Enter Sando

In a Seahawks.NET Exclusive, Mike Sando of the Tacoma News Tribune tells us about his upcoming book with Seahawks former wide receiver and longtime color analyst Steve Raible, entitled "Steve Raible's Tales from the Seahawks Sideline".

Seahawk fans know Mike Sando. As the key source of pro football news, editorial perspective and information for the Tacoma News Tribune for over six years (as well as a regular contributor to Pro Football Weekly and USA Today Sports Weekly), Sando has a place in the “Favorites” folder of most every Seattle football fan.

Last year, Mike began talking to Seahawks former wide receiver and longtime color/play-by-play analyst Steve Raible about a book in which Raible could share the wealth of untold stories he knew about the team. The result, to be published about the time the Seahawks kick off their regular season opener (we'll keep you posted on the official release date), will be called “Steve Raible's Tales from the Seahawks Sideline”.

As he was preparing to head to Cheney to cover training camp, Mike took some time with Doug Farrar of Seahawks.NET to talk about the upcoming book and the impending season that has so many fans filled with hope.

.NET: Mike, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview. We understand that you and Steve Raible have a book about the Seahawks coming out soon – an expansion-to-present-day series of stories that spring from Raible’s long association with the team. What would you like to tell us about it?

Mike Sando: We figured the die-hard Hawks fan would eat this stuff up, but I wanted the book to appeal to fans of other stripes as well. Football fans, period. The list of non-Seahawks who make cameos in the book includes the likes of John Matuszak, Jack Tatum, Jack Lambert, Dan Fouts, Tom Jackson, Don Shula and Bart Starr. That’s one thing I like about the book.

.NET: How did the idea for the book come about? Did you go to Steve Raible, did he come to you, or was it more of a “collective epiphany”?

Mike Sando: Sports Publishing LLC asked me to nail down a co-author. Steve was the logical choice given his uninterrupted affiliation with the team, his profile in the community and his ability to tell stories. He’s a wonderful emcee and a true pro. Steve was initially reluctant to do the book, though. The guy is about as down-to-earth as they come and he was adamant that his modest playing career didn’t merit a book. He also wasn’t sure, at least initially, that he could do the book justice given his schedule as news anchor at KIRO-TV.

But I wasn’t going to let him off the hook because I knew Steve was the best choice, hands down. I kept working on him through much of the 2003 season, cornering him in the pressbox before games and that sort of thing. He finally agreed to jump onboard, but only after being convinced that the book would not be about him per se. The clincher was when Steve decided to donate his profits to the Pete Gross House for cancer patients. That really got Steve excited and the project just took off from there.

.NET: What was the process of writing and how long did the book take to complete?

Mike Sando: Steve did a lot of the legwork. He called a bunch of old teammates and even met with Dave Krieg down in Arizona. Steve also arranged a day trip to Jack Patera’s house, which was a real highlight for me. As far as the logistics, I would generally call Steve at the station 2-3 nights a week and we’d talk for maybe an hour or 90 minutes, depending on the night. I would tape and transcribe his stories for editing later. This continued from January through mid-April.

.NET: How many people did you interview for this project?

Mike Sando: Steve and I spoke with dozens of people.

.NET: What was the best story you heard? The funniest? The most poignant?

Mike Sando: There are so many “best” stories. Steve had me in tears with some of the Wayne Cody stuff. What a character. The Pete Gross stories were pretty touching, as you might expect. There were some poignant moments for Dave Krieg, too -- things Dave never previously revealed about his early struggles and the toll they took on him personally.

.NET: What was the most surprising thing Steve Raible told you?

Mike Sando: Good question. I was pleasantly surprised that Steve agreed to share the, uh, naked truth about the dorm-room prank he played on a former assistant coach at training camp. That took some courage.

.NET: Mike, we know you’re a veritable Fountain Of Seahawk Knowledge, but did you come away from this project learning things about the team that you didn’t know before?

Mike Sando: I didn’t know 75 percent of this stuff. There are so many untold stories.

.NET: Since this is a historical tome in a way, it’s fair to ask – besides Steve Raible, who’s your all-time favorite Seahawk and why?

Mike Sando: The book is more anecdotal than historical, and it’s not so much about Steve as it’s about the people and personalities he has encountered during nearly 30 years with the franchise. As for the players I enjoyed watching most, it’s tough to top Largent and Easley.

Perhaps as a special “sneak preview” for the hardcore .NET audience, please give your quick takes on the following Seahawk occurrences:

.NET: Steve Largent’s legendary hit on Mike Harden…

Mike Sando: The hit speaks for itself. Classic Largent.

.NET: John Matuszak’s stint as the team’s temporary offensive coordinator…

Mike Sando: You are alluding to the time “The Tooz” threatened to break the legs of Seattle’s backup quarterback if the Seahawks called another pass play during the final minutes of the Hawks’ blowout win in the Kingdome. Hilarious. Matuszak could be pretty convincing.

.NET: Chuck Knox’ take on the Dan McGwire draft…

Mike Sando: Chuck was very forthcoming. There’s a great photo of Chuck’s reaction on draft day. Let’s just say he wasn’t happy, and he confirmed that when I spoke with him for the book. There is no pretense to Chuck Knox.

.NET: Anything that could possibly explain Brian Bosworth…

Mike Sando: “The Boz” was probably more of a “team” guy than I realized.

.NET: What did Steve Raible have to say for the book about the 2004 Seahawks and their potential for greatness?

Mike Sando: He likes their chances.

.NET: And keeping with the theme of the here and now…by the time our audience reads this, you’ll be in Cheney covering Training Camp. How many camps have you covered, and what is the one thing you most like about the experience from a journalist’s point of view?

Mike Sando: This is my seventh camp covering the Hawks. For a reporter, camp is all about access. The Seahawks do a good job making players and coaches available.

.NET: In conclusion, how do you think our 2004 Seahawks will fare?

Mike Sando: I see the potential for a slow start given the tough early schedule and the high expectations everyone seems to have. Some players will inevitably buy into the “we have arrived” notion. This team has a lot of heart and resolve, but maybe not as much maturity as it needs. That was the case last year, anyway. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hawks rallied to another 10-win season, but I wonder if Matt Hasselbeck can survive another season with 40-some sacks.

Mike Sando has covered the Seahawks for The Tacoma News Tribune since 1998. He contributes to Pro Football Weekly and USA Today Sports Weekly as well as the Seahawks Round Table on Seattle’s KJR-AM radio. He covered various sports, notably Washington State University football, during a seven-year run in Spokane that preceded his arrival in Tacoma. A graduate of Whitworth College in Spokane, Sando resides near Tacoma with his wife and son. You can reach Mike at mike.sando@mail.tribnet.com.

Doug Farrar is the Editor-in-Chief of Seahawks.NET. You can reach him at doug@seahawks.net.


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