Sports with Art Thiel

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."

David J. Phillip / AP Photo

The NCAA president called an effort to unionize players a "grossly inappropriate" way to solve problems in college sports while insisting the association has plans to change the school-athlete relationship.

Mark Emmert, a former president of the University of Washington, said Sunday that the NCAA wants to allow the big conferences with moneymaking teams to write their own rules, and those changes could solve many athletes' complaints more effectively than unionization.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

Rick Scuteri / AP Photo

The Mariners are wrapping up their first week of spring training in Peoria, Arizona.

There was a lot of fanfare surrounding the arrival of newly-acquired slugger Robinson Cano. But KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says there was some drama as well.

Could Seahawks Draft First Openly Gay NFL Player?

Feb 14, 2014
Brandon Wade / AP Photo

Could the National Football League soon have its first openly gay player? And could the Seahawks draft him? Those are questions some people in Seattle are asking after college standout Michael Sam revealed that he’s gay just months before he enters the NFL draft.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the Seahawks culture might be a good fit for Sam. Then there are those challenges that lie ahead for Sam, no matter where he lands in the NFL.

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.

Thiel: 5 Reasons Why The Seahawks Will Win The Super Bowl

Jan 31, 2014
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KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel is predicting a Seahawks victory in Super Bowl XLVIII. He thinks Seattle will beat the Denver Broncos, and he gives these five reasons.

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.

Seahawks' Sherman Speaks Out, Tries To Move On

Jan 24, 2014
Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is doing damage control. He sparked quite a controversy with his emotional outburst live on FOX-TV Sunday, mere minutes after he made the play that gave the Seahawks the win over the 49ers and sent them to the Super Bowl.

It's being called the rant heard around the world. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says it was also refreshing.

Why Seahawks-49ers Game Is 'Biggest Game In Seattle Sports History'

Jan 17, 2014
Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel calls Sunday’s NFC Championship Game between the Seahawks and 49ers "the biggest game in Seattle sports history.”

Seahawks Vs. Saints: Battle Of Two Great Coaches

Jan 10, 2014
Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The Seahawks host the New Orleans Saints Saturday at CenturyLink Field in round two of the NFL playoffs.

The Seahawks beat the Saints 34-7 last month in Seattle. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the outcome of that Monday Night Football game has affected how both teams are preparing for Saturday’s match-up.

Seahawks' First-Round Playoff Bye Continues To Pay Off

Jan 3, 2014
Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The Seahawks may not be playing in the first-round of the NFL playoffs this weekend but they’ll be closely watching the teams who are playing in the NFC Wild Card match-ups.

The Hawks clinched their division with a win over the Rams last Sunday and that earned them a first-round bye, in addition to home field advantage in the playoffs. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the timing couldn’t be better.

Top 5 Seattle Sports Stories Of 2013

Dec 27, 2013
John Froschauer / AP Photo

From a blockbuster baseball signing to talk of the Super Bowl, there was a lot for Seattle sports fans to smile about this year. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel names his top five sports stories of the year.

A Lot At Stake For Seahawks On Sunday

Dec 20, 2013
Kathy Willens / AP Photo

Even though the Seahawks have the best record in football (12-2) and have already made it to the playoffs, that doesn't mean they can coast through Sunday's game against the Cardinals.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says a win would mean a lot.

Mariners Say 'Hello, Cano,' But Thiel Says Deal With Slugger 'Stupid'

Dec 13, 2013
Seattle Mariners

The Mariners have officially welcomed All-Star slugger and second baseman Robinson Cano to Seattle with one of the biggest contracts in Major League Baseball history and some other new players to help support him.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel called the deal "stupid" but said it had to be done.

Fans Help Seahawks Soar to New Heights

Dec 6, 2013
Scott Eklund / AP Photo

There’s no place like home. That’s definitely true for the Seattle Seahawks. They’re undefeated at CenturyLink Field this season with a margin of victory that hasn’t been seen in the NFL in 40 years.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the Seahawks will move a step closer to having home field advantage in the playoffs if they beat the 49ers on Sunday in San Francisco, a place where they haven’t won since 2008.

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. 

No World Series 'Unfortunate Legacy' for Retiring Mariners Pres.

Nov 29, 2013
Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Retiring Mariners president Chuck Armstrong did a lot for the team in his nearly three decades in the front office. But it’s what he wasn’t able to accomplish that will be his lasting legacy: get the Mariners to the World Series.

Armstrong’s retirement announcement this week comes at a time of major discontent among fans. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says even more change is needed at the top.

UW Football Coach Steve Sarkisian Under Pressure

Nov 22, 2013
Alex Gallardo / AP Photo

The University of Washington football team plays Oregon State in Corvallis Saturday night. UW's starting quarterback is nursing an injury and they’re coming off a big loss against UCLA last week. 

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says there’s no rest for the weary; Washington State is waiting in the wings.

Harvin Debut to Make 9-1 Seahawks Even Stronger

Nov 15, 2013
Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The 9-1 Seahawks host the 2-7 Vikings Sunday at CenturyLink Field. The match-up has been made more interesting with word that wide receiver Percy Harvin will likely make his much-anticipated debut with the Seahawks against his former team, Minnesota.

Harvin was added to the active roster this week after hip surgery in August. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says that has a lot of people excited.  

Sounders' Season Over after 2nd Loss to Portland in Semifinals

Nov 8, 2013
Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle Sounders’ season has come to an end after a second playoff loss to Portland Thursday night. The Timbers beat the Sounders 3-2 in Portland to win the two-game, aggregate-goal semifinal series 5-3.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the game was an embarrassing end to the Sounders’ rocky season.  

What 7-1 Seahawks Need to Do to Avoid 'Circling the Drain'

Nov 1, 2013
Tom Gannam / The Associated Press

The Seahawks are 7 and 1 at the midpoint of the season as they prepare to host the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers at CenturyLink Field Sunday afternoon.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says despite their record, the Seahawks have some big problems they need to fix.  

Don James Prepared UW Players for Football, Life

Oct 25, 2013
Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Tributes are planned this weekend for legendary University of Washington football coach Don James. He died last Sunday from pancreatic cancer at the age of 80. James coached the Huskies from 1975 until 1992, leading them to six conference titles and a share of the 1991 national championship.

The Husky marching band will perform a special tribute to James during halftime of Saturday night’s game against California at Husky Stadium. A public memorial service is planned for 3 p.m. Sunday at Hec Edmundson Pavilion on the UW campus.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says Don James will be remembered for what he taught players on the field, and off.

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