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Chicago Trades Cubs to Seattle for Mariners

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Chicago, IL (AP) – Almost six months into yet another failed season for both baseball franchises, the cities of Chicago and Seattle have agreed to trade their baseball teams, pending approval from Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. Selig is expected to approve the move.

With the brief exception of the mid-to-late nineties and the early part of the last decade, the professional sports teams of Seattle have consistently underachieved. The Seattle Supersonics NBA team gave the city its only real bright spot in 1979 with an NBA championship, but that glow turned into a sense of betrayal when the franchise packed up and moved to Oklahoma City in 2009. They join the short-lived Metropolitans as the only two championships for Seattle teams in prominent professional sports, both of whom either ceased to exist or took their talents elsewhere. The Metropolitans became the first American team to win hockey’s Stanley Cup, in 1917, but folded in 1924.

The football franchise Seahawks have perpetually been the laughingstock of the National Football Conference, second perhaps only to the New York Jets in comical ineptitude, though some experts point to the Detroit Lions as the embodiment of epic football futility.

The Cubs, infamously, last gave Chicago a baseball championship in 1908, representing the longest championship drought in North American professional sports. Although they briefly flirted with further success about ten years ago, the cellar of the National League has been familiar territory for much of the last century.

Adding to their collective frustration, the Cubs and Mariners already have in common the record for the most wins during a regular season, at 116; the Cubs accomplished that in their last championship season, while the Mariners did so in 2001, only to lose to the hated New York Yankees in the playoffs; the Mariners remain one of only two teams in all of baseball without a championship. The other such team is the expansion Washington Nationals.

But the setting for each team differs markedly, and that is precisely the point, says Dan O’Shaughnessy, a Boston Globe baseball columnist. “The Cubs, the Lovable Losers, for all their futility, inhabit Chicago, where the White Sox, Bulls, Blackhawks and Bears have more than made up for the North Sider’s shameful history in the city’s psyche. But the Cubs felt overshadowed by their crosstown and cross-sports rivals, and the city agreed to let them try their luck elsewhere. Chicago isn’t losing much,” he wrote in his Sunday column,.

“But the Mariners have the opposite problem, and they hope that the winning ways of the Chicago region’s professional teams might prove contagious, an experience they’ve never had,” O’Shaughnessy concluded.

The Cubs are not the first baseball team to consider a move to Seattle. In the early sixties the Cleveland Indians considered such a relocation, and their achievements, or lack thereof, in the ensuing years have some baseball historians saying it might as well have happened – to the point that many Cleveland football fans blame the Indians’ flirting with Seattle for the Browns’ continued on-field failures, though they reserve most of their recriminations for Browns owner Art Modell, who shipped the team off to Baltimore and rechristened them the Ravens. In Baltimore the team actually won a championship, adding to Midwestern sports fan bitterness.

In 1969 the Pilots began playing in Seattle, but moved to Milwaukee the following year to become the Brewers.

Also on Sunday, New York Mets announced that they will be transforming their organization into a retirement center for aged Yankees castoffs, starting in 1962.

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Written by Thag

September 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm

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