A GRIP ON SPORTS
Yesterday was Friday the 13th (and just a few hours before the most inauspicious day of the year for everyone, tax day). Unlucky? Sure. If you are a pro sports fan and live in the Northwest. Read on.
• And, no, we won't start with the Mariners. We all knew they weren't going to defeat Bartolo Colon and the A's last night, didn't we? Well, we should have. Anyway, we're starting with the NBA and the arena deal in Sacramento. Wait, you say. That was lucky for former Sonics fans and the like, as the deal commissioner David Stern and the league brokered between the city of Sacramento and the Maloof brothers, owners of the Kings, fell apart like so much cheap construction. Sorry, no it isn't. Sure, there is an NBA team that just might be in play soon – and after the New Orleans Hornets were sold yesterday to Tom Benson, they aren't going anywhere – and Seattle may be the best location for a team to relocate. But there are two major problems with this. No, make that three. First off there is no Seattle arena as of yet. The plan is developing, the money seems to be if not in place, at least available in concept, and there's a guiding visionary behind the project. But the arena is still a dream, not a reality. Then there is the process. Courting a professional sports franchise is a lot like trying to woo the BMOC. There are a lot of suitors out there, the guy always plays the field and oftentimes it is the person with the least scruples who wins. Though the whole thing may be over quickly – just like a relationship with the BMOC – it also could be filled with potholes, as Steve Kelley relates. Finally, there is third piece of the puzzle, the one I just can't figure out. It is the Maloofs themselves. As I read through the stories and a can't-miss editorial from Sacramento (and everything I've read in the past), I can't understand why anyone would want anything to do with these guys. Even if they decide to move to Seattle, it's obvious their eyes are always going to be elsewhere, Vegas, Anaheim, a warm, hip spot (OK, Anaheim isn't hip, but it is warm). And there is no way anyone is going to get them to sell the franchise for a reasonable amount. You might be able to pry it out of their hands, but it will take a lot of liquid gold to lubricate the fingers. These guys like being owners, just not owners where their team is located currently – and that might continue if they don't get their way and can't move to the Honda Center (or whatever Anaheim's arena will be called tomorrow). So, no, yesterday actually wasn't a lucky day for the Northwest's NBA fan.
• And it certainly wasn't for the dwindling folks who call themselves Mariners fans. Opening day. Felix on the mound. A smiling Mike Cameron (that is redundant, I know) there to sign a one-day contract, retire as an M and then throw out the first pitch. Butts in the seats. But no hits on the scoreboard – have I mentioned before how much I despise Bartolo Colon? – no runs and little in the way of hope. A perfect (storm) of a home opener. Bringing back Cameron was not only a nice thing to do, but also served another purpose. It reminded die-hard M's fans of what once was, when he was young, roaming centerfield like a 6-week-old Lab puppy and the Mariners were actually winning games consistently. Those were the days my friend, those were the days.
• Washington State: Give Mike Leach credit. He was smart enough not to have practice on Friday the 13th. If he had, more than likely half of the players would have had something untoward happen to them. The Cougars get back on the field today for another scrimmage and Christian Caple will be there. He opened the day with his usual blog post, the one containing everything you need to know concerning WSU and Pac-12 sports, including this piece from Great Falls on Ryan Leaf's legal troubles. … By the way, one little line (more of a wish actually, because I know how much time poor Christian has to spend dealing with the stuff and I feel for him) about the too-often-lately interaction between the football players and the local authorities incited a riot of comment on yesterday's post. Did not see that coming. Enjoyed the interplay, sure, but did not see it coming. I am so out of touch anymore. … Not out of touch with Ted Miller's weekly mailbag on ESPN.com, no sir. It's still a highlight of my week.
• Gonzaga: Saw this little piece in the San Francisco Chronicle today and immediately thought of UW and GU and their inability to get together on the basketball court anymore.
• Eastern Washington: The Eagles scrimmaged yesterday and Jim Allen burned up the Twitter-waves with tweets. He also has this story in today's S-R.
• Chiefs: Faced with a must-win game against the Tri-City Americans, the Chiefs won. In overtime. I know, you're shocked, right? Anyhow, here is Jessica Brown's story. … There is also a picture gallery from Colin Mulvany. … We also found this story in the Tri-City Herald. … Portland is up 3-1 on Kamloops going into tonight's game, will be without a key player for a while but so will the Blazers, after the league suspended J.C. Lipon.
• Shock: Milwaukee is coming to town tonight (though I couldn't find a single word about it in the Milwaukee Journal) to face the Shock, who need to hang on to the football. Jim Meehan has a preview in today's paper.
• Preps: Lots of sports going on and there is coverage, from Greg Lee's video on Mead pole vaulter Blase Neumann to Jessica's tennis notebook. … I covered a soccer match yesterday but couldn't find it online (our computer must have a program that weeds out the awful stories).
• Mariners: We linked some of the M's coverage above, so here is the rest of the picture, including an on-point column from John Blanchette. It's not pretty and there is an injury to report. Though the view from the Bay Area was a bit better for those folks.
• Sounders: Don’t expect a lot of angst over the vicious Steve Zakuani/Brian Mullan hit in today's game. At least that seems to be the consensus. The way I see it, both teams need to win and they don't like each other much anyway, so there could be some, let's just call it chippy play, tonight
• Golf: Jim Meehan has his weekly local golf coverage, focused on Corey Prugh's record-setting 61 at Qualchan on Monday.
• That's our Saturday morning report and it looks as if it is going to be a near-perfect Saturday in the Inland Northwest. It's these types of days that make it easy to forget winter. Until later …