A GRIP ON SPORTS
One of the definitions of ownership is "legal right of possession; proprietorship." Sounds like what the Mariners have over the Tigers right now. Read on.
• We've been writing a lot about the M's lately – it is mid-May and there isn't much else to focus upon – so we'll keep this short. But there always seems to be one mediocre-to-poor team that owns a good one in major league baseball each season. This year that seems to describe the Mariners and Detroit. With last night's taut 2-1 victory, Seattle is 5-1 against the Central Division favorites. Between Oakland and Detroit, the M's are 10-3. Against everyone else they are 5-15. Odd. ... The other thing I want to point out this morning is Jason Vargas' line, which you can peruse in the box score. Eight innings. Five hits. One earned run. Zero walks, six strikeouts. His ERA is down to 2.79. Are those Cy-Young-Award-winning numbers or what? It's not too late to jump aboard the bandwagon. Pretty soon it's going to get crowded.
• Washington State: I have a question for you Cougar fans. Do you think Bill Moos is thrilled or aghast at some of the things his football coach Mike Leach is writing and saying lately? Christian Caple gives you the full rundown of Leach's last few days in his morning post, but I'm wondering if you believe Moos is sitting in his office dreading the next tweet about Leach's antics or excited because the Cougar brand is being seared on eyeballs throughout the nation? My guess is a little of both. Moos is probably keeping the antacid near, but also is thrilled at the free publicity. It's almost as good as putting a billboard up in New York. Without the expense. ... In other Cougar, or Cougar-related news (of which there is not much that Christian didn't cover), former WSU basketball coach Tony Bennett signed a long extension with the University of Virginia. Reading about the buyout clause in his contract, it gave me an idea. If a player wants to transfer from a university without sitting out a year, maybe they could pay the school they are leaving a cash payout, say $50,000 or something. That way they could be eligible right away, they could have student loans just like their peers and the school would be off the hook for the recruiting costs. Hey, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, right? I'm just kidding, but it seems just wacky enough for the NCAA to adopt.
• Eastern Washington: Nothing from Cheney, but Portland State is moving forward on improving its athletic complex, to the tune of $44 million.
• Idaho: John Blanchette talked with Doug Fullerton about the Vandals and his Big Sky Conference. The column is something you shouldn't miss if the subject tickles your fancy at all.
• Chiefs: The WHL Finals, tied at two, return to Edmonton.
• Shock: Spokane made more moves on Wednesday. A goup introduction is in order before Friday's game.
• Preps: It's Thursday, or as it's known in the S-R office, Prep Page day. With that, there are stories galore. Jim Meehan covered the 4A golf, Greg Lee has a track notebook and a softball feature, Jim Allen has a feature on Mead's recent comeback and was at 3A soccer and there is coverage of 2A soccer and other prep events in a roundup.
• Mariners: Despite Vargas' exemplary performance, he was basically headed to another no-decision until the M's came through in the bottom of the eighth. And it was catcher John Jaso, the unlikely leadoff hitter (Dustin Ackley was given a day off), delivering late once again against the Tigers. ... Brendan Ryan also had a hand in the win, or maybe "a glove in the win" would be the better way to put it. ... Justin Smoak, barely hitting Chone Figgins' weight recently, still has Eric Wedge's confidence.
• Seahawks: Red Bryant is a big man, though he's pretty darn fit. And now he's promising to take a bigger role in the Seahawks' success. ... Can Kellen Moore prove the doubters wrong once again? I wouldn't bet against him.
• With the sun shining once again today, we have to get out of the house for a walk or a bike ride or, at the very least, a trip 7-Eleven for a slurpee. Something. Then tomorrow we'll be back on the site for another edition of "A Grip on Sports." Pretty exciting life, huh? Until later ...