Mr. Voice of Reason Returns

 

 

Alright, alright, everybody, just calm down.

Yes, we’ve got a bit of chaos going on in the Seattle sports world, but tell me when we didn’t. It just seems like it’s happening all at once and on several fronts, so I’m raising my hands to the crowd and asking it to take some deep breaths while I conduct a quick class of what the heck is going on.

THE SEAHAWKS

Come on, be honest, you had your doubts about this season. After a lackluster pre-season which you dismissed because, after all, it was pre-season, you got your hopes way up after the Hawks somehow beat their ex, Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos. I think we’d all agree that was a pretty sweet way to start out a season. However, the following week, reality sank in, and frankly, the prognosis for the rest of the season isn’t so good.

Look, when you’re an NFL team, you need an NFL star quarterback, not the guy that sits backstage hoping that the Phantom has a sore throat. I think the world of Pete Carroll and Seahawks General Manager John Schneider (NOT the guy from Dukes of Hazzard), the folks who brought Seattle’s first-ever Super Bowl trophy to town. The way they assembled a championship team that year with a bunch of overlooked talent that was molded into the “Legion of Boom” and turned a quick, undersized quarterback out of Wisconsin into a scrambling MVP you could love, I will be forever grateful.

But the entire time Russell was with the Seahawks, for some unexplained, God-forsaken reason, Pete did not hire an offensive line. He had this thing about creating one. Taking guys who didn’t normally play that position, and who had to learn on the job. And while he watched from the sidelines, Russell spent way too much time out on the field having to run for his life. When he was younger, very doable. But as he slowed down, the defense sped up and the magic began to fade away. I can’t help but wonder how many championships that team might have won if Wilson had the protection that Tom Brady or Aaron Rogers enjoy every week.

Bottom line–you need a major talent in the quarterback slot, one of the elite, a guy married to a Super Model or that does State Farm commercials, not a career backup quarterback who hadn’t started a season in 8 years. It’s the opinion of this armchair quarterback that we’re biting the bullet so we get a high draft pick next season and nab one of the young arms coming out of college. That’s the only thing that makes sense.

In the meantime, think of how much you’ll actually get done around the house this fall on Sunday afternoons.

THE SOUNDERS

They’ve spoiled us over the years. Start strong, have a slump, then, just as the playoffs approach, rally and grab one of those spots. I just don’t feel like that’s going to happen this time around, which is amazing considering the Sounders became the first American soccer club to win the ConcaCaf Championship earlier this year, earning a spot to play on a global stage in the months ahead.

But compare this season to the last 10 and it’s just not the same. it just feels different. We’ve got some great players, but the chemistry just isn’t there. Oh, there are moments, but with only two regular season matches left as of this writing, I’m just not feeling it. But, to keep us busy this fall……

THE MARINERS

I’ll admit I’ve been among their harshest critics in recent years, due to two decades of promising us a competitive team, only to get the same disappointing result year after year. But this 2022 collection of players seems like they just might have the mojo to make something happen. Maybe not a championship, but at least going to the dance and maybe go up a rung or two and take a big step in the right direction.
I’ve been a baseball fan longer than any other sport, and one of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that every championship team will have a slump or two during the season. If you remember that 2001 season when the Mariners won 116 games, they came in blazing hot and then crashed in the first round. The key is to get that slump out of the way late in the season, late August or early September, and then hit the playoffs running. By then, some of the better teams are getting tired, the veteran players falling by the wayside with injuries and so on. Over the last week, the M’s have had some pretty poor performances, none worse than blowing a 9-run lead on Sunday and losing 13-12 to the Kansas City Doormats.

With us being set to welcome back some injured players and a team due to get hot, I’m thinking, “You know, this just might be the year.” Stranger things have happened.

MY HUSKIES

This is my team. Of all the sports, of all the teams, if I could only have one, this is it. I don’t have a single tattoo on my body but if I ever were to make that commitment, it would be a Husky logo on my left arm, up by the shoulder.

It’s the team I watched with my buddies in college. For the four years of working at KOMO Radio, it’s where I got to hang out with the likes of Bob Rondeau, Gary Johnson, Keith Shipman, Don James, Jim Lambright, and so many others. Going to a game at Husky Stadium still feels special. I was actually a season ticket holder for a few years (thanks to a friend who let me buy her tickets) but after that 0-12 year, I said, “Enough abuse.” Yes, we’ve experienced some dark times in recent years, with mysteries thrown in. Why did Peterson suddenly leave? Why did he leave the team in the hands of someone who should have continued the upward trend, only to crash and burn in record time? And how did we get so lucky to land Coach DeBoer and his program, providing us a creative offense and defensive toughness that is Husky football.

For God’s sake, he’s only four games in, but there is a lot of good stuff going on. The temptation is to leap to, “Oh, we’re going to be National Champs” or “It’s going to be the greatest Husky football team ever!” Look, I remember that ’91 Championship team and even though they had to share the Championship due to the continuing west coast bias, that was one great team. 12-0, baby.

We didn’t set out to be National Champs that year, but it just happened. For now, I’m just going to enjoy having a front row seat to the building of an incredible new program and when we win a game, that’s great. But then, focus on who’s next and who’s next only. One game at a time. One win at a time.

And maybe, just maybe…..

THE KRAKEN

The NHL’s latest expansion team is heading into its second season and I am having a blast. Expectations are in check, as we build a team and a new tradition in the Seattle area, but the more I watch NHL hockey, the more I realize it’s the only sport I observe on TV where I’m constantly yelling things, as if they can hear me. Dang, it’s fast.

I was growing up in Southern California when Los Angeles got the Kings and eventually, the Mighty Ducks, but my hockey viewing was pretty limited to occasionally getting caught up in a Stanley Cup playoff game. I’ve been to some Thunderbirds and Silver Tips games, I even got to take part in a Microsoft challenge one time, getting my own Thunderbirds jersey with my name on it and watching Kiefer Sutherland up close play on a celebrity team. 

I don’t know all the Kraken players names, but I’m trying to learn the rules, loving the fans, the enthusiasm, and the 100% carbon neutral Climate Pledge arena where they play. I’ve yet to take in a game in person, that’s on my bucket list for this season, but it’s just so awesome to have the big game in town. And ownership seems to be doing things right. It just takes time. Go Kraken!

And with that, Sports Fans, Mr. Voice of Reason has spoken. Class dismissed.

Tim Hunter

 

I’m Really Tired Of All The Hate

I had a couple of topics in mind for this week’s cathartic rambling, but I have to admit, the thing that stuck most in my mind on this day, September 19th, 2022, was NOT Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. Actually, I’ve been shackled to this keyboard all day and just haven’t had time to follow it. I planned to watch the special moments on one of the newscasts tonight. I’m sure there won’t be a shortage.

Now, for those who don’t know, my alma mater, the University of Washington and that school down in Eugene, the University of Oregon, have built quite a rivalry in sports over the years. Oh, sure, there’s always the cross-state rivalry the U-Dub has with Washington State University, but at least in my mind, that has always been a fairly friendly rivalry. There are some who take things like that way too seriously, but as I tell all my Cougar friends (and to be honest, I think I have more friends that are Cougars than Huskies), I cheer for them every game of the year EXCEPT when we play each other.

This past weekend, Brigham Young University—also Cougars–visited the Eugene campus to play the Oregon Ducks in a football game. They were just another one of those other-division schools that slip into the first couple of a games of a season. The results don’t affect the Pac-12 standings, BYU receives some nice TV money for it, and everyone goes home happy.

I’ve taken in a game at Autzen Stadium back when my daughter attended the school. An absolutely beautiful facility and campus. It’s amazing the things you can do when one of your biggest fans owns Nike.

For that game, you bet I wore Duck green and I didn’t see any displays of drunk unsportsmanlike behavior. But over the years, I’ve heard tales from friends who travel to U-Dub away games of bottles being thrown at Husky fans and even cups of pee being dumped on them. It’s enough that I would probably never go to a game there in my Husky purple. I mean, I’ve even attended an Apple Cup in Pullman and the worst I heard were a couple of drunk F-bombs by young, amateur smack-talkers.

I thought physically assaulting visiting fans was bad enough, but over the weekend, drunk student Duck fans hit an even lower point.

Those who will head to, “Oh, it’s just a few drunk students” or “Well, it rarely happens,” get your excuses ready.

I don’t need to go into detail as to what happened at the Oregon/BYU game over the weekend. I’ll let the video speak for itself. (and ruin my family rating)

This after BYU had come out on the field carrying an Oregon flag to salute to one of the Duck players who had died in a tragic accident just a couple of months ago.

 

Drink that “Oh, it’s only a couple of students” Kool Aid all you want, but the University should have done an immediate clamp-down on that crap. It’s totally inexcusable to tolerate that level of hate in their stadium. What would King Tim have done? I would have immediately ejected that entire section in the stands and escorted them out of the stadium. What would that achieve? For one, it would punish the haters and emphasize that kind of B.S. will not be tolerated. Secondly, the next time some drunk morons figure out an even lower level to sink to, surrounding students just might say something like, “Not a good idea”, so they’re not kicked out of a game.

We have some video. There are student I.D. pictures. Let’s match ’em up and permanently ban those students from attending anymore games.
Or, we can stick with the “It’s just a small bunch of drunk students” route and for future games, lets assign people to sit together, based on their hate. Students yelling “White Power” cheers will sit in section 27, the anti-Semitic students will be over there in section 25, why don’t we put the QAnon crowd in section 26 just to break things up, and so on. Those who have multiple hate in their hearts can pay extra so they can use the “all hate sections” pass and sit wherever they want.

America’s political atmosphere has always swung like a pendulum–we go right, then we go left, then back to right, followed by left. But somehow, some people have gotten stuck in a very hateful far right.

The U of O has apologized for the incident, but that’s about it. Seems like lip service, but I guess that it will have to do until the next incident.

Unless karma steps in.

You see, also attending that game, sitting right next to the chanting student section, was North Salem high school quarterback T.C. Manumaleuna and his family. He was there, because the Ducks offered him a full-ride scholarship to Oregon before he was even a freshman in high school. He’s now a junior in his pre-college years, and he may be re-thinking that decision to commit, as T.C. and his family are Mormon. They left the game at halftime.

I have a feeling there is a big family meeting in their future.

Thank you, karma, for all your efforts.

I’m really tired of all the hate.

Tim Hunter

The Places I Go, The Things I See

We went to a 50th birthday party last Friday.

And that’s where the typical comes to an end.

Special decade birthdays have evolved over the years. I can faintly remember attending some 30th birthday parties where people complained about feeling “so old.” Little did they realize, that feeling was just getting started.

Then there were the 40th birthday parties, which usually amounted to people gathering and complaining about the latest issue with their bodies. “My knee hurts…”, “My back went out last night….”, etc.

The all-time record holder for the best 40th birthday party has to go to Mark Shoener, an attorney who lived in the neighborhood. He and his family lived a culdesac over and our neighborhood was “one of THOSE neighborhoods” that went all out at Christmas. I’d say, 75% of the houses all decked out in Christmas lights by the day after Thanksgiving. Well, Mark’s birthday was in early December and his wife thought it would be funny if, for the party, she hired a stripper for the birthday boy.

Oh, sure, inside, laughs were roaring as the dancer tried to embarrass the birthday boy. But outside, I could only imagine the family slowly cruising through the neighborhood with the kids looking at all the Christmas lights, when they came upon one house, where a stripper was performing in front of the huge picture window. I could hear the father saying, “Honey, we gotta move to this neighborhood!”

Back to the birthdays. It was a treat being invited to a 50th party. We’ve hit that time in our lives when some people don’t want other people to know how old they are. There’s kind of a blackout period for the 60th and 70th and then, if you’re lucky enough to make it, it seems like it’s suddenly O.K. to celebrate an 80th. We’ve been to a few of those. In recent years, we’ve celebrated several 90ths, including ones for my parents, as well as Victoria’s.

A couple of things made our Friday night outing especially fun. First, the whole 50th thing. We found ourselves surrounded by people both above and below 50, so some fresh blood! Although, truth be told, we hung mostly with a couple (she was with Trophy Cupcakes) who were in “our age bracket.” (think late 40s and don’t ask questions)

But the coolest thing of all was the venue. Actually, it’s a future venue, going through a transition. Because the Georgetown Steam Plant is a historical structure, it’s not going anywhere. And thank God!

First off, it is the last remaining steam plant of it’s type in the world! Here’s a website that will tell you more and let you can take a virtual tour. We were able to wander around, go upstairs, to the boiler room, and yes, there will need to be some major work done. Funny, but the birthday invitation urged people bringing their kids to the party not to “lick the pipes or walls.”

I talked with the president of the Georgetown Something or Other and he’s heading up the drive to turn it into a museum and entertainment venue. Rather than boring you with more details, I think the pictures will give you an idea of what a massively impressive venue this is, and will be in the future.

I’m glad we don’t just tear down everything. Oh, the places I go, the things I see….

Tim Hunter

With Apologies To Facebook

I don’t know about you, but Facebook remains my go-to social media platform. Frankly, I forget about checking Twitter; Instagram is one of those things where I notice the logo on my phone and go, “Oh, yeah!” I visit Linkedin twice a week to post my weekly biz newsletter and my jokes.

But when I’m on the go and I see something cool or a funny sign, or I get one of my silly ideas, I shoot the picture or video with my phone, think of something dumb to attach to it, and then post it on Facebook.

You know, like this:

                                                                                                                                                Oh, yeah, like I was just going to walk by this…..

Now for the first time that I can remember, I’ve actually got some pictures piling up in my photo collection that never reached their usual destination. So, with apologies to Facebook and with the goal of getting all caught up in one fell swoop, here are just a few of the gems I meant to post there, but just never got around to it. (Or, I may have, but I don’t remember)

LET’S START WITH WHIDBEY ISLAND–A couple of weekends ago, we went there and stayed at a waterfront AirBnB and it was so out of the way, we HAD to relax. One of the evenings, Samantha, my daughter-in-law, was playing around with her time-lapse feature of her iPhone and I thought I’d do it, too. So, I captured this beautiful Northwest sunset.

This doesn’t even really do it justice.

However, lesson learned–Tim, would you stop being so impatient!!! If I had just let it go, it would have eventually ended up here.

Uh, yeah….

PLAYING TOURIST IN YOUR HOME TOWN–When you live in a cool spot, as we do, there are always a ton of fun things to do. But you’re living life, working a job, on the go, commitments, etc. and you just never get around to the fun stuff. For example, my wife and I have yet to experience “The Great Wheel” along the Seattle waterfront, even though it’s been down there 10 years.

But with a couple of Victoria’s cousins in town–Judy and her husband Bill from Santa Barbara and Francine from Oklahoma–we hit a couple of those hot spots.

First up were the Ballard Locks, where ships from the salt water Puget Sound come to be raised up 25 feet so they can enjoy the fresh waters of Lake Union and Lake Washington. That’s importing or flushing 8-million gallons of water in just 8 minutes.

As part of the locks, you can go to the fish ladders and watch the salmon traveling to their place of origin to spawn and die. Each one traveled hundreds, if not thousands of miles during their life’s journey. Just amazing.

And of course, right next to the locks is one of our favorite places, The Lockspot. Had to experience that place, famous for their fish & chips.

I’m the one on the left.

The next day, we headed to the Seattle Center, site of the 1962 World’s Fair, which Francine remembered attending as a little kid.

We opted not to go up the Space Needle, but did explore the Chihuly Garden & Glass Museum and not just words, but pictures also don’t adequately convey the eye-candy you get to experience there.

Looking up the master, Dale Chihuly on Wikipedia, the guy’s actually 81-years-old now and still creating visual masterpieces out of molten glass.

By the way, I discovered a hack you may have already known about when it comes to taking pictures with your phone. I wanted to get a group shot that was close, but that would include the entire Space Needle. I laid down on the ground and this was the best I could do:

Then I thought, “What if I use the Pan feature, but instead of doing it horizontally, do it vertically.” It worked beautifully.

A MINI-REUNION–I enjoyed a great lunch the other day with a couple of other former Destination Marketing refugees. Some of us left willingly, others were ‘retired’. Funny, but whenever we get together, new stories about a place I haven’t worked at for 7 years continue to emerge. Ironically, both of these gentlemen became recent authors. Scott Janzen penned about his days in the ad industry, while Chris Settle did a more inward reflection that included some stories from that previously mentioned agency we all share in our resume past. He changed the names, but some of the un-named knew who he was referring to and weren’t happy. Ah, life.

So, this week when I sat down to write my weekly blog about what going on in my life, I realized that Facebook wasn’t a part of it. I was actually busy being present and enjoying all these events as they happened and not doing a play-by-play on Facebook, to keep people posted on everything I was doing every minute of every day.

And I kinda liked it.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Now you’re all caught up with me and Mark Zuckerberg will never know.

Our secret. Sorry about that Facebook.

Tim Hunter

Field of Socks

My weekly blog routine is to just relax, think about what’s been taking up all that space in my head lately, and write about it. Or, if I’ve just an experience and perhaps the public could benefit from what I went through, I’ll lay out the lesson.

And while there were several worthy candidates for a blog topic this week, I’ve gotta talk about my experience at Funko Field, where the Everett AquaSox play their Single-A Minor League Baseball games. This past Sunday, in honor of KRKO’s 100th birthday, we were able to take 100 KRKO listeners to the game and I was invited to throw out the first pitch.

Truth be told, this was the third time I got near that mound to do the ceremonial toss. I believe the first time, it was when they were the Everett Giants. Maybe both of the first times they were the Giants. After all, that was back in the Murdock, Hunter & Alice days and that’s closing in on being 20 years ago.

Being a life-long baseball fan, I was excited to receive this honor. I talked a lot about it on the air, making jokes about how it should be “Helmet Night”, or if you want to be in the safest part of the stadium when I throw, stand on home plate.

I could detail everything here, or if you click here, you can listen to some “Home Movies” that I produced for my morning show on KRKO.

I also tossed together this little video of my experience. The most amazing part you’ll see is the incredible timing of the girl that walked in front of the camera just as I was throwing.


What a special moment.

And as we flip the calendar to September and the night-time air signals that fall is right around the corner, I just want to thank everyone who made that special afternoon with the AquaSox happen.

P.A. announcer (and KRKO’s) Tom Lafferty got his digs in, AquaSox roving reporter (and also KRKO’s) Steve Willits interviewed me before my toss and also had me lead the 7th inning stretch singing of “Take me out to the ballgame.”

I gotta say, as a baseball fan, this was pretty much heaven. Not Iowa-style, but at a minor league game in Everett, Washington one summer Sunday afternoon.

My own Field of Sox.

Tim Hunter

You Can Go Home Again

When you’re a kid and growing up, the world is such a different place.

Your world is so small, yet it seems so big. Instead of worrying about the latest bad news from the TV or a website, your biggest concerns had to do with when the cartoons came on TV or who else was going to be invited to your friend Mike’s birthday party. Your most valuable possession could have been something as simple as a bike or a baseball card.

Over the weekend, I got to go home again, to the place my parents raised me in Torrance, California. Mom is the only one left and doing fine, thank you, as we helped her celebrate her 94th birthday. She is about as timeless as it gets, looking the same as she has as long as I can remember.

Oh, we have home movies of those growing up years, when she embraced the fashions of the day. There was the “I love Lucy” look, the beehive hair style of the Kennedy years and so on. But mom has been mom from my teen years on.

Now, the house–there are some changes. What used to be my bedroom has been rebranded “the den.” I never questioned way we called their pantry area “the service porch”, but that’s what everyone in the family knew that area as. What was my sisters’ room has become the guest room.

Outside, that same red cinder block wall around their property still stands, although with a few cracks here and there. I remember dad building the cover for the deck and, as trends went in the 1960s, putting in a cement deck on the lower patio, with special cement where you added colors. It looked good for a while, but in time, it began to crack and was replaced with red brick.

But let’s go back to the den, formerly known as my room. It was my headquarters from awareness all the way until I left home at 17 to head north to the University of Washington. It was the room where I rode out the big earthquake of 1971. (I actually was asleep and thought it was my mom waking me up for school. But when I looked up, she wasn’t there. By that time, it was over.) I don’t know how I did it, but during my teens, I managed to sneak out my bedroom window, go visit my girlfriend in the middle of the night across the street, and return home. Two out of the three times, I didn’t get caught.

Literally, that little home in Torrance, all 1200 square feet of it, purchased back in the early 1950s for just under $12,000, was the center of my world. It was where my Aunt Jan and Uncle Bob showed up one afternoon in tears, because my grandmother had just passed away. In the living room, many pre-event pictures were taken with me in a tux, as I prepared to head off to one of the formal high school dances.

And the kitchen. Well, that was mom territory. If you went in to do something, she’d watch you like a hawk to make sure you were treating her dominion with respect. That was where she made food magic happen. If you were pouring a soda out of a 2-liter bottle, without missing a beat she’d say, “Don’t plop.” In the early years of my life, it was the time when the husband worked, the wife stayed at home to put her farm smarts to work and make the salary of an airline ground mechanic pay all the bills and feed a family of five. Coupons were clipped, S&H green stamps were saved, and national brands never saw our cupboards.

Yeah, a lot happened in that house and I am so thankful I could be there for just shy of 18 years. So whenever I go back, you’ll see me just sit there and stare a lot at the many things that trigger one memory after the other. I did that quite a bit during this last visit.

Especially this time, it was really, really nice to go home again.

Tim Hunter

SO, I’M A WRITER

I’m content.

I sat down this week to keep my blogging streak alive of letting the thoughts in my brain spill out on to the Internet, when I realized that I had no bee in my bonnet. (And to be honest, I haven’t worn a bonnet in years. People talk.)

Nope, which coincidentally is the name of a movie in theaters these days, I’m good. Our weather, by Northwest standards, has been exceptional. Too hot for some, but a nice blend of 70s and 80s, with a brief wet down last week and no forest fire smoke, which in recent years, had become traditional.

The work/life balance isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty darn close. Projects keep showing up on top of my weekly duties and, if I’m not done by 5-ish, the rest can wait until the next day. A regular work day begins before 5am, so a “normal” day for me is 12 hours long, but at the pace I like and can control, and mostly, made up of things I love to do.

Being older and wiser (more old than wise), I’ve been working on not getting riled up on everything there is going on out there in our world. With our over-abundance of information constantly being fed to us, it’s so easy to be upset about this and concerned about that and even worried about the other thing.

Nope (there’s that word again), I’m not going to allow myself to get caught up in that. It’s not up to me to save the world, or point out to other people why they’re thinking the wrong way (and they really are), I just want to take it all in, good and bad–acknowledging the bad, but savoring the good.

I’ve always had this crazy theory that all of us receive the same amount of good news and bad news in our lives. It’s just dispersed in various size doses, but when the clock hits zero, we will have all experienced an equal amount of good fortune, and pain and suffering. Maybe you’re the type that had a lot of hard hits in your younger years, but now have a nice steady life going. Or, perhaps you hit early success, but things haven’t been very good since then.

Then there’s the third type of person that spends their life striving for balance. Sure, they don’t get as many highs, but they also don’t sink to monumental lows. I like to think of myself that way. I’ve never been driven to become famous. My goal has always been to be comfortable financially and spend my time doing the things I like to do, including making people laugh and feel good.

As Walter Brennan used to say back in the days of “The Guns of Will Sonnet”: No brag, just fact.

It was a western that only lasted two seasons, so maybe you weren’t as impressed with the show as I was.

Going back to where this all started, right now, I’m really content and doing my best to hang on to that. I’ll savor what’s left of summer, and I look forward to flying to my hometown of Torrance, California, later this week to help my mom celebrate her 94th birthday in the only childhood home I ever knew.

And so, with everything just rolling along, I really don’t have much to blog about this week. Then again, it just took me 585 words to say that.

Oh, well. So, I’m a writer.

Tim Hunter

August Is A Rough One

I remember back when I was growing up, watching all the big names of entertainment begin to disappear. Hope, Crosby, Sinatra and so on. It seemed like, after a while, you couldn’t go a day without hearing about the passing of a famous name. And almost immediately you’d hear, “So who’s going to be next? They always happen in 3’s!”

It seems that these days, they’re getting group rates.

The month of August already makes me do math because when the 7th rolls around, that was the day my dad left this earth. He came up in conversation over the weekend and I realized that on the 7th this August, it had already been 7 years. Yet, it seems like yesterday.

In the past couple of weeks, August 2022 has claimed some of the headliners in my memory bank, including the likes of Bill Russell, Tony Dow and just today, Olivia Newton-John.

But the biggest stunner of this year’s class of ’22 has to be the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Vin Scully.

Even the most die-hard baseball fans around the country will never really understand what impact that man had on my life and so many other fans of those ‘Bums’. He began his broadcasting career with the Brooklyn Dodgers before I was born and continued bringing each game to life on the radio and eventually TV every year of my life as I was growing up.

He wasn’t just “that guy on the radio.” He WAS the Dodgers. Vin didn’t just describe the action we saw on the radio, but he spent a lot of his time spinning baseball yarn after baseball yarn, with stories that would sometime go an entire inning. Think how amazing that is–he broadcast Dodger games for 67 years on the radio. I turn 67 next month.

He was the voice calling the game when Sandy Koufax, my childhood idol, pitched one of his four no-hitters. I can still hear Vin saying, “Swung on and missed! A perfect game!”

In the days when games on television were a rarity, when they did show us the Dodgers and Giants tangling up north in Candlestick Park, we’d be glued to the TV and were able to enjoy Vin’s voice with pictures, being able to actually see Don Sutton, Don Drysdale, Johny Podres, Ron Perranoski, Maury Wills, Jim Gilliam and Wes Parker. Oh, and the Davis brothers, Tommy and Willie.

The one game that stands out was the time the Dodgers and Giants were going at it and some bad blood between San Fran pitcher Juan Marichal and Dodgers catcher John Roseboro erupted with Juan taking his bat and attacking Roseboro. As the benches emptied and madness ensued, I can still hear Vin saying something to the effect of, “You Little Leaguers at home watching at home, that’s not good sportsmanship.”

Wow, Vin was talking to ME!

Back in the 1960s, there were three television networks and a couple of local stations. That was it. Most nights during the summer, our TV remained off (come on, they were showing reruns) and the time I had before putting on jammies and going to bed was spent listening to Vin Scully and his partner, Jerry Doggett, delivering the pitch-by-pitch details.

Memories eventually fade. Next year at this time, we’ll be mourning the loss of another round of people I grew up with. However, two of the sounds I will never forget are my dad’s classics like, “What in the Sam Hill?” and “Go ask your mother,” and Vin Scully’s declaration that something special was about to begin: “It’s time for Dodger baseball.”

I’ll always hang on to those, especially this month. Yeah, August is a rough one.

Tim Hunter

My Accidental Meeting

It was the least-likely way I ever expected to meet a legend, yet somehow, it still happened.

I was off to Costco on a stock-up run, and to see what else I could find that I probably could live without, but at that price, how do I say ‘no’? It’s why they say that the most expensive vehicle to operate these days is a shopping cart at Costco.

I had just entered the store with my cart, my mind trying to recall all the things I so vividly thought of while I was at home, when I noticed an older gentleman sitting at a table near the books. Curiosity got the best of me, so I went over to see who it was.

It was Bill Friggin’ Russell.

Yes, the Boston Celtics legend that broke my Los Angeles Lakers heart on multiple occasions during my childhood years. Yet, here was this Hall of Fame basketball legend in the middle of a Costco, with no one in line, no one talking to him, just sitting there. It was like someone was setting a trap for me.

As I walked up to him, I kept thinking a door on the floor would open and I would be taken prisoner. But no, Mr. Russell just looked up, smiled and said, “Hi, how you doing?”

I did what any other red-blooded sports fan would do in this situation. I started blubbering about how nice it was to meet him, how great he was and yes, I’d like a couple of books. He asked who he should sign them to, and I think I either asked him for one for me or my son, but definitely I had to have him sign one for dad, who witnessed all those Lakers defeats with me. And besides, this was Bill Friggin’ Russell.

I thanked him and wandered away, stunned that I had just met him in a Costco book department. However, it was not surprising once you realize that Bill chose to retire in our area and had a nice place on Mercer Island, just east of Seattle, on Lake Washington. He was fairly active in the community, once even lending his voice to a Seattle Children’s Theater production.

The book was a great collection of stories of how it used to be, his fondness for his coach, and other stories from the times, that were not good. I’ll let you read all that stuff for yourself. But just the mention of his coach’s name, Red Auerbach, knocked loose one of those little memory nuggets tucked away in my brain. Back in the 1960s, the N.B.A. was a world away from today’s version. I’m not making this up–Bill played for the Boston Celtics and his coach had this tradition, which I witnessed many times on those nationally televised games. Whenever the Celtics had a big enough lead and a win was secured, Coach Auerbach’s tradition was to light up a victory cigar. Yep, there was the coach, with a big smile on his face, smoking his stogie on the sidelines as he watched the final minutes of a game roll off.

Of course, today, the coach would have had to leave the game and stand at least 25-feet away from any entrance. Not as effective.

Here’s the book he autographed for me.

As you can see, he really wanted people to know about this special relationship with Auerbach. After reading the book and seeing how Red stood up for Bill on multiple occasions during those extremely racist 1960s, it made all those Laker losses a little easier to take.

The praises continue to pour in about Bill and his life, and the more you learn about him, the more you realize what an amazing person he was.

And, to think, I got to meet him, at Costco.

Tim Hunter

Does That Make Me A Bad Sports Fan?

I have a confession. I cheat.

I grew up a major sports fan–playing Little League baseball, dreaming that one day, I would be the next Willie Mays or Sandy Koufax. I was also a big basketball fan, watching every Lakers game. I played endless games with dad out in the driveway that prepared me well for four years of high school b-ball.

While my kids were growing up, I ended up coaching or assistant coaching most of their teams. Hadn’t planned on being a soccer coach, but when none of the other parents stepped up, I committed to attend a coaching seminar, quickly learn the rules, and see what I could do.

I didn’t really follow football while growing up, but have really become a big NFL fan, although a huge college game beats that any day. I keep up with my L.A. Dodgers, while trying to support our local Mariners. Until recently, that was really tough…but this year, there’s some magic in the air.

Then our town got its own NHL hockey team, and of course, we’re the home of the Seattle Sounders soccer club.

In recent years, I’ve actually learned how to play and enjoy watching golf on TV.

So, that’s a lot of sports to follow and those of you who know my frantic schedule will understand that I just don’t have a whole lot of free time. Basically, these days, I can sneak in sports in little parcels of time. And that has led to a practice that works for me and my schedule. But is it right? Does it make me a lesser fan?

I’m a fast-forward freak.

Sounders played tonight? Oh, yeah, I know that. Got it on the DVR. I sit down when it works for me, turn on the game and hit 4X forward. Keeping an eye on that score box at the top of the screen—Oops, there’s one! I rewind to see the setup, witness the goal and then return to fast-forwarding.

The Kraken and the Mariners both had a game tonight? Hand me that remote. I can watch a 2-hour Sounders game, a 2-hour U.S. National Soccer team game, a 2-hour Kraken game and a 3-1/2 hour Mariners game–at least the parts where they scored–in about an hour. And that includes a bathroom break.

Huskies kicking off at 12:30?  That gives me until around 2 to take care of duties around the house, then hop on the DVR and fast-forward my way through the game. Me and the world will finish around the same time. I’ll just have watched much fewer commercials.

I mean, what’s the harm? I get the moments you watch a game for, in a nice fillet-o-event with no commercials and just all the good stuff.

Frankly, with retirement in the near future, maybe I’ll go back to watching sports the old-fashioned way, live and drawn out. But in the meantime, my fast-forwarding game plan works well in allowing me to enjoy the sports I love in a time window I can easily accommodate.

But I have to ask: does that make me a bad sports fan?

Tim Hunter