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He’s back

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Yesterday LeBron James decided to take his ball and go home. In this case, that's a good thing. Really. Read on.

Can the M’s buck this trend?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Maybe John Buck really was the heart and soul of the 2014 Seattle Mariners. Read on.

Indians capture another NWL series

The Spokane Indians made it 6 for 7 in winning series this Northwest League season by turning back the Tri-City Dust Devils 5-2 at Avista Stadium. The Indians won the series 2-1 and are 4-0 in home series this year. Their lone series loss came at Eugene. Read story

The prodigal son returns

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Steve Garvey threw out the first pitch at the Spokane Indians game last night, wearing a 2014 Indians jersey even though his eldest son, Ryan, was in the visitor's dugout, a member of the Tri-City Dust Devils. And if that doesn't make you feel ancient, then you must be under 30. Read on.

Indians’ bats go from wild to mild

The good news for the Spokane Indians is that they've averaged 8.5 runs per game during their Northwest League series with the Tri-City Dust Devils at Avista Stadium. The bad news is that includes 16 runs during Tuesday's easy win and one run during Wednesday's agonizing loss. Read story

Idaho adds Molnar to staff; Marboe, Rehkow named to watch lists

The University of Idaho announced on Wednesday that it has hired Charley Molnar as wide receivers coach — a move that was first reported in early June by CoachingSearch.com. Molnar, the former head coach at UMass and offensive coordinator at Notre Dame, takes over receiving coaching duties from Vandals offensive coordinator Kris Cinkovich.

“Getting Charley to join our staff was a home run for us,” Idaho coach Paul Petrino said. “He has been one of the best offensive minds in college football. He is a great teacher of technique and details of his position.”

Molnar's hiring was prompted by the departure of offensive line coach Jon Carvin after spring camp. Instead of bring in an outside offensive line coach, Petrino moved Cinkovich from receivers coach to O-line coach (in addition to his role as offensive coordinator and assistant head coach).

In other news, Idaho center Mike Marboe was added to the Rimington Award watch list. The award is given to the nation's top center. Marboe has started 36 consecutive games — the fourth-most among active offensive linemen — entering his redshirt senior season for the Vandals.

Idaho kicker/punter Austin Rehkow was also one of 25 punters named to the Ray Guy Award watch list. Rehkow received All-America honors last years as a freshman after averaging 47.8 yards per punt and booting 34 punts of at least 50 yards.

Spokane gets back to work

Spokane is back on the practice field after last week's bye. We checked in with the Shock on the importance of Saturday's home game with Arizona, how players spent the bye week and updated the health of Adron Tennell and the status of Ryan Cave.

It's all in my weekly Shock notebook.

Angry, no. Jealous? Heck ya.

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There is an ancient cliché – isn't “ancient” the only type of cliché there is? – about the angry old fellow yelling “get off my lawn” at the neighborhood kids. We're not that guy. We're not angry at all. Now jealous, that's another story. Read on.

Indians hit one-third mark as dominant team

The 76-game Northwest League season reached its one-third point (minus one game, to be fair) Tuesday night with the Spokane Indians (18-7) flexing their muscles during a 16-4 win over the Tri-City Dust Devils at Avista Stadium. The Indians as a whole and their players as individuals are dominating league statistics. Read story

WSU will host Hawaii in Cougar Hardwood Classic

After a one-year hiatus, the Cougar Hardwood Classic is back. Idol Sports and Entertainment announced Tuesday morning that Washington State will host Hawaii on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 in WSU's annual nonconference game in Seattle's KeyArena. WSU is 8-0 in the Cougar Hardwood Classic, which began in 2005, beating teams like Pepperdine, LSU and San Diego State.

“(It) is an excellent opportunity to take our program to Seattle where there are so many great Coug fans ready to come out and support us,” WSU coach Ernie Kent said in a press release. “We are excited to have the chance to continue to grow the event as we battle and outstanding Hawaii team this year. It should make for a great basketball game for all the fans.”

The Cougars are 5-1 all-time against the Warriors, and have won the past four contests between the schools.

The light comes on early this time of year

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Here it is, a little past 6 in the morning and I'm trying to figure out what to write about. Welcome to summer in the Inland Northwest. Read on.

Monday fast forward: Cal

(Sorry today's installment is a little late in the day. I'm out of town and don't always have the best internet access. – Jacob)

There is something pure about a 0-12 record in college football. Well, purely pathetic. There are so many opportunities for a major college team to pick up a win or two over glorified NAIA teams that most of the worst teams skate by and are merely remembered as appallingly bad, if they are remembered at all.

But to reach true infamy, a team needs to catch all the bad breaks. Key players need to be injured, questionable flags need to be thrown, a schedule can't have any games that are too easy and at the end of it the coach probably wishes he could have a few calls back.

Achieving an “imperfect season” puts a major conference team in rarified air, truly. Recently, it probably means you're the Duke Blue Devils, a program that managed to do it in 1996, 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2006.  Prior to that, South Carolina pulled it off in 1999, Illinois went winless in 1997 and Kansas State didn't win a game in 1987 or '88.

Don't forget – as if any of you could – that the purple people eaters from the wet side of the state had 12 long bus rides home in 2008.

So when looking ahead to Washington State's game against California next season, remember that the Golden Bears were just a 37-30 home victory over Portland State from entering the Pantheon of Pitiful.

Follow the jump for our Cal preview.

Hector Noesi? Really?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

In every baseball season there is one or two games that are impossible to explain. The M's had one of those yesterday. Read on.

U.S. men are nowhere to be found at Wimbledon

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Getting up early on a Sunday morning is usually no one's idea of a good plan. I agree. Except when the Wimbledon men's final is on. Read on.

Indians-Canadians rubber game looms as vital

The Northwest League will take its first day off on Monday after 24 consecutive days of baseball. When play picks up on Tuesday, there will be 14 games left in the first half of the season. Following Sunday's afternoon game with the Vancouver Canadians — the finale of a three-game series at Avista Stadium — the Spokane Indians will hold either a three-game lead over Vancouver in the North Division or a one-game lead. Vancouver (14-9) put the pressure on the Indians (16-7) by winning Saturday's middle game 5-1. Read story

Indians can supply their own excitement

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Minor league baseball features a lot of bells, whistles and other gimmicks to entice fans to the ballpark. But the best way isn't a gimmick at all. Fireworks? Who needs them when you have a lineup that supplies its own? Read on.

Indians open crucial series with a bang

It was put-up-or-shut-up time for the Spokane Indians on Friday. The Indians put up 10 runs and 11 hits on the scoreboard to overwhelm the Vancouver Canadians 10-3 to start a key Northwest League series at Avista Stadium. Read story

The Fourth is about independence

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The Fourth of July is full of memories for me. You too I bet. I'm not sure there is a kid in America who didn't do something athletic on the Fourth at least once in his life. Heck, climbing on the roof to watch fireworks might even qualify. Read on.

Friday flashback: Idaho

If you thought 2013 was fun, you should have seen 2003.

You can tell things are getting better for the Washington State football program because the Cougars are starting to do things that haven't been done since the halcyon days of 2003, when Marcus Trufant was young, Oregon and Stanford were gimmes and the streets of Pullman were paved with Cougar Gold.

That year was the last time the team went to a bowl game until last season's trip to the New Mexico Bowl. It was also the last time the Cougars shut out an opponent, opening the season with a 25-0 victory over sometimes rival Idaho.

Well, if Cougars fans started to get a sense of déjà vu while watching the Cougars last season the nostalgia likely began in the team's fourth game, when WSU sent those same Vandals home with nary a point to show for their pillaging.

Flash back to WSU's 48-0 beat down of Idaho, after the jump.

It’s been a long time coming

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Let's jump into the Wayback Machine and set the dial to 2007. Not all that long ago in days maybe, but seemingly a generation ago in baseball time. Read on.

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SportsLink is your portal into sports news around the Inland Northwest and beyond. You'll find updates, notes and opinions, and plenty of reader feedback.

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Contributors

Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Josh Wright Josh Wright is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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