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Is it time to bail?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It just may be time. Time to sell my allegiance. Time to give up being a Seattle Mariner fan and start rooting for another team. Time to root for a team with an ownership that wants to win consistently and is willing to do what it takes to make that happen. Or is it the wrong thing to do? Read on.


••••••••••

• I've been thinking about this for a while now. What keeps a fan a fan? As we were driving across Interstate 84 on Sunday, we listened to the Dodger game on satellite radio. At one point Charlie Steiner started talking about the standings and how the Dodgers were this many games in front of that team and that many games in front of this team. It made me nostalgic. No, not for the Dodgers, per se, though I grew up rooting for them as did every red-blooded boy in LA County not headed for San Quentin. No, it made me wish for those days when the team I rooted for actually was in first place, actually was contending for a league – heck, even a divisional – title. It seems so long ago now since the M's were real contenders. Here are their records for the past eight years, working backward from 2011: 67-95, 61-101, 85-77, 61-101, 88-74, 78-84, 69-93, 63-99. Their best finish in that time was second in 2007, when they were six games behind the Angels. Basically, since the 2003 season, we've been excited by a pennant race once. Big deal. Sure, winning isn't the only thing that keeps you a follower of a certain team, but it helps. Watching your team come up on the short end of the score night after night just wears you down over the course of a baseball season. And I'm starting to get worn down. It's not just last night's loss, what with the squeeze that wasn't (pictured above), the wasted Felix Hernandez start (again), the inability to catch a pop up. It's the past two years, the past eight years. The drip, drip, drip of defeat. It's sapped my baseball-worshiping, Mariner-loving soul. It's made me want to make a change. After all, I've been asking the Mariners to make changes the past few years, all because we want them to be successful, right? Should I expect anything else from myself? So maybe it's time for me to make a change, so I can be a successful baseball fan again. Maybe it's time to start following the Tigers or the Cardinals or the Washington Nationals for goodness sake. It's time to get excited about May and June and July and on. That's not going to happen rooting for the Mariners.

• So I guess I'm asking you, why should I continue to torture myself night after night following a team that clearly hasn't been competing for championships for a long, isn't ready to compete for a title for the foreseeable future and has an ownership group that doesn't seem to want to win? If you have a good argument for staying aboard the good ship Mariner, I would love to hear it. Otherwise, I'm headed down the ropes with the rest of the rodents.

• By the way, I would quit following baseball completely before I would become a Yankee fan. Just saying. I would never sink that low.

•••

• Washington State: Christian Caple had a blog post yesterday with the news Idaho will be back on WSU's football schedule in 2013 (there may just be a lot of openings on that schedule for the Vandals if the rumors about the WAC are true). He also has his usual blog post from this morning. … Former WSU football player Dwight Tardy is back on the field, but now a baseball field in Southern California. The rules for junior college athletics are so fun. … Thought I would pass along this story. Just about everyone is still looking for basketball players that can help them for next season. … Marcus Trufant is headed for a hall of fame.

• Gonzaga: Nothing from the Zags, per se, but a lot of peripheral items out there, including assistant Ray Giacoletti is still in the running for the Illinois State job, and is moving closer to front-runner status. … Former St. Mary's power forward Rob Jones was wooed, unsuccessfully, by the NFL. … The best high school player in America may be headed on an LDS mission. … Finally, I mentioned seeing Luke Meikle play over the weekend and someone asked my opinion. In 1983, when I moved to Spokane from California, one of the first sporting events I covered was a summer charity basketball game featuring one John Stockton. He did not play well that night. In the hubris of youth, I pronounced said player incapable of playing in the NBA. One game, one idiot opinion. I learned my lesson. I never judge guys on one look anymore. So I have no views worth sharing right now. Maybe later in the summer if I can see him play more.

• Eastern Washington: Bo Levi Mitchell (pictured at left) has found a place to play professional football. It's a bit north of here. Jim Allen has the story (and a blog post).

• Idaho: The WAC is falling apart. That seems obvious.

• Preps: The definition of stop-and-start? Softball season in the Inland Northwest. Greg Lee has a notebook.

• Mariners: We've pretty much covered the spectrum of hope and despair concerning the M's already today, so we'll just move on. They lost 3-2 in 12 innings yesterday to Tampa Bay. (Hey, the Rays are someone I could root for and there is plenty of room; they drew just 9,458 last night.) Felix pitched great, again. The M's squandered chances, again. And Brandon League couldn't hold a late lead, again. … Miguel Olivo is hurt again and the M's have to make a decision about their catching.

• Seahawks: One last look at the draft from Jerry Brewer. We're done now. Promise.

•••

• That's it for this morning. Hope you can help me. 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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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. 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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