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New amenities don't attract a larger Safeco crowd

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Not even a new video board or the chance of seeing a football-like score could attract a large crowd to Safeco Field last night. In fact, it was the smallest crowd in the stadium's history. Read on.

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• So what's up with that? Before the season began, it seemed as if the Mariner fan base was, at the least, fired-up for baseball. There was optimism after the M's made a couple of off-season moves that injected power into the lineup. There was a positive feel over the club's decision to move the Safeco fences in, hoping to add even a few more runs to each game. And there was the feel-good aspect of a decent start, one powered by some increased power. But the opener Monday night didn't sell out. And Tuesday, after all the pomp and circumstance was shorn away, well, Tuesday's crowd was 10,745. Yep, of 746 people had decided to stay at home, the M's would have drawn less than five figures for a major league baseball game (insert your Astros vs. M's, no-way-that's-a-major-league game here). Is baseball yesterday news in Seattle? Or is it M's fans need to be convinced this team has a chance to compete? The performance of Brandon Maurer (pictured), who didn't get out of the first inning, and the rest of the M's pitching staff last night in a 16-9 loss to Houston certainly didn't help that latter discussion. But no one knew what the score was going to be when they headed out to that park. In fact, playing the Astros should increase the likelihood the M's would win. So, if rooting for the winning team is the goal, then an Astros game should be high on the agenda for the typical M's fan. I'm afraid it's something deeper than that. I'm afraid the past few years of ownership-induced mediocrity has smudged the soul of the Seattle baseball fan. And it's going to take an extended stretch of success to scrape off the rust. Either that or a whole bunch of fans who would have been at the game stayed home to watch Connecticut defeat Louisville in the women's NCAA title game. You decide.

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• Washington State: The Cougars were on the practice field yesterday as spring football heads toward Spokane and the spring game April 20. Christian Caple was at the workout and he filed this blog post afterward, along with a feature story on Rahmel Dockery and a morning post today. He'll also have a live chat this afternoon. ... The whole officiating brouhaha at the Pac-12 tournament has caused enough of a ruckus to inspire Larry Scott to form a commission. Yep, just like the Warren Commission. The group will get together and independently investigate the alleged bounty offer. But it won't stop there. It will also examine the overall state of the Pac-12's officiating. Where do I apply?

• EWU: Eastern picked up a defensive back with a deep pedigree and some off-field baggage yesterday, when the school announced Tevin McDonald had transferred in. McDonald, a two-year starter at UCLA, is the son of former NFL star Tim McDonald. He also was dismissed by the Bruins for a violation of team policy. Jim Allen has more in this story.

• Chiefs: Now that's a hole the Chiefs dug themselves into. After losing 3-1 to the Winterhawks last night in the Arena, Spokane finds itself in a 3-0 series hole against quite possibly the best team in the WHL. The series continues tonight. Chris Derrick has the game story from Tuesday and a blog post. We also have photographs from Colin Mulvany.

• Preps: Jim Allen does double-duty today, as he also has a soccer notebook for this week.

• Mariners: John Blanchette was in Seattle last night and he touched base with former NIC and GU star Jason Bay for this column. ... The brutal loss to Houston brings into question Maurer's status in the M's rotation. But two starts seems to be a pretty short appraisal period. ... Dustin Ackley knows he's being appraised and evaluated each day, but his slow start isn't getting to him. ... Here's another look at the Morse/Jaso trade. ... How long can the M's keep Mike Zunino out of the big leagues?

• Sounders: Seattle knew getting past Santos Laguna in the CCL semis last night would be tough. And, after falling behind 1-0, it got tougher. But the Sounders rallied, scored a goal and had some chances to score again, which would have given them the series victory. But it wasn't to be, no matter how hard they tried. ...This week's MLS power rankings are out.

• Seahawks: So the winner of the backup quarterback lottery is ... Brady Quinn. The Hawks signed Quinn yesterday to fill the spot behind Russell Wilson.

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• Hey, it's already Wednesday. Which means the Masters starts tomorrow. I have some obligations this week, so I will have to fire up the DVR, that's for sure. Until later ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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