H.C.I.

There was yet another riot on The UW’s Greek Row last week:

All available Seattle police, the State Patrol, a sheriff’s helicopter and campus police were needed to quell an alcohol-fueled disturbance early yesterday morning in the fraternity district north of the University of Washington A mattress was set afire in a street, a vehicle was turned over, and other cars, including three police cars, were damaged. Police estimated total property damage at $6,000. Witnesses and people who called police estimated 300 to 500 people were involved. [Seattle P-I]

Apparently the whole thing started as a block party and then raged out of control.

It’s funny how that happens — parties are held every night of the week without incident, but occationally one hits the flashpoint. In fact, these riots share a lot in common with forest fires, which also seemingly spring from nowhere and catch everybody off guard.

The problem in each case in an overabunance of fuel. That’s why I’m a big supporter of The Healthy Colleges Initiative, which reduces the risk of college-based riots through selectively thinning of student bodies. Crack teams of “harvesters” sweep through campus every few months and cull those students that pose the greatest danger. Specifically:

  • Deadwood (students coasting by on C minuses, liberal arts majors, etc.)
  • Old growth (students who have been matriculated for 6 years or more)
  • Shallow-rooted seedlings (First-year students who are just going to drop out after a year of incessant alcohol- and drug-use anyway)
  • Monocultures (students who strive to look like whatever the prevailing fashion is at the moment)
  • Epiphytes (students who are unable to support themselves, and only going to college because their parents are paying for it)

I also think they should air PSAs starring Everclear the Binge-Drinking Bear. “Only You … Can Stop Knuckledheaded University Riots, Bro”

Cold Comfort

A man stands on a corner in downtown Seattle. He is loudly sobbing, with one hand over his eyes and the other dangling at his side clutching a cell phone. A woman stands at his side, consoling him with one arm half draped over his shoulders. As I pass I hear her say, “I don’t know why you are so upset. She’s nothing but a ho.”

Dave Neihaus

The lead color commentator for the Seattle Mariners in the excitable but loveable Dave Neihaus. This guy has been calling games since, like, the Civil War, and he has a near inexhaustible supply of stock “baseball phrases.” After a while you may think you’ve heard them all, but sooner or later he’ll spring a new one on you.

Co-announcer Rick Rizz: We just got word that White Sox are leading the Royals 14-0 in the eighth inning.

Dave Neihaus: I’ve been following that game. The White Sox need only three more runs to tie the record for the most lopsided shutout in the history of baseball.

RR: Man, I wonder what the scorecard looks like for that one.

DN: I’ve seen it, and it’s a mess. The turning point in that game was the National Anthem.

I Like Baseball

[Games: Baseball] I’ve been saving up my baseball-related posts, so brace yourself for a full day of them. (Or just skip a day of yeti if you don’t give a rat’s ass about The Great American Pastime.)

I love baseball, not so much because I find it fascinating but because I can find it fascinating at will. If I’m at a game or in a bar watching the match on the tube, I can suddenly make myself really really care about who’s winning and what’s going on. But if I need to, say, leave the bar before the game is over, I can just as easily stop caring and head out the door. I could watch every game in a week, or miss an entire month without any regrets. The minute the Mariners blow a big match I can opt to throw a fit or shrug my shoulders.

Not so for many Seattle fans. We recently had a brouhaha of major league proportions. It all started with this letter, in which ex-Yankees fan Matt Villano labeled Mariner game attendees as a bunch of passive wussies.

People who call themselves “fans” know something about the game they watch. They encourage root, root, rooting for the home team, they stand and clap at two-strike counts, they’re not afraid to boo an opponent or a hometown goat, and they always cheer more for a stolen base than for a stuffed Moose (or that idiotic hydroplane race on the Jumbotron). What sedentary Seattleites have proven is that the term “Mariners fan” is an oxymoron. These are the same people who sway like prom dates at a Built to Spill show and drive 50 mph in the left lane on I-5 … With such somnolent Seattle game sitters — fans who’d rather read four- sentence out-of-town game summaries on the scoreboard than scrutinize Lou’s strategy behind an intentional walk or a safety squeeze — it’s no wonder the Mariners can’t beat the Yankees when it counts.

Mariners management then deftly proved his point by banning “Yankees Suck” t-shirts at the next game in the name of “avoiding confrontation.” Villano, who atteneded that game and wrote a second article in the following week’s paper, said “The pathetic M’s fans meekly accepted this suspension of their First Amendment rights in the name of a ‘good time’.”

If Villano’s goal was to get Seattle fans worked up, he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. According to a blurb at the top of The Seattle Weekly’s letter page the following Wednesday “Villano’s recent articles have got the Weekly inundated with more mail than ANYONE here can EVER remember getting — more than WTO, more than the Palestinian conflict, more than the 100 Favorite Restaurants special in which we said that Ristorante Machiavelli is closed on Monday when really it’s only closed on Sunday.” And there followed half a dozen pages of missives sent by Seattleites who either thought Villano was a breath of fresh air or a complete ass. Typical line: “Who are you? The Mariner Moose? No. You’re a Yankees fan. God, I can’t think of a worse insult to put on you, Matt. Let’s just leave it at that.”

Incidently, at the next game the Mariners’ management dropped their ban on the “Yankees Suck” T-shirt. Why did they cave in? “We didn’t want to appear confrontational,” they explained.