A GRIP ON SPORTS
As the heat begins to build and the humidity rises, the term "dog days of summer" becomes more and more applicable. In more and more ways. Read on.
• OK, I realize the humidity around here is a joke compared to most of the rest of the country. What we consider a humid summer's day is defined as winter in Florida. But everything is relative and today, featuring a forecast high of 98 degrees, should include some thunder storms and 34 percent humidity. In Spokane, 34 percent is a lot. Enough to make you sweat. And to make the dog lie down in the middle of the street, his tongue hanging out and his chest heaving up and down. Thus, the dog days of summer. But there is another, more esoteric ways to consider these the dog days, and the other definition affects this feature. There is less going on right now in local sports than in any time of the year. Between now and the beginning of college football sometime in early August, about the only Spokane-area sport that will be in full swing is minor league baseball, represented by the Indians. So we're digging deep to give you links and notes that make your workday a little more enjoyable. We think we found some today but it wasn't easy. And it will get a bit harder the next few days with major league baseball shut down for the All-Star break, a break that stretches to Friday for the Mariners. Oh well, I guess if you get bored, you could step outside and try to fry an egg on the sidewalk. That's a cliché that never gets old.
• Washington State: You know it's summer when the lead Cougar piece comes from the Fairways golf course, where senior-to-be Hank Frame (above) held on after a terrible hole to win the Lilac Invitational. Jim Meehan was at the course and has the story. ... Freshman-to-be Que Johnson is in Pullman taking summer classes, practicing with the team and trying to ensure his eligibility for next season. His old school, Westwind Academy in the Phoenix area, is in the news, as the school is restarting a post-graduate team for next year. There is a bit of controversy about it. ... Arizona's athletic director and baseball coach seem to be in the middle of a renaissance of sorts. ... Klay Thompson spent the last week helping the US Olympic team prepare in Las Vegas. And, with it being in Las Vegas and it being the Olympic team, there is a lot of coverage. We pass along this video from the Warriors and there are three more at CougCenter.
• Shock: Their playoff hopes extinguished even before they took the field, the Spokane Shock stayed in their game with the Philadelphia Soul until late, finally falling, 62-48. We have this story and Jim Meehan has a short blog post from last night.
• Indians: Spokane is in the midst of another losing streak – it has lost four consecutive games – but at least Sunday the Indians scored. Still, they lost 5-4 at Tri-Cities.
• Mariners: It is All-Star time and the break couldn't have come at a better time – for every body. Someday maybe some manager will say they can't understand taking a break in the middle of the season for a meaningless game, but until then they all tell you the days off are great for their team – even if said team is playing its best ball of the season. ... That certainly isn't the case for the Mariners, who lost 2-1 in 13 innings to Oakland on Sunday, wasting another solid Felix Hernandez start in the process. ... The M's are 36-51 going into the break this year (they were 43-48 a year ago) but manager Eric Wedge was able to find a positive. ... Larry Stone is already in Kansas City and has a feature on a speedster that is altering minor league baseball and a story about a couple of M's prospects.
• Cycling: Haven't really kept close tabs on Lance Armstrong and the doping allegations, but the action the cyclist took today – taking the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to federal court – is worth passing along.
• Tennis: We're ending with tennis today because I wanted to take a bit of time and say how impressed I was with Andy Murray (right) yesterday. Not with his tennis, per se, though the 25-year-old Scot did play well, especially early in the Wimbledon men's final. But more importantly, Murray showed a maturity beyond his years in the post-match award ceremony, dealing with the pressure and expectations of the stadium crowd and British tennis fans with a grace not often seen in professional sports. It was refreshing. ... And make no mistake, Roger Federer, who won his record-tying seventh Wimbledon crown and 17th major title with the 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 win, cemented his place atop the greats of the game. I think there is still an argument to be made for Rod Laver, who was excluded from Grand Slam events for five of his best years and still won 11 titles, but because we live in a now world, we have to go with Federer.
• One nice thing about working when the temperature is pushing 100: It's air-conditioned in the radio booth. One bad thing: The car will be steaming when I come out at 6. We'll be on the air today at 3 and you can listen here or watch here if you want. Until then ...