Sports with Art Thiel

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

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.

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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.

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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.

Can The Seahawks Win It All Again Next Year?

Feb 7, 2014
Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

"What an intense experience that was," says KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel.

He could've been talking about the Seahawks 43-8 blowout win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday. Or he could've been talking about the 700,000+ fans who packed downtown Seattle and CenturyLink Field for a victory parade and rally on Wednesday.

Those two events combined to create the most exciting week ever in Seattle sports history.

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
Julio Cortez / AP Photo

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.

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