Sports with Art Thiel
5:00 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Top 5 Seattle Sports Stories Of 2013

From a blockbuster baseball signing to talk of the Super Bowl, there was a lot for Seattle sports fans to smile about this year. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel names his top five sports stories of the year.

5. Dysfunction In Mariners organization

The Seattle Times published a story in early December about the complaints that four former employees had about the club's operation under general manager Jack Zduriencik, CEO Howard Lincoln and president Chuck Armstrong. One of those former employees is ex-manager Eric Wedge.

"The most remarkable thing about the story was that these four ex-employees who still have Major League Baseball futures put those futures on the line in going on the record," Art said.

4. Sounders Acquisition Of Clint Dempsey

The Seattle Sounders acquired star player Clint Dempsey amid a lot of fanfare in August. But he was away a lot playing for the U.S. Men's National Team and suffered several injuries. When he did play, he didn't perform up to expectations, only scoring one goal as a Sounder last season. The Sounders did make it to the Western Conference semifinals this year, but lost to the Portland Timbers in an aggregate-goal, two-game series.

"Dempsey was an awkward fit into a team that was already into mid-season form and the Sounders ended up losing nine of their last 10 games," Art said. "If Dempsey gets a chance next year, it should be different but it certainly wasn't good this year."

3. Mariners Signing Of Robinson Cano

The Mariners signed free agent slugger and former Yankee Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240 million contract in December. Some concern has been expressed about Cano's age - 31 - and whether he'll be performing at the highest level for all 10 years. But Art said "this is about the here and now."

"The Mariners tried to play smart for years, and didn't do that very well, by building from within. So they decided to go stupid and hire a guy for a few good years and hope that that gets them where they want to be," he said.

2. New UW Football Coach

After five seasons, Steve Sarkisian left the University of Washington just after the 2013 Apple Cup to take the head coaching job at USC. It was described as his "dream job" since he served as an assistant coach there and is from the Los Angeles area. That gave UW the opportunity to hire Boise State coach Chris Petersen as Sarkisian's replacement, a move that Art called "an upgrade."

"Petersen is considered one of the best coaches in America," Art said. "There is almost no one who is going to speak ill of him in his 13-year tenure at Boise where all he did was win with lesser players and stay out of NCAA trouble. So it was a remarkable week in Husky football history to have a coach leave an 8-4 team and get somebody better as his replacement."

1. Seahawks' Amazing Run

"The Seahawks have captured everyone's imagination in Seattle, and really a lot of people in the nation, as they continue to go through this year with a remarkable record that was the NFL's best and look into the 2014 playoffs as the team to beat for the Super Bowl," Art said.

You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and Crosscut.com.