We’re officially closer to next year than we are last year. And while there is still plenty of 2009 to go, 2008 cannot become a distant past quick enough. 2008 was arguably one of the worst years for sports in Seattle history; any team associated with the city seemed to fail miserably.
The Seattle Seahawks, whose success on Sundays will normally determine my mood for the week, finished with a 4-12 record. The Seahawks were a team that was supposed to compete for another NFC West title and secure a spot in the playoffs. Not even close. A gut-wrenching 16 weeks left fans questioning Matt Hasselbeck’s ability to stay healthy, Tim Ruskell’s ability to recognize talent, and wondering if this was the way a Hall of Fame head coach should end his career.
To make matters worse, we all had to watch a division rival enjoy a Super Bowl berth. And who are they matched up against? The Pittsburgh Steelers, which triggered bitter memories from a 2006 Super Bowl and what could have been. A definite lose-lose scenario for Seahawks fans.
The Seattle Mariners returned to mediocrity in 2008, leaving even the most optimistic fans hopeless. In the previous season, the Mariners finished with their first winning record since 2003, and were supposed to compete for the AL West division championship. Bolstered by the pitching additions of Carlos Silva and Erik Bedard, it appeared that baseball was on the rise again in Seattle.
Though optimism was high entering the season, the Mariners would quickly find themselves in the American League cellar. Underachieving the entire season, the Mariners left fans scratching their heads in the stands at Safeco Field. 100 losses later, Richie Sexson was washed up, the Bedard trade was a steal for Baltimore, and Bill Bavasi was a fraud as general manager.
The Seattle Supersonics, in what was most likely the most devastating sports story in 2008, left the city of Seattle for Oklahoma City. It was only appropriate that the team would leave during 2008, when the rest of the teams in Seattle were mediocre as well.
The Sonics had spent over forty years in the city of Seattle, and fans in the city had more than proven their support for the franchise over the years. The Sonics won Seattle’s first professional championship and were continuously successful up until a few years prior to their departure.
A lot of fans lost interest in the National Basketball Association entirely, scratching their heads at how a franchise can bolt from a proven NBA city after over four decades. Clay Bennett established himself as a spineless, selfish liar, Howard Schultz found a way to stab Seattle in the back, and local government tripped over their own feet (more than once). Regrettably, it was the fans who ultimately paid the price.
Professional sports in Seattle were atrocious, but collegiate sports were no better. The Washington Huskies football team finished the season 0-12 and head coach Tyrone Willingham was fired, and the Washington State Cougars finished 2-11 with victories against Portland State and Washington. Miserable seasons from both sides left the two programs at the bottom of the Pac-10. Although Washington State did find a way to defeat Washington in the Apple Cup, their season wasn’t much better than the Huskies 0-12 finish, giving up the most points in a single season in Pac-10 Conference history.
2008 was definitely a year to forget for Seattle sports fans. I apologize if my reminiscing about last year’s sports failures brought back unwanted memories for anyone. It was a year filled with mediocre professional and collegiate sports (including a few not mentioned), but there were a few success stories. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough successes to brighten my work weeks.
Seattle is a little overdue for a championship, isn’t it?
Topics: 2008, 2009, Adam Jones, AL West, Apple Cup, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, Bill Bavasi, Carlos Silva, Championship, Clay Bennett, David Stern, Erik Bedard, Hall Of Fame, Howard Schultz, Matt Hasselbeck, Mike Holmgren, NFC West, Oklahoma City Thunder, Pac-10, Pittsburgh Steelers, Richie Sexson, Safeco Field, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sports, Seattle Supersonics, Sonics, Super Bowl XL, Super Bowl XLIII, Tim Ruskell, Tyrone Willingham, University Of Washington, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, Washington State University