A GRIP ON SPORTS
I really can't think of a better way to end the workweek. I warmed up a cup of Thursday's coffee, opened up the computer and began reading stories from Miami, San Francisco and Seattle about subjects as varied as the NBA Finals, the U.S. Open and the Mariners. Throw in the time I spent reading the S-R this morning and, yep, I can't think of a better way to start my Friday. Read on.
• You know when I wrote yesterday about how the odd the day was? Well it got odder with the news Shock defensive back/linebacker Kevin Ellison allegedly tried to burn down his apartment, using a blunt as the accelerant. There are at least 1.7 million jokes there, but because the nature of the alleged crime is so serious, I'm going to avoid them. But I can't afford to avoid the sports commentary, as that's the lifeblood of this column. Ellison's odd behavior couldn't come at a worse time for the Shock, what with Utah coming to town Saturday and Spokane dealing with injuries on the defensive side of the ball already. With Ellison out of the picture – and I am just assuming he won't play because I haven't seen anything official from the Shock yet – the back line of the Spokane defense will be that much thinner.
• The Pac-12 announced Thursday some of the football starting times and television plans, including the first few weeks of the season. But the interesting announcement concerned the Apple Cup, which will be played on Thanksgiving Friday this season. The kickoff in Pullman will be at 12:30 p.m., with the game televised on FX or Fox, probably depending on how well the teams are doing. If you are a Seattle-area Cougar fan (and don't kid yourself, that's the area that supplies the most money and clout among WSU alums), the time couldn't be worse. Those fans are facing a couple of options, neither of them all that good. You can spend Thanksgiving on this side of the mountains (visiting friends or family in Spokane might be an option, though only four of you will be invited to my house) or you can get up at about 3 a.m. to make the trek across the mountains to Pullman. Now each option has its advantages. If you decide to leave on Friday, you get to stay home and enjoy Thanksgiving, which is good. Of course, that means you'll be driving across the pass in late November in the early morning hours, which usually isn't all that fun. If that isn't your cup of coffee (and it wouldn't be mine), then there is always the leave on Thursday scenario which, as we said before, means you'll be spending Thanksgiving on the east side of the state. As a service to his readers, I'm sure Christian Caple will run a review of all the different Thanksgiving buffets in Spokane, Colfax and Pullman for you prior to the big weekend.
• Washington State: Christian was busy again yesterday as the Pac-12 used the day to announce the Pac-12 Network's first couple weeks of football games. The big news out of the conference concerns the availability of the games. The simple way to say it is, despite statements early to the contrary, not all of the football games will be on your TV. According to tweets by Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, who has been on top of the media news since Larry Scott assumed the Pac-12 throne, if your team's game is the third one scheduled for a certain time – as the Cougars' game with Eastern Washington on Sept. 8 might just be – then expect to have to watch the game on your computer or smart phone, not the big screen in the living room. Christian has all the news, including the Apple Cup time, in this blog post. ... Mike Leach was at the Dallas Cowboys' mini-camp yesterday and talked with reporters about Craig James, Texas Tech and other items. He also spent a lot of time talking with Jerry Jones. ... UCLA and Arizona are carrying the Pac-12 flag at the college World Series, with the Bruins riding a wave a walk-ons and the Wildcats just hoping to play their game. ... Speaking of UA, the schools is being more aggressive in its challenge to ASU in the state.
• Shock: Besides covering Ellison's apartment fire – I wonder if he had the Trammps' one hit playing on his iPhone at the time – Jim has a story about the players' response to the owners' contract proposal and a blog post.
• Mariners: You know you are in a world of hurt when you send a rookie to the mound for his first major league start, pinning all your hopes of breaking a four-game winning streak on a guy who has never won for you before. It didn't work for the M's last night as Erasmo Ramirez (left) threw decently for five innings but faltered in the sixth and the M's lost at home again, 6-2 to the San Diego Padres. ... Don't expect the Mariners to be talking much anymore about Safeco Field and its effect on their offense. As my mom used to say, if you ignore a problem, it will just go away. I think she had just opened a letter from the IRS when she said that. Just kidding. ... The M's offense was non-existent early once again. ... Don't expect Mike Carp to help for a while as he's on the DL, though he says that was his choice. ... Hey, forget about the M's troubles. The farm teams are doing well.
• Seahawks: Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson got his shot to lead the Seattle offense in mini-camp yesterday.
• Sounders: Backup goalie Josh Ford is getting healthier, though it's been a long road back.
• Golf: As you may know, I'm not the biggest Tiger Woods fan. But I will acknowledge his greatness and go as far as to say he may be the best frontrunner in the history of golf (in more ways than one). And he's close to the top of the U.S. Open leaderboard as day two begins this morning. If he gets to the top today, watch out. I don't think anyone will catch him. If someone else wins, I'm hoping it's this guy, 53-year-old Mike Allen. (left). Heck, he's almost my age.
• NBA: LeBron James wasn't about to let Miami go back home down 0-2. So he lifted the Heat past Oklahoma City with a best-player-in-the-game performance Thursday night as Miami won game two of the NBA Finals, 100-96. ... Are Sonics' fans still bitter? Yes. But if the crowd at Thursday's rally in downtown Seattle has its way, the Sonics will be back soon.
• Enjoy your Friday and the weekend. We will. Until later ...