Sports with Art Thiel

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

Gregory Bull / AP Photo

Just days after the suicide of retired NFL star Junior Seau, a lot of people are wondering whether the head injuries he suffered on the field may have played a role in his death.

Gregory Bull / AP Photo

The tragic death of NFL star Junior Seau has raised some questions about whether the hard hits he was involved in on the field somehow contributed to his apparent suicide.

The body of the 43-year-old linebacker was found Wednesday. Authorities say he left a note, although the contents of the note have not been revealed. Police have confirmed that Seau was shot in the chest. Does that mean he wanted his brain to be preserved for research, similar to the wishes of another former player who recently killed himself?

Michael Switzer / AP File Photo

He's everything the Seahawks said they wanted in their first round draft pick. West Virginia defensive end Bruce Irvin has speed and can deliver one heck of a sack. But he also comes with some baggage.

Dave Martin / AP

The Seahawks made a surprise choice for their first round pick in the NFL draft Thursday night.

They chose Bruce Irvin, a 6-3, 248-pound defensive end from West Virginia. He's fast - dazzling scouts with a 4.5-second time in the 40 yard dash. But he also has a troubled past.

AP Photo

"It's only going to get worse."

Those are the words of KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel regarding traffic in Seattle's SoDo district.

Members of the King County Council this week echoed concerns raised by the Mariners, the Port of Seattle and many SoDo businesses that a third arena in the area would create huge traffic nightmares. Not that there aren't any of those already.

Lana_aka_BADGRL / Flickr

Members of the King County Council this week raised concerns about a proposed new arena in Seattle's SoDo district. Among the concerns is increased traffic - the same reason the Mariners, Port of Seattle and many SoDo businesses have come out against the idea of building third arena in the area.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel shares his insight on this issue tomorrow morning at 5:35 and 7:35 on 88.5 KPLU. Check back here for a blog of our conversation.

Ed Clemente

It's payback time. That's what a lot of Seattle Sounders FC fans are saying about Saturday's matchup with the Colorado Rapids at CenturyLink Field.

It's the first time they will be able to voice their opposition to Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan's vicious tackle last season of one of the Sounders' best players, Steve Zakuani. The hit left Zakuani with a broken leg as well as muscle and nerve damage from which he's still recovering.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says Sounders fans have a right to be angry and a right to voice that anger on Saturday - but he warns against going too far.

Jack Dempsey / AP Photo

A controversial sports figure comes to Seattle Saturday. Colorado Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan will appear before Sounders fans for the first time since breaking the leg of popular midfielder Steve Zakuani last season.

Colin E. Braley / AP Photo

They were the top two players on the University of Washington basketball team this season. They weren't able to get the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament, but sophomore Terrence Ross and freshman Tony Wroten are nonetheless leaving UW to enter the NBA draft.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says only one of them is ready.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

They were certainly stars this season. But is that enough? Freshman Tony Wroten and sophomore Terrence Ross both announced this week that they're leaving the University of Washington to enter the NBA draft.

Find out what KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel thinks about their decision tomorrow morning at 5:35 and 7:35 on 88.5 KPLU. Check back here for a blog of our conversation.

Itsuo Inouye / AP Photo

The Mariners return from Japan Friday with one win and one loss under their belt, following the two-game series with the A's in Tokyo that kicked off their 2012 season.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says, overall, the trip was a success. He spent the week with the team in Japan.

The Associated Press

TOKYO — Now he shows us.

In a game postponed from nine years ago, played 4,800 miles from where he’s hit leadoff for the last 11 years, following up an idea started eight years ago, Ichiro revealed himself to be baseball’s greatest No. 3 hitter.

Ben VanHouten / Mariners

ISHINOMAKI, Japan – Busing swiftly through the detritus of devastation is hardly a good way to get a feeling for the loss, in the space of a few hours, of about 20,000 people from a town of 160,000.

But then, what is a good way to comprehend  the unimaginable?

Matt Ludtke / AP

Seahawks fans like what they're hearing about new quarterback Matt Flynn. Team leaders touted his skills and leadership ability this week.

While the Seahawks welcome an important new player, a veteran player for the Mariners is preparing for a huge homecoming in Japan. 

Matt Ludtke / AP

Fan excitement is building for the Seahawks new quarterback Matt Flynn. Will he really have to compete for the job of starter?

Matt Ludtke / AP Photo

It's up in the air who will be the starting quarterback for the Seahawks next season. The Hawks are said to still be searching for their next star. Will they find him in the free agent pool?

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel breaks down the moves the Seahawks have made so far, and what might be in their future.

Matt York / AP Photo

With the signing of defensive end Red Bryant to a new, five-year contract this week, the Seahawks now have their two best free agent players locked up. Bryant's deal comes on the heels of star running back Marshawn Lynch signing a new contract with the team. 

So, what's next for the Seahawks in the offseason, now that it appears they're out of the running for quarterback Peyton Manning?

Fans hear the words "neck fusion" and wonder why Peyton Manning is even considering playing again, fearful he'll risk a career-ending injury — or worse — the next time he takes a hit.

But safety isn't Manning's issue, several spine specialists said. Arm strength is.

Goodbye Indianapolis, hello Seattle? The Seahawks confirm they're among the teams vying for Peyton Manning. / Nam Y. Huh

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel likes the idea of Peyton Manning coming to Seattle. He says the team and the city have a lot to offer him. And it goes without saying what he can offer the team - as long as he stays healthy.

For 45 minutes at City Hall Wednesday night, would-be arena mogul Chris Hansen calmly answered questions from politicians, bureaucrats and agency heads who reflected Seattle’s pain from repeatedly getting kicked in the bicuspids by pro sports owners, starting with the loss of the Seattle Pilots in 1970.

In the sometimes lame give-and-take, he made a point lightly understood but significant for grasping why his idea is different than those of his sporting predecessors more practiced in the art of shoe-leather dentistry.

“Our equity in this project is larger than the city (and county combined),” he said. “Are we going to risk a $600 million investment over a $2 million annual shortfall?”

Michael Conroy / AP Photo

Seattle will be one of the teams trying to land Peyton Manning, a team source confirmed to the Seattle Times on Wednesday.

The Seahawks interest had been reported earlier by Peter King of Sports Illustrated, and the NFL Network said the Seahawks were preparing to reach out to Manning as soon as he was released by the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, the Times wrote.

Charlie Riedel / AP Photo

"A strange episode of normalcy."

That's how KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel describes what caused the injury to Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez. It happened during a routine throw at spring training.

Gutierrez is out for at least a month - maybe longer - with a partially torn pectoral muscle. Art says it's just the latest piece of negative news for the Mariners, as the team begins its 2012 exhibition season Friday.

Ben Margot / AP Photo

The Mariners start exhibition play Friday. But they'll do it without starting center fielder Franklin Gutierrez. He's out for at least a month with a partial tear of his pectoral muscle.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel talks about what this means for the start of the Mariners season, coming up tomorrow morning at 5:35 and 7:35 on 88.5 KPLU. Check back here for a blog of our conversation.

Charlie Riedel / AP Photo

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel called for it last season. And now the Mariners have made it official. They announced this week that long-time leadoff hitter Ichiro Suzuki has been moved to No. 3 in the lineup.

But the player the Mariners chose to replace Ichiro in the top spot has left a lot of fans scratching their heads.

Charlie Riedel / AP Photo

When the Mariners regular season opens in late March, Ichiro Suzuki will not be in the top spot in the batting order. And that's not the only change we're hearing about for Ichiro this week.

Monica Spain / KPLU

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel likes what he's hearing about a proposed arena deal in Seattle.

The goal is to return the NBA to Seattle and bring the city a professional hockey team with a new arena to be built in the city's SoDo district. The project would be self-funded and not rely on new taxes.

The Associated Press

There has been a lot of buzz this week following the news that the city of Seattle has been in discussions with a potential investor for a new arena.

With property purchased just south of the already existing baseball and football stadiums by this investor, and the Sacremento Kings basketball team seemingly on the brink of leaving town, many people have become excited at the possibility that Seattle could see a new team, and perhaps a professional hockey team sooner than later.

Art Thiel doesn't see that happening any time soon.

The Associated Press

The Seattle Seahawks will be watching the Super Bowl this weekend from the sidelines, as the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants. The Seahawks manhandled the Giants during the regular season, but went on to finish with a losing record while the Giants made an amazing season-ending run.

How did this happen? Art Thiel tells us that if you try to predict the outcome of an entire season based on a small sample of it, you usually end up wrong.

The Associated Press

The Mariners, not surprisingly, missed out on Prince Fielder but that Detroit shelled out the big bucks for him did surprise KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel. Nevertheless, things are looking up for the Mariners, from the stand point of bringing on a new player who can hit the ball, but the problem could be catching it.

Other than that, "it doesn't look like there is any reason other than the usual, standard, every year 'You gotta have hope' for a fan base that has been told that for a decade and has seen very little to come out of it," Art said.

Click the Listen button above for the rest of the interview.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

We get a bat, but not much else. That's what KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel has to say about the Mariners trading starting pitcher Michael Pineda to the Yankees in exchange for hot young hitter Jesus Montero.

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