A GRIP ON SPORTS
We've reminisced here before about Sunday papers, how they were always little magazines crammed full of stories to read. But there is one other aspect of that we may have forgotten to touch upon, though we will this morning. They were – and still are – at their best when they bring you an unexpected story or two. A little gem at the bottom of a mound of the predictable. It's that aspect we celebrate today as our blog is sprinkled, like a ruined doughnut, with colorful stories you probably didn't expect on a crowded weekend. Read on.
• We're not going to get into the Mariners or prep sports or anything else in too much detail here today, mainly because it would detract from the rest of the post. There is just too much to read this morning to distract you with my ramblings. So no stories about my childhood or what I had for breakfast. No complaining about referees or relief pitchers or the NBA. Let's get right to the meat of the day.
• Washington State: Sorry, we don't have anything WSU-related to pass along. We just have the section here out of habit. And, no, that news isn't the type of surprise I was referencing in the opening section today. This is. Read this blog post in the Salt Lake City Tribune about BYU firing its baseball coach (as an aside, I played against Vance Law in college when he was the Cougars' shortstop and I was Irvine's backup-to-the-backup catcher). When you get to the bottom you will see a name that, if you are true Cougar basketball fan, will give you indigestion. And that's what we meant by hidden gems.
• Gonzaga: Pacific, the newest member of the WCC, is in transition – in more ways than one. … The Bulldogs ended baseball's regular season with an offensive explosion against BYU and its lame duck coach.
• Eastern Washington: Want another hidden gem? We have two stories centered round former Eastern and WSU assistant Jody Sears (right), now the interim head coach at Weber State. There is this feature and this Q&A.
• Whitworth: Rain delayed the Pirates' game with Christopher Newport (Virginia) until this morning. Whitworth was leading 4-2 midway through the fifth inning when the wet weather made playing anymore impossible. You can watch here.
• Preps: I waited until last to wade through all the prep sports stories today and put this section together, not because the stories belong last but because there are so many of them. Take track and field for example. Not only did Greg Lee cover all the ins and outs of the State 4A, 3A and 2A meets on the other side of the state, we also have stories on the smaller classifications, which held their meets in Cheney. When you add it up, that's five S-R stories on track and field. … That's matched by softball, with Jessica Brown weighing in from the 4A tournament in Spokane and stories from U-Hi's day at the 3A, Colton's 1B title, the 1A title game and 2B championship. … Colton also won the 1B baseball title. … Finally there is soccer, with Cheney denied a state title yet again, this time by Fife, and CV finishing fourth in the 4A, the beginning of a roundup of the rest of the prep coverage. … There is also more on our prep report page.
• Mariners: Brandon League is out as the Mariners' closer, for now anyway. Though his absence was not felt Saturday. Not after Felix Hernandez worked himself into a sixth-inning jam and pinch hitter Alberto Callaspo got him out of it with one swing. Callaspo's grand slam powered the Angels to a 5-3 victory and sent the streaky M's to their third consecutive defeat. … If you're wondering about the picture of Felix at left, it was a throwback day at the ballpark. The M's wore old Seattle Rainier uniforms. … Being it's Sunday, the Times' Larry Stone has a notebook, rates the teams and more. Part of the “more” is this on Gaylord Perry, who was great at hiding gems all over his body as a pitcher.
• Sounders: Is it possible for the Sounders to play the rest of their season on the road? They just don't seem to lose away from CenturyLink. That held true again Saturday night when they rallied for a 1-1 tie in Los Angeles.
• UFC: The Los Angeles Times has a bit more on “The Ultimate Fighter” semifinals, though it's mainly on the semifinal opposite Michael Chiesa's.
• One last diamond to end this Sunday morning post. The Indy 500 is today and we found this Bib Kravitz' column about the late Dan Wheldon, the former champion who was killed in Las Vegas last year. The best nugget from the story? This quote from driver Tony Kannan: “The greatest tribute we can make is to put on a spectacular race. And I think anyone who will win this race will think about something special to do. I'll have different sunglasses (white Wheldon-style sunglasses) on Sunday, and I think you guys will know why.” Until later …