A GRIP ON SPORTS
Best sports moment on the first Sunday in April? It might have been I.K. Kim missing an 18-inch putt that would have sealed the deal at the Nabisco Championship, though where I was at that moment, the television was having trouble keeping the Golf Channel in focus, so I really can't be sure. What I am sure of is the best sports moment around here occurred in the Spokane Arena, where the Spokane Chiefs finished off the Vancouver Giants, bouncing back from an 0-2 hole to win the WHL first-round playoff series 4-2. Read on.
• Kim and I went out to an early Sunday dinner last night and from where we were sitting, we could see the end of Notre Dame's NCAA semifinal win over Connecticut on one TV, the women's golf on another. And, no, the restaurant was not named Title IX, though that would be a great moniker for a women-oriented sports bar. Anyhow, that's how I came to experience Kim's heartbreaking miss, overtime in a national semifinal and a plate of linguini that was still giving me heartburn six hours later. Just another Sunday sports experience.
• Part of the reason Kim and I were at dinner revolved around the Chiefs. We gave ourselves a present and presented the boys with tickets to game six of the series, allowing us a night at home alone. When they returned we were graced with play-by-play coverage of an early fight, the key goals and the excitement in the Arena. They had a great time as did the Chiefs, who now move on to face arch-rival Tri-City in a playoff series that begins Friday down the highway. With the win, Spokane fans were also guaranteed at least two more home hockey games before the ice melts into spring.
• Washington State: As Christian Caple writes this morning in his blog post, with basketball finished and spring football in the midst of three days off, there isn't a lot to link with the Cougars. He did find some items, however, as do I. … He had Steve Kelley's column on Ryan Leaf's situation, but I want to pass it along as well in case you missed it. … In that one of the women's Final Four participants came from the Pac-12, we'll link the story of Stanford's semifinal loss to undefeated Baylor here, along with a piece on Notre Dame getting to Tuesday's championship game as well.
• Gonzaga: One of the Final Four participants on the men's side defeated the Zags on the way, so our coverage of tonight's championship game appears in the Gonzaga section. How's that for symmetry? Not much, right? Anyhow, we went to the source, the Kansas City Star and the Lexington Herald-Leader for four columns and stories on the Jayhawks and three more on Kentucky, which, contrary to popular opinion, does have a senior on the roster.
• Idaho: Nothing from Moscow, but we did find a story looking back at Utah State's “terrible” basketball season. We put terrible in quotes because the Aggies won 21 times. They just didn't win the WAC title.
• Mariners: The major league baseball season hasn't even started for most teams and Seattle is already tinkering with its starting rotation. Of course, there is a reason for moving Jason Vargas up a spot and it doesn't have much to do with his Cy Young chances. It has its roots in the Japan trip. … The M's won on Sunday.
• Sounders: It has been a while since Steve Zakuani has been on the pitch for an extended length of time in a match. Nearly a year, in fact, since he suffered a broken leg. He returned Sunday for the Sounders' reserves as they played Gonzaga in a match, winning 4-0.
• That's what we can pass along on this Monday morning. A big week for us, in that we're headed down to Pullman tomorrow and will take in a day of Cougar spring football. Most of the players may recognize me, but none of the coaches. Of that I'm sure. Time waits for no man, even a former Cougar beat writer. Until later …