A GRIP ON SPORTS
For the past two weeks or so, the Olympics have not only held our attention spans in sway, but have given me something to write about – if need be – each morning. But that is over now. London 2012 is done, Rio 2016 is the next stop. Read on.
• Right up front I want to say I'm not a closing ceremonies type of guy. So I didn't watch any of it last night. Yesterday I caught the marathon, the men's basketball gold medal game, some volleyball and water polo and even a bit of the women's modern pentathlon, which was a kick. But watching The Who – a band famous for singing “I hope I die before I get old” (too late as Roger Daltrey's picture at right shows) – play a song from 40 years ago, no thanks, I'll pass. Yes, I understand the opening ceremonies are for the athletes, a celebration of achieving their Olympic goal and the closing ceremonies are for the organizers, a celebration of achieving their Olympic goal (at a cost of $15 billion), but I'm still not into it. However, I was into these games for some reason. Maybe it was because I have more time these days. Or maybe it was because I actually knew a couple participants. Or maybe it was because the American women caught my eye. Or maybe it was just because they were worth being into. I don't know. But I watched. And enjoyed them.
• Washington State: The Cougars had the day off yesterday, but that doesn't mean our Christian Caple was sitting on his deck, soaking in rays and enjoying an umbrella-filled drink. Nope. He was busy scouring the Interwebgooglethingee and coming up with this morning post, which includes Pac-12-related links. … Jon Wilner is going to post just about everything you need to know about the Pac-12 Network between today and Wednesday's big launch.
• Eastern Washington: The Eagles are about a week into practice, which means two-a-days are starting. Jim Allen has the particulars in this blog post. … Montana had its first scrimmage Sunday night and a redshirt freshman quarterback shined.
• Indians: Former WSU Cougar Taylor Ard was one of three Everett players to hit consecutive home runs as the Aqua Sox defeated Spokane 7-6 in 12 innings – another extra-inning loss for the Indians. Jess Brown was there and has this story.
• Mariners: Some folks who comment on this blog – you know who you are – have questioned my love of Jason Vargas (right). Oh ye of little faith. Much of my Vargas support – like the Cy Young campaign earlier this season – is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but not all of it. Yes I know, doing an in-depth statistical analysis of Vargas doesn't yield much in the way of hope, but there is more to a pitcher than stats. Especially a pitcher's future. Vargas has always struck me as a guy who will continue to improve as he learns how to pitch in the major leagues. He seems like a hard worker who can adjust over the course of his career, over the course of a season and even over the course of a game. Like a lot of lefthanders, his early 30s should be better than his 20s, and his late 20s – OK, this season – is pretty darn good. Vargas improved his record to 13-8 with a dominating 4-1 win over the Angels and Jared Weaver yesterday, giving the M's a series win. (And yes, the only loss they suffered in the series came after spotting Felix a 5-0 lead.) … A couple of M's are hurting, including Mike Carp and Franklin Gutierrez.
• Golf: As Tiger Woods' chances to catch Jack Nicklaus' total of 18 majors fades with each passing year, Rory McIlroy seems to be about ready to assume the mantle of the next media darling. The young man from Northern Ireland won his second major yesterday (and first PGA Championship) by a record eight-stroke margin.
• We'll be back on the radio every day this week, so you have five chances to ignore it. However, if you want to listen, you can here, no matter where you are in America and beyond. We'll also be back here tomorrow. Until then …