A GRIP ON SPORTS
When we got out of the car last night, the Mariner's had built an 8-1 lead over Cleveland. Yes, Cleveland, the poster child of ineptitude as illustrated by “Major League” (and a bunch of progressively worse sequels). Of course, the fictional Indians were the comeback kids, roaring all the way back to win the American League title. The real Indians, there is no way they could rally to overcome a seven-run deficit Tuesday night, is there? Not with all of 12,461 (yes, that was the official attendance) in the Safeco stands to cheer the home team on. Maybe one of them should have been banging on a real big drum. Read on.
• The most disappointing part of the Mariner's 9-8 loss yesterday was the eight. This is a team that is probably not going to score a boatload of runs this season, so when they put eight on the board, a win better be the result. But fifth-starter Kevin Millwood and the bullpen couldn't make the runs stand up, and Seattle's record fell to 6-6. Let's look at the positives: Justin Smoak had four hits. John Jaso started at designated hitter and did just that, with a three-run home run. Jesus Montero was behind the plate again; Kyle Seager is hitting .300 after going two-for-five. All that is to the plus side. But the negatives are starting to add up as well: Chone Figgins on-base percentage in the leadoff spot is .288 and he's hitting .234. Dustin Ackley is off to a slow start (as is the offense as a whole, with Seager the only regular at .300 or better). Brendan Ryan made a pretty big error last night and is just above the Mendoza Line at .207. Finally, the bullpen has been hit-and-miss (sometimes both in the same game) and until it gets more consistent, .500 baseball will be the club's ceiling. … One final negative: The attendance. There have been a lot of games the past year and change in which the M's have not drawn 15,000 people, a number unheard of in the first few Safeco seasons. Playing night after night in a near-silent ballpark isn't easy. But it's the chicken and egg conundrum. A packed house helps the home team win. But you have to win to get the fans to come.
• But hey, Friday is Ichiro Bobblehead Night.
• Washington State: We can offer the regular items today, and we do. But we also found a couple of items that can be put in the little-more-unexpected category. First, the expected, as in Christian Caple's morning blog post which comes on the heels of Tuesday afternoon's spring practice. Christian also covered that, as usual, with a story on backup quarterback David Gilbertson (No. 13 at left) and a blog post from yesterday. Christian will hold a live chat today at noon. … Ted Miller explains why the Pac-12 and the Big Ten want the Rose Bowl to endure and why it should. … And for the unexpected, we found this interesting piece on Klay Thompson and his recent explosion with the Golden State Warriors. It's worth reading if only for the so-Klay-like quote at the end. … And then there is this story in the Wall Street Journal on California's stadium remodel. The numbers, and lack of money, is startling. … One last note. Another of Paul Wulff's former assistants, tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Rich Rasmussen is joining the staff at Boise State in an off-the-field capacity. He'll be the head of player personnel.
• Gonzaga: The Bulldogs feel behind early to WSU once again, but rallied for a 7-4 non-conference baseball victory last night in Spokane. … Talk about an unexpected coincidence. Former Gonzaga player Jeff Reinert, a long-time college assistant coach, takes over as head coach at Southern California's Santa Margarita High, the high school attended by, yes, former WSU star Thompson. Seven degrees of Inland Northwest separation.
• Eastern: Jim Allen continues to trek along with spring position previews, covering the offensive line today.
• Whitworth: Also in the unexpected category is this feature from Jim Allen on the Pirates' highly successful women's tennis coach, Jo Wagstaff (at left in picture).
• Chiefs: Nothing better than a game seven, right? Well there are differing degrees of game sevens, aren't they? There are the ones on the road, as the Chiefs face tonight in the Tri-Cities, and there are the ones at home. Tonight is why winning in the regular season is so important. … Jessica Brown has a preview of tonight's series decider. … There is also this advance in the Tri-Cities Herald and we found an advance of Portland's game seven with Kamloops in the Oregonian.
• Shock: Nothing from Spokane, but Arizona has switched wide receivers, bringing back a former coach to play.
• Mariners: OK, time for the links from the M's comeback defeat (or Cleveland's rally, however you look at it). … Jaso's stint at DH started strong, but he also made the final out with a chance to win the game on the barrel of his bat. With Montero catching, Miguel Olivo and his .111 batting average were given a rest. … A couple of behind the scenes pieces, including one right out of the plot from “Major League.” It's about the M's being in perfect position to be sold (hey, quit dancing) and, not coincidentally, how they are making it up to fans for the opening day computer snafu. … Former Mariner Jamie Moyer became the oldest (49 years, 150 days) pitcher in baseball history to win a game, pitching the Rockies past San Diego, 5-3.
• Seahawks: The NFL schedule was announced yesterday and the Hawks will be flying from hell and back once again. The Packers loom on Monday night in week three. … Speaking of schedule, look at how packed CenturyLink will be this fall with three main tenants.
• That's what we can offer you today, for now. We're on the radio this afternoon, so if you've missed our soothing tones (to inspire your afternoon nap), you can get your fix here. Until later …