A GRIP ON SPORTS
We've always prided ourselves on being a full-service blog station. We not only fill up your computer screen with tales from the professional, collegiate and prep worlds, but we check under the hood to give you news you can use as well. And that tradition continues today. Read on.
• There may still be snow showers in the forecast where you live (as there are for down the road in the Inland Northwest), but baseball season is blooming. It's blooming in the desert with spring training, it's blooming on college campuses around the nation and it will bloom soon at high schools everywhere. That's followed closely by the advent of softball season, as the weather warms and rec types head out to fields across the country to pull muscles, strain ligaments and have a great time. With the start of baseball season comes another time-honored tradition: Breaking in your new glove. From the moment you received your first glove as a kid (and no, mine didn't look like this one), the process of making it just right consumed your waking – and if you put it under your pillow as some of us did, your sleeping ones as well – hours. As a kid, I used nothing but a conditioning oil, some concoction my dad put together. In college, the catcher's mitt went under the bathroom spigot, hot water running down the pocket as instructed by a former major league catcher. In my softball days I used everything from a foam you baked into the glove to a white, gooey product I'm still not sure wasn't just old milk, packaged in such a way to catch my eye at the sporting goods' store. But tying a baseball or softball in the pocket and putting the glove away for a couple days was always a part of the regime. So was sitting in front of the TV set, the glove in one hand, a ball in the other, throwing it into the pocket for hour after hour, trying to get it just right. So where is this run around the memory basepaths leading? To this story in the Los Angeles Times. It's all about breaking in a new glove, of course, and couldn't come at a better time. Mainly because it shares the newest rage in glove-breaking-in technology, steaming. Though it isn't all that new. I had a college roommate who would take his new gloves into the bathroom when he showered, letting it sit on the counter while the room filled with moisture. Then he would dry it and work it. He said it made the leather supple. We thought he was nuts (though the glove thing was only part of our evidence). Maybe he was just ahead of his time. ... So tell me, if you are so inclined, how did you – or do you – break in that new glove? Share your tips with your fellow readers.
• By the way, we thought we passed along a couple of interesting pieces yesterday, but it seemed the center of attention were stories that didn't exist. Who knew?
• Washington State: Christian Caple starts your morning, Cougar fans, with this post, which includes links from around the Pac-12 along with WSU news. Though I'm sure he would have liked to write about Ken Bone's weekly press conference, it was postponed until today as Bone was out recruiting. Bone did get on the Pac-12 call, and Christian passes along a summary of that. ... Christian also has another in his series of stories on WSU's new assistant football coaches, this one on "The Elf." Nope, it's not Will Ferrell. ... The NFL scouting combine is coming up and though there are no Cougars invited as far as I can tell, there is one guy from the conference who will be the center of attention. ... No reason to pass this along other than it made me laugh, though it was tinged with sadness. Talent shouldn't be wasted.
• Gonzaga: We're another day closer to the showdown between the Zags and BYU for second in the WCC (for now). Jim Meehan has this story on the similarities between the programs, especially in their successful traditions. ... It doesn't look as if Noah Harstock (left) will be able to play for the Cougars, at least according to this story. This one is a bit more optimistic, though coach Dave Rose calls him day-to-day. As a wise man once said, aren't we all? ... The GU women will host BYU on Saturday in a first-place showdown – and senior day. Should be pretty emotional. Jess Brown writes about one of the outgoing seniors, post Kayla Standish.
• Idaho: Don Verlin's Vandals are heading down the stretch of what could be a very successful season. But from here on in it's travel time, first to Utah State, then to Hawaii, San Jose State and the WAC tourney. Josh Wright talks with the coach about the final push.
• Whitworth: The Pirates' Matt Logie, in his first year, was named NWC coach of the year.
• Preps: University's boys played in the 3A playoffs, hosting West Valley of Yakima. The Titans won, 66-47, and move on to regional play this weekend. Mike Vlahovich has the story, which also includes news on Shadle Park's defeat and wins for Shadle and U-Hi's girls. ... Post Falls advanced to the 5A tourney with a win over Coeur d'Alene and Greg Lee tells you how the Trojans did it. ... Central Valley's girls advanced in 4A play, but G-Prep's boys, the defending state champions, fell to Richland.
• Chiefs: No Spokane news, but Portland did move into first place with an 8-1 win over Prince George last night.
• Mariners: The big news yesterday was a revelation everyone was expecting: Ichiro will bat third in the M's lineup. Yep, he's no longer leading off. Chone Figgins gets first crack at that role, with Dustin Ackley second in Seattle's new-look batting order. We'll see how long this change in the world order lasts.
• That's our post for the morning. We'll be on the radio again today. You can listen here if you want, starting at 3 p.m. Until later ...