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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Letter of the Day

posted by on December 12 at 8:35 AM

Dear Editor,

I’m sure you have gotten this question a thousand times, but I was curious if The Stranger ever considered a small local sports section. Nothing big, but just enough to let the great city of Seattle know what’s going on with their sports teams. I am a huge Seattle sports fan, born and raised. I feel I have a great insight on our teams. And truly feel there is a need for such section in your great paper. You paper covers basically everything one would want to know about in a great manner, save sports. And I would love to be the person to give them that last bit of information about our city. I thank you for your time, and look forward to hear back with your response.

Seattle area citizen,

J.D. Jackson III

Hm… with just the sports sections of Seattle’s dailies to rely on—along with all our local television news programs, Seattle’s sports radio stations, ESPN, Fox Sports Northwest, and local sports blogs—I imagine it’s difficult for Seattle residents to find out what’s going on with their teams.

RSS icon Comments


Aw, come on, who else will try to figure out which athletes are queer? That would make for a perfect column in The Stranger.

Posted by Matt from Denver | December 12, 2007 8:41 AM

I mourn the day the Stranger prints a sports section.

Posted by Mr. Poe | December 12, 2007 8:42 AM

sports can handle the alt weekly approach. a lot of papers in other cities do features and cover stories on sports and as ive mentioned, you have some staff writers that can do sports. dont be a snob, sports is the great working class pass time. sports has everything, class struggle, crime, greed,politics, glory, excitment, i mean everything to make tons of great stories available. the writer of this letter is just trying to kiss your ass, but i think honestly alt weeklies can and should do sports, and put an end to the parochialism and anti sports crap that some papers carry besides youre a baseball fan.

Posted by SeMe | December 12, 2007 8:45 AM

You could just reiterate in every issue how America would rather pay billions of dollars to watch grown men hit a ball w/ a stick while watching this game on their fat asses instead of giving money to other things like health care or education.

Posted by mongo like slog | December 12, 2007 8:46 AM

the stranger HAD a sports column, Jock Itch. all i remember is its hostility towards Ultimate players.

i'd rather read that than Mistress Matisse's odes to her own awesomeness.

hell, i'd rather read Inga Muscio than Mistress Matisse.

Posted by max solomon | December 12, 2007 8:50 AM

Hey, I'd forgotten about Jock Itch. Good column -- and about the right quantity & quality of sports coverage for The Stranger.

I lurve Mistress Matisse though.

Posted by Erik | December 12, 2007 8:54 AM

You'd be surprised, Dan. Few at the Times or the P-I know fuck-all about baseball.

Posted by Fnarf | December 12, 2007 8:55 AM

I'd love to see a sports section in the Stranger just to upset all the uptight crybabies who hate sports.

Posted by Supa | December 12, 2007 8:58 AM

Satisfy the man. Get Adrian Ryan writing that column now!

Posted by Gitai | December 12, 2007 9:03 AM

The Stranger's coverage of watersports is pretty good.

Posted by gavingourley | December 12, 2007 9:04 AM

"You could just reiterate in every issue how America would rather pay billions of dollars to watch grown men hit a ball w/ a stick while watching this game on their fat asses instead of giving money to other things like health care or education. "

Stupid. Just plain stupid. A Lot of sports fans are active in many areas of society and to tell you the truth, I see more fat people at the Seattle International film festival than I see at a Sonics, Mariners or Huskies games. On this blog, the smartest commenters are sports fans. People with a vast knowledge on numerous topics. FNARF, Gomez, Lloyd, Gomez and others.

A lot of us vote, work as community organizers, alt weekly writers, college professors, goverment hacks, party hacks, or anti war activists.

Stupid stereotypes are just that stupid stereotypes, thats like me saying, “your mother has a fat ass” I mean that would be stupid of me.

Sports is a distraction something we follow, sometimos with passion, other times with not. It is also a place to see great physical greatness. Sports also has place, a role, in history. Think of Muhamad Ali standing up against the Vietnam war, Tennis athletes who have stood up for gay rights, think of the all-black college teams that beat segregation in the early 60's, Texas tech and others, the great Jackie Robinson, the great Roberto Clemente breaking the barriers for Latinos while being the wizard of the Pirates. John Carlos in the olympics, Jesse Owens spitting at Hitler by beating the so called master race, the great Jim Thorpe. Jim Brown the greatest running back ever who also became a community activist and community empowerment and anti gang activist, the great writer and thinker and sky hook master Kareem Abdul Jabar Labor struggles. The struggles of black athletes. The struggles of the marathon runners, the struggle of the Iraqi soccer team whose members are either all dead or maimed by now.

There has been bull shit too, everyone knows that and greed and everything else, but a lot of this anti sports bias is by people who were either wimps in high school or dont know crap about sports or never placed them. I played sports all through out my youth and still run and play sports today just like a lot of sports fans and I know just as many as fat activists as I know skinny ones.

Posted by SeMe | December 12, 2007 9:07 AM

yikes tons of typos. sorry no editor available.

Posted by SeMe | December 12, 2007 9:08 AM

One of my all-time favorite sports writers comes from an alt weekly in Nashville.

Posted by The Man | December 12, 2007 9:13 AM

Mr. SeMe speaks the truth.

Posted by Fnarf | December 12, 2007 9:22 AM

Sports contains everything important in life. There is drama, intrigue, passion, conflict, spectacle, hysteria, strategy, interpretation, comedy, rules and consequences. It unites people from different backgrounds and economic statuses. Sporting events are also good places to enjoy alcoholic beverages. I don't know if the Stranger is the right place to cover them, but I feel sorry for people who don't get it.

Posted by Clint | December 12, 2007 9:22 AM

I would really enjoy The Strangers take on sports, it would be interesting if only for the fact that you wouldn't have to be such a kiss ass like most sports reporters, also, I would love to see the view point of people who love sports but don't fit into the traditional demographic of a sports fans. Also, sports is a pretty broad topic, I mean you don't necessarily need to cover all the ball sports, how about skiing/snowboarding, these are sports that receive hardly any acknowledgment in dailies...

Posted by WA | December 12, 2007 9:22 AM

Devoted reader politely asks question, gets snarky answer. Feeling a bit grumpy today, Dan?

Posted by Big Sven | December 12, 2007 9:26 AM

Thx for the link the Man and if you look the cover story for this week at the nashville scene is a sports story by tobia.

the problems with the dailies is that most sports journalists today are public relations hacks.

One of the best and most politically minded sports writers of all time was Lester Rodney who wrote for workers world. He once challenged Noam chomsky's dismissal of sports by telling him " sports can become an arena where the ideas of our society are not only presented but also challenged."

Posted by SeMe | December 12, 2007 9:27 AM

I think as long as the Stranger isn't condescending towards fans like it has been in the past(ie Seahags, etc), I think it could work. Alt weeklys can be edgier in its coverage with its style and language.

Posted by Cookie | December 12, 2007 9:29 AM


I like your post, but it's unfortunate you have to reach back 30 years and more to find instances of athletes having a positive social impact on American culture. There's a reason why Kareem, Walton and Rick Barry have never gotten a real coaching job.

For the most part, today's athlete refuses to step up and speak up. Imagine Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan speaking out against the Iraq War or George Bush.

When Steve Nash wore his anti-war shirt and Carlos Delgado refused to stand for the national anthem, they were ridiculed until they both finally caved.

Unfortunately Big Money has changed the equation. Most big time athletes vote Republican, keep their mouths shut or both.

Posted by DOUG. | December 12, 2007 9:36 AM

What about local high school sports and community teams? That stuff's way more interesting and fun than pro sports, and I think The Stranger (or just Slog) would do a great job injecting even more personality into the games.

Posted by mattymatt | December 12, 2007 9:37 AM

Sports also has awesome performance enhancing drugs, obscenely overpaid rock star players, cheating coaches, gambling referees, their half-billion tax dollar sports palaces are subsidizing corrupt sports franchises owned by assholes who want to take the team away, and as a bonus they promote a largely (though not completely) homophobic and sexist atmosphere.

Yes, more about the awesomeness of sports, please.

Posted by SDA in SEA | December 12, 2007 9:40 AM

You could round up the commenters who are sports fans on here and have a killer sports blog.

Posted by dw | December 12, 2007 9:40 AM

SeMe, you fucking rule.

Posted by angela garbes | December 12, 2007 9:41 AM

I foresee a new Slog series "They Will Know We Are Jocks by Our..."

Posted by DaiBando | December 12, 2007 9:42 AM

eh, it is an alternative weekly. i understand many here are into sports, and maybe we don't need a divide between the "jocks" and the rest of us...

but i'd be sad for a sports page, too. it just seems to be an un-alternative as you can get. might as well have a business section.

then again, perhaps it could be down well. maybe cover different sports, such as roller derby and what not. or a humorous take on the normal sports... reviews of how the athletes looked while performing, etc... you could probably sneak in the actual results to appease the actual fans.

Posted by infrequent | December 12, 2007 9:45 AM

@4 - So fucking what? It's entertainment. If you're going to take that line, you might as well level the same criticism against moviegoers, or foodies, or anyone else who spends money on personal enjoyment rather than "other things like health care or education." Get a clue.

Posted by Hernandez | December 12, 2007 9:46 AM

"but i'd be sad for a sports page, too. it just seems to be an un-alternative as you can get. might as well have a business section."

I don't buy this. Then alt weeklys should stop covering the same films, theater, and art openings as the dailies. I think most people's point is that the Stranger could bring a different insight to the topic.

Posted by Chooie | December 12, 2007 9:50 AM

Sports also has awesome performance enhancing drugs, obscenely overpaid rock star players, cheating coaches, gambling referees, their half-billion tax dollar sports palaces are subsidizing corrupt sports franchises owned by assholes who want to take the team away, and as a bonus they promote a largely (though not completely) homophobic and sexist atmosphere.

And this is different from politics how?

Posted by dw | December 12, 2007 9:50 AM

If the dailies and the TV can do a good enough job covering sports, then why does The Stranger have a news section?

Posted by elenchos | December 12, 2007 9:57 AM

I'd be down with a freedarko-ish weekly take on some sports topic in the Stranger.

Posted by Postureduck | December 12, 2007 10:05 AM

If you people want sports coverage, come kill time on my Seattle sports blog EnjoyTheEnjoyment, where I can promise you an oblique reference to a 1980s Seattle Mariner at least once a week.

Posted by Seth Kolloen | December 12, 2007 10:06 AM

@28: the movie reviews in the stranger -- let alone the theatre, art openings, and food reviews -- are noticeably different from the other papers. what i said, was that if you had a sports section, it would have to be noticeable different. or not at all.

but to your point directly, just because a large paper might cover "alternative" events -- albeit poorly -- that does not mean an alternative paper is disingenuous in covering alternative events. that same could not be said if the alt rag started writing normal articles.

Posted by infrequent | December 12, 2007 10:11 AM

I could definitely see a sports page working. As others said here, the key would be that it would have to be distinctly different than the lame, boring coverage in the Times and such, focusing not on the overpaid prima donnas in the major pro leagues, but on the smaller teams (e.g. the Storm, the Sounders) and on local sports.

Posted by tsm | December 12, 2007 10:11 AM

You could just publish Roller Girl bout scores...that way you'd have one small section a month dedicated to Sports. =)

Posted by Cato | December 12, 2007 10:11 AM

The ONLY way a sports column would be a positive contribution is if Lindy West writes it.

Posted by jamier | December 12, 2007 10:12 AM

Derby updates. Enough said.

Our Seattle girls are now second in the country, in case you didn't know.

Posted by derbyfan | December 12, 2007 10:14 AM

Just that word -- Sports -- makes me die a little inside.

But coverage of snowboarding, roller derby, surfing -- that would be fresh.

Posted by Irena | December 12, 2007 10:24 AM

If I were the editor, I would include regular analytical stories about the Mariners. Baseball is a great sport except that the teams control the broadcasting, and MSM writing is as controlled as the Washington press. There is probably a blogger around, already doing this, though I could not tell you the Seattle analog to Aaron Gleeman.

Posted by David R. | December 12, 2007 10:28 AM

Doug but thats news, in a strange way you made my point..

And you dont have to go that far to come up with inspiring sports stories, I just cited the monumental events. There are little events on the court. Even if its a great Jeff Green basket resulting from a feed from Durant. But the Iraqi soccer team was only 4 years ago not 30, what about the women's soccer team? then there is the answer allan iverson, there is the story of the Huskies going to the sweet 16, and i mean the stranger has been covering the sups and the move, and what about the making of kevin durant? there are all kinds of sports stories and tons of alt weeklies do stories on sports all the time. good stories. friday night lights was a good story about racism in texas football and became one hell of a book. the stranger missed a great story some years ago on recruiting. and remember feit's stories some years back about the two basketaball twins from Rainier beach with the crazy dad who went to USC? there is great stories out there, and dont tell me people forgot our Sups of the Gary Shawn Kemp and Eddie Jones era? Please. A Garbes writes good sports pieces, but she writes them for Chicago alt weeklies and not our own? That is, as the kids say, WHACK!

Posted by SeMe | December 12, 2007 10:30 AM

David R., maybe is what you're looking for?

Posted by Postureduck | December 12, 2007 10:32 AM

I hate sports, and I make a living writing about basketball.

Obviously, buying wholesale into the American fan experience isn't alt-weekly friendly. And if you're waiting for the next Ali to walk through the door, you'll be sorely disappointed. But there's a lot about sports that Stranger readers could find interesting. Small things about players as people, the look and feel of the game, feuds that transcend mere athletic competition.

If you're hellbent on dismissing sports, I guess those are still useless. But isn't that a victory for all the asses who have made sports into something objectionable? If the Stranger doesn't have sports coverage, the sports fans have won.

Posted by shoals | December 12, 2007 10:32 AM

And cover the Seattle Majestics.

Apparently, they totally kick ass. Hard to tell though, since no one covers them. Yeah, yeah, I could read their website, but now we have Roller Derby and Women's Football. This column practically writes itself.

Posted by Will | December 12, 2007 10:34 AM

And the Seattle Quake seems like it might be right up The Stranger's alley.

Posted by Postureduck | December 12, 2007 10:38 AM

"Allen Iverson will always be my Miles Davis."

Posted by SeMe | December 12, 2007 10:41 AM

if not the stranger, then who is qualified to write about how hot volleyball players are?


Posted by infrequent | December 12, 2007 10:46 AM

Snowboarding and skateboarding and base jumping and all that other exciting stuff where one guy basically has a good time by himself are not sports. Those things are activities. To be a sport, you have to compete and interact physically with your opponent. You have to be able to keep score in a non-bullshit way. Having some judge say "Ooh, good one man!" and giving you 9 points is bullshit.

Activities are fine. You could write about them in an activities section. But don't call them sports.

Posted by elenchos | December 12, 2007 10:52 AM

Yea, you're right, I totally played into the fat guy stereotype. But sometimes I get so frustrated by the inane amounts of $ that go into sports when I see these egregious errors of life happening around me that take $ to fix. I should have worded my diatribe differently. I guess in the end, all money is dirty.

Posted by mongo like slog | December 12, 2007 10:53 AM

I think there may be room for some commentary on sport in Seattle that doesn't get much press (like Roller Derby) but think the space would be better put to use with more newsworthy content, such as international affairs.

Posted by Gabe Global | December 12, 2007 11:16 AM

If the Strangler's gonna have a new sports column, they could at least throw in a cock shot for us non-sports types since this is one of the few places we're not constantly bombarded with sports data.

Seriously dude, throw us freakin' bone!

Posted by Original Andrew | December 12, 2007 11:29 AM

They should also get rid of the music section, or at least only cover artists below the poverty line. And Bono.

Posted by shoals | December 12, 2007 11:32 AM

If the Sonics weren't so painful to watch right now, I'd write more of these:

Seriously, did anybody suffer through last night's Sonics game? It was like watching the Washington Generals play a cloned version of the Washington Generals while the Globetrotters sat in the stands and laughed. Worse still, the bottom-of-the-East scrubs in Chicago wound up beating us by nearly 30 points. THIRTY. We now have as many losses as the Boston Celtics have wins.

Earlier in the season, the Sonics' losses were tragic because they were often close, the kind that looked like Carlesimo was throwing the games intentionally at game's end to support my OKC conspiracy theories. But we've now moved beyond pathetic into tragic territory. Go Supes.

Posted by Sam M. | December 12, 2007 11:49 AM

"pathetic into tragic" = "tragic into pathetic." Eh. So not worth splitting hairs over when it comes to this team.

Posted by Sam M. | December 12, 2007 11:51 AM

I only wanted to comment on this entry to say you should cover Rat City Rollergirls. It looks like I'm not the only one with that thought.

I'm with the Burning River Roller Girls in Cleveland and I'd love to read columns in The Stranger about Rat City (as comment #37 points out, Rat City is second in the nation).

Posted by pain | December 12, 2007 11:51 AM

"You have to be able to keep score in a non-bullshit way. Having some judge say "Ooh, good one man!" and giving you 9 points is bullshit."

--I find myself in perfect agreement with elenchos

Posted by Clint | December 12, 2007 11:55 AM

hey, why not? i'm not a sports fan in any way, but i think adrian ryan could get me to read about it. just like mudede got me reading police reports.

oh, and isn't it just called "sport" now? without the "s"?

Posted by gforce | December 12, 2007 11:55 AM

sam, i don't think being objecively terrible or getting blown out by the bulls makes the supes any less worth following or writing about. it's disheartening, yeah, but keep giving me durant and green.

it warms my heart to hear from stranger sports fans.

Posted by angela garbes | December 12, 2007 12:18 PM

@57/Angela: Just exaggeration. I follow teams through thin and thinner...You're talking to a longtime Mavs fan here, for cryin' out loud.

Posted by Sam M. | December 12, 2007 12:20 PM

Just add coverage of the local soccer teams.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 12, 2007 12:25 PM

oh, and @43 - there are at least six of us Wills on the SLOG, so choose a longer name.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 12, 2007 12:28 PM

And let's not forget that Olbermann was first a sports announcer... and he is one of journalism's greatest at the moment.

Posted by Jocelyn | December 12, 2007 12:55 PM

Covering sports in the Stranger is a highly stupid idea.

Posted by J.R. | December 12, 2007 1:50 PM

@47, your right, snowboarding (and I assume you would include skiing) and skateboarding are only activities, people who engage in those activities are not paid nor do they ever, I mean ever, enter into competition, now that I got that off my chest, I'm going to see when tickets for the 2010 Winter Olympics are available, because I want to go watch some activities...

Posted by WA | December 12, 2007 2:47 PM

Dan, SeMe nails it @ 11.

It seems that Slog already bears witness to Stranger-staff sport fans talking about sports in ways that they enjoy them most. Isn't a good idea already at work on Slog? I'm glad that Stranger fan/Sports fans get a little suet here and there. The previous stereotype of total sport hate, frankly, seemed a little fake to me. I'm glad it's gone.

There's two things for me that fire me up:
1 is that if you play any sport with any regularity and enthusiasm you quickly cherish how different an activity from all others it is. It is no simple trick to translate a mental desire into an acutely, well-shaped physical execution. And in a team situation - say, with your friends on a weekend - it's becomes a dramatic environment in which to understand the power and effortlessness of resilience and dogged positivism.

2 follows 1 in that playing a sport shows you how difficult it must be to perform at a pro level. It gives you an appreciation of how pro teams can achieve the flow of unity on a spectacular level.

I approach sports fandom from pretty much that angle.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | December 12, 2007 3:40 PM

Freedarko is great. Give Bethlehem Shoals a column in The Stranger!

Posted by Abe | December 14, 2007 4:34 PM

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