Mend my broken heart

ERIN HAWKSWORTH
Published on: June 23, 2012

I grew up a Seattle SuperSonics fan. As a little girl, I have fond memories of my dad taking us to Sonics games at KeyArena. Memories, of driving around as a family, listening to Kevin Calabro call the games on our suburban’s radio. When I was in elementary school, a Shawn Kemp “Reign Man” poster decorated my bedroom wall. These are memories, I hold dear to my heart. Memories, children in the Seattle Area today will never have.

As an adult, I would return home from out-of-state to attend Sonics games. I vividly remember when the rumors started swirling that the team, the team I grew up watching and had supported all my life, could move. My family had season tickets then and we continued to support the team.

Maybe your reading this and you are not from Seattle and don’t know what it is like to have your team ripped away from you. So I invite you to watch the award winning-film Sonicsgate (sonicsgate.org) for the story of how the team was stolen from Seattle.

I applaud the devoted Sonics fans and creators of the film. Their continued support to bring an NBA team back to Seattle is appreciated by many. They haven’t given up and neither should we.

I don’t hate the Thunder (Zombie Sonics), like many Sonics fans do. It’s hard to hate that team. Kevin Durant and that Thunder team have so much class.

Perhaps, it’s investor Chris Hansen’s plans and the potential promise of an NBA team returning to Rain City that’s made it easier.

It’s weird though, every time I watch the Thunder play, I have an empty feeling inside. Especially this year, watching Oklahoma City’s NBA finals appearance. Having supported a team through years of inadequacy and disappointment only to watch them achieve greatness under a different name in a different city….it breaks my heart.

But just like the fans behind the film, Sonicsgate, I will not give up. Seattle will get it’s Sonics back. I believe, it is only a matter of time.

Leave the fences alone

Safeco Field

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should the Mariners change Safeco Field’s dimensions?

ERIN HAWKSWORTH
Published on: June 22, 2012

The Seattle Mariners have struggled to get hits at Safeco Field this season. Through 31 home games, the Mariners are hitting just (.197) at Safeco Field.

No wonder that, at 12-19, the M’s have the fewest home victories this season and one of the three lowest home winning percentages in baseball.

With the team’s recent struggles offensively, it’s easy to place blame on Safeco Field. I get it. It’s one of the largest ballparks in Major League Baseball. But the notion of moving in the fences at The Safe is just ridiculous and even embarrassing.

Yes, free-agent big bats would be more inclined to sign with Seattle if the dimensions were more attractive for sluggers. Watching your favorite player hit bombs each night would be exciting.

But, remember the M’s 2001 season? Led by Rookie of the Year and MVP Ichiro Suzuki? That team led MLB in scoring, averaging 5.72 runs per game. At Safeco in 2001, the M’s hit .283 with a .436 slugging percentage and .791 OPS. The Mariners hit 79 home runs and scored 440 runs in 81 games.

After winning 116 games during that 2001 season, the Mariners tied the 1906 Cubs for the most wins in MLB history.

However, one could argue the 2001 team is the aberration. So, let’s take a look at what the M’s did in 2007, which was the franchise’s second best hitting season. During that season, the team hit .287 overall.

In 2007, the Mariners hit .283 with a .418 slugging percentage and .755 OPS at Safeco Field. During the 2007 season, the M’s hit 77 homeruns at home and 76 on the road.

That 2007 team won 88 games, but it wasn’t a great squad. It featured some of the most frustrating players in team history, including Richie Sexon. Nevertheless, those Mariners weren’t victims of the ballpark.

It’s time to stop blaming the Safeco Field dimensions.

The players need to stop swinging for the fences and take what the park gives them. The fences are an excuse. An excuse that’s messing with the players mentally at the plate.

Right now, the Mariners rank 18th overall in HR’s and doubles. It’s not like the team is ranked 5th in MLB in doubles. The M’s batting average ranks 27th overall.

If you don’t make solid contact, then the ball won’t go anywhere, let alone out of the stadium.

When it comes to the fences issue, the mental factor behind Safeco Field’s dimensions may be the biggest hurdle. It seems the players may be psyched out of playing in their home park.

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