Angry Doug Baldwin: a Fan’s Take by Allanah Raas-Bergquist


Angry Doug? Or Thoughtful Leader? Allanah picks the latter. Photo by Ted S Warren/ AP

For me, this version of the Seattle Seahawks, undoubtedly the best version of the Seahawks (ring doesn’t lie), started when #15 slipped in for a 55 yard touchdown in the first game of 2011. The play – and season – are largely forgettable in Seahawks lore, because they lost the game, and didn’t make the playoffs that season. This was part of the Tavaris Jackson Starting Quarterback Year, and he was never the best starting quarterback. He was an amazing backup, and was the perfect fit for the team for that position (serving as backup quarterback and lucky charm through their back to back Super Bowl appearances) But this isn’t about Tavaris Jackson.

This is about my favorite Seahawk of All-Time, one of the most physically and mentally touch competitors ever on a football field, and one of the most thoughtful and compassionate people in the public eye off it, as well as the best receiver the team as ever had (and you can fight me on that) and someone who I expect will be more impactful to the world after he leaves the sport than before. This is about Doug Baldwin (Angry Doug Baldwin).

Doug Baldwin gave up the number 15 after that rookie season for Matt Flynn (teehee) and ended up taking the far more appropriate number for his game, 89 (it’s a number that just feels right. SEATTLE FRONT OFFICE YOU RETIRE THAT NUMBER RIGHT NOW!). I enjoyed watching his game develop over those first two seasons, and seeing how a player could just work work work work work, and raise his game to a level equal to the best receivers in football. Over the course of about four and a half seasons (2013 – 2018) Doug Baldwin caught basically every single football thrown to him, scored like 100 touchdowns, Russ had an over 200 passer rating when targeting and he made opposing defenses cry after every play. Obviously, I exaggerate, but there was a spell in there, where he had these absurd numbers, which I don’t care much about, other than to say the connection he had with Russell Wilson was unbelievable and sustained across even the worst of the Seahawks most recent seasons.

What that doesn’t show, though, is the impact that Doug had off the field. Crosscut recently had a fourth iteration of a festival of ideas where he was the second name listed on the poster (he was the only athlete involved it appeared), and he was right at home to be speaking about social activism and dealing with the controversy that comes from sticking your neck out as an athlete. He consistently takes a measured approach to social issues, speaks about things that he knows about, and then waits to hear all of the information without rushing to have an opinion. His involvement in the various players based alliances around kneeling at games and police brutality is all right there, front page in his bio, and his soft spoken thoughtfulness about these impactful issues (along with some other great activist athletes I could talk about, but this is about my boy Doug) makes me think that he could be an advocate and a thoughtful leader about any kind of issue that he wants. When you ask him a question he hasn’t thought about before, he thinks about it before he answers, and you can see those gears moving in his head, and that is a quality that is virtually absent in public discourse right now, and so so so so so SOOO, necessary.

Even Angry Doug Baldwin (the best nickname ever, because it’s always the full name) was only angry on the field. He would still take the dais with the mic and present the mellow, thought out version of whatever Richard Sherman was saying (they were like a political Laurel and Hardy in a way). Richard was the mouth, and Doug the voice, and every time they engaged in a discussion with the media together, it was must watch.

And perhaps the most amazing tidbit about Doug was the fact that if he wasn’t catching touchdowns from Russ, he would have become (and still might become) a math teacher at the high school level. Now do I think that that is the best use of his mind and charisma going forward? Maybe, though I want him to become the best elite athlete/politician to ever live (really, so long as he passes Steve Largent, I’m happy with that result), and I want him to never move back to Florida. But if he were teaching math at a school somewhere here in Seattle, those would be some amazingly lucky kids, getting to learn from someone who is so clearly invested in thoughtfulness.

I am going to miss everything about watching Doug Baldwin on Sundays, but I don’t think that I am going to have to miss his impact going forward. All signs point to him knowing that his work isn’t done, that there are people out there who need his help, and that he is a person who can help them. I hope that he brings his Angry Doug Baldwin to the political sphere, and makes the world hear him.

Doug Baldwin, you are, and will always be my favorite Seahawk. You are the best receiver the Seahawks ever had. You have improved this community through sheer force of work ethic, effort, thoughtfulness and compassion. And I think that next, you are going to be the most influential athlete activist/politician of all time. I can’t wait to watch the rest of your journey.

-Allanah Raas Bergquist


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