Art Thiel

Sports Commentator

Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,”  which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.

A graduate of Pacific Lutheran University as well as two dead papers and a live one, the News Tribune of Tacoma, he has become a fan of entrepreneurial online journalism because it allows him to continue a lifelong passion to take the English language to places it rarely visits willingly, and does not involve the cleaning of kennels or stables.

Kirsten Kendrick's Q. & A. with Thiel can be heard every Friday during M.E. at 5:45am and 7:45am and again that same day on ATC at 4:45pm. It also airs Saturday at 6:35am and 9:35am.

Ways To Connect

Justin Steyer / KPLU

The Seahawks are back at training camp this weekend in Renton. Fans, meanwhile, are looking ahead to the season with a big question on their minds: Can the team defend its championship?

“I think they’re in good position to do it, but it’s really hard,” said KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel.

John Shearer / Invision/AP Photo

From Seattle Sounders players shining at the World Cup to four Mariners in the All-Star game, to the Seahawks winning best team in sports at the ESPY Awards, Seattle sports fans have lots of reasons to smile lately.

And come September, says KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel, those smiles may turn into tears of joy.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Major League Baseball’s All-Star game is Tuesday in Minneapolis, with the winning league gaining home-field advantage in the World Series. Three Mariners will play for the American League: All-Star veterans Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez and first-time All-Star Kyle Seager.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the Mariners could use more players like Seager — homegrown and hitting the ball.

Pat Sullivan / AP Photo

The Mariners are going for their fifth series win in a row, taking on the White Sox in Chicago this weekend. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the Mariners have been on fire recently, particularly at the plate.

Nelson Antoine / AP Photo

The U.S. Men's National Soccer Team will take on Belgium next Tuesday in the knockout round of the World Cup. The U.S. men weren't expected to get past the so-called Group of Death. But they did, and they did it with the help of Seattle's own DeAndre Yedlin, a World Cup rookie.

Ricardo Mazalan / AP Photo

World Cup fever seems to have swept much of the nation, especially after the U.S. beat Ghana 2-1 on Monday. The U.S. men’s national team is led by captain and Seattle Sounders star Clint Dempsey, who scored the first goal in the first 30 seconds of the match.

As U.S. prepares to take on Portugal on Sunday afternoon, sports commentator Art Thiel says the team's win has changed the expected narrative of the World Cup, or what Art calls "grand theater."

Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP Photo

The $2 billion sale of the L.A. Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is in limbo. Embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling is moving forward with his lawsuit against the NBA, saying he was forced unfairly to sell the team after his racist comments were made public.

Sterling this week called the NBA "a band of hypocrites and bullies" and "despicable monsters." And the Associated Press reports he's now hired several private investigators to dig up dirt on NBA commissioners and his fellow owners.

Does the NBA have anything to hide? KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says there's a crack in the NBA's case.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle Sounders are on top of the Major League Soccer standings heading into Saturday’s game against the Fire in Chicago. Then they’re off for three weeks while the World Cup is played in Brazil.

Two Sounders players are on the men’s national team, which has taken them away from MLS play recently. But KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the Sounders have sufficient depth on their team to handle it.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has reportedly reached a deal to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion. Sources told ESPN and other media that the agreement was signed Thursday night by the family trust of embattled owner Donald Sterling and has been sent to the NBA for final approval.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says it’s not good news for Seattle.

Blake Wile / Flickr

A recent visit by the head of the National Hockey League has people in Seattle once again talking about whether the NHL will beat the NBA to town. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says that's "score one" for the hockey execs.

Michael Conroy / AP Photo

The Seahawks are putting their new drafted and undrafted rookies to the test in a mini-camp this weekend in Renton. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says there are several standouts who could help the Seahawks be as good as they were last year.  

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Seahawks star Richard Sherman is now the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL after signing a $57 million, four-year contract extension this week.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel doesn't question the amount of the salary, but wonders what it might do to Sherman's performance on the field.

Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP

Now that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life from the NBA and fined $2.5 million for racist comments that were made public, basketball fans in Seattle are wondering whether the Clippers might be sold and moved to the city.

"Almost zero chance. I don't see that happening," said KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel. But he says there may be a chance for retired Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to get his foot in the door of the NBA.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

It may be baseball season, but Seahawks fans are already thinking about football this fall. That's because the 2014 NFL schedule came out this week, but that's not the only reason.

Don Ryan / AP Photo

Sounders star midfielder Clint Dempsey has made headlines recently. He scored his first-ever hat trick two weeks ago against Portland. Dempsey has scored a total of five goals in the past two games, earning back-to-back Player of The Week awards from Major League Soccer.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says things are finally coming together for Dempsey and the Sounders.

"Finally, it's happening. The investment is bearing fruit," Art said.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel called the Mariners' $240 million, 10-year contract with Robinson Cano is "stupid, but necessary." He also said the Mariners were "not ready" for the regular season, plagued by injury and subpar performances in spring training.

But the Mariners have started the season with a bang, and that has Art — and many jaded fans — "letting a little hope in."

Nam Y. Huh / AP File Photo

A recent ruling has opened the door to unionizing scholarship athletes at major universities. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says it could have a dramatic impact on the future of college sports.

Tony Gutierrez / AP Photo

The Mariners begin their regular season Monday against the Angels in California. But KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says they're not ready.

AP Photo/360 Architecture Inc.

After last year’s failed bid to bring the NBA back to Seattle, there has been a lot of talk lately about professional hockey coming to town.

An arena proposed for Seattle’s Sodo district would be built to accommodate both sports. But KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel has learned that NBA must come first.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle Sounders FC host Toronto FC Saturday at CenturyLink Field. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the team has undergone an “extreme makeover,” with new players making up half of its 2014 roster.

Could Seattle get a professional hockey team before professional men’s basketball returns to the city? Speculation has ramped up recently, and KPLU sports commentator says there are reasons for that.

AP Photo

The issue of openly-gay athletes is being discussed in both the NBA and the NFL right now.

Veteran NBA player Jason Collins has signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets, nearly a year after announcing he was gay. And NFL draft hopeful Michael Sam finished participating in the annual scouting combine this week after recently coming out.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says it’s going to take time, tolerance and acceptance from both sides of the issue for the transition to happen.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

How did the Seahawks end up in Super Bowl? Thank the team’s abysmal 2009 season, says KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel.

Art says that miserable season led the Seahawks to fire both their general manager Tim Ruskell and first-year coach Jim Mora. The team, which had a short list of candidates for general manager, made Pete Carroll an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Jeff Roberson / AP Photo

Marshawn Lynch, who faced NFL fines for not talking to reporters, appears to have made his peace with the media, says KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel.

The Seahawk took reporters’ questions for 15 minutes on Thursday morning, just a day after the Football Writers Association of America lodged a complaint with the NFL regarding access to Lynch.

“He appeared in front of the media with his aide de camp and horse whisperer, Michael Robinson,” said Art. “Michael has been a great asset and a great friend to Lynch, and the two of them together kind of entertained everyone.”

Charlie Riedel / AP Photo

"It’s a new phenomenon,” says KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel, “charging people to watch people be interviewed.”

But thousands of people were willing to pay $28.50 to pack into Prudential Center on Tuesday to watch thousands of reporters interview the Super Bowl players.

Matt Slocum / AP Photo

Marshawn Lynch, who has risked NFL fines for not talking to the media, made a brief appearance before cameras at Super Bowl 48 on Tuesday, taking questions for six minutes out of the Seahawks’ hour-long press availability.

Lynch was a little more generous Wednesday morning at the team hotel — that is, until he decided enough was enough, says KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

University of Washington head football coach Steve Sarkisian has accepted a coaching job at the University of Southern California, USC announced on Monday.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the news "wasn't a surprise."

“I believe I wrote when he was hired five years ago that he would last in this job until USC has a head-coaching vacancy,” said Art. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle Sounders play FC Dallas in Texas on Saturday. It’s yet another chance for the team to clinch a playoff berth. They’re running out of chances. 

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says a lot has been going wrong for the Sounders recently.  

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Washington Huskies host the Oregon Ducks Saturday in a highly-anticipated game. It begins at 1 p.m. at Husky Stadium in Seattle, but fans will be gathering well before that, with cable station ESPN featuring the matchup in their weekly “College GameDay” program—a first for Washington.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says this year, the game is more than just a regional rivalry; it’s a matchup between two nationally-ranked teams.