In 2005, the Sonics made it to the 2nd round of the playoffs, UW basketball earned a 1 seed after winning the pac-10 tournament, and the Seahawks won the NFC. Despite the Mariners and UW football sucking, 2005 was a good year. Seattle sports fans have only seen blips of success since, and nothing close to ’05. But in 2012, not only may the world be ending, our fan frustration may also.
Here’s how much I have been looking forward to the year 2012-for the past 2 years, anytime I have created a password, 2012 is included. I might regret giving out that info, but oh well. When I think of 2012, it puts a smile on my face. The way things are shaping up, the 5 local teams should all be good, if not great. The word re-building should be replaced by contending, and young prospects should be on their way to becoming stars. Let me elaborate, by looking at how the local teams project a year from now.
Your 2012 Mariners-
Heading into Wedge’s second year, the M’s will have all sorts of money to play with in the off-season, and a core should be in place to finally contend again. Ackley and Pineda will have established themselves as MLB regulars, and Nick Franklin may make his big league debut. Felix, Ichiro, Guti, Smoak, and Figgy will likely still be on the roster, and the bullpen could be really good. It could be a make or break 4th year for Jack Z, who will no doubt do his part to field a contender. The best part is we will be building from within, rather than depending on aging, high priced veterans that often create artificial hype.
Your 2012 Seahawks-
2012 will be Pete Carroll and John Schneider’s 3rd year at the helm in Seattle. 2010-11 was such a hilarious year for the Hawks, who somehow found themselves at 8-9 and one win away from hosting the NFC championship. I would not be surprised to see a regression to the mean in 2011 (if it’s played), but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Seattle win yet another division title. Either way, 2012 figures to be a good year. Hasselbeck may be playing his final year, or perhaps a 2nd year starter will be under center. The Hawks will be 3 years removed from those ugly ’08 and ’09 seasons, so there is no excuse to be re-building in 2012. The NFL is very difficult to predict from year to year, but Carroll’s 3rd year could be special.
Your 2012 Husky Football-
It will be weird to watch the 2011 Huskies without #10. It figures that in the first post-Locker year, UW finally has talent and depth across the board. The defense should be solid in the coming years, something Husky fans have not seen since the early 2000s. In 2012, Washington will most likely have a returning starter at QB, and the Sark era will be in year 4. The great recent recruiting classes should also begin to make an impact on the field. In 2012, expectations will be big…like…Rose Bowl big.
Your 2012 Husky Basketball-
As long as Romar is coaching at Montlake, you can pencil in the Huskies to contend in the conference and make the tournament. The bar has been set high thanks to maintained success both recruiting and developing players. UW basketball is the surest bet we have in Seattle sports. Could 2012 be the year we see an elite 8 run? If Thomas returns for his senior year, along with Ross, Wroten, Gaddy, Wilcox, Suggs, Gant, Aziz, and others, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see another deep tourney run.
Your 2012 Sounders-
I can’t pretend to be a Sounders expert, though I do watch and root for the club. What I do know is that Seattle carries the flag for the MLS. The fan support is unmatched, and the team has made the playoffs in both years of existence. It sounds as though 2011 expectations are championship high, in what will be Kasey Keller’s final year. If the team is relatively in tact in 2012 (Sigi, Montero, Zakuani, Alonso, Fernandez) the Sounders, who have quickly created a winning culture, will be great yet again. Whether you like soccer or not, the sport is loved here in Seattle, and trust me when I say that this city will erupt if and when the Sounders win an MLS cup.
In sports, a lot can happen in 1 year. I realize that expectations are often not realized, and I used the word “should” quite a bit in this post. However, whether you agree with my 2012 projection or not, you can’t deny that the future looks bright for Seattle sports, or at least brigther than it has in recent years. The Mayan calendar suggests that the world will end on 12-21-12. If Seattle sees a championship in 2012, I’m fine if the Mayans are right, because I will die a happy man.