A GRIP ON SPORTS
What is not to like about this time of year? Want to get out in the yard and relax, you can. Want to stay inside and fix things, you can. Want to play golf, go to the lake, barbecue, you can. Want to read stories about your local colleges … well, at least for today, you can. Read on.
• I know. May, June and July don't offer the daily fix of Gonzaga or Washington State or Eastern news the other nine months of the year provide. School is in summer slowdown mode, the coaches are more into recruiting than anything else and the athletes are working on fitness, strength and academics, none of which are as exciting as games. But every once in a while a day comes along with unexpected news. Today is one of those days. And just in time.
• Even if the collegiate well had been dry today, there would have always been the Mariners to talk about. It's not often they string together back-to-back offensive games like the last two in Kansas City. Wait, they did the same thing on their last three extended road trips, scoring at least 16 runs in back-to-back games on each of them. OK, so it's not often they string together back-to-back offensive games like the last two in Kansas City when they are at Safeco. Maybe it's all the pressure the demanding, overbearing local fans and media put on them. Or maybe it's a team that isn't built to score runs in a big ballpark. You decide. I blame the media.
• Washington State: Christian Caple caught up this week with WSU athletic director Bill Moos and football coach Mike Leach for one reason: to talk about the Penn State situation. Here's his story. … Freelancer Howie Stalwick talked with Leach for a wide-ranging Q&A. … Ted Miller moves to the defensive ends in his ESPN.com preview series. He has the Cougars in “good shape” category, but still lists Jordan Pu'u Robinson as one of the backups. Robinson transferred. … BYU, WSU's opening opponent in less than two months, is still trying to decide who will be Riley Nelson's backup at quarterback. … Oregon is contemplating a tougher drug-testing policy that has George Schroeder's stamp of approval. … ASU has to deal with a resurgent University of Arizona athletic department. … Utah's basketball program hopes to rebound quickly from last season's misery. … Former Husky Terrence Ross is trying to make it in the NBA.
• Eastern Washington: The Eagles were picked to finish second in both the media and coaches' polls at the Big Sky Conference football kickoff event in Park City, Utah. But Eastern will have to do it without a starting defensive end that should have been back. Jim Allen has both the stories.
• Indians: After 10 consecutive losses, the Indians have rebounded with a couple victories. Jess Brown has this story on Spokane's 4-1 win over Tri-City last night.
• Preps: The premier local American Legion league has a new champion this year. Greg Lee has the story.
• Mariners: How about a two-team division in the American League featuring the Seattle Mariners and the Kansas City Royals? Would you pick the M's as the favorite going into the season? If they were not, then they would be now what with the way the Mariners have handled KC the past couple nights. Behind an away-from-Safeco offense that is resurgent, the M's scored early and often for a 9-6 win over the Royals. … Dustin Ackley hasn't felt like himself this season. … Jay Buhner expressed an opinion yesterday about the M's possibly bringing Ichiro back with a long-term deal. The comment very easily could have included a retching sound.
• Sounders: With Chelsea in town for a friendly tonight (the team practiced at CenturyLink last night), some fans' thoughts have reluctantly focused on last year's friendly with Manchester City. … Joshua Mayers has his weekly MLS power poll. … Will there be a change in the roster? Other than Roger Levesque retiring after tonight's match, of course.
• NBA: The city of Seattle and King County have opened a dialogue with the Port about Sodo traffic.
• The thunderstorms cleared out yesterday morning in plenty of time for a round of golf. Which, in my case, was probably too bad. All the work I've been doing with my driver came to fruition, as I hit more fairways than I missed. But all the work I haven't been doing with my short game showed up as well, with a dreaded shank showing up on a couple of occasions. Ouch. Back to the practice tee. Until later …