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Seattle’s Affinity for The Other Football leaves a Fan Futilely Searching for Regular Season’s final Matches…

November 13th, 2014 · No Comments

It’s hard to believe it’s that time again, Y’all know, Playoffs Baby! Uhm? Not sure what I’m talking ’bout here, after all the NBA’s just begun its Pre-season. While the defending Stanley Cup champions lost their season opener after raising their second Stanly Cup champions banner at the Staples Center, where the Los Angeles Kings were thoroughly routed 4-0 by their cross-town rival San Jose Sharks. Yuhs know, the very same team that let them escape elimination in last year’s playoffs after leading the series three games to none…

And that relentless 986lb Gorilla known as the National Football League was only in week six of its regular season when I began scribblin’ this, so just what playoffs am I talking about, eh?

Well, once again, I had the good fortune of attending a Sounders FC Football game vs. Northern (Highway) I-5 corridor rival’s Vancouver Whitecaps with Randal, thy “Moniker King” of my ‘lil racing blog No Fenders.

As Randy’s not only kind enough to take me to a game each season, but gives me the pick ‘O thee litter! As Randy’s got as he’d say: BITCHIN’ SEATS! Being just 15-rows up from the pitch and about five yards shy of the midfield circle…

Having chosen the October 10th Vancouver Whitecaps v Sounders FC match for sentimental reasons ‘Wayback in March, then eagerly awaiting the 40th Anniversary of professional soccer in Seattle, after this summer’s euphoria of the world cup, not to mention a world cup qualifier with the USMNT squad that features three current Sounders, including US Men’s National Team Captain Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans and DeAndre Yedlin being played at our very own ‘Der Clink! (Century Link Field) I’d simply lost track of the MLS season and was chagrined when Randy told me we were attending the third-to-last game of the regular season; Huh?

And why does every time I think of the Whitecaps immediately make me think of beleaguered NBA Star Steve Nash, who after all is a minority co-owner of the team along with the overly secretive majority owner Greg Kerfoot, and the franchises other two minority co-owner’s Steve Lucho and Jeff Mallett.

Whitecaps Invisible Owner casts large Shadow

As I’ve previously scribbled about Steve Lucho for No Fenders, who once upon a time owned an IndyCar team, while C’mon Steve, it’s obviously time to retire if Yuhs tweak your back simply picking up luggage, right? But I digress…

Dragonslayers

As the Rave Greens’ minority co-owner Drew “the Price is Right” Carey wryly noted upon Vancouver’s and arch nemesis Portland Timbers inclusion into the Major League Soccer fold when their respective franchises came online in 2011, these three Pacific Northwest rivals truly form “Thee Triangle ‘O Death!” Which in another nod to this triumbrant’s Pacific Northwest links, all contest the Cascadia Cup.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here, as I still fondly recall going to Seattle Sounders games at the venerable Memorial Stadium at the Seattle Center back in the mid-1970’s when I was just a ‘Wee lad, as Pop’s had season tickets and I’ve still got seven Sounders buttons tacked to my Bulletin Board forty-years later!

As Seattle and the rival Vancouver Whitecaps were part of expansion fever which gripped the North American Soccer League (NASL) in 1974, as this was the first true professional soccer league Stateside, lasting from 1968 to 1983.

with Seattle and Vancouver’s inclusion in 1974, which was followed by the Portland Timbers in 1975, the three teams battled mightily amongst each other for not only Pacific Northwest superiority, but league-wise overall.

And although I no longer can personally recall Sounders Captain Jimmy Gabriel, three names still dance about in my head, most notably Dave Gillett, along with Pepe Fernandez and Tony Chursky. While Mike England’s name just popped up upon thy radar screen…

Messer Gillett, who was my all-time favourite Sounders player, sporting the No. 17 on defense, sadly saw his NASL career capped by a gruesome leg breakage at season’s beginning in 1978. Whilst What I remember most ’bout Fernandez was his wicked broken leg which occurred in the Sounders home debut, effectively ending his NASL career. And Chursky was our star goalie, albeit from 1976-78, having NO idea he was from Up North Eh! As in Oh ‘KanaDuh! Having replaced original goalkeeper Barry Watling, an Englishman on loan I don’t remember at all…

The original NASL Sounders debutant Head Coach was John Best, a five-time 1st team All Star Defender who played for a variety of teams, including both the Philadelphia Ukrainians and Spartans, the Cleveland Stokers, the Californian Jaguars and Dallas Tornado before retiring to become Seattle’s coach where he compiled a 43-26 record before departing to become rival Whitecaps General Manager.

As Best former team went onto contest the NASL championship known as Soccer Bowl ‘77, when the game was at its fever pitch for Mwah, when those dreaded New York Cosmos with two of the league’s biggest names on their roster: Pele and Franz Beckenbauer unfortunately defeated Seattle 2-1at Portland’s Civic Stadium, in what was to be Pele’s final game.

Yet Mr. Best had run off to KanaDuh’ to become the Vancouver Whitecaps GM, ultimately guiding the squad to its lone NASL championship victory, when the team won the ‘79 title with a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Then Best was recruited by the Sounders then new management to return to Seattle as its General Manager in 1982, and help guide the team to its second and final NASL Soccer Bowl (1982) which once again ended in defeat, ironically to those pesky Cosmos, this time a One-Nil’ (1-0) loss at San Diego Stadium, before the league folded after the end of the 1983 season.

As Y’all may be wonderin’ why all the reminiscing, eh? As sadly, five days prior to the 40th Anniversary match between Seattle and Vancouver, John Best died at the age of 74 while on Holiday in Ireland, as he should have been at Century Link Field instead…

John Best, charismatic Pied Piper of original Sounders dies at 74

Thus it seems a long, long time ago since last attending a Sounders FC game, in fact so long ago, that I cannot remember who their opponent was? Although vaguely remember going, when donning jeans and windbreaker for the summer evening’s match, whilst having tried to describe the euphoria of attending my initial Sounders FC game ‘Wayback in ‘Twenty-oh-Nine in;

El Soundero!

While my All-time favourite game attended (to-date) courtesy of Randy, was the 2011 U.S. Open Cup played at Century Link Field, where not only were the Rave Green victorious, but it would be Seattle’s third consecutive Open Cup win, and was Oh, So special getting to witness the Sounders FC players reveling in the moment of their achievement by each hoisting the Lamar Hunt trophy high aloft from center stage, aka ‘Der Clink’s midfield pitch!

Sounders FC make Open Cup History

Which somehow, all of this revelry brings us forward to this year’s Sounders FC vs. Whitecaps game, which although visions ‘O grandeur; Err 67,000 raucous Rave Green fans had been predicted, the night’s attendance was only 55,765 instead! As Seattle has once again won the record for most attendance during the regular season with an average of just a “smidgeon” below 44,000, as Century Link Field’s upper deck was opened for the Vancouver game.

Ironically, as I listened on radio, albeit over the ferocious din of Seattle’s fan base screaming SEATTLE SOUNDERS! unfortunately team Play-by-Play broadcaster Ross Fletcher eerily pointed out how Seattle’s midfielder Brad Evans was having to use his experience ‘N guile to attempt countering the prodigious speed of Vancouver’s Kekuta Manneh, who unfortunately bolted past the slower Evans en route to scoring the nights only goal, even more deflating yet, having come in the game’s final minute of first half play. As the defeat would ensure Vancouver winning the Cascadia Cup for a second year in-a-row.

Making matters worse, was the Monstrous six-foot-five Center Back (defender) Kendall Waston, as KIRO’s Ross Fletcher joked how the 26yr old Costa Rican Footballer was everywhere, and was stopping the Sounders single-handedly, as the One-Nil’ (1-0) loss was Seattle’s first home defeat since July!

Thus, with two regular season games remaining, the scheduling “Gawds” shone down upon Major League Soccer, as the coveted Supporter’s Shield, awarded to the league’s team with the best overall record would be decided in a two game “round-robin” affair between Seattle and the dastardly LA Galaxy.

As fortunately, albeit soon-to-be TottenhamHot Spurs FC international player, and current Sounders FC defender De Andra Yedlin returned from National team duties to play against the Galaxy in Los Angeles, the first of the final two games between the two arch-rivals.

DeAndre Yedlin to receive Latvian passport, join Spurs in January?

Yet having turned off the game early during the second half after Seattle had characteristically slipped behind Two-Nil’, (2-0) naturally I was surprised, but happy to discover afterwards that Seattle had come back to rein upon Landon Donavan’s final regular season match 2-2 with goals by Sounders FC Captain and Stud Clint Dempsey! And Lamar Neagle in the space of three minutes, knotting the game even in the 72nd minute of play, as the two teams would decide the Supporter’s Shield at Century Link Field the following weekend.

But what’s a soccer devotee to do? Having scribbled how I WAS SO FUCKING PISSED!!!

Having spent all day Saturday waiting for the Seattle Sounders FC “Football” game which my NFB Newsline for The Blind TV Guide said was on Root Sports @5:30PM.

Thus, thought I’d tune-in the Pre-game ‘N scrolled over to KIRO FM on my ‘lil transistor radio around 5PM only to hear them playing the sound bite of Head Coach Ziggy Schmidt saying Thank You, Thank You; Blah-blah-blah as the Sounders had WON the game Two-Nil’; (2-0) WTF???

I HATE NW NEWS! As they give soccer duh Boot every time, as I don’t wanna watch the game  now that I already know the results - FUCKING Media! As I’ve since found out after the fact, the game started at 2:30PM, alas; Oh ‘Whale, at least Seattle won the game and its 1st ever Supporter’s Shield and thus clinches home field advantage throughout the MLS playoffs…

so GO SOUNDERS!

→ No CommentsTags: soccer · Misc

Perciless in Seattle…

October 22nd, 2014 · No Comments

Otay, so everybody who watches, lives ‘N breathes the NFL already knows this, but; way to GO Seattle! As I was totally unawares that anythingy had happened until my friend Marcus told me over the phone late Friday night, saying they’d just sent Percy Harvin to the New York Jets with the story hitting the Newswires around 4:30PM local time; WTF?

As always, in any form of business, if you’re trying to bury a story, or keep its initial exposure to a bare minimum, then rule number one is to not announce it until the latest on Friday afternoon as possible…

thus, naturally I, along with most I’d suspect, weren’t aware of the entire situation, as its since been reported that Percy refused to go back into the Dallas Cowboy game towards its ending, which we all know that Seattle lost.

As all I can say to that is, you’re joking right? Since this is effectively telling your boss I won’t do my job! Alas, I’m very happy that for lack of better words, Seattle’s cut the cancer out of its organization! I mean, that’d be like a racing car driver saying I won’t drive the car today, which just doesn’t happen!

Seattle gave up a lot to get Percy and another Minnesota Vikings “BUST!” Wide Receiver named Sydney Rice, as Harvin cost the Seahawks a first, third and seventh round Draft Pick, along with a $25m contract, which Seattle paid the “Lion’s share” of, i.e.; $18-million, as Percy effectively played just eight games for Seattle! (While Yuhs Diehard Football Fans will know that the deal for Percy was way more…)

Yet, how can we ever forget that electrifying second-half kickoff return for a TD in the Super Bowl last year, which effectively put the knife in Denver! As good for Seattle for willing to spend eighteen million Smackeroos’ (dollars) to win a Lombardi trophy!

As the only negative to this whole caper is Seattle having to let Golden Tate go to Detroit instead of sending Percy in his place earlier this year, as hopefully the new wide receivers will eventually pick up the slack, as Seattle still somewhat lacks that true “Super Star” WR, but easy Mr. Baldwin! And settle down Jerome, (Kersey) who were Seattle’s only two receivers with more than eleven receptions to their credit at the time of this transaction…

percy harving leaves seattle seahawks

As my initial question when hearing of the deal on Friday was: when does Russell Wilson’s contract expire? As I thought may be Seattle’s trying to make some salary cap space? As I still think this figures in somehow, since Seattle’s not gonna let Wilson walk, right?

Having now learned I’m on the right route here, from the story below, while I’d obviously dropped the pass on Harvin’s contract, which was actually a six-year $67m extension, with $25.5m guaranteed; YIKES!

So way to GO again Seattle for being decisive and getting rid of a trouble maker! As ironically, I wasn’t aware that Percy had given Tate a shiner last year, or scuffled with Baldwin, as it sounds like Harvin’s got a little ego Problema, eh? As three teams in 18mos, and now under the microscope in the “Big Apple,” so good luck Percy!

While only time will tell if the reigning Super Bowl champions make the playoffs this season or not?

What Percy Harvin trade costs Seattle and New York

→ No CommentsTags: Misc · NFL Football · Uncategorized

The NFL’s Dark Side…

October 3rd, 2014 · No Comments

So, it always happens, right? You go away on vacation and all HELL breaks loose… Which is exactly what happened, sorta, whilst your Senior Scribe Touchdown Tommy was busy frolicking along the Pacific Coast, ultimately on Florence, Oregon’s magnificent Sand Dunes, and hence the relative quietness here at Sportyblog lately…

Amazingly, the $10b, as in BILLION grossing sports entity officially known as the National Football League seemingly is living up to a very old not so flattering slant upon the acronym for NFL, which I heard repeated recently upon Speed Freaks, when Statmann called it the National Felons League!

Which is exactly what its beginning to look like right now, having been aware of the Ray Rice lack of punishment for domestic violence, which rightly went viral and caused NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s Kneejerk reaction; Err revision to the leagues Personal Conduct Policy. Like Really? Smoking Marijuana can get you a four game ban for PED’s; (Performance Enhancing Drugs) can Y’all say ex-Seattle Seahawks Brandon Browner?

While San Francisco’s Aldon Smith was given a nine-game suspension for falsely telling Los Angeles’s TSA that he had a Bomb, along with two DUI’s vs. ex-Baltimore Ravens Rice’s punching his wife unconscious only netting a two-game suspension initially; Go Figure!

NFL announces new domestic violence policy

As that’s apparently just the tip of the iceberg, having missed the news of Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson’s child abuse indictment, not to mention the Carolina Panthers Greg Hardy, 49ers Ray McDonald and Arizona Cardinals Jonathan Dwyer’s pending Domestic Violence issues!

Vikings brass fumbling Adrian Peterson situation just latest embarrassment for Roger Goodell, still in hiding

And the Hits; OOMPH! Err, bad pun there, as the NFL, and specifically Goodell & Co look increasingly like a bunch ‘O Rumblin, Stumblin, Bumblin’ Idiots right now - after current NFL Security Chief Jeffrey Miller, an ex-Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, vehemently denied ever seeing the Ray Rice video sent to his office, which a female office worker acknowledged receipt of in a 12-second recorded voicemail..

Report: NFL Security Chief was sent Video in April

Yet, for Mwah, these are just some of the latest issues to completely turn me off towards the NFL, which really PISSED ME OFF initially when Tony Dungee took his Homophobic stance against Michael Sam being drafted by the L.A. Rams during the Pre-season, causing me to quit watching The Dan Patrick Show, since after all they’re “Buddies,” both working ultimately for comca$t…

Thought I’d try ESPN for some “soothing” blather during breakfast, next, but scratch that! They’re OFF my viewing list after the ABSURDITY of discussing Michael Sam’s showering procedures; WTF? For Christ’s sake people, he’s a Human Being, just like you are, so knock it the FUCK Off!

As it now seems ironic that the very team that threw Sam a lifeline by signing him to their practice squad, now sees Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones currently in hot water over sexual assault allegations! Uhm, Yuhs gonna comment on that Mr. Goodell? Nah! Didn’t think so, since after all, he’s one of your bosses…

Then there’s the Chris Kluve issue, which the Minnesota Vikings, remember them? Like didn’t Adrian Peterson play for them recently? Y’all do remember Kluve’s unceremonious sacking as their punter after being harassed by Vikings Special Teams coordinator Mike Priefer with expletives and Homophobic behaviour.

As Priefer has gotten off with simply a slap upon the wrist, i.e.; two-game suspension and Wink-Wink, Nudge-Nudge,” Sensitivity” training, while the NFL looked the other way and the Vikings owner’s quickly shilled out $100k to LGBT organizations to make it all go away; the very same franchise who’s paying Peterson nearly $700,000-a-week to NOT play ball! While its owners said they needed to get it right 24-times in their recent press conference…

Meanwhile, Kluve is now out of the league and none of its 32-teams have called him recently for try outs, as none of that’s related to his brashness over this matter, right?

Kluwe’s only regret is ‘I didn’t record everything’

As doesn’t the Miami Dolphins Bullying scandal seem like an eternity ago now? Not to mention another of Goodell’s benefactors shilling out “Peanuts” for his Drugs and driving drunk problems. Y’all know when Indianapolis Colts owner Robert Irsay was fined $500,000 and given a six-game ban, all of this occurring before Forbes just announced him as one of America’s 400 richest people, being ranked No. 368 with an estimated net worth of $1.7-plus billion.

Oh, and let’s not forget the ongoing concussion lawsuits, litigation, etc, along with ex-New England Patriots Murder suspect Aaron Hernandez, all of which have occurred during Mr. Goodell’s eight-year watch; Err reign as commissioner of the National Football League, and I’d have to agree, it’s time for him to resign, as good thing you already got that pay raise Mr. Goodell!

It’s Time For Roger Goodell To Resign As Commissioner Of The NFL

→ No CommentsTags: Misc · NFL Football

Changing Gears…

September 3rd, 2014 · No Comments

With the arrival of thy all conquering National Football League’s regular season kickoff in just mere days, along with an early Labor Day having passed us by, what better time to throw out one more languishing summer story, eh? As I just haven’t had time to finish this story off lately…

Otay, so it’s that time again, well actually it began a ‘Wee bit ago, more precisely on July 4th, albeit in Bloody ‘Ol England and hence No Worries Mates! Over interfering with our most ballyhooed 4th ‘O July Holiday, which is just a Gynormous excuse to blow up lotso” thingys, not to mention the Detroit Meteorologist who took out his eye - along with a man in California blowing off his hand! Or a local teenager being maimed by a Roman Candle; but I digress…

Nope, instead I’m talking about that venerable summer European classic bicycle race, officially known as the Tour de France, although I tend to prefer thy moniker “Tour le Farce,” which is in regards to the myriad of Doping scandals over the decades, as we all know about Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace.

A Sad Day for Cycling…

As in years past, I’ve attempted noting the Pacific Northwest’s involvement in the sport, albeit sometimes a stretch, as this year’s Tour originally seemed to only feature three combatants flying the Stars ‘N Stripes. As the Top-2 ‘Yanks were Andrew Talansky, (Age 25) lead rider for Garmon Sharp and Tacoma, Washington born Tejay van Garderen (25) spearheading BMC Racing’s assault, with rookie 26yr old American rider Peter Stetina serving as one of van Garderen’s “Domestique’s.

Yet somewhere between Stage’s 5-6 I heard my least favourite TV announcer Todd Harris note that there were nine American riders in this year’s event; Huh? (And that doesn’t include the two ‘KuhNucks I later found out about…)

Thus I was finally able to discover that although Wenatchee, Washington’s Tyler Farrar; former Tour stage winner had missed the cut for the second year in-a-row, meanwhile the tour’s second oldest rider was none other than Bend, Oregon’s Chris “The Hornet” Horner racing for Lampre-Merida at the stellar age of 42!

Although naturally you’d assume that the two U.S. cyclists with the last name of King may be related? Nevertheless, they’re not, with the unknown names of Richmond, Virginia’s Ben King (25) serving as Domestique for Talansky at Garmon Sharp, while the elder Edward “Ted” King (31) of Exeter, New Hampshire is riding for Cannondale.

the remainder of this year’s U.S. rider Peloton was made up of Garmon Sharp’s Alex Howess, (26) Team Sky’s Danny Pate (35) and Trek’s Mathew Busche. (29)

This year’s 101st running of the sport’s top race saw a quartet of riders as favourites to wear the maillot jaune (yellow jersey) on Les Champs-Elysees in Paris at tour’s end on July 27th; in no apparent order, with the four riders being: Vincenzo Nibali nicknamed “Lo Squalo” (The Shark) leading the tour from Stage2, while defending tour winner Chris Froome pulled out of competition this year on Stage-5!

Alejandro Valverde, known as “Balaverde,” (The Green Bullet) “El Bala” (The Bullet) or) “El Imbatido” The Unbeaten) also from Spain seemingly basks in the shadow of his more acknowledged countryman Alberto Contador, who became my pick to claim his third (legitimate) Tour de France victory after Froome ’s retirement. As Froome would later reveal that he’d suffered fractures to his left wrist and right hand in subsequent falls.

Sir Bradley Wiggins, (”Wiggy Baby”) Britain’s first tour winner in 2012 seems a figment of the race’s past, having now missed the last two year’s events due to injuries - along with personally admitting his time as a Grand Tour winner has passed him by.

While another much heralded countryman and former team Sky team-mate affectionately known as the “Manx Missile,” nee Mark Cavendish couldn’t contain the temptation of winning his first home stage in Jolly ‘Ol Yorkshire and caused a crash resulting in a broken collarbone just tantalizing yards from the finish line, having withdrawn from the tour and having had shoulder surgery immediately.

Luxemburg’s Andy Schleck, the 2010 Tour winner was out on Stage-3 due to injury while last year’s runner-up Columbian Nairo Quintana never even took the “Green flag,” and for reasons unknown isn’t contesting this year’s event.

Germany’s Marcel “Skittles” Kittel got off to a frenetic pace by winning three of the races first four stages, winning stages one, three and four with Nibali taking Stage-2, with Neederlander’ (Netherlands) Lars Boom winning the lumpy Stage-5. Germany, a la its Football team returned to the forefront the following day when Andre Greipel won Stage-6 and countryman tony Martin won Stage-9, claiming the Lion’s share of the Tour’s first third of racing.

But the tour’s beginnings in France were wet ‘N miserable with heavy rains on stages four-five where Chris “Vroom-Vroom” Froome, not to be ‘Cornfuzed with Fruit of duh Loom; Hya! Had a disastrous two days of cycling. First Froome had a nasty crash on Stage-4 that took a chunk of skin out of his thigh along with tweaking his left wrist, which he’d injured in a previous tune-up race.

Then it all went “Pear-shaped” the following day, when Froome crashed not once, but twice in the rain upon the unrelenting cobbles, albeit not even having gotten to the treacherous stones, and after hauling himself up once from the wet pavement threw-in the towel after a second crash and disappointingly retired from the race! As the stage, which is home of the famed Hell to the North ironically was aptly named for the day’s events, with ‘Aussie Richie Port taking over as Team Sky’s leader.

thus, although Nibali further increased his lead to some two-plus minutes after Froome’s retirement, my “money” was still upon Alberto ‘VO5 Contador to win this year’s tour, even if the pundits seemed to be favouring Vincenzo Nibali instead.

then the Tour seemed to be blown somewhat wide open as the unthinkable happened, albeit becoming a hallmark of this year’s Tour de France, when Contador reportedly either hit a stone or hole in the tarmac and went down hard on Stage-10, just having passed overall leader Nibali on a descent, with blood flowing from his damaged knee. Contador finally got back upon his bicycle and rode awhile longer before pulling off and retiring from the race, as it would later be divulged he’d broken his leg, yet actually his shin instead.

Meanwhile, Nibali stamped his intentions upon the Tour by destroying the field on the Tour’s nastiest Stage to date, with its final hill having an unrelenting gradient of 20-degrees; SHEISA! Yet the Italian rider (Vincenzo Nibali) serenely motored passed everyone, looking totally at ease and out for a Sunday’s ride upon capturing his second Stage victory of the event, before the race’s first rest day.

The following day it was announced that Fabian Cancellara had elected to withdraw from the Tour, and thus another ‘B-I-G Name had disappeared from the event, whilst Stage-11 was sheer torture for Andrew Talansky, suffering from the effects of two nasty falls, at one point pulling off to the side of the road and was supposedly seen crying while conferring with team officials before deciding to grit it out and ride solo to the day’s finish, just holding off time disqualification on the stage’s finish.

Talansky withdrew from the Tour the following day, where Nibali further established his grip upon le Tour by winning his second stage victory in-a-row, (third overall) with Team Sky’s Port cracking majorly on Stage-13 by dropping some eight-plus minutes adrift…

Thus, having concluded long ago now, Vincenzo Nibali was
indeed victorious, becoming the first Italian to win since the disgraced Marco Pantani won in 1998, who’s death’s investigation has subsequently been reopened by Italian authorities.

And while my personal favourite Tejay van Garderen had a mixed race overall, nevertheless he kept his head down and gritted out an eventual fifth place overall finish, tying his tour’s best result to date.

And with Tony Martin once again showing off his sprinting prowess, by winning the Individual Time Trial stage by 99-seconds, Nibali confirmed his mastery of this year’s Tour with an excellent fourth place Stage finish, which saw two Frenchmen; Jean-Christophe Period and Thibaut Pinot standing alongside in Paris on the podium’s final two steps respectively. As it was the first time in nearly twenty years (1997?) since France had seen any of its home riders finish in the Top-3!

As my long forgotten notes said there were just some 18-seconds covering the quartet fighting over positions two-thru-five. As once again, the Tour showed the riders who’s boss, as this climatic shoot-out for the final podium positions were indeed decided on Saturday’s penultimate (individual time trial) Stage, where two of the combatants suffered punctures, with France’s Romain Bardet being struck a cruel blow when suffering a flat tyre which took way too long to repair…

Thus Bardet’s misfortunes elevated the ‘Yank Van Garderen into fifth, as mentioned previously, and dropped Bardet to sixth place in the Overall Classifications. While Alejandro Valverde, not known for his time trial riding, was soon being called Old Man Valverde, as the French Lions vaulted past him, yet Alejandro kept Van Garderen at bay, finishing fourth overall, as we’ll now wait another year’s time to see if Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Tejay van Garderen or any other rider can dethrone Vincenzo Nibali!

→ No CommentsTags: Racing · Misc · NFL Football · Uncategorized

Summer’s Zenith in Seattle…

August 12th, 2014 · No Comments

Ah, how time flies by, and I feel somewhat guilty to have been sitting inside on what was a brilliantly sunny and relatively HOT day in Seattle… Hey! 88+ degrees Fahrenheit is pretty hot for us Western Warshintonians’, having just endured either the second or fourth hottest July on record, depending how Yuhs slice it. Especially since the majority of us don’t have AC. Which is pretty funny, compared to Indianapolis having just had its coldest month ‘O July, albeit still warmer than Seattle; but I digress…

July finishes as 2nd warmest on record at Sea-Tac

And ironically, whilst ex-Seattle Seahawks All Pro Walter Jones was wearing his gold jacket upon being inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, along with the NFL’s Hall of Fame game commencing Pre-season action, the day in question is affectionately known here in the Northwest as Seafair Sunday, traditionally capped by the Navy’s vaunted Blue Angels performing over Lake Washington, where thousands jam the log boom and shores nearby Stan Sayre’s pits to watch the Unlimited Hydroplanes dazzle us with their monstrous rooster-tails!

Yet Seafair is more than just the Blue Angels and Hydroplanes - with the cities annual summer festival filled with yearly traditions such as Solstice Day parade, the arrival of the Seafair Pirates, the Torchlight Parade, Milk Carton Derby, etc, along with now including the 4th ‘O July fireworks celebration.

Seafair is presided over by its royalty, which features King Neptune and Queen Alcyone, primarily selected in regards to their philanthropic work, as I recall that former Seattle Supersonics great Slick Watts was chosen as King Neptune last year, with this year’s King being ex-Seattle Seahawks defensive standout Marcus Trufant, while this year’s Queen is our former Governor Christine Gregoire, while there’s also a Miss Seafair crowned…

But back to what I’ve taken to calling the “Blower Boats” in deference of their utilization of Lycoming T-55 turbine engines, which have unfortunately replaced the iconic World War II piston aircraft powerplants of Allison and Rolls Royce’s Merlin and the ‘Uber powerful and dominant Griffon, as I previously previewed this year’s Seafair regatta over at No Fenders in;

Seafair 2014: Blue Angels return Sparks renewed interest on shores of Lake Washington..

Yet the carnage that began a week prior in the Tri-Cities Columbia Cup, (July 27th) held on the eastern side of Washington continued on at Seafair - with the most controversial part being the sport’s winningest driver excluded from competition after another collision with arch-nemesis Jimmy Shane and the sport’s current top hull, the Oh Boy Oberto.

Dave Villwock suspended for rest of Seafair after collision

And having read the story about Kip Brown’s rough goings the past year, fighting back from a broken leg and broken boat, I was surprised when hearing the news whilst watching the final preliminary heats; 3A & 3B - had been pushed back due to Brown’s Spirit of Qatar boat being involved in another nasty Blow-over accident; YIKES!

Kip Brown seeks Seafair victory in new Spirit of Qatar

As the Seafair weekend was somewhat bittersweet for the Brown’s, as Kip’s uncle Nate Brown, owner of the U-17 Our Gang Racing Unlimited Hydroplane, which featured Kip’s brother-in-law Jeff Bernard at the controls, was running its last race under Nate’s ownership - going out in style by having had fans sign the boat during its final two race outings in Washington…

Brown provides final hurrah for fans at Columbia Cup

As I’ve never seen such a chaotic ending to a Seafair Sunday finals, as first the F1 boats, the warm-up finale for the B-I-G boats, nee Unlimiteds was Red-flagged after one of the competitors boats disintegrated in a mighty crash! Which delayed the Unlimiteds race, which was even more wild, as both “the Voice of the Unlimiteds” and local Unlimiteds legend Chip Hanauer claimed that the first three boats had jumped the start! As it would take an agonizingly long 15mins after the finale to decide that the winner had indeed won the race, while pondering if he’d driven the Oberto too wide…

Graham Trucking wins Seafair Cup for second straight year

Meanwhile, not all of the local racing action was happening on the water, as simultaneously on Seafair Sunday, (August 3rd) the Floppers’ (Funny Cars) and their Top Fuel nitro-methane Dragsters plus Pro-Stock cars were contesting the NHRA’s Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Kent, WA.

As the legendous’ John “Elvis” Force, 16-time NHRA national champion was the top Funny-car of the entire weekend, capping his astounding 150th fastest qualifier (P1) position over daughter and team-mate Courtney, the winningest female NHRA Funny-car driver, with five career wins to date with another win light.

As the elder Force, at 65 met up with 67yr old Gary Densham in the NHRA’s oldest ever finals, which John Force won for his record extending 141sth victory!

Tony Sarge’ Schumacher was tops in the Dragsters, while in the Pro-Stock ranks, Alan Johnson was quickest in cars with the Bikes’. nee motorcycles not racing.

Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalita took the victory at Pacific Raceways over No Fenders ‘Straightliner favourite Antron Brown, while an intra-squad scrum between Summit Racing’s Jeff Line and Greg Anderson saw Lime taking the win light, while current Pro-Stock Cars points leader Erica Enders-Stevens breathed a sigh of relief over second placed Johnson not surpassing her tenuous points lead over the weekend.

As Enders-Stevens didn’t make the trip to the “Jet City” due to financial constraints, thus missing racing at Sonoma, California and Kent, WA - which I personally feel is a travesty! Although her team owner claims it was always in the plans since they’re running on limited sponsorship.

But even more baffling is the fact that longtime supporters Ford and Castrol of John Force Racing are leaving the sport at the end of this season - as the 16-time NHRA Funny-car champion will be left without anything to drive, unless somebody else steps up to the plate; Hmm? Perhaps the “Motormouth” of Floppers’ would look good underneath the skin of a Dodge Challenger? Just speculatin’ here though…

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