A GRIP ON SPORTS
Mondays always hold a special place in the workingman/woman's heart. The first day of the workweek is usually the toughest day to attack with fervor, especially this time of year. The light at the end of the tunnel – Friday – is dim, the physical demands of the weekend may have left its toll and most of your co-workers are wandering around like extras from "The Walking Dead." Even in semi-retirement, I've designated Monday as laundry day, just so I can share in the misery a bit. But we do offer a respite, a jump-charge so to speak to your week. Nothing too elaborate, mind you, just some commentary and news links. Read on.
• I'm not sure if you are following the Olympic track and field trials in Eugene all that carefully. I know I'm not, though I'm wired in a bit just because I love the sport – and one of my best memories of my dad was a trip we took to the 1968 trials at Lake Tahoe so he could talk with his childhood friend, coach Peyton Jordan. But even those watching the trials this year from the periphery must be aware of the convulsions caused by a tie for third – the final spot to earn a trip to London – in the women's 100 meters (pictured at right). Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh finished in a dead-heat, which was only the beginning of the drama. It wasn't until the pictures were examined in great detail that it was determined there was a tie (Tarmoh had been announced as the third-place finisher after had-timing) and USA Track and Field went to its tie-breaking manual. Except it didn't have one. So a meeting had to be held to come up with a way to break the tie, which was announced about a day after the race. The procedure arrived upon is pretty complicated though it boils down to either a runoff between the two or a coin flip, depending on the choices of the two participants (you can read the details of the procedure here). Well, the lack of a tiebreaker has opened USA Track and Field to a bunch of criticism, like this well-written column in the LA Times. But the decision the committee came up with is a pretty good one, even allowing for all the legalese that has to be added in this litigious age (that detail is taken to the woodshed in this New York Times commentary). If both runners want to leave it to chance and trust a coin flip, then that's what will happen. If not, they'll meet on the track again before the trials are over. If one wants to step aside and become the alternate, that's noble and it's also allowed. And they have a few days to decide, as each is running in the 200 meters as well. If, for example, Felix qualifies in the 200 and wants to concentrate on that, her best event, she can become the 100-meter alternate and let Tarmoh run. In the end, USA Track and Field came up with a plausible answer, but it's an answer that should have been readily available when it was needed. From now on, it will be. ... By the way, if you want to see how much the trials have changed since my dad and I attended them, watch this video (though it's not all that clear). It is, however, sort of hilarious. I'm pretty sure some of the cars belong to spectators. One might even be ours.
• Washington State: The Arizona Wildcats are one game from the NCAA title after they defeated two-time defending champion South Carolina 5-1 yesterday in the first game of the best-of-three World Series finals. The Wildcats know, however, they haven't done anything yet, despite not trailing in any of their college World Series games. ... BYU, the Cougars first opponent this fall, is making a trip to Notre Dame this season. ... Finally, missed this story in the S-R on Sunday, but thought I would pass it along today. It's about the auditions (being this is a sports blog I wonder if I should refer to them as tryouts?) for a future commercial held in downtown Spokane. Worth reading.
• Indians: Hallelujah, Spokane won a game. The Indians took care of things early, scoring five runs in the top of the first and rolling to an 11-2 win at Everett. The Indians return to Spokane tonight to start a three-game series with Boise.
• Mariners: Well, interleague play for 2012 is over (next season, there will be interleague series all season long, so the M's could be playing one in April and one in September) and Seattle is probably happy for that. Hector Noesi gave up just two runs, but that was two too many in a 2-0 defeat at San Diego. The offense returned to 2010 mode, with just five hits and two of them coming from Noesi (left) – who might be DH'ing for someone tonight, maybe even slumping Dustin Ackley?
• Sounders: Even the Sounders players called their 2-1 loss to Portland on Sunday embarrassing, though I found the final five minutes or so entertaining, in a baseball-fight sort of way. There were a couple red cards handed out near the end and a lot of pushing, shoving and guys acting tough but not really wanting to fight. Still, the Timbers picked up a win they really needed.
• Triathlon: The Ironman Coeur d'Alene was run under near-perfect conditions Sunday and the champion was a familiar one. Jim Meehan has this story.
• Auto-racing: The drag racing track at Spokane County Raceway was busy this weekend. Correspondent Doug Pace has the story for the S-R this morning. ... Clint Bowyer, driving the No. 15 car (that's important) won NASCAR's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma yesterday.
• That's it for this morning. I hope I made your Monday a bit better. Now you can return the favor. Anyone want to head over to my place and finish the laundry for me? Anyone? Until later ...