A GRIP ON SPORTS
I was a little depressed yesterday. No, make that a lot depressed. Read on.
• Before I get into the depression, let's clear the air here. I want you to understand I'm not sure Josh Hamilton was the right guy for the Mariners. But his signing with the Angels is what caused my depression. It's not so much that I wished he had signed with Seattle – as I said I'm not sure he's the right guy for them. But it's just the process that is driving me down. Free agents don't even consider the Pacific Northwest's baseball team. I don't know why – I can guess: travel, management and lack of a winning tradition – but it's just depressing that the local major league team isn't even on their radar. It's like trying to find a date for the prom and being turned down by four different girls – which happened to me my senior year but that's a story for another time. After a while you want to give up. Or at least look in the mirror and wonder what's wrong. I can tell you. Like any other major corporation in this country, when the bottom line sucks, it's time for the stockholders to oust management. Senior management. The stockholders of the Mariners (the fans) have been trying the past few years to do that, voting the only way they can, by not buying tickets. But it's not working. (As you all know, the M's are privately owned, so changing management is not possible in reality – as with a stockholder-owned company – though I'm sure most of us would agree it's needed.) So we're left each winter lamenting our inability to attract players that would make our team better. Sure, each of the big ticket free agents the past three years all have had problems – Albert Pujols (age), Prince Fielder (weight) and Hamilton (age and drug issues) – that make a long-term contract seem like it could be a drag on the payroll in its final years, but what signing a player like that means is more important than their performance, especially to a team like the M's. It means the Mariners are serious. They want to win. They will support their players by every means possible. And that is the only way to prove to major league talent Seattle is a place to play. You're going to have to really overpay one of the premier players to announce your presence with authority to the baseball illuminati. It worked for Nuke LaLoosh and it will work for the M's. If they ever decide to do it.
• Washington State: The Cougars did what they had to do last night, defeat Jackson State. It wasn't pretty or impressive. But it was a "W." During Finals Week. Christian Caple was in Beasley with a few hundred of his closest friends and had a lot of coverage, including a pregame live chat, a tale of the tape, interviews, a story in today's S-R and a morning post. ... Included in that morning post is a bunch of Pac-12 links (read Ted Miller's thoughts on Mike Leach's first season). We wanted to cover a couple of other things, including Oregon's semifinal win at the NCAA volleyball final four, putting the Ducks in the championship for the first time (pictured). ... And former Clarkston High star Jamie Weisner posted a double-double in the Beavers' win over Cal State Fullerton. ... Speaking of the women, Chris Derrick's basketball notebook leads with the Cougar women and their tough upcoming schedule.
• Gonzaga: So the seven Big East Catholic schools are breaking free and are starting a new league. And yes, Gonzaga seems to be part of the conversation of a national mainly Catholic basketball league. ... Marco Gonzales was named a first-team preseason baseball All-American yesterday. ... San Diego State is the Goliath to USD's David.
• EWU: Only about 36 hours until the kickoff of the national semifinal in Cheney – the teams will know their championship game opponent by then as the other semifinal is tonight – and Jim Allen continues to pile on the coverage. He has a feature today on Erik Meyer (pictured to the left of coach beau Baldwin), the former Eastern quarterback now playing for the Shock, who is helping out on a volunteer basis and a story on the Eagle defense. ... He also had a live chat yesterday and has a post this morning with links.
• Idaho: San Jose State, which is getting ready for its bowl, may end up hiring USD's football coach. That worked out well for Stanford, which snatched Jim Harbaugh from the San Diego school. ... Utah State's basketball team is playing well but it has weaknesses.
• Chiefs: If you score enough goals, at least one more than the other guys, you win hockey games. As Chris' story shows, the Chiefs are scoring one more pretty darn often because of one guy (Todd Fiddler, who is pictured).
• Preps: Four GSL wrestling teams improved to 4-0 last night.
• Seahawks: With some players slowed by injuries, the Hawks will continue to feed Marshawn Lynch the football. Hope it's well-seasoned. ... Speed is a priority on defense, which helps one young linebacker.
• Mariners: Now that Hamilton is gone from the market, who can the Mariners sign? The idea posed in this Geoff Baker blog post doesn't excite Steve Kelley. ... The M's do have a lot of prospects, but figuring out when the right time to use them as trading chips is tough.
• That's it for today. I am more-than-usually excited that it's Friday. I am looking forward to the weekend for a lot of reasons, one of which is a movie coming out about a short, chubby guy with hairy feet. No, it's not "The Vince Grippi Story." Until later ...