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Originally published October 19, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 26, 2007 at 2:46 PM


Steve Kelley

For sports, It's the worst of times in Grumpytown

The first time he touched the ball in Sunday's loss to New Orleans, Shaun Alexander found some room around left end and gained 6 yards. On his next carry, off...

Seattle Times staff columnist

GRUMPYTOWN -- The first time he touched the ball in Sunday's loss to New Orleans, Shaun Alexander found some room around left end and gained 6 yards.

On his next carry, off right tackle, he hit a wall, and the Qwest Field crowd jeered with all the venom of an old Enron stockholder.

Welcome to Grumpytown.

First, let me say I believe booing to be the inalienable right of all sports fans. It is free speech. After paying, in some cases, triple-digit dollars to get into the game, fans deserve to be heard.

The game is the fans' immediate forum. And the boo is the universal way to express their displeasure.

"When we futz around and fumble the ball, I expect to hear about it," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said this week.

Such is life in Grumpytown.

• The Seahawks -- with their revamped defense, improved pass rush, deep receiving corps and sharpened special teams -- were supposed to cakewalk through the NFC West and make their way to Glendale, Ariz., and a second Super Bowl in three seasons.

Now they're 3-3, losers of two in a row, including a home loss this week to previously winless New Orleans.

• After teasing the Northwest for much of the summer, the Mariners lost 15 of 17 and flopped out of the American League West race.

• After lighting up hope with season-opening wins at Syracuse and at home against Boise State, the Washington football team has lost four in a row and has seventh-ranked Oregon looming.

• As much as fans want to get excited about the new-look Sonics and first-round draft picks Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, their enthusiasm is tempered -- heck, it's practically smothered -- by the thought that the franchise might move to Oklahoma City.


• Washington State hasn't won a significant football game this season and had 53 points hung on it by Oregon last Saturday.

The sporting life around here has felt as dark as Pacific Standard Time.

Charles Dickens should be covering these teams. Talk about Bleak House.

It is the worst of times and the worst of times.

If there was a thumbs-up-or-thumbs-down referendum on the players and coaches and general managers in this area, the votes would be landslides.

Mike Holmgren? Thumbs down.

Washington football coach Tyrone Willingham? Thumbs down.

Mariners manager John McLaren? Thumbs down.

Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi? Thumbs down.

Washington State football coach Bill Doba? Thumbs down.

Me? Two thumbs down.

Sonics chairman Clay Bennett? Three thumbs down.

I'm not saying I agree with all of these sentiments, but I know it's getting rough out there in Grumpytown.

Even KOMO weatherman Steve Pool is getting booed. I booed him yesterday as he walked across Denny.

What happened to our perfect summers? What happened to our golden-delicious falls?

Winter practically began before the Huskies opened the Pac-10 season. It seems like we splashed right past June into something resembling December. And now, according to the National Weather Service, our next chance for a warm, sunny day is July 7, 2008.

(I just made that up, but I bet I'm not far off.)

Who knew so many losses, so many bad decisions, could be blamed on Seasonal Affective Disorder? What other logical explanation is there?

Since we're not going to get any sun, this area needs some wins. Some metaphorical sun.

It needs a Washington upset of Oregon.

Or a 100-yard rushing game from Alexander against the Rams that the Seahawks can take into the bye week.

Or the hope that Bavasi can swing a deal for Minnesota lefty Johan Santana that automatically would make the Mariners a player in next season's pennant race.

It needs the start of the college basketball season, where the Huskies should be good and the Cougars even better.

It could use some early-season mojo from the Sonics. Some big games in November from Durant that will get the city buzzing about basketball and show the NBA how much it needs Seattle.

It needs something -- some things -- to cheer about.

The citizens of Grumpytown have spoken.

They're angry, and they don't want to take it anymore.

Steve Kelley: 206-464-2176 or

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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About Steve Kelley
Steve Kelley covers all sports, putting his spin on matters involving both the home team and the nation. | 206-464-2176

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