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Great Odin's Raven! Could Ron Burgundy be NHL Seattle's play-by-play broadcaster?

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NHL

Great Odin's Raven! Could Ron Burgundy be NHL Seattle's play-by-play broadcaster?

Renovations are underway at KeyArena for the eventual home of Seattle’s NHL Team.

While seat removal, relocation of power lines and hard demolition of the arena are taking place, it appears the NHL Seattle franchise could have a lead on its first play-by-play broadcaster as well.

Legendary anchor Ron Burgundy of “Anchorman” called the LA Kings-San Jose Sharks game on Thursday and son of a bee-sting, it was fantastic.

So impressive, Seattle is pursuing Burgundy as a color commentator for its new franchise, which will drop the first hockey puck in 2021.

“Hey Ron, we might have a play-by-play position opening up,” the franchise said in a post on Twitter.

On the Kings-Sharks broadcast, Burgundy kissed a burrito on the Kiss Cam and chanted “put that baby to bed without a diaper,” as shots were taken on the ice.

While the Emerald City has a solid candidate for its play-by-play broadcaster opening, Seattle’s future NHL franchise still remains nameless.

Kraken, Metropolitans and Sockeyes are still in the mix as possible names for the 32nd franchise, but team CEO and President Tod Leiweke said the team will likely make their decision in the middle of 2019.

Seattle’s expansion franchise will take the ice at the newly-improved KeyArena beginning 2021. 

Take that 2017 title away from the Astros -- and here's the reason why

Take that 2017 title away from the Astros -- and here's the reason why

I have had a hard time coming to grips with the whole Houston Astros cheating scandal and the ensuing punishment.

I believe players should have been punished individually for their participation in the sign-stealing scheme but I was never real sure about taking away their 2017 World Series championship.

Now I’m sure, though, after hearing more information about the obvious impact the cheating had not only on the winning team but the losing team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This video, from Tom Verducci, the noted baseball writer from Sports Illustrated, brings to light an unbelievable statistic that I had never heard before, about the pivotal Game 5 of that Series.

Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers had pitched the opening game of the World Series in Los Angeles and it was a gem -- he allowed only one run over seven innings, walked none and struck out 11 in a 3-1 Dodger win.

Then in Game 5 at Houston, with the Series tied 2-2, the Astros returned to their home park, the site of the sign stealing. And just absolutely blasted Kershaw out of the game.

But here’s the thing: Anybody who knows baseball knows all about Kershaw’s devastating slider and curveball. They are terrific pitches for him. Unless you know they’re coming.

Verducci revealed that out of 51 sliders and curves Kershaw threw in that game he got ZERO swings and misses. None. Which is ridiculous. Impossible.

They didn’t chase that nasty slider in the dirt and they didn’t get fooled by the curveball.

You think the Houston hitters didn't know what was coming? And that it didn't help them to a great degree?

Of course, Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, has had to deal with all sorts of “choker” accusations about his performance in the postseason but this information sheds a different light on that game. And on that Series.

Houston eventually went on to win Game 5, 13-12. Had the Dodgers won, they would have taken a 3-2 lead back to LA, where they won Game 6 before dropping the deciding Game 7.

If you want further stats about the impact of cheating on Houston’s postseason run in 2017, you can find some mind-boggling home/road splits here.

Baseball needs to act and act immediately:

Take that trophy away from Houston. Just vacate the 2017 championship.

The Astros just can’t be allowed to call themselves champions of that season.

‘I’m a lifer’: Sue Bird announces she will return to Seattle Storm for 19th season

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USA Today Images

‘I’m a lifer’: Sue Bird announces she will return to Seattle Storm for 19th season

The Bird is back.

In a video via the Seattle Storm on Tuesday, three-time WNBA champion Sue Bird announced she has re-signed with the team and will take the court for a 19th season.

“It’s no secret how I feel about the city of Seattle and the Storm franchise. I’m a lifer and to be able to re-sign is extremely exciting,” Bird said in a statement via the Storm. “I’m looking forward to getting back on the court with my teammates, and playing in front of our amazing fans.”

Bird, who holds the franchise record for points, assists, field goals and steals, missed all of the 2018 season after undergoing knee surgery. The 39-year-old’s last appearance on the court was when Seattle won its third WNBA title.

In addition to her three championships, Bird has also earned four Olympic gold medals, four FIBA World Cup gold medals and one bronze as a member of the USA Women’s National Team.

The Storm will also return 2018 league MVP Breanna Stewart, who missed last season with a ruptured right Achilles. The Storm went 18-16 last season with both stars’ sidelined.

Seattle opens the 2020 WNBA season against Dallas on May 15.

Portland Thorns release schedule for 2020 NWSL season

Portland Thorns release schedule for 2020 NWSL season

We’re less than two months away from watching the Portland Thorns take the field at Providence Park!

Portland will kick off its 2020 season at home and host the Utah Royals FC on April 18 at 7:30 p.m.

The Thorns announced their full-24 game schedule on Tuesday, which includes three meetings a piece with each of their eight opponents.

Two of the more notable meetings this season are Portland’s two home matches against its Cascade rival Reign FC on May 16 and June 12.

For those interested in attending a Thorns game this season, single-game tickets go on sale March 12 at 10 a.m. A special presale will take place on March 11 for Thorns FC annual members, Timbers annual members and members of the Timbers annual membership wait list.

Here’s a look at full schedule below: 

2020 Portland Thorns FC Schedule 

Date

Opponent

Kickoff (Pacific)

 

Sat., April 18

UTAH ROYALS FC

7:30 p.m.

 

Sat., April 25

@Chicago Red Stars

4 p.m.

 

Wed., April 29

@North Carolina Courage

4 p.m.

 

Wed., May 6

ORLANDO PRIDE

7:30 p.m.

 

Sat., May 9

HOUSTON DASH

7:30 p.m.

 

Sat., May 16

REIGN FC

1:30 p.m.

 

Fri., May 22

@Utah Royals FC

7 p.m.

 

Sat., May 30

SKY BLUE FC

7:30 p.m.

 

Fri., June 12

REIGN FC

7 p.m.

 

Sat., June 20

@Washington Spirit

4 p.m.

 

Sun, June 28

@Houston Dash

4 p.m.

 

Sun., July 5

@Orlando Pride

2 p.m.

 

Sat., July 11

SKY BLUE FC

7:30 p.m.

 

Sat., Aug. 1

@North Carolina Courage

4 p.m.

 

Sun., Aug. 9

CHICAGO RED STARS

7:30 p.m.

 

Sat., Aug. 15

ORLANDO PRIDE

7:30 p.m.

 

Sat., Aug. 29

@Reign FC

12 noon

 

Wed., Sept. 2

@Chicago Red Stars

5 p.m.

 

Sun., Sept. 6

NORTH CAROLINA COURAGE

1 p.m.

 

Sat., Sept. 12

@Washington Spirit

4 p.m.

 

Sat., Sept. 26

@Sky Blue FC

4 p.m.

 

Sat., Oct.3

WASHINGTON SPIRIT

7:30 p.m.

 

Fri., Oct. 9

@Houston Dash

5:30 p.m.

 

Sun., Oct. 18

UTAH ROYALS FC

12:30 p.m.

Everything you need to know about Beaverton Olympian Mariel Zagunis

Everything you need to know about Beaverton Olympian Mariel Zagunis

Mariel Zagunis is the most most decorated fencer in the history of USA Fencing!

Born in Portland, Oregon to Robert and Cathy Zagunis, Zagunis comes from a lineage of athletes. He parents were both collegiate rowers at Oregon State University and Connecticut College and competed with the U.S. rowing team at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. 

Mariel's older brother, Marten, and younger brother, Merrick, are also fencers.

Mariel grew up in Beaverton, Oregon and attended Valley Catholic from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade. She picked up a saber for the first time at the age of 10 where her coach, Ed Korfanty, began instilling what would become gold medal values. He remains her coach to this day.

"I'm so proud to represent Oregon, especially Beaverton, Oregon," Zagunis said. "I'm so fortunate that our hotbed of fencing has been here my entire career."

The support from the Oregonian community and the Portland community has always been unwavering. -- Mariel Zagunis

She was the first American fencer to capture the Jr. World Cup Champion title (2002) and held it for three years in a row (2002, 2003, 2004).

In 2004, Zagunis won her first Olympic gold at the 2004 Athens Games in individual saber after she defeated Chinese fencer Xue Tan in the championship round, 15–9, becoming the first American to win an Olympic fencing gold medal in 100 years. She was 19 years old.

Zagunis defended her gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and led Team USA to a sweep after defeating teammate Sada Jacobson 15-8 in the gold medal match. Rebecca Ward won the bronze medal, defeating Sofiya Velikaya of Russia 15-14.

The lefty phenom has won two Olympic bronze medals in team events (2008 and 2016). In total, the Beaverton native is a four-time Olympian (2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016). 

Zagunis was chosen to be the flag bearer for the United States at the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in London. 

She married Michael Swehla in 2013. In 2017, they welcomed Sunday Noelle Swehla to the world.

Here is a list of her full accomplishments, via TeamUSA:

Olympic Experience

  • Four-time Olympian (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016); Four-time Olympic medalist (2 golds, 2 bronze)
  • Rio 2016 Olympic Games, 9th (individual); bronze (team)
  • London 2012 Olympic Games, 4th (individual)
  • Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, gold (individual); bronze (team)
  • Athens 2004 Olympic Games, gold (individual)

World Championship Experience

  • Most recent: 2019 – 14th (individual)
  • Years of participation: 2000-2017, 2019-present
  • Medals: 14 (5 golds, 5 silvers, 4 bronzes)
  • Gold – 2000 (team); 2005 (team); 2009 (individual); 2010 (individual); 2014 (team)
  • Silver – 2004 (team); 2006 (individual, team); 2011 (individual); 2014 (individual)
  • Bronze – 2011 (team); 2012 (team); 2013 (team); 2015 (team)

Other Career Highlights

  • 2015 Pan American Games, gold (team); 8th (individual)
  • 2011 Pan American Games, gold (individual, team)

Now, her sights are set on Tokyo. 

“I definitely see Tokyo in my future,” Zagunis told the Portland Tribune. “I’m not fulfilled. That’s part of who I am. I always want to keep going. I always want to do more. It’s a blessing and a curse to feel dissatisfied with not winning all the time.”

Zagunis turns 35 in March and will be older than any U.S. Olympic fencer since the 1996 Atlanta Games.

 

Tyson Fury reminds you that the name of his sport isn't 'punching,' it's 'boxing'

Tyson Fury reminds you that the name of his sport isn't 'punching,' it's 'boxing'

I‘d be remiss if I let another day go by without mentioning the Wilder-Fury fight Saturday night.

I have strong opinions about the way the spectacle turned out and it’s based on many years of watching the sport.

And it all comes down to the name of the sport:

It’s not called “Punching,” it’s called “Boxing.” And don’t forget that if you are wagering on a fight.

I’ve seen ferocious, fearsome punchers come and go over the years and many of them were dominant. Until they ran into skilled boxers -- people who mastered the art and science of the game. And then it turned quickly.

People were terrified of Sonny Liston and Mike Tyson. And then Liston met then-Cassius Clay and Tyson ran into Evander Holyfield

And Deontay Wilder had to face Tyson Fury. Wilder, accustomed to chasing frightened fighters around the ring while trying to land his devastating right hand, had all kinds of trouble getting his offense together as he was forced to move backward.

Fury was unafraid. He stalked Wilder. He became the aggressor and every commentator immediately jumped on the “bullies don’t like to be bullied” scenario. Which is true. But in the heavyweight division, punchers can have a very successful career because at their weight, that punch can be almost lethal. And they often don't need as many boxing skills because many of the people they fight won't be boxers, either. The big guys often aren't capable because of their inability to move as well as fighters in lower weight classes.

Fury is a surprising fighter. He’s not sculpted as many fighters and is probably carrying a few pounds too many on his 6-9 frame. But he can handle it, at least at this point of his career.

He is not a big puncher and doesn’t move with the skill of a Muhammad Ali. And he’s a bit crazy, but seemingly in a harmless way.

The main thing about him is that he’s a smart, well-trained boxer. He knows how to avoid being hit, slipping punches while delivering his own shots. He has all the tricks, knows when to clinch and how to maximize the clinches by forcing his opponent to feel his weight.

What I took away from the two Fury-Wilder fights is that both men know how to sell a fight. That matters in today’s crowded entertainment business. They are promoters.

That’s why I believe there will be a rematch and the boxing hype machine will find a narrative to make it attractive. The puncher vs. the boxer has usually been a compelling story.

And maybe between now and then, Wilder can find a trainer who can help him become more of a boxer.

His punching power is real. He just has to learn how to box well enough to make it a factor against Fury.

It was 40 years ago, and it still stands as sports' biggest miracle

It was 40 years ago, and it still stands as sports' biggest miracle

It was 40 years ago today and I don’t remember an awful lot of that day. Many of the facts have escaped me over the years.

What I remember most, though, is the emotion I felt just sitting on the living room sofa watching the USA’s 4-3 win over the Soviet hockey team in the 1980 Winter Olympics. In fact, I still get goosebumps while watching highlights of that game and listening to the great Al Michaels belt out his iconic “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” as the clock drained to :00.

It was unlike anything else I can remember in sports -- an event that lifted an entire country amidst the cold war, the Iran hostage crisis and President Jimmy Carter’s announcement that our country would boycott that year’s Summer Olympics.

And it was an upset of epic proportions, an incredible feat for the underdog American team. Consider:

  • This was prior to “Dream Team” stuff, when pros could participate in the Games. So that left the USA team with mostly college players -- average age 22 -- against the much-older, veteran Soviet team that had won four straight Olympic golds with the same cast of what were actually professional players.

  • Just three days before the Games began in Lake Placid, N.Y., the Soviets clobbered the US team 10-3 in Madison Square Garden and nobody was even surprised by the score. The gap between those teams was considered that large.

But the Americans were coached by enigmatic Herb Brooks, a tough taskmaster who had a plan to beat the Soviets with a disciplined passing attack, intense conditioning and the kind of rough checking the European teams weren’t accustomed to facing.

Brooks’ team got through the preliminary round with four wins and a tie and advanced to the medal round against the top-seeded Soviets.

And to be fair, the U.S. team was dominated through most of the game, getting outshot 39-16 and trailed by a goal heading into the final period. But Jim Craig was terrific in goal and made sensational save after sensational save.

The USA team took the lead with 10 minutes to go and held on for the win, to set up Michaels for the greatest call of his wonderful career. That wasn’t the gold-medal game, of course. The American team bounced back two days later to defeat Finland 4-2 to capture the gold.

Brooks quickly retired to the bowels of the arena as his players celebrated on the ice. His plan had worked and a nation celebrated what was as close to a sports miracle as I’ve ever seen.

If you get a chance, watch the movie “Miracle” with Kurt Russell playing Brooks and you can pick up on the emotion of it all.

And if you've ever played on a team that was an underdog or felt like one in life, listen to the “It’s your time!” pep talk he gives his players prior to that fateful game.

And it was their time. Forever.

Seattle Dragons season tickets soar past 10,000 in sales

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USA Today Images

Seattle Dragons season tickets soar past 10,000 in sales

The Seattle Dragons continue to dominate the XFL in attendance.

Just days after the Dragons set a league record with 29,172 in attendance at their home opener against the Tampa Bay Vipers, Seattle has surged past 10,000 in season-ticket sales, according to a report from The Seattle Times.

“We have had a spike in demand and we surged past 10,000 season tickets, which is an awesome story for us and the most in the league,” Dragons president Ryan Gustafson told the Seattle Times. “We’re continuing to build it every day. We’re grateful for the support we’ve gotten so far and excited to continue to build this, not just for this year but many years to come.”

As we mentioned earlier this week, the presence of former Seahawks, like receiver Kasen Williams and tackle Isaiah Battle, as well as players with Pacific Northwest ties, appears to have benefited the Dragons franchise.

XFL attendance increased across the league from Week 1 to Week 2 thanks to the Dragons impressive outing at CenturyLink Field.

A crowd of 20,000 decked out in orange, navy and green are expected again this week as the Dragons welcome the Dallas Renegades in Week 3.

XFL attendance increases by nearly 10 percent thanks to Seattle Dragons game 

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USA Today Images

XFL attendance increases by nearly 10 percent thanks to Seattle Dragons game 

The love of football runs deep in Seattle. 

An XFL record of 29,172 fans decked out in green, navy blue and orange came out to cheer on the Seattle Dragons as they defeated the Tampa Bay Vipers 17-9 in their home opener at CenturyLink Field. 

Per Ben Fischer of Sports Business Daily, the XFL saw a big boost in attendance thanks to Seattle. Approximately 76,285 fans attended four games across the XFL this weekend, a 9.5 percent boost from Week 1 to Week 2. 

There are two likely reasons for Seattle’s solid attendance numbers. One, football is woven into the Seattle football community’s DNA. There’s a reason why the Seahawks have the “12th man,” and CenturyLink Field has long been known as one of the loudest stadiums across the NFL. 

Also, the Seattle Dragons boast a team with many former Seahawks players. Dragons head coach Jim Zorn, receivers Keenan Reynolds and Kasen Williams, left tackle Isaiah Battle, backup quarterback B.J. Daniels and reserve cornerback Mohammed Seisay all have ties to the Pacific Northwest and to the Seahawks. Meanwhile, the Defenders had two former Seahawks: defensive end Tavaris Barners and quarterback Cardale Jones on their roster. 

The Dragons are back at CenturyLink Field in Week 3, hosting the Dallas Renegades. If Seattle sees a similar crowd, and the St. Louis BattleHawks, who are playing at home for the first time, get a significant boost, it could be another big week for the revamped XFL. 

Portland Diamond Project secures new home for the 1921 Jantzen Beach Carousel

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Portland Diamond Project

Portland Diamond Project secures new home for the 1921 Jantzen Beach Carousel

The Portland Diamond Project has partnered with Restore Oregon to secure a new home for the 1921 Jantzen Beach Carousel, they announced Tuesday afternoon via their Twitter.

From the renders released on their social media, it appears the historic carousel will be installed near the new baseball stadium. 

The carousel was built in 1921 by  C.W. Parker and closed in 2012 when the Jantzen Beach shopping center underwent a $50 million renovation. The mall's owners promised to house the carousel in an empty, climate-controlled store where it would be restored once construction finished. However, it never returned.

Restore Oregon added the carousel to their list of Oregon’s Most Endangered Places shortly after. In 2017, the mall's owners announced they donated the carousel to Restore Oregon who began a search for a permanent home. Well, they found a partner. 

In November 2016, the Portland Diamond Project signed an agreement in principle to develop the Port of Portland’s 45-acre Terminal 2 Property as the future home for Portland baseball.

[RELATED: Portland Diamond Project reveals new renderings of proposed ballpark]