Final Countdown

We’re leaving together,
But still it’s farewell
And maybe we’ll come back,
To earth, who can tell?
I guess there is no one to blame
We’re leaving ground
Will things ever be the same again?

It’s the final countdown…

Yep, we love bad-ass 80’s hair/glam rock.  And it’s still kinda-sorta cool to hear the rebirth of the Final Countdown, isn’t it?  You hear it all over the place now, and hey, even Spongebob is doing it:

Weird. 

Anyway, why point that out today?  Because we’re in the final countdown of Martin Stadium PHASE III!!!  That’s right folks, we are in the home stretch for the Martin Stadium renovation.  Just a $300 deposit today gets you preferred seating in the new 2,200 seat section that is projected to double the gameday revenue.  And as it has been stated several times in pretty much every WSU media outlet, December 18th is big.  The timing is critical if we want to see the new renovation in place by 2011, but the costs with the federal construction bonds makes right NOW the best possible opportunity to pull it off.  Otherwise it’s pushed back until 2012, at least. 

And, the way we hear it?  Not to get too specific, and we’re not going to make any predictions…..but yes, there is still ground to cover in the next few days.  Now we aren’t about to sit here and tell you how you should spend your hard-earned dollars.  The economy is still trying to get off the mat, we’ve all got bills to pay, it’s the holidays and many are scrambling to stick to their self-imposed budgets, etc.  But IF you have the means, and you’ve been on the fence about this??  Do it.  Every last sale between now and Friday is critical.  If you are a regular around here you know how important it is on so many levels to get this done!

Moving on, how about that Jake Locker decision?  You know, I thought about all sorts of reaction to this from the WSU angle, but you know it wouldn’t come off well.  “Little brother”, whiny sour grapes, etc, you know how this thing goes.  So,  I’m going to take a step back and give it a “whatever” reaction.  You know why?  Because it’s their decision, their moment.  Let their fanbase and the Seattle media slurp all things #10.  To play it up or harp on what a CRAZY decision it is to leave $40 million dollars guaranteed on the table because you want to try and get UW back to a lower-tier bowl in 2010, well, that’s their issue…..

I will say this though.  The issue isn’t whether or not he’s ready to go out and start in the NFL next fall.  He probably isn’t ready, and another year of getting better at the college level will help his development.  And UW fans will point to Mark Sanchez, about what a struggle he’s had as a junior who came out and has had some tough times this year.  But whether or not he is ready, I guess to me, that isn’t even the issue at all. 

Does anyone think that Mark Sanchez’s bank account is upset with his decision to come out??  When you are projected to go in the first five picks in the NFL draft, and in the last year of the NFL labor agreement where rookies get paid insane, GUARANTEED dollars??  To leave that on the table when you are a fourth-year student who is on pace to earn your degree by the end of the school year??  Some estimate that the new NFL labor deal that will eventually go into place in 2011 will slash guaranteed rookie dollars to roughly a fourth of what they are now.  In other words, Locker may have just cost himself, oh, about $30 million dollars in bonuses and guaranteed NFL base salary.  To choose a $900-a-month scholarship check vs. setting up your family for generations to come?  WSU fan, UW fan or no fan at all, to leave that amount of guaranteed money on the table boggles my mind.  But again, whatever.  It’s their perogative.  :)

On the other “Final Countdown” theme, tomorrow 12/16 is the first day JC recruits can sign a letter of intent for four-year schools.  The buzz is positive for the Cougs, with the verbal commit last week of offensive tackle David Gonzales, plus some others are on the wishlist, including JC defensive tackle David Mahoney.  We’ll see what kind of news actually hits tomorrow, or if there will be some delay in getting anything out to the masses, but we’ll see what happens.  I know I’m excited about the idea of prior JC signings in Brandon Rankin, Quayshawne Buckley and (hopefully?) Chris Mastin all showing up next year for instant help!  We’ll see if there are any other surprises.

Finally, Locker isn’t even the biggest news in the city.  Did you see that Cliff friggin’ LEE is about to join King Felix at the top of the M’s rotation??  The same Cliff Lee who was unbeaten in the postseason last year for the fightin’ Phils??

The same Cliff Lee who went 22-3 with an ERA in the 2.50 range in ’08, winning the Cy Young in the process?  And for just a few prospects, so they aren’t even getting ripped off ala Erik Bedard??  This is a knee-buckling move for the M’s, even if it is just for one year of Lee.  To imagine going into a weekend series against the Yanks or Sox in Seattle, with King Felix and Cliff Lee for Friday-Saturday?  Wow, just WOW.  Even the cold-hearted, Griffey-hating analyst, USS Mariner founder Dave Cameron, likes this deal.  He really, really likes it:

“This is, quite frankly, a heist. The Mariners are getting a Cy Young caliber pitcher for some decent-but-not-great prospects. They aren’t giving up Morrow. They aren’t giving up Saunders. They aren’t even giving up Triunfel. And yet, they walk away with one of the five or six best pitchers in baseball.

Forget that we probably only have Lee for a year. We’re paying for about two months worth of his services and getting four months for free.

Seriously, dance in the streets. Build a bust of Zduriencik and place it on your mantle. Name your first born son Jack and your daughter Jackie. When this becomes official, hug someone. This trade is that good.”

The M’s can’t lose at this point, when you really think about it.  If the M’s tank early in the year, they can trade Lee at the deadline in July and get something back.  If they are in it to the end, they can keep him and then let him walk next year, where as a certain Type A free agent they would gain a couple of draft picks.  Or, hey, maybe Lee will love pitching in spacious Safeco so much, with a fantastic defensive team behind him, and love the idea of teaming with King Felix that he might just sign an extension??  I am sure that’s a long shot, and all the reports are that Lee wants to hit the free agent market and is looking for “CC Sabathia” dollars.  But stranger things have happened, and you never know. 

One thing is crystal clear.  The M’s want to win, and they want to win now.  With John Lackey signing with Boston, and the M’s swiping Chone Figgins from the Halos, and now adding Cliff Lee while Roy Halliday doesn’t end up in Anaheim?  Good day for the M’s!

All for now.  Enjoy your Tuesday, and as always, GO COUGS!

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