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An interesting day

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Well, that was interesting. Read on.

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• The preceding sentence was brought to you by the Seattle Seahawks quarterback competition. Or by the Seattle Mariners ninth inning. Or by Washington State's new stadium. Go ahead, pick one. All were interesting Friday. We'll just take them in order.

• Is it game, set, match for Russell Wilson? The rookie was so good in Friday's 44-14 rout of Kansas City, it almost didn't matter that Matt Flynn couldn't play due to a sore elbow. Even if he had, there was little chance his performance would have overshadowed Wilson, who was 13-of-19 passing for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson (rght) led Seattle to scores on six consecutive first-half drives (though, like under Flynn, the red zone seemed problematic early for the first-team offense, with the opening three drives ending in field goals). But most importantly for coach Pete Carroll, I'm sure, is Wilson did not throw an interception in his three quarters of work. With a defense that might feature the best secondary in the NFL – Earl Thomas returned one pick 75 yards for a score – and a solid running game – Friday was Robert Turbin's chance to shine, with 93 yards on 14 carries – turnovers are the last thing Carroll wants. So let's just say it look as if Wilson is going to play like a five-year veteran, he's locked down the No. 1 spot for now and move on to next week.

• The Mariners were pathetic for eight innings yesterday, rallied for six runs (yes, six runs, a two-week total earlier in the season) in the top of the ninth, but couldn't hold on to the ball or the lead in the bottom of the inning and lost 9-8 at Chicago. After Jason Vargas worst outing in a couple months, it seemed like the M's would ride a John Jaso-capped rally for their most inspirational win of the season. Nope, it was not to be. At least, when Eric Thames and Michael Saunders collided in the bottom of the ninth (below) as the White Sox's winning run scored, neither seems to have been injured. For most of the past three years, you could have counted on one or both missing the next couple months.

• Finally, we spent a few hours en route and back from the Palouse yesterday (and for the state trooper who let our driver off with a warning, we thank you), all to take a tour of the new Martin Stadium. The premium seating and press box facility on the south side is all it was sold as, if not more. I'll let Christian Caple describe (and show) it all to you, but as someone who dealt with the old facility for a while I can say there is no comparison. Bill Moos would have been right describing it as going from the outhouse to the penthouse except the old place didn't have a moon carved into the door, the odor was fine and the food was pretty good. So I wouldn’t have called it an outhouse. But it was pretty dated – and lacked adequate restroom facilities (another strike against the outhouse analogy). The new building has every amenity you could think of (yes, booze will be served in the premium seating areas) and then some (and plenty of bathrooms). If I have one quibble it's with college football in general and not the building. It seems odd to have folks shell out thousands of dollars to sit in what amounts to a well-appointed living room and watch low-paid – I know the cost of a scholarship; I also know how much time these guys put in – college students play a game on the field below. It just seems a little out of whack to me.

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• Washington State: Want to know what we saw on the tour yesterday? Christian has plenty of pictures on this blog post and plenty of words in this story. There is still plenty of finish work to do, but the place is close enough to done that the patrons will be able to use it in a couple of weeks. ... Christian was also at practice on Friday evening and has this blog post along with his usual morning post. ... More on the tour from the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. ... Jim Allen had an area-wide college soccer preview in today's S-R. He led with the Cougars.

• Gonzaga: Former GU star Courtney Vandersloot scored a career-high 23 points for the Chicago Sky last night, but her team lost in overtime.

• EWU: The Eagles announced their nonconference basketball schedule this week. ... The Misoulian did its preview of the new-look Big Sky and the conference's football race.

• Preps: Defending big-school champion Coeur d'Alene continued its winning ways as Idaho football began, though district rival Lake City went down to defeat.

• Indians: Extra innings and the Indians just don't get along. Spokane lost once more in extra frames, this time 2-1 in 13 against Salem-Keiser. Jim Meehan has the story from the long night. ... The Hillsboro, Ore., team needs a name.

• Mariners: What else is there to add? Not much. The 9-8 defeat to the White Sox in Chicago snapped an eight-game win streak and opened the seven-game road trip on a downer. ... M's minor league pitcher David Pauley was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball, though it was not for use of a PED. It was for a "drug of abuse," meaning a recreational drug.

• Seahawks: Ian Furness of KJR radio in Seattle tweeted last night, labeling it "overreaction Friday." That was followed by such tweets from around the twitterverse like "Russell Wilson is being fitted for a HOF jacket." All in good fun but, like most good jokes, it has an undercurrent of truth. Fans love to anoint guys as heroes after one or two good games. Forget that. Wilson has had three good games. Three good preseason games. He is headed to Canton. Make book on it. At least it's looking more and more likely he's headed to the starting lineup, especially if Flynn's elbow doesn't clear up. ... Terrell Owens came through with two catches and showed some of his old form – no, the good part.

• Sounders: The new-look Sounders, who were pretty darn successful as the old-look Sounders, head to Los Angeles today for a showdown with Chivas USA.

• Golf: It's Saturday, so Jim Meehan has his column. It covers the most important aspect of the game, putting. Try to remember that next time you spend an hour pounding range balls.

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• This is a pretty big weekend in Spokane. Mark Few and his wife Marcy are hosting Coaches vs. Cancer weekend. They have raised nearly $6 million for cancer research in the more than a decade of their event. For the first time we will be taking part in a small way, attending tonight's festivities. Which means tomorrow's post might be a bit later than usual. OK, maybe a lot later than usual. We don't usually stay up much after 9 p.m. Until then ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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