Why he's fighting: The former U.S. Senator has helped bring and keep pro franchises in Seattle before.
Then the Washington state attorney general, Gorton sued the American League in 1976 on behalf of local government. The suit alleged breach of contract after the Seattle Pilots moved to Milwaukee to become the Brewers after only one season.
Seattle's compensation: the expansion Mariners in 1977.
Like Howard Schultz's attorney Richard Yarmuth, Gorton was involved with efforts to find new Mariners owners after a move to Florida was threatened. His influence as a senator, a position he held for 18 years, helped persuade Nintendo to buy the baseball franchise and keep it in Seattle.
When the new owners threatened a move a few years later, Gorton again interceded. He helped broker a lease deal that required significant concessions from the city.
What he's defending: For months, Gorton used hard-line tactics on the city's behalf; Seattle turned down a $26.5 million buyout offer from the Sonics in February. The former military man has been critical of everyone from state politicians to NBA types, too.
His comments about the financial pressure that the Sonics owners would face if forced to fulfill their KeyArena lease terms drew, um, fire from David Stern. The NBA commissioner called Gorton's efforts "a scorched earth policy."
Only days after the NBA Board of Governors' vote to relocate the Sonics, Mr. Scorched Earth sounded as if he had softened, telling the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "While I'd still love to see the Sonics stay, I think that is highly unlikely. What we're trying to accomplish now, in my view, is to get another team in their place."
Sonic sound bite: "My goal from the very beginning has been to have a team. Revenge, I'm not interested in as much." — Gorton, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, April 22.