A GRIP ON SPORTS
"Get out the broom grandma, there's rye bread and mustard all over the floor." Such is the new rallying cry of the Seattle Mariners, circa 2013. Read on.
• When Dave Niehaus would deliver his signature grand slam call – "Get out the rye bread and mustard grandma, it's grand salami time" – we all knew the Mariner offense was clicking. Even when the M's were woeful back in their Kingdome days, you could rely on Niehaus and the offense to keep you entertained. Oh, they would lose all right. Often. But they usually did it 10-8 or 17-6 or 5-4. Even if it was 2-1, the M's run was probably scored on an Alvin Davis home run – and the other team's two came on a throwing error. If a team could ever lose with flair, that was the Mariners back in the day. But then Ken Griffey Jr., came along and ruined everything. Made the M's respectable. Helped build a new stadium. Raised expectations. The loveable M's became, well, just another struggling major league team that are tough to follow. No disrespect to Rick Rizzs and Aaron Goldsmith, but Niehaus' passing didn't help either. That hit me yesterday as I was driving across the state, coming home from the Seattle area as I've done hundreds of times in my life. For so long, that ride was better when accompanied by a Mariners' game. Just hearing Niehaus describe an Omar Visquel play in the hole or a Julio Cruz triple in the gap was enough to get through those miles between George and Schrag. But yesterday's game was a funeral march, made worse by Texas playing the game the way the M's used to play – albeit with better pitching. A dinger here, a dinger there and then a grand salami. It made my mouth water for a Niehaus call. But all things change, I understand that. And I understand building a winning team takes patience. I understand – or is it hope? – the M's are doing it the right way. I understand there is a plan in place. Still, listening to another Dustin Ackley punch out (he's hitting .161) or a Brendan Ryan (.160) pop up makes it tough. Tough to focus coasting down the Vantage hill, tough to stay awake through Sprague, heck, just tough to keep rooting. Anybody got a CD of the 1995 playoff game with the Yankees? I have to drive back from Oregon next weekend and it would be fun to pop it in and give it a listen. And it would do my psyche a world of good to hear Dave's voice again.
• Washington State: A dry day in Pullman awaits and the same can be said of Pac-12 links. Though Christian Caple does what he can in this morning's post.
• EWU: Jim Allen keeps working his way through the Eagles' football positions. Today he has a blog post on the secondary. Only one more preview to go.
• Mariners: Hey, Kyle Seager (pictured) is hitting the ball. Of all the young pups the M's were relying on to carry the load, only Seager is producing right now. He may not have 30-home-runs-a-year power, but he has what we used to call gap power, as he leads the American League in doubles after a slow start to the season. That's our positive note of the day. And, oh ya, Michael Saunders might be back soon. ... The brooms were out in Arlington Sunday as the Rangers swept the three-game series with an 11-3 win. Texas hit four home runs in the middle innings to rally after Seattle scored in the first. ... Franklin Gutierrez sat once again with tightness in his legs (I get that; I get up in the morning every day with the same thing; of course I'm 56-years-old and never was a professional athlete) and may head to the disabled list soon. ... The M's head to Houston for what may be a make-or-break series with the woeful Astros. The time for talking is done.
• Seahawks: Who will be the next Russell Wilson? The NFL draft starts Thursday.
• Sounders: Now that they have a win under their drawstring, the Sounders can regroup during their bye week.
• Sonics: Want to know what the Sodo area may look like if the new arena is ever built? There is a place to look.
• I'm not kidding. I haven't really missed Dave Niehaus' voice as much as I did yesterday. Even though he struggled in last few years – a pop up to shortstop often looked like a long fly ball to him – he made the game interesting. And though Rizzs and Goldsmith are professionals that keep you up with the action, they can't make chicken salad out of another called third strike like Dave often did. Until later ...