From the sidelines: Opinions from The Western Front staff on all things sports
Sports editor Jeffrey Giuliani, features editor and former sports editor Heidi DeHart, and sports reporters Ben Goldstein and Jake Siewert way in on current sports topics.
Who is your favorite personality on the Mariners?
Jeffrey Giuliani: From the outside looking in, there isn’t a less interesting player than Kyle Seager. But in that way, he’s a fascinating. Seager is the definition of old school. In an age of primadonna, look-at-me players, Seager stands alone.
Heidi DeHart: Can I say the mascot? I’ll go with Nelson Cruz, especially after last Sunday. He’s new to the Mariners, but his eight-game stretch is showing that he has serious potential for the team’s future. As of now, he’s leading the team with his batting average and has some very impressive power behind that bat.
Ben Goldstein: There are a couple to choose from, but I would have to say Robinson Cano. He always has his swag turned on, and his at-bats are the most relaxed at-bats I’ve ever seen. Then in the field he makes it look too easy.
Jake Siewert: The King: Felix Hernandez. He’s the heart and soul of the team. Players gravitate to him. Watch on days he doesn’t pitch, he’s always on the top step with a bat and batting gloves. He’s the ultimate competitor and the face of Seattle baseball.
Who will represent the West and East in the NBA Finals?
Jeffrey Giuliani: The Cavaliers win the East because they have Lebron James and the East is full of teams that would only be competing for a title if they were in the D-League. As much as teams that rely on 3-point shooting gives me pause, I’m taking the Golden State Warriors in the West. Steph Curry is on another level right now.
Heidi DeHart: Cavaliers for the East and Spurs for the West. The Cavaliers have the best player, so there is much more to say about that (call it a cop out). As for the Spurs, they have Gregg Popovich as their coach. He has the most consecutive winning seasons and could be called the best coach in basketball.
Ben Goldstein: Let me start off with a R.I.P to the Sonics. But my prediction would have to be the Cleveland Cavaliers from the East and the Houston Rockets from the West. The East is going to be a cakewalk for LeBron James and his team. The Rockets have the MVP, James Harden, but a lot of the success will hinge on Dwight Howard.
Jake Siewert: The East is a mess so it’s difficult to pick against LeBron and the Cavaliers. However, right now it’s Steph Curry’s world and we’re just living in it. It’ll be tough to beat the Warriors four different times in a series. Golden State over Cleveland in seven [games].
What are your thoughts on the Sounders so far in 2015?
Jeffrey Giuliani: Obafemi Martins has been doing things with a soccer ball that are probably illegal in most states. The Brad Evans center back experiment has been a failure, but this team can score enough to cover defensive lapses. When Clint Dempsey and Martins are playing together at such a high level, the Sounders will be almost impossible to stop.
Heidi DeHart: Other than Brad Evans sucking a lot and the game against the Earthquakes that I still refuse to talk about, the Sounders have impressed me quite a bit. Defense definitely needs work; right now they are all working as individual players and not as a well-oiled machine. As for attack, just give the ball to Obafemi.
Ben Goldstein: I’ve never been a huge MLS guy, but I keep up with the Sounders. Watching Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins is a treat. Both are extremely talented and can score goals, which is what I love. But we’ll see what they can do come playoffs.
Jake Siewert: Obafemi Martins has been spectacular in Clint Dempsey’s absence. It’s tough to turn away from the action when the Sounders feed him the ball. He’ll be the x-factor in this team’s ability to sustain momentum this season.
What is more interesting: the NBA playoffs or the Stanley Cup playoffs?
Jeffrey Giuliani: This is easy: there are no better playoffs in professional sports than the Stanley Cup playoffs. In 2012, the LA Kings won the Cup as an eight seed. In the NBA playoffs, most eight seeds are lucky to win a game. Hockey playoffs are so much more competitive and there is nothing better than overtime hockey in the playoffs.
Heidi DeHart: Stanley Cup playoffs hands down. There is nothing better than watching a fast-paced game that can at any moment break into a fight, or complete ridiculousness as a player gets the puck down his pants and the refs then spend five minutes searching for it. Plus they have a cool tradition of passing the trophy from champion team to champion team and having their names engraved on it.
Ben Goldstein: Ninety-five percent of the time I would pick the NBA playoffs, but this year I have to choose the Stanley Cup playoffs. I’m not a huge hockey fan, but the intensity of the Stanley Cup playoffs is so much higher than the NBA playoffs currently. The hitting, the fights and of course overtime playoff hockey all make it so entertaining.
Jake Siewert: The Stanley Cup Playoffs! And it’s not even close. Stanley Cup playoff games are to NBA playoffs as Training Day is to Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Then again it’s worth tuning in to the NBA Playoffs just for the satisfaction of NOT seeing the Oklahoma City Thunder play.