Once again the morning is full of … stories. Ya, that’s it. Stories. From baseball to a basketball legend to the Pac-10’s future. We cover them all on the link, so read on.
• Sitting in my living room yesterday afternoon, the media onslaught was incredible. I had the muted big screen on, switching back and forth from the Stanford defeat to the women’s college World Series to hockey to Cine … I mean CNN. On the TV tray next to my chair was the laptop, with the Cougar feed on the little 5-inch-by5-inch box, with Steve Grubbs and Craig Lawson’s voice coming through the speaker. But that wasn’t all. I had other tabs set so I could check out scores, watch the play-by-play of the UC Irvine game (we were so hosed by the umpire) and read comments from folks on different sites. At one point I was trying to figure out why Chad Arnold was on skates throwing underhand, then I figured out I was just slow processing all the information. So I had another glass of water – yes, water; the medicine I’m taking precludes anything else – and focused. In the end, WSU won, Irvine lost (did I mention we were so hosed by the umpire?) and my Avista meter slowed to 33 rpms from 78. … How should we handle all this? Well let’s start with WSU. … Though I wasn’t in Fayetteville, we still had this story from freelancer Rich Polikoff. … Freelancer Howie Stalwick had this piece in the News Tribune and other papers along with this report on Cougfan. … From the Kansas State perspective, there’s this story in the Wichita Eagle. … The Cougars will face Arkansas (thanks Kaddy for catching my brain freeze) this afternoon, with the winner getting to wait and see who comes out of the loser’s bracket. … The rest of the Pac-10 did OK as well, with Arizona State, Arizona, UCLA, Oregon State and Oregon all winning. Only Stanford and Cal lost.
• The Pac-10 meetings began yesterday in San Francisco, though there was only a little coverage. About the best story I could find came from the Denver Post and covers the athletic directors’ thoughts after the first day. … The LA Times’ Chris Dufresne has his thoughts as well.
• The last item I am going to cover this morning is a sad one in a way, yet a happy one in another. As a basketball-crazy male growing up in Southern California in the 1960s and 70s, it would have been hard not to fall under the influence of John Wooden. I didn’t even resist. I think I’ve written this before, but as a kid my parents would let me go to bed early, get up at 11:30 and watch the late-night rebroadcast of the UCLA games on Channel 11. I was not only a fan, I was a fanatic. It was my second religion. And John Wooden was the high priest. Heck, the first time I ever coached a youth basketball team, I showed the boys how to put their shoes and socks on the right way because that’s what coach Wooden did. It had to be the right thing to do. I was so devoted to all things Wooden that, even as freshman in college, I listened to an in-and-out AM radio broadcast UCLA’s itle win over Kentucky in the 1975 NCAAs while taking a bus from Reno to Davis on a baseball road trip. And told seniors to shut up so I could hear (I paid for that later, I might add; I think there might still be some green dye deep in my ears). So it was a tough day in the Grippi household yesterday. But it was also a chance to celebrate a man who lived a full life and, as far as I could tell, did things right. He not only was the best basketball coach ever, on all levels, but was the best coach ever and someone who lived his life the right way. … The best of the obits can be found here and here. … Thanks Coach.
• That’s it for now. We’ll be back with baseball news later. Until then …