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

Elaine Thompson / AP

"Your star player will be out for the rest of the season, and maybe the playoffs. Now ... SMILE!"

That was pretty much the scenario for members of the Seattle Storm this week when the 2010 WNBA champions were honored by President Obama at the White House.

As they were taking photos in the White House Rose Garden, most of the team learned that three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson – "the heart and soul of the Storm," according to KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel – was to have hip surgery. She's expected to be out up to three months.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

On the same day the members of the Seattle Storm were honored by President Obama at the White House, the ladies learned that teammate and three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson is having hip surgery today and will be out up to 12 weeks.

It's a blow to the team whose season has not gotten off to a great start. They were WNBA champions just a year ago. Can the Storm claim the title again this year – without a lot of help from Lauren Jackson?

Hear KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel's take on that tomorrow morning at 5:35 and 7:35 on KPLU. And you'll find a blog of our conversation right here tomorrow morning as well. 

Duane Burleson / AP

He's not hitting or fielding well. His manager is losing patience. Fans are booing him. Yet, there's not much the Mariners can do about third baseman Chone Figgins. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the best thing to do is bench him.

Photo by Craig McCulloch / KPLU

It started out as remarkable, but ended in riots. The 2010-11 season for the Vancouver Canucks was one for the record books - in more ways than one.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the violence that occurred on the streets of downtown Vancouver after Game 7 was a bizarre end to the "strange" championship series between the Canucks and the Boston Bruins.

Craig McCulloch / KPLU

"This was one of the strangest seven-game series I've ever witnessed in any sport," said KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel, regarding the Boston Bruins defeating the Vancouver Canucks 4-0, in Vancouver, to win the Stanley Cup.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Think of them as the nice cousins who live up North. That’s what KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says of the Vancouver Whitecaps. They’re coming to Qwest Field in Seattle Saturday night to play the Sounders FC in the first Major League Soccer match-up between the two teams.

While the match will renew a longstanding regional soccer rivalry, Art says it’s hardly the same as the fierce rivalry Seattle has with its neighbors to the South – the Portland Timbers.

Associated Press

Another Major League Soccer regional rivalry match takes place Saturday at Qwest Field in Seattle, when the Sounders FC host the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Julie Jacobson / AP

Whether you've been following the team for years or are just now jumping on the Vancouver Canucks' bandwagon, it's worth the ride. Those are the words of KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel as the Canucks vie for their first-ever Stanley Cup title.

Lenny Ignelzi / AP

The Mariners are firing on all cylinders these days, with great starting pitching, clutch hitting and good fielding. They enter this weekend's big series with the Yankees on a hot streak. But how long can it last?

David Wallace / AP

He started his NBA career in Seattle as an assistant public relations director for the SuperSonics. Now, Rick Welts is the president of the Phoenix Suns. And he recently revealed he's gay. He's the first person in men's team sports - executive or active player - to make such an admission.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel has known Rick Welts for more than 30 years, from his time in Seattle. He shared some insight on Welts' struggle to reveal his sexual orientation in an industry that Art says has "a narrow definition of manliness that does not include being gay."

Elaine Thompson / AP

"He's done." The words of KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel when asked about the professional future of Milton Bradley. The Mariners cut ties with the controversial outfielder this week.

Known for his hot temper on and off the field, as well as other personal problems, Bradley has played for eight teams in his Major League career - five in five years. While you would think the Mariners are relieved to be rid of him, Art says there are no winners here.

File photo/Ted S. Warren / AP

Incredible. Unbelievable. Whopper-sized. Just some of the words used to describe the television deal announced this week by the new Pac-12 Conference. It's the biggest media rights contract in college sports history.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the deal may seem ridiculous to non-sports fans, but they too will benefit from it.

Evan Siegle/Pool photo / AP

Editor's Note: In the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday, former Washington quarterback Jake Locker was selected by the Tennessee Titans with the No. 8 pick. The Seahawks chose James Carpenter, a tackle from Alabama, with the 25th overall pick.

If you watch any part of the NFL Draft over the next few days, chances are you'll hear the words "war room" to describe the place where team leaders huddle together to make their player selections.

The seemingly careless use of such a serious military term is a pet peeve of KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel. And he wants to start a campaign to abolish the use of the phrase in sports.

REUTERS / Robert Sorbo

How can you have a successful draft during a lockout? That's what the Seahawks are trying to figure out ahead of the 2011 draft, which begins Thurs., April 28.

Even as the current players are locked out, the Hawks are trying to decide who to add to the team. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the big question is, will they go for a quarterback?

Ted S. Warren / AP

The Mariners have said that 2011 is a rebuilding year. But, judging by recent attendance at Safeco Field, they're going to have to rebuild more than just the team. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the bond between the Mariners and their fans has been broken.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Two of the University of Washington's most prominent athletes in recent years are planning to go pro. Point guard Isaiah Thomas recently announced he's leaving the UW a year early to enter the NBA draft. And quarterback Jake Locker is participating in the NFL draft this month.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says both athletes have taken risks in their paths to professional sports.

Lenny Ignelzi / AP

The Mariners are making some changes to their starting lineup as the 2011 season gets underway. Will it bring them better luck than last year's losing season?

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel is skeptical, but he says there are some bright spots coming out of spring training.

He was tough. He was obstinate. He was the only sports figure to ever lay a hand on KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel. But Art says Barry Ackerley was the best owner the Sonics ever had.


The Seattle Sounders FC started the 2011 season this week with a record crowd and some unwelcome controversy.

Too much, too little or just right? Depending on who you ask, you will get different answers to the question of whether University of Washington basketball coach Lorenzo Romar went far enough in his punishment of senior guard Venoy Overton.

Robert Sorbo / REUTERS

NFL labor talks have gone into overtime.  Owners and players have now agreed to a seven-day extension to come up with a new collective bargaining agreement with the players' union.

For Seahawks fans, this means quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will likely become a free agent.

After a mid-season controversy and losing a shot at the Pac-10 title, the Washington Huskies appear poised to end the regular season on a high note. And they might just make it to the NCAA tournament.

Elaine Thompson / AP

There are a lot of unanswered questions and unresolved issues with Ken Griffey Jr.'s new job as special consultant with the Seattle Mariners. This follows his abrupt retirement in the middle of the season last year.

John Froschauer / AP

The NFL may want to keep celebrating a successful 2010 season and profitable Super Bowl, but it must now turn its attention to a more unpleasant topic: a new collective bargaining agreement with players. The contract of a popular Seahawks player factors into one of the issues at play.

Do you remember the Seattle Seahawks losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL? If you lived in Seattle five years ago, of course you do. Have you gotten over it? If not, you might want to root for the Green Bay Packers this weekend.


The sudden death of Mariners' Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Niehaus last November left a huge void in the team's radio booth. It's a void that will be evident this weekend as fans flock to Safeco Field for Mariners FanFest - the annual meet-and-greet with players and team personnel.

Since there is no one voice that can replace Niehaus, the Mariners have decided to use five this season. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

There's no rest for the weary at Seattle Seahawks headquarters. Less than a week after the end of the season, head coach Pete Carroll fired offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates and hired Darrell Bevell from the Minnesota Vikings to replace him.

Carroll also has hired the newly-fired head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Tom Cable, to be his assistant head coach and the man in charge of the Hawks' offensive line. How does all of this impact the effort to re-sign quarterback Matt Hasselbeck?


It will be freezing cold. The field will be lousy. But the Seahawks are bringing a lot of emotional momentum into Sunday’s NFC Divisional Playoff game against the Bears in Chicago. 

AP file photo

The Seattle Seahawks host the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints Saturday in the NFC playoff game.  Kickoff is at 1:30 at Qwest Field.  Matt Hasselbeck will be the starting quarterback, getting the nod over Charlie Whitehurst, who led the Seahawks to victory over St. Louis for the NFC West title last weekend. 

Sports commentator Art Thiel shared his thoughts on the Saints-Seahawks matchup with KPLU’s Kirsten Kendrick.

Ted S. Warren / AP

What would you say was the top Seattle sports story of 2010?   Sports commentator Art Thiel has come up with his top five, and he shared them with KPLU’s Kirsten Kendrick.