A GRIP ON SPORTS
Where were we? Oh yes, before we took a day off we were talking golf and Mariners. After staying away for a day, those subjects are still fresh. Read on.
• As I write this, Tiger Woods is about to tee off for his final round at the British Open. Will he win his first major when trailing going into the final day? Or will he once again fail in his attempt to win his 15th in his professional career? The next five hours will tell the tale. Looking at the results of the poll here, you folks seem evenly split between rooting for him, not rooting for him and not caring. OK. But whether or not you are in Tiger's corner, it's pretty obvious ESPN is, because having golf's biggest name in contention certainly helps ratings. And it will be interesting to watch the scores today, to see if he can come-from-behind or if Adam Scott can hold on to a lead and win his first major (allowing former Woods' caddie Steve Williams the opportunity to be on another major winner's bag) or if someone else will come out of the pack and take home the claret jug (Graeme McDowell anyone?).
• The Mariners' Jason Vargas pitched another outstanding game yesterday as Seattle earned a 2-1 win over the Rays in Tampa. No, I'm not going to point out my sentimental choice for the Cy Young Award is 10-7 pitching for one of the worst offensive teams in baseball. Nope, wouldn't do that. What I will point out is Vargas threw six solid innings of despite falling victim to one of the worst ball and strike umpires (and everything else as well) in baseball, Tim McClelland. McClelland showed once again yesterday that his strike zone is not only tight, but moves around more often than a backyard squirrel. How the guy has survived in the major leagues (who can forget his inability to notice both guys were off the bag in the 2009 American League playoffs or any other of a handful of missed high profile calls this guys has made in "stellar" umpiring career).
• Washington State: As we were off yesterday, we missed this story out of Louisiana (home of the Manning Passing Academy) on Jeff Tuel and the Cougars' future, but we pass it along now. ... Ted Miller over at ESPN.com also had his mailbag on Friday and we can't miss that, day off or not. Or his thoughts on the Pac-12 conference's punters. ... Jon Wilner has a couple of updates on the Pac-12 Network on his Mercury News blog. ... BYU, the Cougars' opening foe in a bit over a month, are trying to attract more Polynesian players. The will also be down one running back when WSU comes for its visit. ... A couple of letter writers to the S-R don't agree with Bill Moos or Mike Leach's thoughts on Penn State.
• Eastern Washington: The Eagles will be inducting a large group into their hall of fame this fall, including the 1997 football team that lost to Jim Tressel's Youngstown State team in the Division 1-AA semifinals.
• Shock: Spokane ended a playoff-less season on a positive note, defeating Tampa Bay 63-53 in the Spokane Arena last night. The win not only ensured the Shock of a winning record (10-8) despite missing the postseason, it also kept Tampa Bay out of the playoffs. Jim Meehan has the story.
• Indians: A shaky start didn't spell disaster for Spokane in Vancouver, as the Indians rallied for an 8-6 win.
• Mariners: Before we delve into Saturday's 2-1 win, we (and the Seattle beat writers) have to take you back to Friday night's 14-inning 4-3 loss to Tampa. The reason is simple: The M's ran out of pitchers and catcher Miguel Olivo was warming up to pitch if needed. He wasn't and he's glad. ... The M's staff carried the hitters who has a rare off day on the road, even though Ichiro knocked the Tampa starter from the game in the second with a hard comebacker. And McClelland may have blown the call at the plate (though the replay was inconclusive whether Carlos Peguero got his front foot down before the tag was applied as the picture above shows). ... Speaking of Ichiro, he's the subject of Larry Stone's Sunday column. At least Ichiro's future with the M's is the subject. Stone also has his usual rankings, awards and notebook.
• Seahawks: Jerry Brewer thinks the Hawks can be a playoff contender. This year.
• I hope your Sunday is going well and you have some fun summer weekend plans. We'll be back tomorrow. Until then ...