Our new Pacific Northwest sports commentator. On the Seahawks and some Bills.

Our new Pacific Northwest sports commentator. On the Seahawks and some Bills.

[Shrine in the Burke’s living room to the 1969 Seattle Pilots. The Pilots only played one year before moving to Milwaukee.]

Full disclosure.

For Christmas, my dear aunt Janet gave us a pleasing sum of money in which the check was noted: “For the blog.”

Living in Seattle, Janet bought Microsoft back in the 1980s, so she has change to spare to become a patron of the arts. See “The love ($) you get is equal to the love ($) you give” adapted from John Lennon

While the magazine does cost us money to operate—and donations are always welcome—when Janet applied to be our Pacific Northwest sports commentator, she was accepted strictly on her merits. There was no quid pro quo. (Her first non-monetary contribution below.)

This week I’ve been thinking about the Seattle Seahawks trying for a third straight Super Bowl — an experience we in western NY enjoyed in the 90s. Of course, the Seahawks won one; while the Bills would lose all their four.  Nonetheless, for both cities, it was the first time their teams had made the Super Bowl.¹


I also discovered Seattle has a Bills fan club. Buffalo Bills fans in the Pacific Northwest

Actually, there similarities between Buffalo and Seattle as sports cities. While both are great sports towns, neither can boast a history of championship success

The Sounders aside — although the soccer team often draws crowds in the 40,000s — both cities have only two major league teams: Seattle in football/baseball and Buffalo in hockey/football.

1975 Topps # 45 Ernie Di Gregorio [David Kramer’s collection] Still painful to recall Game Six in 1974, Braves vs. the Celtics, the year Ernie D. was Rookie of the Year. Ernie lives in Providence, Rhode Island where I met him once. Today, he is a motivational speaker. From The last NBA regular season game in Rochester was 50 years ago today

And both lost NBA teams: the Seattle Sonics who won the title in 1979 and the Buffalo Braves. Rochester lost the Royals who moved to Kansas City and then to Sacramento. The Royals did win the NBA championship in 1951.

Parallels exist between the hockey Buffalo Sabres and the baseball Seattle Pilots (1969)/Mariners (1977 – present).

The Mariners have never been in the World Series, making three trips to the American League Championship Series (1995, 2000 and 2001). The Sabres lost in their two trips to the Stanley Cup Finals (1975 and 1999).

Not counting the Sounders or the Bills in their AFL days, that’s just one championship combined for teams that still exist: Seahawks in 2014

Here from Janet Burke on how Seattle is gearing up for the playoffs and on Seattle as a sports town:

The city is eager for the playoffs to start. I’m a bit apprehensive. One of our sports writers wrote an article before preseason began theorizing that the Seahawks could lose the first two regular season games–they did–St. Louis and Green Bay. Then they could easily “limp” into the playoffs—they did with a 10-6 record–then lose the first playoff game. That’s the one I’m worried about.


Seattle Space Needle. # 12 symbolizes the Twelfth Person, or the record breakingly loud Seahawks fans

There’s no doubt, Seattle is a great sports town. From November to the NFL playoffs, they are wild about the Hawks. We [Janet and husband Frank] are football fans in as much as we watch every game. Neither of us own a #12 fan shirt but I am currently crocheting a blue/green hat with pom-pom. The city, however, goes nuts for the Hawks. The space needle is lit up blue/green on Sundays. Cars, houses, and construction cranes sport their #12 fan flags all week. Seahawks sportswear everywhere.


UPDATE: Working steadily all night, Janet completed the hat this morning

Then there is the Washington Huskies basketball season to fill the void; Frank follows them in the papers. Moving right along to April pre-season. Ah baseball, with its accompanying hopes and aspirations . . . historically dashed by mid-September. Frank watches every game no matter how low in the standings the M’s sink. Hope springs eternal. . .This is a white collar town with a blue collar appetite. The Mariners draw well, as do the Sounders, and we’re trying desperately for another NBA team. An NHL franchise would be welcomed with open arms but we would need to build a stadium. The city is in no frame of mind to finance that. . . but you never know. We attend and cheer for whatever flavor is playing during the year.

If the ‘Hawks advance, more from our Pacific Northwest sports commentator. Note: the shrine was actually a temporary one day photo-op event.


¹ Janet may not be the Seattle sports historian as advertised. After completing the article, we realized the Seahawks lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl in 2006. The ‘Hawks were jobbed in that game by the referees, just as the Sabres got jobbed in the Stanley Cup finals in 1999. The series ended with a controversial triple-overtime goal in game six, when replays showed that Stars forward Brett Hull scored with his skate in the crease.


ESPN’s “Four Falls of Buffalo” and “Vivid memories of the four year Super Bowl run” and still jilted by the Bills


The first black player, the first shot clock and the longest game: all in Rochester


The last NBA regular season game in Rochester was 50 years ago today

About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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