Boston Red Sox

Is an NBA team headed to Seattle?

553968.jpg

Is an NBA team headed to Seattle?

From Comcast SportsNetSEATTLE (AP) -- A wealthy hedge-fund manager won approval Monday for his plan to bring professional men's basketball and hockey back to Seattle, with initially skeptical City Council members agreeing to put up 200 million for a new arena after he promised to personally guarantee the city's debt.Council members voted 6-2 to approve Chris Hansen's plan for a 490 million arena near the Seahawks and Mariners stadiums south of downtown."I was a skeptic when this came forward because I was worried about our taxpayers," said Councilwoman Sally Bagshaw. "The fact that we have a personal guarantee from Mr. Hansen ... that makes a big difference."At the end, we're going to have something the city is proud of."Seattle hasn't had an NBA team since 2008, when the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder, devastating their fans here. It's been quite a bit longer since Seattle had major-league hockey: The Metropolitans, who won the Stanley Cup in 1917, disbanded in 1924.The Edmonton Oilers is one NHL team already discussing possible relocation to Seattle after plans for a proposed 475 million arena in Edmonton were thrown into doubt earlier this month.Though the franchise said it still hopes to reach a deal with Edmonton on a new arena, owner Daryl Katz, team president Patrick LaForge and Kevin Lowe, president of hockey operations, were in Seattle for meetings Monday about a possible relocation.The Oilers said in a statement that the team is listening to proposals from a number of potential NHL markets.Hansen, of San Francisco, is a Seattle native, an early investor in Facebook and a big Sonics fan who approached Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn last year in hopes of building a new arena to attract an NBA team and hopefully an NHL team as well. KeyArena, where the Sonics played, is considered outdated and financially unviable. The 200 million in public financing would be repaid by arena-related taxes.The deal Hansen worked out with the mayor's office met with resistance at City Council, where members worried about the effect of more traffic in what is a crucial shipping corridor, thanks to the nearby Port of Seattle, and about creating competition for the publicly owned KeyArena, which turned a profit last year.But Hansen made a number of concessions and won over a majority. In addition to personally guaranteeing the debt payments, he agreed to kick in more money for transportation improvements and 7 million for KeyArena, and he agreed to buy the new arena back from the city for 200 million at the end of the 30-year use agreement if that's what the city wants.He also agreed to be independently audited to assure that he's worth at least 300 million."I want to thank all of Seattle's elected officials and their staffs for their willingness to roll up their sleeves and work with us to get us to this point," Hansen said in a written statement. "Today's vote demonstrates that by listening to each other and working hard to address the concerns of all stakeholders that we can make the arena a reality and bring professional basketball and hockey back to Seattle."The King County Council already approved the original deal but needs to approve the revised version.Under the deal, the arena proposal will undergo an environmental review that could take a year. The review will look at whether other sites, including Seattle Center, where KeyArena is, should be considered.The two city councilmen who opposed the deal, Richard Conlin and Nick Licata, said that while it might be good as far as stadium deals go, that doesn't mean it's a good use of public money. Conlin said that when new businesses typically move into the city, the taxes they generate are a benefit to the city. In this case, he said, the city is giving away 200 million in tax revenue up front, only to collect it back later on.Licata said professional sports franchises aren't like nonprofit cultural organizations like operas or symphonies, which don't threaten to skip town when money's tight."What some citizens see is that those who have a lot of money are using public resources to get more money," he said.

Drellich: Dave Dombrowski, at last, built an excellent bullpen

Drellich: Dave Dombrowski, at last, built an excellent bullpen

BOSTON — Congratulations, Dave Dombrowski. It’s September, and you built a certified, top-notch bullpen. 

Credit goes all around. The pitchers themselves receive the most, with the front office, John Farrell and the rest of the staff taking their slices as well.

But the success is particularly notable for an executive who perennially had terrible bullpens in Detroit. Dombrowski knows the reputation he garnered, too.

Maybe now he’ll start to shed it.

MORE:

The trouble in his old job wasn’t for lack of trying. Joe Nathan didn’t work out. Many folks didn’t.

“I think that there’s a few factors there,” Dombrowski said in 2016 of his bullpens in Detroit. “At one time we had (Jose) Valverde (from 2010-13 who) was the best closer for a couple years. (Joaquin) Benoit pitched very well as a set-up guy. We had a very solid bullpen at that point.

“We were unlucky a little bit in, for example, a guy like Joel Zumaya — who was a dominant guy, young — hurts his arm. Somebody you’re counting on. . . . Really (Bruce) Rondon never lived up to the early expectations. I know he’s still young, he’s doing better. So we got a little unlucky on those things. He got hurt too.”

So it goes. Per FanGraphs’ measurement of WAR, the Tigers had the worst bullpen in the majors from 2003-15, Dombrowski’s tenure.

The Sox’ bullpen is fifth in WAR this year, and second in ERA. Last year’s group was good, but not this good. 

One of Dombrowski’s premier pick-ups in Boston, Addison Reed, has a common refrain when asked about his own pitching: he doesn’t change a thing. 

When Reed got rocked in one of his early outings with the Red Sox, against the Yankees, he said he didn’t change. When he got in and out of trouble in the eighth inning Monday night in another extra-inning win for the Red Sox, 10-8 over the Orioles in 11, he said he didn’t change.

Same for Dombrowski, it would seem. 

He continued to go after established relievers. There was the huge trade for Craig Kimbrel. Carson Smith took a while to contribute because of arm injuries, but he had the 11th-inning save Monday, and his velocity appeared to be creeping up. 

The Tyler Thornburg situation was troubling, so Dombrowski went out and got Reed from the Mets.

Could Dombrowski have had success sooner if he had changed his approach? Well, maybe, but that’s a different argument.

It’s worked. He didn’t change a thing. 

How cliche. But cliches, we should point out, have become a central theme in all these extra-inning wins for the Sox (they're 14-3). Grit, resiliency, determination — you run the risk of drowning on those words, even if they’re well deserved.

Those relievers, though. Both throughout the season and in these marathon games the Sox too often seek, the ‘pen has been unexpectedly excellent, with a rotating cast of characters.

“It’d be nice if we started winning those games in nine and not going extras,” Reed joked, with a presumed kernel of truth. “If it takes 19, 20 innings to get that win, we’ll take it.”

The roles for the postseason are still up in the air, which is strange for a ‘pen that’s been so successful. But at the same time, it suggest an equal distribution of success (and at times, challenges).

The bottom line: Dombo did it, with his relievers making him look smart.

CSNNE SCHEDULE

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Injuries piling up for Patriots

best_of_bst_podcast.jpg

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Injuries piling up for Patriots

0:41 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their main takeaways from the Patriots win over the Saints and discuss the injuries sustained during the game, specifically Rob Gronkowski's.

6:23 - Holley, Giles, and Smith talk about David Price pitching his first innings out of the bullpen for the Red Sox, but Holley thinks it is a mistake that he is not starting.

11:21 - Abby Chins joins BST for a discussion about Kyrie Irving's appearance on First Take.

14:43 - We go around the NFL for week 2 of the season and talk about the most surprising and best teams in the league.