The failed Malik McDowell draft pick by the Seahawks two years ago brings to the front again something I can’t quite understand even if I should know better. McDowell was the 35th pick overall and was given a guarantee of almost $7 million when he signed with the team.

 Good, right?

 No, McDowell screwed it up all up with a terrible ATV accident that left him so injured he couldn’t pass a Seahawks’ physical to play. And now he has other legal problems stemming from a stolen truck and drunken driving violations.

The point I’m making here is that character counts as much as physical tools. Maybe even more. I can remember telling myself that if I was given millions to play a sport at 20 years old I probably would not be alive today. McDowell was 20 when he signed the contract.

 I’m joking about myself. I think I would have been smart enough not to do something stupid with that sudden influx of millions of dollars. But nobody really knows how they would react until it really happens. Hypotheticals don’t count.

 Over the nearly 50 years of writing sports, I have wrestled with the equation: talent equals millions equals happiness. Happiness and success often do not rest just on talent alone. It takes extra effort and sometimes luck to have success and fortune for any length of time.

 This is a long way to say that character matters. I have seen high school kids with plenty of talent never fulfill their potential because they didn’t have the character to sustain success. And that character is many cases was developed in their environment.

 It’s tough to overcome a negative environment. I had a close childhood friend who was beaten on a daily basis by his dad. And I’m not talking receiving a spanking, but a beating with fists or a bat spiked with nails.

 I don’t know how brave I am, but I do know I challenged my friend’s dad to try that on me. He refused to take my bait. But my friend’s beatings continued. Thirty some years later he forgave his dad. Now that takes courage.

 My friend may have become an exception. I don’t think he had kids (I lost track of him), but if he had I would bet he would have treated his kids the way he was treated. We repeat what is normal for us even when it’s not normal in social terms.

 NFL teams do a lot of research on those players they draft and McDowell had plenty of asterisks by his name because of character flaws that raised red flags. So it really isn’t surprising what has happened to him. He likely is doing what is normal to him.

 On the opposite extreme of this is kids that have some talent, but not enough that you would say they are going to be a huge success. Yet they do have success. Why?

 Again, it comes back to character. These kids most likely come from a good and positive environment . They can overcome a lack of talent to produce success. I’ve seen this many times over.

 The sticker in all of this, though, is the money. Money, and a lot of it, does funny things to people. It changes them. Often, in my opinion, not for the good. I can count on one hand the number of baseball players I have seen in my nearly 30 years of covering the Seattle Mariners who were not changed by a big money contract.

 And I’m not immune to it. When I went on two back-to-back Skywriters Tours in the mid-1970s I became influenced by all the free stuff – airplane, hotel, food, beer – and I vowed in the second year I would not let it do that to me.


 I was again influenced by it all. When I got home and walked into the door one of the first things my wife said to me was you to got to take out the garbage. I thought for about three seconds, “What, who me?” My feet crashed to the ground and, yes, I took out the garbage and quickly realized I was back in reality from my fantasy trip.



If you haven’t noticed (and how can you not), traitor Trump is front and center in just about anything that is going on. Being an ultra narcissist he demands to be out in front (even in group photos) and just on this day he’s taken on former President Jimmy Carter, fought with soccer star Megan Rapinoe and shaken up the world by asking murderous North Kitsap dictator Kim Jong-Un to meet him at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) just to shake hands.

 Yesterday, he joked around with another murderous dictator, Putin of Russia. The joke was only funny to those two because they laughed about fake news media and Russian meddling in our elections as if they were on Comedy Central.

 The problem is our situation with traitor Trump is no joke. He is an extremely dangerous man who as Carter said is an illegitimate President because without Russian hacking and interference in our election via propaganda and false stories on social media he would not have been elected.

Traitor Trump sidles up to dictators and rebuffs our traditional allies in Europe because he wants to be a dictator and President for life. He is day-by-day moving closer to his wish. He ignores the balance of power our constitution gives us in government and tramples all over laws while covering up his criminality, continues on trying to make America All White Again by closing our borders to immigrants that are not of his color, continues to stack district courts with loyalists, is ripping apart our security agencies, and continues his gross lies while radicalizing his followers in case he needs them to take to the streets if the 2020 election does not go his way.

 But he need not worry. He and his cowardly Republican leadership have done everything possible to not do anything possible to protect our elections from foreign interference. I would assume (and you should too), that his secret talks with Putin are centered on how best to coordinate Russian interference in our election and how best to set up a dictatorship.

 The good thing is if we have a clean election (and there is little guarantee of that), we will send the traitor packing because the vast majority of Americans have grown to despise him. He is the worst President in our 243-year history and second worse is not even close.

 This is a man who is not just disgusting, but is a monster.  We can and do better. Much better. May God help us.




There is a growing dissatisfaction with the so-called Step-back of the 2019 Seattle Mariners and all I can add is that it’s too late now to moan. The dismantling of the roster is just about complete, although a few more players seem certain to be sent packing down the highway before the trade deadline of July 31.

 I would expect second baseman Dee Gordon and pitcher Mike Leake to be given a ticket out of town soon. And if Felix Hernandez does not pitch again in Seattle it would not be surprising. I think general manager Jerry Dipoto would be happy to see him be on an extended DL for the rest of the season. It’s sad to see because Felix has been good to this franchise when the franchise wasn’t good for him. But all good things must end, and so it is with Felix.

 Dipoto has done well in this dismantling. He has put together basically a 4A team that while in the basement of the American League West is not the worse baseball team. That belongs to Baltimore, and Kansas City, Toronto, Detroit, Miami Marlins and the Giants are not as good as the Mariners.

 So step back and hold your complaint. Wait until next season and if you don’t see an improvement, then by all means let ‘er rip.

 In the meantime, enjoy summer here in the great Pacific Northwest.

Be well pal.

 Be careful out there.

 Have a great day.

 You are loved.