our roundball fanatics cheered the University of Washington Husky hoopsters into the Sweet 16 of the most recent NCAA tournament.
Sure, the Mariners are have never played in the World Series, but their thrilling 1995 playoff series with the Yankees is generally credited with saving baseball. As Casey Stengel once said, “You can look it up.” Just because the Ms are offensively challenged this season doesn’t mean we’re miserable. Ask any baseball fan worth his weight in roasted peanuts and he or she will tell you that catching a game at Safeco Field is close to a heavenly experience. Thanks to the stadium’s retractable roof, there’s never a rain out. Plus, Mariner fans enjoy the “Best Ballpark Eats in America” as nominated by Food Network. Our team may lose a game or ten, but we leave The Safe fully satisfied.
Now it’s true our football Seahawks have fallen upon hard times recently. But if not for Seattle’s losing to the Steelers in Super Bowl XL the Pittsburgh franchise would never have won one for the thumb (aka their fifth NFL championship). While Seattle’s recent play may not be a thing of beauty, Qwest Field certainly is. New coach Pete Carroll and a promising draft have raised the hopes of ’Hawk nation. While on the collegiate side of the ball, the UW Huskies won five more games than the previous season. Did Texas or Florida win five more games last year? I think not.
What Forbes also fails to take into account is that Seattle is not just bound by the four traditional sports of baseball, football, basketball and hockey. The Husky women’s softball team took the 2009 NCAA title. Our Seattle Sounders joined Major League Soccer last year and made an immediate impact—making the playoffs and capturing the U.S. Open Cup. The Seattle Storm won the WNBA title in 2004 and is poised to do so again this season. And the Seattle Stealth completed the inaugural National Lacrosse League season as—wait for it—champions.
All of which gives Seattle sports fans plenty to cheer about.