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Left Coast/Right Coast – Observations on sports and waterfalls

The Mariners and the Seahawks: For some reason, professional football seems to have taken the place of professional baseball in defining part of who a city is. Growing up in New York City, it was the Brooklyn Dodgers or the New York Yankees who defined the essence of being from New York.
Mike Gold writes for the News of Mill Creek on a regular basis. He is a retired entrepreneur and describes himself as a, “relatively recent transplant to the West Coast. Photo credit: Katie Stearns.

Mike Gold writes for the News of Mill Creek on a regular basis. He is a retired entrepreneur and describes himself as a, “relatively recent transplant to the West Coast. I have lived (born and raised) in the Northeastern U.S. So these observations are based upon ‘living the dream’ in the Pacific Northwest.”

The Mariners and the Seahawks: For some reason, professional football seems to have taken the place of professional baseball in defining part of who a city is. Growing up in New York City, it was the Brooklyn Dodgers (when they were still playing at the old Ebbits Field in Brooklyn, or the New York Yankees who defined the essence of being from New York. Kids lived or died on the daily batting averages of their heroes. Mickey Mantle was one of my childhood heroes.

In the movie “A Bronx Tale” (written by Chazz Palminteri – who also plays Sonny, the lead mobster character) Sonny is talking to the young kid he takes under his wing. The kid, nicknamed “C” by Sonny, is talking about how great Mickey Mantle is.

Sonny told C, “What’s so great about Mickey Mantle. He doesn’t care about you or your family. If your father lost his job, see if Mickey Mantle will write a check to your family.”

Poor C, you could see the idolatry drain out of his face as he realized that sports heroes were just well paid people who wouldn’t or couldn’t really help the ordinary working folk. But let your team get into the Super Bowl or the World Series and suddenly the entire city comes together and becomes one with the team.

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.” Spoken by James Earl Jones’ character in the movie “Field of Dreams.”

Well, time seems to have rendered that quote inoperative. The country seems to have left baseball in second place behind football.

I’ve been both to a Seahawks game and a University of Washington football game. Frankly, the fans are equally nuts at both. Unlike their east coast brethren, however, the Pacific Northwest fans have a modicum of respect and decorum. I was not thrown up on, urinated on, or nearly come to blows with any fans out here (unlike my experiences back east). So a nod to the Pacific Northwest.

Last comment about the Mariners and baseball. This team simply is not good. So I respectfully suggest that we should all find some other cause about which to rally rather than waiting for the Mariners.

I have to give this nod to New England and the Boston Red Sox. After waiting since 1918, they have won several World Series using the “system” outlined in the movie: “Moneyball.”

The best part of the first victory was the Red Sox beating the New York Yankees 4-3 after being down 0-3 in the American League Championship series in 2004. And beating them in the 7th game in Yankee Stadium. Priceless! Of course, we all knew the World Series that year (Boston Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinals) was a mere formality (Red Sox won 4-0).

The Seahawks: This is a reasonably good football team. Of course, being from New England – it is hard to compare the Seahawks with the Patriots (and Tom Brady). We hosted a Super Bowl party the first time the Patriots played against the Giants in Super Bowl XLII – (2008). The Pats were ahead until late in the 4th quarter when the Giants drove down the field and scored the winning touchdown. I was crushed. It would have been the fourth ring for Brady (he’s still looking for it).  Here I was 3,000 miles from New England and my psyche was still tied up in a stupid football game. Then, even worse, The Giants did it again four years later. Same exact end of game Giants drive (four point loss vs. three point in the earlier game). It was this experience that brought me to the same point as the character C in “A Bronx Tale.” You can’t tie yourself up in rooting for a team to the extent that it determines your individual fate.

Pete Carroll is a good coach. Frankly, he did a poor job as head coach of the Patriots (and the NY Jets). It was thought at the time that he was an excellent college coach – but marginal in the NFL. Well apparently he learned from his experience at USC and is now a very good NFL coach. And like Bill Belichick at the Patriots – a very good judge of talent. He has proven excellent at finding talent overlooked by others and fitting them into his system.

Snoqualmie Falls: Sorry, no nod to the Pacific Northwest. What’s so special about gravity doing what it does to water, apples (Sir Isaac Newton), and your body. The Northeast has Niagara Falls. Now that’s worth visiting. As are Angel Falls (Venezuela), Ramnefjells Walls (Norway), Olo'upena Falls (Hawaii) and Victoria Falls (Zambia). All these falls are at least 10 times higher than Snoqualmie. The scenery at Snoqualmie is very nice. On a sunny day you get to experience what is great about the Pacific Northwest. Only problem is you have to get on I-90 or worse, either I-405 or I-5. Plan on going during the day on a weekday! And what’s with putting lights on the falls at night. Sheesh, where is a young couple going to park at night?

Next time, I’ll have more to say about traffic.

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