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Sliding inexorably toward winter

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Yesterday was the longest of the year in the northern climes. The sun was over the horizon for more minutes than any other, though I can't give you the exact figure. What I can tell you, however, is that means one thing. It's all downhill from here. Yep, I'm a glass half-empty type of guy. Read on.


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• A fun fact: The summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere only happens on June 20 every four years – leap years – (it usually is on June 21), while it occurs in the Southern Hemisphere on Dec. 22 the year before (it's normally on Dec. 21). Talk about trivia that will confound your friends the next time you get together at your favorite watering hole (if just finding their keys isn't too much for them). But, you may be asking, what does this have to do with sports? Good question. I'm just pointing it out to make you aware of what day it is, because the NBA's freakin' playoffs are still going on! It's summer for goodness sakes. And there is still basketball on the tube. Sure, it could all end tonight, when the Miami Heat host Oklahoma City with the hopes of giving LeBron James his first ring, but the fact is, the NBA is not done yet. That high-pitched hum you hear is James Naismith whirring in his grave.

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• Washington State: Christian Caple left you a morning blog post to start your day and we can supplement his links with a few others we found. … The Pac-12 blog on ESPN.com started its day with this interview of defensive standout Travis Long, who will be a senior in the fall (I know, I can't believe it either). … The Cougars have picked up commitments from two high school players on the West Side. … There was rain in Omaha yesterday (and still probably hotter than Hades), so the schedule is starting to stack up a bit. But Arizona is still ready to face Florida State this evening. … The 2013 basketball recruiting class at UCLA is beginning to a look a bit like 2012's in the fact the Bruins are attracting the best talent. … The NCAA released its APR numbers yesterday (Christian's blog post has more on WSU's scores), with a bunch of teams losing their shot at the postseason due to poor results. … And the BCS is fading away as college football edges closer to a playoff. Here's Bud Withers' take on the situation.

• Indians: Another day, another loss. Spokane has started the season 1-5 after a 9-8, 13-inning loss at Everett.

• Mariners: On one hand there is Safeco Field, a pitcher-friendly park if there has ever been one. On the other hand is Arizona's Chase Field. It will forever be known as the graveyard of Jason Vargas' 2012 Cy Young campaign. Yep, after the left-hander gave up 1.3 million runs yesterday in the M's 14-10 loss to the Diamondbacks, I've decided to bury my one-man quest to have Vargas mentioned in the Cy Young conversation. Well, I was able to keep it going until the solstice. … Ichiro loves playing baseball. Enough said. … More from Larry Stone on Roger Clemens.

• Sounders: Seattle's winless streak reached six games last night, but I wouldn't say the Sounders “fell” to Kansas City (see this headline in the News Tribune) after a 1-1 tie. Though it was a battle. One bright note: Steve Zakuani was on the bench – he did not play – for the match. It's been more than a year since his devastating broken leg.  

• NBA: On Tuesday, King County politicians held hearings. Wednesday the folks from Seattle took their turn. What happens today, the sewer district commissioners interrogate Chris Hansen?

• Golf: A local golfer posts an upset at the women's Publinx.

• Track and field: Speaking of upsets, a Lewis and Clark High graduate hopes to pull one in the discus at the U.S. trials, which begin today in Eugene, Ore. John Blanchette caught up with Jason Dixon (left) for this column.

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• Our final thought for the morning: The day's are getting shorter. Enjoy. Until later …


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Jim Allen (@srjimallen) Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpe) Sports reporter Jacob Thorpe covers Washington State University athletics. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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John Blanchette (@SRjblanchette) John Blanchette is a freelance writer who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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