Monday, August 27, 2007

The Northwest without the Sonics

Now that even more news is coming out detailing about how some fine upstanding fellows are hustling the Sonics away from Seattle, the reality of the situation is finally sinking in with me. I've made a few jokes, but always maintained confidence that the League wouldn't allow this to happen. As I imagine what it would be like without the Sonics a couple hours up I-5, I'm now grasping to this belief like the girl clung to Stallone in the opening scene of Cliffhanger.

First of all, its important to remember that the Northwest is usually in stealth mode on the radar of national awareness. When ESPN did that odd "most underrated college football teams" list, the three most underrated were Washington State, Boise State, and Oregon. In fairness, UW did manage to make the most overrated list at #3, but this is more a testament to how much they truly suck. The most underrated conference? The Pac-10. The same conference fans outside the area complain about sucking so much.

Sometimes, something happens where the nation has no choice but to focus on the Northwest. Like when the #1 and #2 supremely hyped NBA Draft picks land there. Then we hear murmurs about how it hurts the league that they didn't go to a place people give a shit about.

Its more about population than anything, and the Northwest has less of it. Less people, far away from big media bases, less money, less exposure, this list continues. The Northwest does kind of suck like that.

While Seattle is in the foresaken Northwest, Oklahoma City is a market that would be even worse. Would Durant become a bigger star playing for a team in Seattle or OKC? Right. It doesn't make any sense financially, which I'm hoping is why the League will step in, because apparently the owners don't care.

The sadistic fan in me has joked about the Sonics leaving. After all, those in Seattle would then have to follow the Blazers and endure the true humiliation this brings. This is the horrible feeling I get when everyone in Portland supporting the Mariners/Seahawks like they're our teams. They aren't. Stop it. Oh, what sweet vengeance this could bring.

Then the scarred insecure fanatic in me becomes panicky. No Sonics in Seattle? Paul Allen really wants a team in Seattle. Paul Allen is FROM Seattle. Paul Allen has more money than God (Shammgod), and could make anything happen. Portland loses Blazers to Seattle. Portland now forced to follow Seatte teams in football, baseball, AND basketball. Might as well move to Seattle.

Now that I'm coming to grips with the OKC Sonics, and trying to merge it with the part of my brain that handles reality, its telling me this will hurt the whole region. The league might lose money, Durant might lose a chance to be quite as bright a star, but the Northwest will lose a significant piece of relevance, which is tough to come by in these parts.

This can't happen.

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