Before heading down to San Diego’s 70 degrees and the Holiday Bowl (sometimes the tyranny of this job is overwhelming), it is time to take a moment to pass on New Year’s wishes to the individual and institutional citadels of the sporting world:
Metropolitan King County Council: Land-use lawsuits, sewer backup, eruption of Rainier, plagues of locusts. Any calamity but pro sports.
UW football coach Jim Lambright: Safety nets outside all U-District frat houses to catch stray players escaping gunplay.
UW running back Rashaan Shehee: The next time a coach asks him to lie publicly, permission to say, “With all due respect, sir, drop dead.”
Mariner owners: The guts to come out from behind their computers and explain to the public why the stadium deal won’t pencil out (you guys remember pencils, right?).
Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne: Phone numbers of the Dallas Cowboys defense attorneys.
College Bowl Alliance: A week, maybe two weeks, to explain why we won’t see a Florida StateArizona State national championship game next week. Hey fellas, take a month - you still can’t explain it.
Sen. Slade Gorton: Time to deal with the real panic about the baseball stadium Congress’ attempt, via Sen. Pat Moynihan, to remove in February the tax-exempt status for municipal bonds sold to build stadiums and arenas.
The Heisman Trophy: A place with Havana’s Bacardi Bowl, the single wing, raccoon coats and other curious but irrelevant relics of college football.
Ex-Seahawks quarterback Dave Krieg: Elimination of the ex.
Soon-to-be ex-Seahawks quarterback Rick Mirer: Elimination of the why, as in why did Seattle take him with the No. 2 pick in the draft? There are 29 other cities where it won’t come up.
Randy Johnson: 99-mph heater on Sept. 28 to go with the 99-mph heater April 1.
Sports fans: Emotional shelter from the knowledge that owners of the teams that won the three major American professional sports championships in 1996 were Jerry Jones, Jerry Reinsdorf and George Steinbrenner.
Notre Dame football: An NCAA investigation that reveals the Irish wormy with more sordid smarminess than the British royal family.
Paul Allen: After exercising his option to buy the Seahawks, a petition to vaporize the roster and start over with the same expansion deal that was given Carolina and Jacksonville.
UW running back Corey Dillon: No more graduate study at the Gary Payton Media Charm School.
Kendall Gill, ex-Sonic who said recently he wanted to run into Sonics coach George Karl in a dark alley: A dark alley with Karl. And Gill thought he had a brain disorder before.
Mike White, Rich Brooks, Wayne Fontes, June Jones, Dan Reeves, Jim Mora, Rich Kotite, Dave Shula: Career counseling for a more serene profession - tobacco company publicist.
The 23 Division I-A college football coaches who lost their jobs: Career counseling for a more serene profession - NFL head coaching.
Florida Marlins, who invested $106 million on seven free-agent baseball players: An explanation as to why they didn’t spend the money instead on a retractable roof, which we are told is crucial to the success of any forward-thinking ballclub. That kind of money would almost buy such a roof in Seattle for those critical four summer nights of drizzle.
New San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: Long robe, beard and sandals to complete the Judas Iscariot look.
New Baltimore Orioles infield of Rafael Palmeiro, Robbie Alomar, Mike Bordick and Cal Ripken: The A.L. East title right now.
New Mariners pitchers Jim Fassero and Scott Sanders, fresh from the National League: Courage as you see your A.L. ERAs advance like the digits on a gas pump.
Seahawks fans’ imaginations: If Todd Peterson makes the game-ending field goal against Detroit Nov. 17, and Rick Mirer gets a key first down, followed by a touchdown, in the fourth quarter against Oakland on Nov. 24, Gino Torretta would be getting his first pro quarterbacking start Sunday as the Hawks open the playoffs in Pittsburgh (make my eggnog a triple, bartender).
Ken Behring: More employee sex-harassment lawsuits, more King County lawsuits, more real-estate client lawsuits. And some return trips to Seattle - sports columnists might be the only people in town who will miss him.
Sonics: Mitch Richmond in a trade, preferably for Steve Scheffler, although the Sacramento Kings may take less.
Sonics (in lieu of the Richmond trade): Just a hint of sincerity about the regular season.
Sports fans: More rallies in 1997 as in 1996 - the Yankees from two down, the Sonics from three down, Nick Faldo from six down, the Cougars from 24 down, Evander Holyfield from 6 feet under.
What’s next? An AFC win from 12 years down in the Super Bowl?
Please, people, get a grip.