A GRIP ON SPORTS
What is the basic mission of a newspaper and its website? To report the news in a timely fashion, right? Well even doing that can lead to some criticism. Read on.
• I sat down last evening for a quick break on our long journey from the Southwest to the Northwest. I pulled out the computer, got online and checked out stories from the Olympics. Due to our travel plans, I wasn't going to be able to catch much on television and wanted to know who won events that occurred hours before in London. My options were endless, of course. I could have checked Twitter and found links to stories about swimming, basketball and women's gymnastics – along with a bunch of smart-aleck comments. Or I could have punched the AP app on my phone and read the wire service stories from England. Instead I went to my newspaper of choice, the good old S-R, to add my clicks to the paper's on-line count. The first story I saw was this one on the gymnastics victory. But what really caught my eye was not the headline or the picture or the story itself. It was the number of comments. More than a dozen for a straightforward AP piece on the U.S. winning gold? I was baffled. Then I scrolled down. Oh my goodness. The big, bad newspaper had the temerity to put the results in the headline. Someone who had clicked on the S-R's website looking for news had actually found it. The horror. Doesn't the newspaper know NBC is not giving people the opportunity to watch the Games on their TV until prime time? How could it ruin the suspense? If I had been drinking a cup of coffee when I read the comment, I would have done a spit-take all over my computer screen. Really? I quickly checked other newspapers, which had similar headlines. The U.S. had won gold in women's gymnastics. That's the story. Not that the team had competed, that happens every year. Not that the competition was over, that's expected. The story was the U.S. winning. Any news organization worth its salt would have the results in the headline. That's the job, the charge, the mission. It's also showing respect to readers and to the profession.
• And about that badminton scandal. Eight players from three countries were expelled from the Olympics for throwing matches. The reason: Losing would have given them a better path to a medal in the later rounds. So they were trying to win by losing. If the tournament is so poorly run that losing actually is the better option, then let's expel the organizers first before looking at the athletes.
• Washington State: Christian Caple is back in Pullman after a vacation on the always cool – in more ways than one – West Side of our beautiful state (after spending time in Nevada and Arizona I believe I am entitled to use the adjective). He's back because football coach Mike Leach will be holding a conference call today to kickoff training camp, which starts tomorrow. In other words, football season is here. And here is Christian's blog post, covering each position heading into camp. ... The WSU men's basketball team is headed to Australia soon, where it will play some pro clubs. ... Around the Pac-12, the rich got super rich Tuesday when Penn State running back Silas Redd decided to transfer to USC. ... Utah's safety Brian Blechen reportedly failed a drug test, leading to his three-game suspension. Different schools, different punishment. ... It's the receivers' day at Oregon and Oregon State. ... Arizona State has a handful of players to keep on eye on. ... The Olympics have athletes from all over the Pac-12, including this beloved former ASU basketball player.
• Shock: The Arizona Rattlers and Utah Blaze will meet this weekend with the AFL's National Conference title on the line.
• Indians: The road wasn't kind last night as Spokane lost in Boise, 10-9. The Indians did rally from an eight-run deficit, though.
• Mariners: The trade deadline passed and the M's made no more deals, though GM Jack Zduriencik said he would have if he had received fair value. One player I'm happy to see the M's keep is left-handed pitcher Jason Vargas, who I still believe will be a strong middle-of-the-order starter for the next five years. ... With the trade deadline talk dominating, Seattle has quietly put together its longest winning streak in a while, stretching it to six with a 7-2 win over Toronto behind Vargas, who was 5-0 with a 1.64 earned run average in July. ... There were holes to fill with the recent deals, so the M's called up arms from the minors – though one touted prospect is staying put – and added an outfielder from the Jays. Other players picked up in the deals will be kept in the minors. ... Geoff Baker is a firm yes when it comes to Brendan Ryan, who was feted yesterday for crossing the Mendoza Line.
• Seahawks: The Hawks needed to bolster their wide receiver corps so they signed a veteran who has a tendency to drop passes (I know, I watched him do it for a year as a member of a fantasy team I was tied to). Goodie. ... Kregg Lumpkin was signed to backup Marshawn Lynch.
• NBA: Sodo's industrial companies are torn over the proposed new arena.
• That's what we have this morning. I'm so glad to be back in the Inland Northwest where the weather is warm (but not too warm), the air is dry (but not too dry) and the golf is inexpensive (but it's never too inexpensive anywhere). See you tomorrow. Until then ...