A GRIP ON SPORTS
If you are a baseball fan who lives anywhere near, say, Spokane, I want to introduce you to something called a “run.” It's when your team moves a player all the way from home plate to first, second and third base, then somehow, someway, gets him back to home plate again. Yep, it's a pretty cool event. And some baseball teams (cough, the Texas Rangers) do it all the time. But the baseball teams we watch, listen to and read about (the Seattle Mariners and the Spokane Indians) seem to treat “runs” as some sort of a phenomenon, something akin to the Higgs Boson. Read on.
• Before we move on to a short baseball discussion, I wanted to explain why this post is a bit later than it might have been (though you may not have noticed). I arose early as usual this morning but instead of writing consistently, I broke up the morning routine by watching Serena Williams' attempt to win the Wimbledon ladies crown. And, due to a second-set lull, it took Serena (left) a couple hours to secure her fifth Wimbledon crown, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 over Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska. But it's over now and we can offer this link.
• OK, back to baseball. The Mariners scored one of those elusive runs in the first inning last night and then … nothing. Kevin Millwood pitches his tail off – as an aside, the way Millwood is throwing right now, Seattle should get something decent for him when they send him to a contender later this month – and the Mariners still lose in 11 innings. The only anomaly about this game: It wasn't in Safeco Field. Yep, the Mariners were on the road and still hit like … well they hit like the Spokane Indians. The local minor league team extended their scoreless streak to 21 innings – hey, at least they're consistent – Friday night before scoring a lone run in the bottom of the eighth. So let's recap the day. The teams we can listen to on the radio here in Spokane combined for two runs in 20 innings and lost twice. And you wanted PEDs out of baseball.
• Washington State: There is one person, who shall remain nameless, in WSU's athletic administration who will tell you their favorite all-time Cougar football player is Leon Bender (right). The former defensive lineman, who passed away at a young age, was one of those players who met every day with a smile. Now a group associated with Bender's high school near San Diego want to name the football field after him. CougCenter has the details and the links. … For some reason this website ranks WSU football 56th in the nation. … When Washington State opens its season at BYU, they will be meeting a team with a relaxed, confident quarterback. … The Cougars' Hank Frame is running away with the Lilac Invitational.
• Gonzaga: Speaking of BYU, the Cougars have cut one of their women's basketball players. The reason why this is a story at all is interesting.
• Indians: The final score at Avista Stadium last night was 4-1 for Yakima. Jess Brown has the story.
• Mariners: Even with the addition of a red-hot (at Class AAA) Carlos Peguero in the lineup – he played right while Ichiro was the DH – the M's couldn't do more than score one lousy run in a 4-1 defeat to Oakland. After the game, which A's pinch-hitter Chris Carter ended with a walk-off three-run dinger, Mariners' manager Eric Wedge hinted some young hitters may be headed to the minors. Speculation centered round Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley, two of the youngsters who were supposed to be the centerpiece of a Seattle turnaround.
• Golf: It's Saturday, so Jim Meehan has his weekly column. This week it's on pet peeves of the pros. I'll tell you mine. How hard is it to fix your damn ball mark? It hits the green, it makes a mark. Fix it. I average fixing about three a hole on Spokane's courses. A real pain in the butt.
• As I look out my window, I can't believe how clear it is. Blue everywhere. And you can tell it's warm, even if you can't feel it. It's going to be a scorcher. Until later …