Sports with Art Thiel

Kirsten Kendrick's weekly sports Q & A with Art Thiel.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Following their exit from the playoffs against the Carolina Panthers last Sunday, the Seahawks are already looking ahead to next season.  But KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the team’s future may not include some very popular players.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

This Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game between the Seahawks and Panthers IS the Super Bowl, as far as KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel is concerned.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

With Mariners legend Ken Griffey Jr. garnering the most votes ever for selection into the Baseball Hall of Fame this week, there’s been a lot of talk about his athletic achievements: 630 home runs, 10 Gold Gloves and 13 All-Star appearances, just to name a few.

But sports commentator Art Thiel told KPLU's Kirsten Kendrick there’s a very complex personality behind the powerful swing and graceful outfield leaps.

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Seattle sports fans have a lot to look forward to in the new year. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel spoke with Kirsten Kendrick about some of the big stories to watch.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

2015 was filled with a lot of highs and lows for Seattle sports fans. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel breaks them down.

Stephen Brashear / AP Photo

The Seahawks continue their quest for a wildcard playoff spot this Sunday, hosting the Cleveland Browns at CenturyLink Field.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says fans will see two new running backs, and an interesting quarterback matchup.

Joe Nicholson / AP Photo

The Mariners are the busiest team in Major League Baseball this offseason as they remake their roster. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel talks about the changes, including some made this week.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

After their dramatic win over the Steelers last weekend, the Seahawks face the Vikings in Minnesota Sunday morning at 10. It’s an important game for the 6-5 Hawks.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel expects the team to win, and keep winning through the end of the season.

"Call me crazy but I think they're gonna win," Thiel said. "I think they're going to score at least 30 points and I think it's going to be a big win.

"I think the Seahawks are set for a run.”

Why So Optimistic?

John Froschauer / AP Photo

With Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch recovering from sports hernia surgery, rookie Thomas Rawls will start this Sunday when the Seahawks host the Steelers. Rawls ran for 209 yards last Sunday, the second-most yards in a single game in Seahawks history.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel talks about Lynch, Rawls and what may be the beginning of a new era.

LM Otero / AP Photo

The Mariners have been the busiest team in Major League Baseball this offseason, remaking their roster in a big way. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel likes what he sees.

Ryan Kang / AP Photo

The Washington State Cougars are the surprise team of the Pac-12 this season. They're already bowl bound while their rivals, the Washington Huskies, are still trying to get to that point.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel explains why both teams are where they are right now.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle Sounders will face No. 1 seed FC Dallas in the semifinal round of Major League Soccer’s Western Conference playoffs. The first match of the two-game series happens Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle Sounders play the final game of the regular season this weekend. They host Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says there's a lot a stake.

Can They Make It?

"This could be a very dramatic game for the Sounders," Thiel said. "They could miss the playoffs for the first time in their seven-year Major League Soccer history.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A big college football rivalry plays out Saturday night in Seattle, when the Washington Huskies take on the Oregon Ducks at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. The Ducks are coming off an upset loss to Washington State last weekend.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says that was just one of the big events that put the Pac-12 conference in the national spotlight this past week.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

There will be no football game Friday night for Evergreen High School in Seattle, following the death of one of their players after last week's game.

Kenny Bui's death was brought up at Seahawks practice this week, where cornerback Richard Sherman discussed the risks associated with football. It is also the topic this week for KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel.

Tragic But Rare

Despite Bui being the fourth high school football player to die from an on-field injury this season in the United States, Thiel said it's still a rare event in sports.

LM Otero / AP Photo

The Seattle Mariners play their final games of the season at home this weekend against the Oakland A’s. It’s the Mariners 14th year missing the playoffs - the longest drought in the majors.

Seattle’s front office is hoping newly-announced general manager Jerry Dipoto will help turn things around. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says "major changes" are in order.

John Froschauer / AP Photo

The Seahawks will have strong safety Kam Chancellor back for their home opener Sunday against the Chicago Bears. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says it’s still not clear why Chancellor held out, or what brought him back.

Jeff Chiu / AP Photo

In a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game, the Seahawks and Packers meet again this weekend in a Sunday Night Football battle at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the Packers are filling a void as the Seahawks’ newest nemesis.

Stephen Brashear / AP Photo

The Seahawks begin their regular season Sunday against the Rams in St. Louis. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel expects great things from the team this season, just not right away.

Winslow Townson / AP Photo

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel is calling for the ouster of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, after a federal judge ruled he mishandled the Deflategate controversy.

The judge Thursday overturned Goodell’s four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady over deflated balls in the AFC championship game last season.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

It's not the ideal circumstance for University of Washington football players or head coach Chris Petersen. They open the 2015 season next Friday night, Sept. 4, against Petersen's very successful old team, Boise State, in Boise, on national television (ESPN).

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel said it's a challenging start to a tough season.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle Mariners have had plenty of gold nuggets this season -- a no hitter, a player leading the league in home runs, a star pitcher on another great season -- but the team's overall fortunes have not reflected individual accomplishments, said KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel. 

"The Mariners have had moments of individual stellar play but it hasn't worked as a group at all," Thiel said. "This is a pretty good baseball team but they haven't been consistent in the key elements of the game."

Stephen Brashear / AP Photo

The Seahawks may have started training camp, but there seems to be more activity going on in the front office than on the field. Team officials are busy negotiating contract extensions and dealing with a key holdout.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the NFL’s salary cap dictates how far they can go.

Ralph Radford / AP Photo

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell this week upheld a four-game suspension for Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady over the controversy surrounding the team’s deflated balls in the AFC title game.

Brady and the Patriots are fighting back. And sports commentator Art Thiel says, as a result, a man with strong ties to Seattle could become the new leader of the NFL.

John Locher / AP Photo

Investment groups in Seattle, Bellevue and Tukwila did not apply for National Hockey League expansion before the deadline recently expired.

But KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the prospect of professional hockey in our region is still alive.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle Sounders host the Colorado Rapids at CenturyLink Field Saturday night.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel hopes they do better against the last-place team in the Western Conference than they did against the last place team in the Eastern Conference last weekend. He says the Sounders need to end their slide quickly.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Mariners are playing their final series before the All-Star break this weekend, hosting the Angels at Safeco Field.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the Mariners need to get hot to get into the playoff hunt.

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There is tremendous local interest as the U.S. Women's National team plays Japan in the Women's World Cup soccer final on Sunday in Vancouver, B.C.

The U.S. women are going for their third World Cup title. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says their odds are pretty good.

Title IX Coming To Fruition

Thiel said the reason the U.S. women are so dominant has to do with something that happened more than 40 years ago.

"Starting in 1972, Title IX, which was a federally mandated order to equalize the opportunities for women athletes in major colleges, took effect. By 1978, everyone was in compliance," he said.

  "What we're seeing 40 years later is a wonderful collection of athletes and coaches to make the U.S. dominant.

"It's unlike anything else in the world," Thiel continued. "A lot of people don't realize this but, from 1921 to 1971, England banned women's soccer. Germany did not give opportunities for women players until 1970.

"So this has been, really, a U.S. phenomenon. Now, Japan is catching up. Germany is catching up. But they're not quite there yet because the U.S. has so many opportunities in high school and in college. And particularly for soccer."

Soccer Interest Keeps Rising

"There have been studies done about participation in the various sports: soccer, volleyball, baseball/softball and basketball," Thiel said. "Soccer participation has been going up, up, up, while the others have been flat lining or even declining. But soccer has been really soaring.

"We're seeing in this World Cup the fruition of Title IX in so many ways."

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The Mariners are in Anaheim this weekend to play the Angels after a 4-4 homestand that included the hiring of Mariners legend Edgar Martinez as the team’s new hitting coach.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel isn’t expecting anything magical.

Is Love Enough?

"Everybody loves Edgar," Thiel said. "That's, really, I guess, all the m

AP Images

Calling Jordan Spieth's win Sunday at the U.S. Open golf championship at Chambers Bay one of the wildest he'd ever seen, KPLU's sport commentator Art Thiel said the exciting finish might not make up for the event's shortcomings.

Spieth, 21, won on the final hole when rival Dustin Johnson three-putted from 12 feet out to lose by a stroke.

The epic, pressured end followed three days of player criticism of the dry, fast conditions at the University Place course which was holding its first-ever major tournament. 

"It was very dramatic finish to a wild week of both golf and controversy," Thiel said.  "There was a lot of controversy around the greens at the course. (The players) took to social media to rake it after it was done.

"It's a real blow for a lot of people who worked 15 years in Pierce County to make this dream happen," Thiel said.

"They are going to have to decide what is honest criticism and what is sour grapes."

You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and Crosscut.com.

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