Thursday, May 26, 2011

TOP 9: Most hated people in Seattle Sports

People love to hate on athletes. It’s one of the things that helps makes American sports what it is. From Skip Bayless ratting on LeBron James to a crazy drunken guy explaining how much Matt Hasselbeck sucks, hating on athletes is part of the core fabric of America.

Seattle is no different. Here is your Top 9 most hated athletes, general managers, and owners that have ever made in impact on Seattle sports.

9) Tyrone Willingham

Willingham was a nice guy, I get that. It wasn’t like he pulled a Rick Neuheisel and went out and illegally gambled and in the process shaming the entire Washington community.

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Oh wait, now that I think about it, he did shame us. In his four seasons as the Huskies' head coach, the team was 11-37 overall and 6-29 in the Pac-10, including going a dandy 0-12 his last year as head coach. He seemed to lose control of his players, which eventually contributed to his demise.

8) Jim McIlvaine

It’s hard to do anything wrong when you don’t do anything, but Jim McIlvaine did all he could to disprove that theory during his short stint in Seattle. McIlvaine, the 7’1″ shot-blocking waste of space that he was, came to the Sonics in 1996 thanks to a horrible decision on the part of the Sonics front office. McIlvaine was given a big four-year, $34 million contract, which offended fan favorite Shawn Kemp.

McIlvaine signing with Seattle set off a series of tragic events that eventually drove the Sonics into the ground. Kemp was traded, Gary Payton was traded, and the team eventually got stolen.

Now can we really blame Big Jim for all this? Probably not, but there’s no doubt he played a role in the Sonics demise. That first season, ’96-’97, would be McIlvaine’s best, as he recorded career highs in points (3.8 PPG), rebounds (4.0 RPG), and blocked shots (2.0 BPG) before regressing from that point forward. After only two seasons in Seattle, McIlvaine departed in 1998 at the age of 25. Good riddance.

>7) Richie Sexson

$15,500,000 a year.

.218 AVG.

.318 SLG%

1 strikeout per 3 at bats.

But mostly, we’ll remember this failed free agent signing for this. The legend of Richie Sexson lives on.

6) Bill Bavasi

Carl Everett. Carlos Silva. Richie Sexson. Trading away Adam Jones and Shin-Shoo Choo. The second season of Jose Vidro, etc., etc., etc.

This failure of a general manager will always be remembered for taking the Mariners and shoving the team into the baseball cellar from 2004 to 2008. During Bavasi's Mariner tenure, the club achieved only one winning season (88–74 in 2007). Losing records of 63–99 in 2004, 69–93 in 2005, 78–84 in 2006, and a sub .500 2008 did not help Bavasi's image.

Bill signed over-the-hill veterans to monster contacts such as Carlos Silva (4 years, $48 million), Jarrod Washburn (4 years, $37.5 million, and of course, Richie Sexson (4 years, 50 million). All these players are no longer with the team. Because of his continued focus on big free agents and trades, Bavasi destroyed the Mariners farm system to the point of it being called one of the worst in the Majors.

When Bill Bavasi was finally fired, the Mariners were midway through the 2008 season where they would become the only MLB team in history to have $100 million payroll and lose 100 games.

He handed current GM Jack Zduriencik a wreck, and it's been his job to fix Bavasi's mistakes.

5) Rick Neuheisel

His players got in trouble with the law. He lied to his boss about interviewing for the head coaching position with the San Francisco 49ers. He was caught participating in a gambling pool that was against NCAA rules. He won with predecessor Jim Lambright's players and left the program with too many underskilled, undersized guys.

He is, however, the last Washington coach to have a winning record (33-16).

But Husky fans will always hate this man because of the amount of bad publicity he brought to the program. And because of UW getting a bad rap, it affected recruiting, which lead to Washington not having a winning record from 2004 to 2009.

4) Brian "The Boz" Bosworth

Talk about a colossal flop. Bosworth came to Seattle in the 1987 supplemental draft, heralded as the next Dick Butkus.

He was supposed to be tough and fast and smart and everything you'd ever want in a linebacker. He was all that at Oklahoma. Oh, and he was supposed to be the most jacked linebacker in the league.

He was none of that in Seattle.

The defining moment for Bosworth's time in Seattle came during a 1987 "Monday Night Football" game. Before the game, Bosworth insulted Los Angeles Raiders rookie running back Bo Jackson and promised in a media event before the game that he would contain the running back.

Well, he failed, as Jackson ended up rushing for 221 yards scoring 3 touchdowns AND did this:

In 2004, ESPN ranked him the sixth biggest disappointment in draft history. He played parts of three seasons before retiring because of chronic shoulder problems. Hmmm... I wonder why? (cough, cough, steroids) He was better known for his alter ego "Boz," who talked tough and wore a combo mullet/Mohawk haircut.

3) The duo of death: Ken Behring and Jeff Smulyan

What do these two former owners have in common?

They both at one point owned a professional sports franchise based in Seattle, and both attempted to move their teams to a warmer climate.

If Jeff Smulyan would have gotten his way, the Seattle Mariners now would be the Tampa Bay Mariners and there never would have been a 1995 or a 2001 or a Safeco Field. Seattle Times writer Steve Kelley called him "a duplicitous Yuppie, leveraged up to the bill of his Mariners cap." Not sure exactly what that means, but sounds like a negative statement. That and it's awesome.

In 1988, Ken Behring bought the Seahawks from the Nordstrom family and did everything he could to alienate himself from his Northwest fan base. It got so bad he even relocated the team to Southern California for part of one training camp.

If it weren't for Northwest hero Paul Allen purchasing the team in 1997, the Seattle Seahawks would be the Los Angeles Seagulls. Or Los Angeles birds. Whatever.

2) Alex Rodriguez

He left the Mariners after the 2000 season, signing that obscene 10-year, $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers. Nobody in this town has been booed the way A-Rod has.

We hate him because of that contract, and just because he's easy to hate. Because he's Alex Rodriguez.

1) The trio of heartbreak: Howard Shultz, David Stern, and Clay Bennett

Utter any of these names to a loyal Seattle Supersonics fan, and fear for your life.

Howard Shultz is like that nerdy, oblivious, small kid on the playground that wants to play with the jocks. He's never played sports, but still wants to prove himself to the world. Once he gets picked for his team, and gets the ball passed to him, he turns the ball over. At this point, nerdy kid is ashamed beyond belief after messing up his team, so he quits.

Shultz bought the Sonics, drove them into the ground, and then chickened out and sold them to our next no. 1 villain, Clay Bennett.

Clay is like that fat kid who walks around with a swagger because his parents are rich (and in Bennett's case, his wife). This kid loves to rub his cash in his classmate's faces, just because of the fact he loves being a jerk. He bullies everyone in his class with his money to get his way. But fat kid won't have the leverage to bully without his friend, the really cocky, smart and powerful class president.

Of course, really cocky and smart and powerful class president is NBA commissioner David Stern. RCAMAPCP loves to use this power to help out his fat, rich friends just so he can feel important. That and, just like rich fat kid, he loves being a jerk.

In the real world, Clay Bennett (after buying the team from Shultz) moved the Sonics to Oklahoma City with the help of his buddy David Stern. Now I'm putting the Sonics story REALLY simple, so check out the award winning film "Sonicsgate" to be fully enlightened on how a group of heartless men stole the Seattle Supersonics.

The Bullies

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