Sometimes even news you have been expecting for weeks can blindside you and make it impossible to sleep. Such is the case this morning, so we’re getting our morning post out of the way, then going back to sleep (we hope). As you start your day, hope what follows makes it better. Just writing it lifted my spirits. Read on.
• Washington State: Yesterday was a day chock full of news and notes. We had our conversation with point guard Reggie Moore. We had our story on the two freshmen linebackers who are being thrown into the breach this weekend. And we had … no, that’s all we had. But there is more. … Christian Caple at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News has his picks for the weekend and CougCenter has this guide to the game. … By the way, if you live in Oregon (or Clark County, Wash.) you can watch the game live on Comcast. If not, you are out of luck. Think the TV folks are afraid to anger the Ducks? And don’t give a rat’s behind about the other team that’s playing?
• Around the Pac-10: The Pac-12 athletic directors’ meeting in San Francisco may have accomplished a lot, but no one is really talking about it. Though that didn’t stop anyone from writing about it. San Jose’s Jon Wilner had this blog post, Tacoma’s John McGrath had a column and there was in-depth coverage by Bruce Pascoe in the Arizona Daily Star, focusing on basketball. … Wilner had his Pac-10 picks. … So did the Times’ Bud Withers, along with his power rankings. … ESPN.com’s Ted Miller opens his mailbag. … Washington: In the first of a couple father/son coaching stories today, Trent Bray is working for dad Craig in Tempe. … With the Huskies facing ASU, Dennis Erickson’s job status is subject to discussion. … Oregon State: Markus Wheaton had a chance last week to show off another talent. … Oregon: Despite spreading the field, the Ducks find a way to keep their tight end in the mix. … Who should pay for academic support for athletes? And should the athletic department be able to claim self-sufficiency if it doesn’t? … Cal: Is Keenan Allen ready to have a big game? … Stanford: Nothing today. … USC: The second father/son coaching story. … UCLA: Kevin Prince is back and the Bruins intend to use his talents to the upmost against Cal. … Arizona State: So, we’re not the only ones who write about punters. … Arizona: Former coach Dick Tomey is back in Tucson. And he’ll be honored this weekend.
• Before we sign off, a few personal thoughts (you can click over to ESPN now if you want). … I don’t know about you, but the reason I’m a sports fan is simple. It was handed down, like a genetic disease, from father to son. My dad was a jock long before the term gained social relevance. A Depression baby, a product of a single-parent home, he turned to sports as a kid as an outlet. He was a juvenile delinquent before the term was used, arrested often as a boy for everything from theft – he and a buddy once stole some ducks trained for a W.C. Fields movie, took them into the hills of Southern California, killed and ate them – to malicious mischief – it was considered great fun in the ‘30s to light palm trees on fire, then wait in the orange grove for the volunteer firemen to come, pelt them with rotten oranges and run away. But sports and the U.S. Navy saved him from all that. A baseball star, he pitched for his naval base on Guam and, in 1945, defeated the Cincpac team twice, 1-0 and 2-1, besting Virgil Trucks once in the process (he had a yellowed old Stars and Stripes story that traveled halfway round the world to prove it). By the way, Virgil “Fire” Trucks won a game for the Detroit Tigers in the World Series later that year. After leaving the Navy in 1946, he pitched semi-pro baseball in Southern California, winning 29 consecutive games in one stretch. Twice during that time he was offered professional contracts, but the money – and job security – didn’t match that of the U.S. Postal Service and, with a family, he said no. But his love of baseball never waned. When his only son was born on Oct. 8, 1956, while Don Larsen was pitching the only perfect game in World Series history, he considered it an omen. It wasn’t. But baseball, and just about every other sport, became the umbilical cord that always connected him to his son, even if they were hundreds of miles apart. If they couldn’t stop arguing about the issues of the times, they could always talk about baseball – and their mutual animosity of the Giants. If it were basketball season, they could talk about John Wooden. If it were football season they could share a laugh about his friend Corky, a USC fanatic. And if it were baseball season, well, any topic would do. But that’s all over now. The light that was Joe Grippi was extinguished on Thursday night, the day before his son’s birthday. Maybe the Giants winning a playoff game had something to do with it, I don’t know. But I do know the love of sports he instilled in his son still burns, and burns in his grandsons. Passed on, as it has been for generations, from father to son.
• That’s all for this morning. We’ll be back if news breaks and for sure if we ever figure out this reporting thing. Until then …