A GRIP ON SPORTS
After the past few days, any sunshine is appreciated. Even the diffuse stuff we're getting now. Let's shine some light on the Inland Northwest's sports news, shall we? Read on.
• I spent yesterday afternoon trying not to get too wet at the State 4A boys golf tournament. Luckily, when the downpour hit – and it rained hard – I was able to get under cover and watch the leaders head up 18 and to the scorer's table. One thing I've found after covering high school golf on-and-off for the past decade: Young golfers are almost always polite, nice kids. There are very few, shall we say, bad apples, and they stick out like a mismatched pitching wedge. The S-R's high school golf coverage (we have links below) is part of the usual Thursday deluge of prep sports.
• When is winning two of three from the Rangers a reason to celebrate? Always. The Mariners finished that feat Wednesday afternoon behind six more shutout innings by Kevin Millwood (biding to wrest the title "Ancient Mariner" from Gaylord Perry's slick grasp) and Alex Liddi's grand slam. I'm pretty sure Liddi has a good chance to go down as the best Italian-born major leaguer ever, edging such memorable players as Reno Bertoia and Lou Polli. Ya, I didn't recognize them either. With his six career home runs, Liddi (shown after his postgame shaving cream "pie") is only 21 behind Bertoia (who played 10 years with the Tigers and three other major league teams in the '50s and '60s) for the most for an Italian-born player.
• Washington State: The Cougars Liudmila Vasilieva was knocked out of the NCAA tennis championships in the first round. ... Inspired by the anonymous donor endowing Stanford's offensive coordinator position for Andrew Luck, Bud Withers came up with some other possible endowments. ... Jon Wilner looks at the possible first-week football schedule for the Pac-12, though he seems to have missed WSU's game being moved to Thursday night (though it won't affect the Pac-12 Network schedule).
• Gonzaga: John Blanchette uncovers a hidden gem within Gonzaga's track program.
• Idaho: San Jose State has settled on a new athletic director. It's former Boise State AD Gene Bleymaier.
• Preps: We'll start with golf, the coverage from which includes my 4A boys story and includes Jim Meehan's 4A girls story. From the 3As, Jess Brown has the girls coverage (pictured at left) and Mike Vahovich covered the boys. We also have a roundup of the other classifications. I also found this coverage of Clarkston's Tyler Carlson's 2A title. ... Now on to track, with the state meets beginning Friday. Greg Lee has an advance of the meets and also summarizes them. We also pass along this feature from the News Tribune.
• Mariners: So Millwood pitched six scoreless innings. And Liddi hit a grand slam. The big deal was Brandon League coming out of the bullpen in the ninth and getting the save in the 5-3 win over Texas, right? I've felt League is, for the lack of a better description, streaky. When he's on, he's as tough as there is the bigs. When he's in one of his funks, well, he's not very good. He was on yesterday and usually that streak last a while. ... We talked last week on the radio about moving the fences in at Safeco and Eric Wedge addressed the subject yesterday – just to be clear, we are not saying there is a correlation between the two. ... The M's will have to find a spot for Miguel Olivo soon.
• Sounders: The Sounders are in a Brandon League-style funk. They aren't very good right now, with two losses and a tie in their last three games, including last night's 2-0 home loss to the Columbus Crew. With U.S. Open Cup play looming, is it time for some soul searching or just some panic?
• NBA: A traffic study done for the city and county didn't show much of a problem around the site of a proposed arena.
• We'll be back on the radio for an hour today – NBA basketball takes over at 4. If you want to listen, you can here. We'll be back here tomorrow. Until then ...