TOP OF THE TOWN – It’s been a bad few months for our sports baseball heroes, all in baseball’s Hall of Fame, as one-by-one they have died – Tom Seaver, also known as Tom Terrific, a three-time Cy Young winner, died at 75 on August 31; then the former stolen base king, Lou Brock, went to heaven on September 6 at age of 81; Brock’s St. Louis teammate Bob Gibson, one of the most feared pitchers of all-time, died on Oct. 2 at 84; Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle’s drinking partner and the winningest pitcher in New York Yankee history, died on Oct. 8 at 91 and then it was maybe the greatest second baseman in history, Joe Morgan, died Oct. 10 at 77. I had very brief contact with Seaver and Morgan. I ran into Seaver at the Kingdome Press Box as we both went to grab a hot dog in the back of the Press Box. Seaver, a broadcaster for the Yankees, laughed about having to carry his own luggage now that he wasn’t a player. Seaver was a real gentleman, as was Morgan, who at 5-foot-7 played the game of baseball as a giant. It was Morgan who came up to me in the Seattle Mariners’ clubhouse and talked to me as if I was an old friend. I can’t remember what we talked about but I was stunned he would want to talk to me, a grinder of a beat baseball writer that grinded out stories for a small newspaper. He was as nice as one could be and as good a broadcaster (he did national televised games with Jon Miller, who I thought was also very good). It’s sad for me, and for millions of others, that these greats are now gone. You again realize no matter how tough you are Father Time catches us all. We can run from him, but we can’t hide, and eventually time stops for us all. … The National Football League rates teams defensively by how many points they allow. Using that stat, the Seattle Seahawks are 21st, allowing 27 points a game (Dallas is the worse at 36 points a game). But using total yardage ceded, the Seahawks are dead last, allowing 471.2 yards a game, which is unheard of in NFL history for an unbeaten team (5-0). Never been done. Never.  The Seahawks are allowing a league worse 370.4 yards passing a game. Atlanta is second worse at 336 yards a game.  How to explain an undefeated Seahawk team with that bad of a defensive stat? Well, they are ninth in offense at 395.8 yards a game, and third in passing offense. They also have Russell Wilson, who is on pace to be the league MVP with his stellar performance, including the ability to bring his team from behind. He continues to amaze with his ability to snatch victory from defeat.  But I’m not guessing when I add that winning with a defense that allows nearly 500 yards a game can’t be sustained. There will be a reckoning unless by some miracle they shore up the defense. The Hawks have a bye this weekend, which will give the team time to heal. That means all-pro safety Jamal Adams will be back from the injured list. That will help. The biggest problem, however, is pass rush. The Seahawks are not good in that area. You can’t let passers in this league have all-day to make their throws. If you do it allows receivers to eventually get open and that spells trouble with a capital T. What is unbelievable is that coming into the season it was thought the defense would be a strong point with an improved secondary built around Adams.  But a proper defense has the secondary and pass rush working in coordination to produce positive results. Until that happens, the Hawks’ defense is going to suffer and at some point Wilson will run out of miracles. The up-coming schedule is not going to help. The Hawks return to the gridiron Oct. 25 at Arizona, that is followed with the San Francisco 49ers at home, then at Buffalo and the Los Angeles Rams, and a Thursday night game (Nov. 19) at home with Arizona. That is a tough five-game grind. Prayer beads will be needed.  Funny, but Bleacher Report’s NFL Power Rankings has the Seahawks second to Green Bay. I beg to differ. I can’t see how the Seahawks can rank that high with such a horrible defensive stat. I think what you are seeing is smoke and mirrors. When it all clears up the Hawks are not going to be among the best teams this year. They would have to outscore every opponent in shootouts and you just can’t consistently win that way. The defense has to be shored up, and maybe they can get that done somehow during his bye week. I’m skeptical, though. … I was shocked to see the score of the Kentucky-Mississippi State football game (24-2). Mike Leach, in his first year as coach at Mississippi State, had the Bulldogs flying with the Air Raid offense with a 44-34 victory in their opener against defending national champion LSU. But then reality set in with 21-14 loss in their home opener against Arkansas and this past weekend it was Kentucky that shot down the Air Raid. Two points? Wow. I don’t like Leach, for two reasons. He’s an avid supporter of Trump, and two, his Air Raid offense can score (usually), but he stubbornly stays with it even when the game situation dictates he shouldn’t. Former Washington coach Chris Petersen had him all figured out. He said Leach basically runs five plays (with options off them) and that made it easy to game-plan against. Petersen used eight defenders in the back and rushed just three and the result was the Washington Huskies dominated their series with Leach and the Washington State Cougars. I used to shake my head watching the Husky-Cougar game. One year, Leach had three really good running backs and used them sparingly as he once again got beaten. He could have gone 50-run, 50-pass and most likely won most of his games. But, no, he wouldn’t change. So now he’s back in familiar coaching territory against opponents that traditionally are pretty good and he’s started off 1-2. Yes, he beat LSU at Baton Rouge, but LSU is not anywhere near the team they were last year in winning the national championship. Leach will likely never learn, though, so it is what it is. … Two things about the NBA finals. I’ve never fully liked LeBron James. And I get real tired of people talking about him being the best basketball player of all time. He’s good. Very good. But it’s my position, and will always be my position, that you can’t compare athletes from different eras. Just can’t. I’ve always said that Wilt Chamberlain was the best player, but there is no way I can validate that. He played in an era when basketball was different. But if you look at what he did while playing against his peers, it’s difficult to say he wasn’t the greatest of all time. But I can’t compare him to LeBron James. They played at a different time when the game was different. I didn’t like LeBron because early in his career he didn’t play defense. He basically stood around and used his amazing athletic ability to make plays when he wanted to make them. Today, after 17 years in the league, he does play some defense. But he is nearly unstoppable when he wants to drive to the hoop. He’s too big, too strong and too quick and fast. I wouldn’t want to get in front of him to take a charge, I can tell you that. What I didn’t like about him in these finals is when they won he gloated and made a big public display of it. Okay, you won, you were the much better team, and so just put things back in your pocket, accept your MVP award and team trophy and go back to the lockerroom and go home. Don’t get me wrong, LeBron does good things away from the court for all the right reasons. He can be a real good guy. I just don’t like his grandstanding. Yeah, you are great, we get it. Just don’t rub it in. The second point I would like to make is that the NBA found a new star in Jimmy Butler of Miami. Butler apparently has a reputation of being a pain in the ass and likely the reason why he has played for four teams since being drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the 2011 draft. My definition of a good player becoming great is when that good player makes everybody around him better. I think Butler finally did that with the Miami Heat. And when the Heat needed him he stepped up his game to become great. Just so you understand where I’m coming from, LeBron also makes those around him much better. Especially, Anthony Davis his year.  I enjoyed watching Butler. He personalities a guy who suddenly realized his talent could do some good and went to a different level, maybe surprising even himself. His play foretells a good future for him and the heat because he made his teammates much better. In a side note, I have always put Rick Walker, the former East Bremerton High School star basketball player, ahead of Marvin Williams as the best high school player I have seen. Marvin had more upside and used it to play in the NBA for 15 seasons (he just recently retired), but Walker made players around him in high school much better (East won two state titles and should have won a third) and Williams did not. Walker went on to become a star at Division-2 University of Puget Sound (it won the 1976 national title), but did not play at the next level.  Okay, that is enough for today.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.