duffSPLASH.jpg
Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. Check back on Monday when he writes about what's playing on his iPod.
I may be narrowing

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My City, My Sports

duffSPLASH.jpg
Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. Check back on Monday when he writes about what's playing on his iPod.
I may be narrowing my audience this week by stating that this time of year is my absolute favorite in the world of sports. My world is admittedly provincial, and that is OK. I am from Seattle, and at no time in all my moving around have I ever pulled for a team outside this area. I'm a "homer," as we are called in the U.S. I could open up a whole new area for you U.K. readers by stating that I pull for Arsenal when I am over there and the mood hits. Why Arsenal? Kick-ass name, is all.

For the past five or six weeks, I have made music lists, and I could sense that this angle was becoming a bit stale and used up--for you the reader, and also for me. I will bring those lists in again from time to time, but for now, let's get into some sports!

Before I begin in earnest, I have to come clean on something I said last year--I stated that I thought Fantasy Football was geeky and served no purpose. Don't get me wrong, my feelings toward FF are the same, but I am now in a league this year. Jerry Cantrell would not take no for an answer, and I now have a team on this year's Alice in Chains/ESPN Charities League. You can log on and root for my team . . . or Zakk Wylde's . . . or Vinny Paul's . . . or Mike Inez's . . . or Kenny Wayne Shepherd's, or whoever else's. Just know that my 13-year-old nephew picked my team, and he is more plugged in to FF than ANY of these hairy rockers! Hey, it IS for a good cause!

This time of year has a bit of everything. College football is just getting started, and the USC/Ohio State game is already upon us. Major League Baseball is nearing the end of the season, and all the divisional races are heating up. The NFL season is finally upon us. Since I was about 6 years old, this week of the year has had an almost Christmas-like feel. So how do our local teams look?

Mariners: We are finally a team who can beat any other on any given night. I really like some of our mid-to-late season pick-ups. We finally got a real utility player in Bill Hall, who could drive in a lot of runs for us next year. Anaheim doesn't look to be going anywhere soon, but if we can get the Rangers out of the way next season, we have a REAL chance at a wild-card berth. Let's hope we can keep Felix and add some pitching. Lopez, Ichiro, Branyan, Gutierrez, and Langerhans are great in our everyday lineup. Oh, yeah . . . and Wilson! Aardsma is a great closer! To next year's M's!!!

Sonics: Oh, yeah . . . fuck you, Clay Bennett and Commissioner Stern!

Huskies Football: Last week's 31-23 loss to LSU showed me a few things. The Huskies are again believing in a head coach and his system. It has been too long. I was fired up to see our guys hitting, and hitting HARD. Sarkisian and his staff have brought hope to Seattle and hope to this failing Huskies program. I grew up in the Don James era. Anything close to that would be an amazing thing in these parts. I got a lot of "The Huskies are BACK" e-mails and texts after last Saturday's game. I guess we fans are buying into Sarkisian's system too.

Seahawks: It's hard to say what kind of team we have. I'm not one to get too excited about pre-season football, hence an undefeated exhibition season means practically nothing (admittedly, it is better than a WINLESS pre-season record, right?). Our D-line looks real good, but our D-backs scare me. Our offensive line has improved, but that is not saying a whole lot. Matt Hasselback has a plethora of receivers this year, and the addition of "Hoosh" may prove to pay lots of dividends. It seems as if this team has made a seamless transition into buying into new coach Jim Mora's program. The Hawks are my team, and I will be living and breathing every play again this year. Some have picked us to win our division, but after that? What do you guys think?

Sounders F.C.: All right, I am sorry to say that I am just not there yet. I played two years of soccer back in the '70s because I had a good friend who wanted me to play on his team. I was more the football/basketball/baseball guy. Because I played soccer in the '70s, I was aware that Seattle had just got a major-league team, and that Pelé was coming to town with his New York Cosmos (Pelé had passed his prime in places where his skill mattered, but we in America were absolutely thrilled by this phenom). The Sounders were always that other team that employed college players and others. Now it's suddenly Sounders F.C. everywhere you look. Games are selling out at Qwest, and people are talking about the club and its fans all over this country. When I travel, inevitably someone will come up to me and say, "Oh, you are from Seattle. How 'bout those Sounders!?" I mumble something about missing the boat, etc . . .

So that's it. It's that time of year when a lot of sports stuff is happening all at once. My girls will try to change the channel on me this weekend. But I am bigger than them, and have a multitude of tactics to sway them to another activity. Maybe I will tie my credit card to the end of a kite and float it out in the backyard for the weekend. They will get their exercise AND think there is a chance of going to the mall. Or I'll simply tell them that some 11- and 12-year-old boys are coming over to watch. That'll send them to their rooms in a hurry.

 
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