The BCS is Dead, Now We Have a "Final Four" Of Sorts

When this blog first started I wrote a piece about Iowa State’s upset of Oklahoma State that made the need for a playoff bracket at the highest level of college football ridiculously clear. To many fans of teams from the Football Bowl Subdivision the need for a playoff had been clear for many years as teams like 2009 Utah, 2010 TCU and three Boise State squads were snubbed from the BCS National Title Game. That being said, the Pac-12 and the Big 10 continued to object to any type of major change to the Rose Bowl (after all why would you mess with tradition?). However, protecting the Rose Bowl could only prevent the fall of the BCS for so long; eventually something was going to happen that would make it imperative to ditch the BCS and turn it towards a playoff. 
That something happened during the 2011 season. That something was the fact that two SEC Teams made it into the National Championship Game, Louisiana State University and the University of Alabama. Now those two teams were by far the two best teams in the country, there is no doubt in my mind. But the average sports fan was agitated. How was it that the University of Alabama (who had already lost to LSU during the regular season and as a result they could not play for the SEC Championship) made it into the National Championship Game over Big 12 Conference Champion Oklahoma State?
The answer was simple Alabama was the better squad according to the computer models. Alabama throttled LSU in the National Championship Game and Oklahoma State lost a thriller to Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl. According to the transitive property Alabama was by far the best squad in the nation. But as most sports fans know the transitive property is pointless (Arizona State beat Mizzou and Washington State beat Arizona State, therefore WSU is better than Mizzou…. get my point?). 
That being said, in my opinion the BCS computers actually got it right for the 2011 season. But the damage had already been done and it was time for the commissioners of BCS conferences to make a change. And that change has finally come, in the form of the “Final Four” format that was officially announced this week. After the jump I will discuss what we know for sure about the death of the BCS and some of the speculation surrounding the selection committee. 

At the end of a season a selection committee will choose four teams. These teams will play in a semi-final at the stadiums of two current BCS Bowls (Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Sugar Bowl). The National Championship game will be played after the semis (no duh) and the site will be where a city puts up an acceptable bid. Who determines where the Championship Game will be played, has yet to be determined.
College football has slowly been advancing to an acceptable solution for finding the National Champion for the last 80+ years. We went having from not even having a National Championship Game (1930-1997) to having the BCS and its National Title Game. Now that has fallen by the wayside as we look to this Semi-Final format. Bit by bit, step by step D1a (the FBS classification is probably going to disappear) marches to a true playoff bracket. But it is going to take time. 
Throughout the year on I have made it eminently clear (through the radio show and Twitter) that I absolutely hated the BCS. The inclusion of the Coach’s Poll into the computer calculations was the wrong move. Coaches pay attention to the teams that from their conferences because that’s who they play the bulk of their games against. They don’t have time to look at and study the rest of the teams in the country. Therefore they are going to favor teams from their conference. This tilts a coach’s top 25 and distorts the actual result of the final Poll. 
College Football fans worry that this conference bias is only going to get worse because now you are removing the cold calculating results based statistical analysis of the computers with members of a selection committee who are bound to have their own conference biases.  Another concern about the selection committee is that it will be less transparent then the BCS computer models (how that is even possible I don’t know). Now one way to void the concern would to be set a clear standard that will be used by the committee and then release said standard to the public. 
There are several ways to address these concerns. For the conference bias concerns that is another rather easy problem to solve. You have an equal number of representatives, from each D1a conference, in the committee. Then you have the committee use a clear set standards and requirements to decide what teams make it into the semi-finals.  
 That would be the logical way to make it fair. But why would the heads of the power conferences’ (who obstructed a playoff in the first place) do anything that was logical and fair?

Taking A Look At the Times’ Editorial Board’s Bad Publically Financed Arena Examples

An Editorial Board is supposed to sit down and review all of the facts regarding a situation. An Editorial Board is supposed to present both sides evenly before putting out its opinion. Blogs and editorials published by one person are not held to the same standard (although they should be). So when I read a piece published by an editorial board I expect to see both sides and a thoroughly explained and well written argument about why one side is right.

Unfortunately when I sat down and read the Seattle Times’ Editorial Board’s piece on Chris Hansen’s Arena Proposal I was very disappointed. Despite what they say in the introduction says they very clearly take a stand on Hansen’s arena proposal. Now don’t get me wrong they are titled to their opinions, but giving your opinion after saying you won’t is misleading and down right near a violation of the editorial board’s integrity. To make the entire situation worse they use several minor league arena/stadium deals (and a parking garage corporation) to prove their point!

I will try and counter their incomplete information with complete information and I will do this in a two parts. The first part (the post you are reading now) will review the arena/stadium deals that the Times’ Editorial Board brought up in their post (deals that went bad). As for the second part, that will talk about arena/stadium deals that turned out good for the cities (including two in the Times’ own back yard). We will begin, after the jump, with Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

Red Bull Arena Before a Soccer Game

Red Bull Arena is a 20,000 seat (and $200 million) soccer stadium that is the home of the Major League Soccer team the New York Red Bulls. Around the arena is empty warehouses and “industrial wreckage” that was supposed to be turned into condos and retail spaces. The City of Harrison, New Jersey paid $39 million in public bonds to help clean up the land under and around the arena site; that was the end of the public investment in Red Bull Arena. Harrison figured that tax revenue from the redevelopment of the area around the building would pay off the debts on the clean-up; the redevelopment (and the city’s ability to pay off the bonds) hasn’t happened yet.

The Red Bull’s billionaire owner (ranked 208th richest man in the world by Forbes) is trying to wiggle out of the property taxes on the venue, claiming that he doesn’t actually own the land. Add in the fact that Harrison has suddenly plummeted into debt and people are looking to assign the blame to somebody/something. That something happens to be a $39 million dollar investment in an MLS Stadium and the redevelopment that was supposed to, but has yet to, happen.

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Is This Complex Dead?

In Allentown, Pennsylvania an attempt to bring minor league hockey to the city is stuck in a legal quagmire. The city decided to build a $220 million dollar arena, hotel and office building complex in the downtown area, in an attempt to restart the city’s crumpling job market. At first everything looked like it was going to going all ahead full. Allentown bought one of its blocks back for $35 million dollars and began doing preparatory work for their new complex. Now the city block is a giant hole that is currently empty and there is no visual activity going on at the site, and this is all thanks to one of Allentown’s municipality’s.
Bethlehem’s (a municipality of Allentown) officials are objecting to the city using its bond power in an attempt to jumpstart the city’s lagging job market and bring tourist, and their money, into the area. They have launched a lawsuit that has brought the work on the site to a halt, and has probably killed the attempt to build an arena/office building/hotel complex.

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The only arena plan that the Times brought up that is similar to Chris Hansen’s plan is the Allentown Hockey Arena. As you undoubtedly noticed Allentown was trying to create jobs (an office building, hotel and hockey arena can do that) and now it doesn’t look like it is going to happen because a neighboring city objected to Allentown using Allentown’s bonds to build this complex. That is why $35 million in public funds have been wasted; not because the arena was a money pit, but because it has the city hasn’t even been able to begin construction.

As for the Red Bull Arena, a building that was built using private funds, people are trying to blame the city’s original $39 million dollar clean-up of the land, under and around the building, for the city’s sudden plunge into debt. Did the $39 million the city put into the building play a part? I definitely would agree that it did, but I would disagree that it played a major part in the city’s debt collapse.
All of this I found out after a ten minute Google search. You would think that the Seattle Times’ Editorial Board would spend at least that long fact checking something before posting it on the internet, for all to see.

The Key Arena, A Failed Attempt at Rebuilding And Its Future

By 1973 Yankee Stadium was literally falling apart. When people would stomp on the seating bowl concrete bits and pieces would rain down on those beneath it. It was time for the 50 year old building to be gutted and rebuilt. The rebuilt Yankee Stadium opened in time for the 1975 season and lived until it was demolished and replaced after the 2008 season, 33 years. In other words, the rebuilding of Yankee Stadium was a dramatic success.
The Seattle Center Coliseum, The Sonics Original Home
Seattle Sonics’ owners Barry Ackerley came to the City of Seattle during the summer of 1990 and said that the original Seattle Center Coliseum (built in 1962) was no longer a viable option as a NBA Basketball Arena, the City was surprised. Ackerley offered to build a private $100 million NBA/NHL Arena where Safeco Field currently sits. After giving Ackerley the go ahead, the City backed out of the deal. At that point an embittered Ackerley gave the city an ultimatum, come up with an Arena plan or I’ll sell the team. The City had to be looking at the success of the rebuilt Yankee Stadium; they probably figured that it wouldn’t be so hard to squeeze a modern NBA Arena into the footprint of the old NBA Arena.
The Key Arena, The Final Home of the Sonics
Thus the Key Arena, and the key to the Sonics 2008 departure from the City of Seattle, was born. It was an attempt to follow the Yankee’s model of success with their stadium, an attempt to keep the Sonics in the City for decades to come. The City announced that The Coliseum would be gutted, that the construction firm would dig down and that the “New Arena” would be contained in the old one’s footprint; it was also announced that the new arena would keep the original roofline of the Seattle Center Coliseum, keeping the City’s skyline pretty much intact. After all, keeping the new building within the old one’s footprint had worked well for the Yankees. If it worked in New York it should work in Seattle, right? 

The major reason that the rebuild Yankee Stadium worked was because they really didn’t do much to change the original design. Sure the Yankees added some modern amenities but the ballpark didn’t change, its footprint didn’t change. There was no reason to change any of it, after all the primary reason the ballpark was being renovated was because the Stadium had become unsafe. Not because it was unable to keep up with the financial needs of the Yankees.
Unlike Yankee Stadium, the Seattle Center Coliseum was structurally sound. The building was just not able to keep up with the financial needs of the ownership group. The City and the Sonics were trying to squeeze a modern building into the tiny footprint of the old one. They outright ignored what was going on with the new buildings in Phoenix and Portland and the massive footprints needed to build those modern (and still very successful) NBA Arenas.  
And to make matters worse the renovation ran way over budget and became a sinkhole for the tax payers who were forced to cover the cost overruns.  This forced the City to exact a high rent from the Key’s primary tenants, the Sonics. After all of what Ackerley went through to get the renovation done, the negative impact on his bottom line forced him to sell the team to Howard Schultz and the rest is history. 
Now the City, the NBA and the Key find themselves at a cross roads, again.  This morning Chris Hansen raised the stakes for a new building even higher by offering to have his ownership group take over the Key and help pay for upgrades to make it a suitable temporary home for the NBA. He also talked about continuing to improve the Key using tax revenues generated by the New Sonics temporary stay in the building. These improvements to the Key that Hansen would help bank roll are enhancements that the City has been trying to do ever since the Sonics left; enhancements that would allow the Key to stay competitive with the arenas in Everett and Kent. 
In other words, Hansen is offering the city a chance to fix the wrong it created when it backed out of its SODO Arena Deal with Ackerley in 1990. A chance to make the Key a destination venue for concert acts and.  A chance to bring back the City of Seattle’s first professional sports franchise.

Weekend Review

Last weekend, virtually everyone was in uproar over the controversial and questionable decision that was awarded to Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley (29-0 12 KO) over Filipino superstar Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao (54-4-2 38 KO). But before we discuss that, let’s not forgot that there were indeed other fights that took place last weekend.
In the super bantamweight division (122 Ibs.) Guillermo Rigondeaux (10-0 8 KO) defended his WBA title belt against fringe contender Teon Kennedy (17-2-1 7 KO). The fight was one-sided from the opening bell, as Rigondeaux knocked Kennedy down five times in the fight, including twice in the second round. Kennedy had no answer for the speed, power, and accuracy of Rigondeaux and inexperience of Kennedy was shown. This is strange considering that Kennedy has more professional experience than Rigondeaux, but we cannot forget that Rigondeaux had a lengthy amateur career and is considered to be one of the greatest amateur boxers ever. Hopefully, he will start on a path towards proving himself professionally by facing more accomplished opposition. Some fans are calling for a fight with another Filipino superstar, Nonito Donaire, as a possible opponent for Rigondeaux.
In the welterweight division (147 Ibs.) Mike Jones (26-1 19 KO) was expected to easily beat Randall Bailey (43-7 37 KO) in order to win the vacant IBF title belt. For the first nine rounds, the script played exactly to what experts and undoubtedly the IBF sanctioning body expected, as Jones outboxed and outworked Bailey. However, Jones was winning unspectacularly as the fight drew boos from the crowd. In the last seconds of the tenth round, Jones got caught by a perfect straight right hand by Bailey and went down for the first time in his entire boxing career. Jones was able to recover and seemed to be on his way to winning a relatively wide decision when Bailey completely caught Jones off-guard by shooting a right uppercut on Jones’ nose and putting him flat on his back. The reason Jones never saw it coming is because Bailey isn’t known for throwing uppercuts. Blood immediately began to stream from Jones’ nose and when it became clear to the referee that Jones was struggling to get up, the referee waved the fight off and the result was an 11thround TKO victory for Bailey and he won the IBF title. You can bet that the IBF officials weren’t expecting that.
Jorge “Travieso” Arce (60-6-2 46 KO) took on Jesus Rojas (18-1-1 13 KO) and this fight was expected to be exciting, fast-paced action. It started out that way as Arce knocked Rojas down with a left hook in the opening seconds of the fight and Rojas fought back gamely in order to keep Arce from overwhelming him. Then the bizarre happened. The fight was ruled a no-contest when Rojas hit Arco with a hard low blow, hit Arce on the back, and then hit him on the ear. Arce was given time to recover from the low blow but the told the referee and the ringside doctor that he had tremendous pain in his ear and was hearing booming noises. The fight was stopped at that point. Some people think Arce may have sensed the danger in his opponent and used the ear punch as an excuse to get out of the fight, but considering that Arce has never backed away from a challenge throughout his entire career and has fought through horrific cuts and bruises, this writer believes Arce when he says that he is unable to continue to fight. Arce discussed a rematch during the post-fight interview in order to settle the score with Rojas because he believes that this ending is simply no good for boxing.
In the main event, Manny Pacquiao defended his WBO welterweight belt against Timothy Bradley. The fight started off slow, as the two fighters, who are usually aggressive, fought at a distance and tried to outbox each other. However, it became clear that Pacquiao had the faster hands and much more power, as he continued to beat Bradley in the exchanges. The fight gained steam when Bradley was able to land some of his own clean, effective shots, but it was clear that Bradley lacked the power to really hurt Pacquiao and this made Pacquiao’s punches look even more powerful compared to Bradleys. Pacquiao hurt Bradley several times throughout the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds. To Bradleys credit, he fought back in the second half of the fight as his jab and counterpunches began to work for him. The two warriors began to get in more even exchanges as Pacquiao got caught with more of Bradley’s countershots. However, Pacquiao counterpunched Bradley as well and it was clear that Pacquiao’s punches were still harder than Bradley’s. In the end, Bradley was awarded a split decision over Pacquiao, to the outrage of many. Bob Arum, the promoter of both fighters, has even asked for a possible overruling of the judges’ decision. Even though, like many of you, I feel Pacquiao won clearly, I highly doubt they will overturn the decision. Consider that more outrageous decisions than even this one weren’t overruled. Bradley feels that he won a close decision but has welcomed a November rematch with Pacquiao in order to settle doubts. This decision is entirely Pacquiao’s because he has a rematch clause but as of this writing, no official decision has been made.

I Was There! The Mariners Throw the 10th Combined No-Hitter in MLB History.

Sorry for the blurriness. I was really excited.

I’ve watched my share no hitters on the TV before. I decided to watch Randy pitch against the Braves in 2004 because the Mariners weren’t on and I like watching baseball and Randy pitching; he threw a perfect game and I watched it in its entirety.  During the 2003 season I turned into a Huston Astros at New York Yankees game in the middle of the fifth inning and as I watched the Yankees (much to my delight) got dominated. It was only after the game that I found out I had just witnessed the final four innings of the rarest pitching performance in the MLB history, a combined No-Hitter. 
The Astros’s used six different pitchers in their combined no-hitter as they throttled the Yankees 8-0. I remember watching the Astros (with a 4-0 lead) going through pitchers like a woman going through cash at a shoe store. And I couldn’t figure out why they were doing that with a four, then five, then six and then eight run lead. I was even more confused when the announcer said that it was a no-hitter. That was the last combined no-hitter, until last night. The Seattle Mariners repeated the pitching performance last night beating the Dodgers 1-0 using six pitchers to complete the no-hitter.

Kevin Millwood flirted with a no-hitter against Colorado a few weeks ago and he was the starter last night. For six innings he had a no-hitter cooking against the Dodgers. And he was absolutely brilliant; he didn’t allow a base runner until the fourth inning. In the ballpark no one was saying much, but there was that certain feeling that something special was brewing. As each inning went by I began to feel more certain that I might be seeing my first no-hitter in person. And then my dad said; “I don’t want to talk about it or anything, but Millwood has a no-hitter through five.” 
Again he said the same thing after the sixth. After six innings Millwood was sitting at 68 pitches, he had walked one and struck out six. He went out to warm up for the seventh, threw two pitches and signaled to Mariners’ manager Eric Wedge and trainer Rick Griffin; he was done, after six innings of no-hit ball Millwood was forced to pull himself out with a groin injury. In the ballpark everyone was trying to figure out why Millwood would be pulled in the middle of this gem of a pitching performance, especially since he had been so efficient. The confusion is was so bad that one fan sitting near me exclaimed; “Well he better be injured! Leaving the game in the middle of the no-hitter, phhh!” 
Well Charlie Furbush was called into this tight situation and he got the first batter he faced. Then he made a bone headed throwing error to first that allowed the Dodgers second base runner of the game. Fortunately for Furbush, and the no-no, Andre Either decided to be generous and struck out swinging. At this point in the game the M’s and Dodgers were tied at zero. Any moves that Wedge made had to be focused on earning the win; the no-hitter had to be a secondary consideration. Furbush had done his job and it was time to bring on the flame throwing rookie in Stephen Pryor. Who proceeded to strike out Juan Rivera.
The list of pitchers involved
This was the point where Safeco Field started to really rock. I haven’t seen Safeco Field that energized since a four game series against the Angles at the end of August, 2007. And that building only got louder as Ichiro got a classic Ichiro infield single. Ichi followed that up with a stolen base, and Kyle Seager did what Kyle Seager does and hit an RBI single with two outs. Safeco Field was on fire, as Stephen Pryor (now in line for the win) came out to pitch the top of the eighth inning. 
This is where Pryor walked himself into a little bit of trouble, quieting the Safeco Crowd (I heard “God D*** it Mariners!” from somebody behind me).  The crowd became even quitter as the left field scoreboard showed that Brandon League was warming up in the bullpen (so was Luetge). Wedge brought in Luetge to face Loney, who grounded out to first moving the runners to third and second.  
That was when Wedge went and got League. This was honestly the part of the game were I was the most nervous. I was hoping that League would actually use his splitter and not rely on his fastball and slider. Safeco was as quite as a grave yard, League’s blown saves (while weeks ago) were on almost everybody’s mind. Meanwhile, Chone Figgins had been put into left as a defensive replacement for Mike Carp and nobody noticed. 
A.J Ellis was the man at the dish and Brandon League was on the mound. It seemed like the perfect moment for the Dodgers not only to spoil the no-hitter, but take the lead. Ellis quickly found himself in 0-2 hole, but he didn’t give up. He managed to foul off two pitches before hitting a sharp liner to left. Screams of “NO!” emanated from my mouth and many others at Safeco Field. I swear that my heart stopped the entire time that that ball was in the air. This was when I first noticed Figgins out in left field, and my heart dropped like a rock. 
Fortunately for all Mariner fans, Figgins did not live up to his nick name (Chokin’ Chone) and he caught the ball. Even better yet? His throw to home was a laser beam and on target, preventing the runner from attempting to tag. Four pitches later and League struck out Tony Gwynn Jr. At this point I turned to Adam Clark and said “I wouldn’t be shocked to see Ryan come in as a defensive replacement for Kawasaki.”  
Before I talk about the ninth inning, I want to talk about the two veterans that M’s fans are ready to see leave. League and Figgins both came up huge in that eighth inning. Figgins made a play that made a play that will forever go down in M’s history as one of the most clutch throws from the outfield. And League got the M’s out of a sticky jam with a K. League’s performance under pressure was more impressive to me. So far this season he has refused to use his split finger fastball; but that wasn’t the story last night. He used it a lot last night and as a result he got the crucial outs that allowed the M’s to preserve the six pitcher no-hitter.
Back to the game, a typical Mariners eighth (1-2-3) resulted in a save situation with a no-hitter on the line. And who better to bring in then “The Bartender” Tom Wilhelmsen, who has filled into the “Closer” role so nicely since League lost his handle on it.  The first batter that Wilhelmsen faced was Dee Gordon, who attempted to bunt, but saw it role foul. The next pitch was a slow roller to short (Ryan DID replace Kawasaki at short). And Brendan Ryan made a play that only Brendan Ryan could make, throwing out the speedy Dee Gordon. At the time I didn’t know if Gordon was out (heck I STILL don’t know, it was such a bang-bang play), but Gordon didn’t think he was out. He started to jaw with the first base umpire, forcing Dodger manager Don Mattingly (tied with Rodger Maris as my favorite Yankee) to come out and save his player. After play resumed Herrera lined out to Ryan at short, leaving the M’s one out away from history. 
The final out came on an Andre Either grounder to second, which Ackley tossed to Smoak sealing the deal.
Throughout the entire ninth inning the crowd had been on their feet (at least the lower bowl was). And as Wilhelmsen worked his way through the ninth they got louder and louder until it reached its loudest point after Smoak caught the final out. I nearly smashed my knee into the chair in front, I heard a lot of “WOW!” and “OH MY GOD!” coming from M’s fans sitting near me. In his postgame interview Wilhelmsen sounded like he had just woken up from a dream. That was probably the craziest thing I have seen while attending a sporting event. It was fun, exciting and nerve racking. 
That was the third no-hitter in Mariners history and the second in Safeco Field history; both of Safeco’s no-hitters have been rare. Phil Humber threw the 21st (20th regular season) perfect game in major league history earlier this season. What happened last night was even rarer than a perfect game, it was a combined no-hitter. There have only been 10 combined no-hitters in MLB history. And boy was I glad I got to witness one in the ball park.

Now that the Thunder are Playing for the Championship it is Time for Some Venting (and Hopefully Closure)

Tonight Sonics’ fans faced their worst fear. That worst fear being the OKC Thunder clinching the Western Conference Championship. And that, quite honestly, sucks. Especially since Seattle got a teaser year on what Kevin Durant is capable of and OKC will get to see Kevin Durant in his prime. A lot of Seattleites are probably going to feel bitter and they damn well have a right to.  The team was taken from them by an ownership group that didn’t care for them and politicians that didn’t follow through on their public promises. 
When it comes to the NBA playoffs Sports with Neil’s twitter account has been rather silent and that is for a good reason, I am still bitter about the Sonics leaving (if you don’t believe me look at @nvr93’s tweets). And when I originally started to write this blog post I wanted to keep a level head and look at it from a perspective other than the jilted sports fan. In the end I decided that I wasn’t going to be able to do it. So instead you are going to get a post that vents the author’s frustration with the entire situation.

First off Howard Schultz can step on a Lego in the dark. If anyone is looking for a place to place most of the blame, Schultz and company not holding out for a local buyer (when selling the Sonics) is a good place to look. The team went up for sell right around the time I started to really follow them, for those of you who are wondering that would be the 2005 playoff run. Since I started the following the team during one of their up years I obviously became infatuated with them. And that infatuation would continue through their rapid descent into Oklahoma City following the 2008 season. 
I remember constantly checking the scores of the NBA playoffs, tunning into TNT and ESPN to watch one of our local teams make the playoffs (a novel idea, right Mariners?). That year was fun, very fun indeed. The next three years really, really sucked as the team collapsed and ownership changed hands. And any hope of an actual arena deal getting done with in King County, and the state of Washington, disappeared.
Bennett’s arena plans were an absolute joke and so was the product on the court. The team was torn apart and the rosters’ rebuild was under way. This is where Seattle’s “lack of attendance” comes into play. When every team goes into rebuild mode their attendance falls (the Yankees and Red Sox have experienced this as well), most people don’t want to spend a day’s wages on attending a basketball game when the product on the court is crap. National media outlets would overlook this fact as they talked about the potential (and then eventual) relocation of the Sonics. 
The kicker was the when Nickles took the ownership group to court to make them fulfill their lease and then settled for a settlement that paid the city the remaining fees on the Sonics lease.[1]One thing Nickles forgot when negotiating that settlement was that businesses in the Seattle Center depended on the crowds from Sonics games to keep them afloat during the winter. Without the Sonics those businesses folded, costing their employees jobs and the city tax revenue. In other words the settlement hurt the city more than it helped.
Now on top of the economic problems generated by the departure of the Sonics is the emotional hole left by the departure of Seattle’s oldest professional sports franchise, also the cities second professional sports championship (hello Seattle Metropolitans the 1917 Stanley Cup winners). I guess which made this departure even worse was the young, but clear, talent on the roster. That talent will now see playing for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. 
For me the departure of the Sonics hurt because I had just started to enjoy basketball and religiously follow the team. What I mean is that I put the Sonics on the same level as the M’s and the Seahawks (I have been following both franchises since I was a baby, both of which are below Cougar Athletics). And to have a team I was starting to really value sucks in oh so many ways. And now to have that same team four wins away from their “second championship” is even more frustrating. Especially since the city and the Thunder franchise (and any future Sonics franchise) share the history.*
*If I had written this part an hour ago, the tone would have been angrier and it probably wouldn’t have made any sense.


[1]For a more in-depth look at the loss of the Sonics, watch SonicsGate