A GRIP ON SPORTS
There are only a few certainties in life. One of them is due our government today. Another was ruined yesterday in Augusta. Read on.
• Death, taxes and no Australian will ever win the Masters. Not even with a six-stroke lead going into Sunday. Those are the certainties I have built my life on for the past 40 years or so. I'm not looking forward to the first one, never look forward to the second and the third certainty? Well, at least that one gave me some joy. Every year I could anticipate some new way for an Aussie to blow it at Augusta. Jack Newton, Greg Norman, Ian Baker-Finch, Adam Scott, Jason Day and too many others to remember have all fallen short of bringing the first green jacket to the land of the opera house, kangaroo and Foster's. Until yesterday. Look, all seemed right in the world when Day bogeyed two of the final three holes to undermine his chances. And Scott's putting stroke, which will soon be illegal, would never hold up, would it? But it did, spectacularly so on the 18th when he coaxed a birdie in from the low side and then again on the second playoff hole with Angel Cabrera, when he pounded home a 12-footer that had every golf fan in Australia screaming. And ruined one of my life's certainties.
• Today is the day baseball honors Jackie Robinson. Ballparks all over the country will fete the first African-American to play in the major leagues. But I want to draw your attention to another aspect of Robinson's life. He may have been, along with Jim Thorpe and Bo Jackson, the greatest all-around athlete America has ever produced. At least that was my dad's contention. Though he was bit prejudiced (in a good way), having grown up playing on the same fields Robinson did in Pasadena, Calif., albeit a few years after Robinson. They even attended the same high school, John Muir. My dad used to talk of Robinson in reverential tones when I was young, though he always mentioned his track and field and football ability before baseball. He felt, after watching Robinson compete for Pasadena Junior College, baseball was Robinson's third best sport. He stood out in football – and played the sport at UCLA – but it was on the track where Robinson had the most potential, according to my dad. Robinson's older brother, Mack, had finished second to Jesse Owens in the Berlin Olympics' 200 meters, so there was a track record, so to speak, in the family. But track didn't pay the bills as well as football or baseball, so we never discovered how good a long jumper Jackie Robinson might have been. We do know, however, how important he was to baseball and civil rights in this country, so that's more than enough.
• Washington State: Christian Caple has a couple of links and notes in this morning's blog post, so we'll have to be satisfied with that until spring football returns Tuesday.
• Gonzaga: The Zag baseball team is on a roll.
• Mariners: Brandon Maurer (pictured) may have been pitching Sunday for his spot in the M's rotation. If that's the case, he has solidified his position a bit in the M's 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Texas. ... Another Mariner went down with an injury, this time a pitcher. Reliever Stephen Pryor has a lat strain and may be out for a while. ... Dustin Ackley's new stance paid early dividends. ... All things considered, the M's are holding up pretty darn well.
• I am, at times, a procrastinator. Especially concerning money. Which is my way of saying I have something I need to finish up today. And a check to write. Tomorrow I will be better, but today, I'm going to be a jerk. Sorry. Until later ...