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Seattle: America’s Most Miserable Sports City

There is no denying that Seattle is one of the most beautiful cities in the world on a sunny day (I can’t say it’s all that great when it rains). With the mountains and the Puget Sound, it’s pretty hard to beat. At least the people who live there have that going for them.

As for sports, the city sucks these days.

Forbes came out with its annual “America’s Most Miserable Sports Cities” list earlier this week. For the second straight year, Seattle took home the top spot (the city was No. 2 when the first list was released in 2008). I think it’s hard to disagree with the assessment.

The Seattle Mariners are terrible. It’s especially bad so far this season, but this year wasn’t even taken into consideration (they’re already building a solid resume for the 2011 list). The M’s are one of just three Major League teams to have never even played in a World Series. They haven’t even made the playoffs since 2001. The attendance numbers show that the fans are tired of losing. In 2001, the Mariners drew an average of 43,302 fans (the best mark in baseball). So far in 2010, the M’s bring in 25,935 (that ranks 15th in the MLB). That’s a decline of more than 17,000 fans per game. No one wants to watch a team lose over and over and over (you get the point) again.

The Seahawks gave Seattle hope from 2003-2007 (they made the playoffs every season through that span), but they haven’t done anything since. As the Forbes article points out, the Hawks are just 9-23 over the last two seasons. In the first 33 years of their existence, the Seahawks have won just 250 games. That’s an average of about seven victories per season. While the Seahawks have played in the Super Bowl, they are still one of 14 NFL teams that never won a championship. They still get plenty of fan support for now, but Seattle’s fair weather fans might not put up with losing much longer (e.g. the Mariners). I went to the game last year against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the crowd was less than stellar.

I don’t think it’s really fair to bring up the SuperSonics moving to Oklahoma City as a reason to be miserable anymore. If people haven’t gotten over that in two years…MOVE ON! Yes, as the Forbes article points out, Sonics fans have to watch Kevin Durant “light up opponents in an Oklahoma City Thunder uniform.” I can understand some sorrow there, but everyone knew Durant was going to become a superstar in Seattle, or Oklahoma City, or anywhere else he played. There’s no bringing the Sonics back at this point…it’s time to let go.

Sadly, Seattle can’t even hold on to its minor league teams either. The Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League moved to Kent (about a half an hour outside of Seattle) last season.

I’m not done yet…

The 2010 seasons weren’t used in the Forbes rankings and I don’t think they even considered Major League Soccer, but the Sounders FC aren’t helping Seattle fans at all. In fact, the team played so poorly in a 4-0 loss last weekend to the Los Angeles Galaxy that the team is giving refunds to season ticket holders for that match. That’s not the sign of a strong franchise.

There is a comment on the Forbes web story saying that the magazine didn’t do enough research on Seattle. Here are the two points they used to defend the city: a Stanley Cup won by the Seattle Metropolitans in 1917 (a year before the NHL was even formed…and loooooong before most of us were alive) and the Sounders FC winning the U.S. Open Cup (I don’t even know what that is) last year.

If you’re going to fight the rankings…please prepare a better case than that. I’ll stop one of the arguments before it starts. Yes, the University of Washington softball team won the national championship last year. They play in Seattle, but they are not a “Seattle” team. Aside from that, I think it’s hard to come up with anything else worth mentioning.

Again, I love Seattle. I love the people. Most of my family and a lot of my good friends live there. That’s where I grew up. As far as sports are concerned though, the Emerald City doesn’t have much shine these days. Maybe 2010 will bring better fortunes, but it doesn’t look good so far.

I’d love to know what you think. Please feel free to get in touch with me at tim@timlewissports.com. You can also reach me on Twitter @TLKREM2 or @lewissports or on the “Fans of Tim Lewis” Facebook page as well.

That’s it for me…have a GREAT weekend!

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