A GRIP ON SPORTS
It's cold here in Spokane. Really cold. Single-digit cold. But that's OK. We have a hot stove to keep us warm. Read on.
• In the middle of the NFL season, the end of the college football season, the early stages of the college basketball season and the first days of the high school basketball season, I care about baseball news? Yes, I do. Not so much the national news that led the talk radio shows this morning, though it is nice to see a Northwest kid like Jacoby Ellsbury take a big chunk of the Yankees' discretionary cash. No, we're interested in rumors. Because it is the rumor season, the only season in which the Mariners can actually compete with the rest of baseball. That's not exactly right. The Mariners not only compete in rumor season, they may actually win rumor season. Remember Prince Fielder? Josh Hamilton? Heck, even one of the Upton brothers? They were all rumored to be coming to Seattle. Or at the very least, the M's were making "a big play" for them. If all the rumors of the past few years had come true, the Mariners lineup today would look akin to the Yankees. And, as my dad used to love to say, if a frog had wings, it wouldn't bump its butt every time it jumped. Still, rumor season has its purpose and I'm not talking about just driving up the paycheck for free agent stars. I'm talking about us, those suckers who are interested in the M's. Rumor season gives us a few days or weeks to dream about how much better our life would be if our local major league baseball team dealt in actual facts, not rumors. That, of course, isn't the way it is. We're left hearing rumors the M's are a player in the Robinson Cano sweepstakes, that they were actually Ellsbury's top choice until the Yankees threw Monopoly money at him, that any top-shelf free agent is actually interested in relocating to Seattle. Rumors. Aren't they grand?
• WSU: Where the Cougars will end up in the bowl sweepstakes is nothing but rumors right now as well, though I do believe someone knows. Just not me or Jacob Thorpe, who has this story on the possibilities. ... Jacob also has a Pac-12 notebook and his power rankings in today's paper. ... Jacob is having technical difficulties this morning and will be back later with his morning links. ... ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog has a mailbag in advance of Saturday's Pac-12 championship game. ... Boise State handed Utah its first loss of the basketball season.
• Gonzaga: The Zags know there is one area in which they need to improve. They must rebound better if they want to be among the nation's elite. That's the main thrust of Jim Meehan's notebook in today's S-R. ... USD is much improved this season and there is one big reason. ... BYU rolled in the second half last night.
• EWU: Don't worry about the cold. Neither South Dakota State or Eastern is. Jim Allen has more on their upcoming NCAA FCS playoff game in this story. ... Jim also has links this morning and a blog post and story on Vernon Adams being named a Walter Payton Award finalist.
• Preps: Last night was the first big day in Washington high school hoop and we not only have roundups in girls and boys action, we can pass along Greg Lee's coverage of G-Prep's girls opening the season with a win over Lewis and Clark (Jesse Tinsley has a photo story from the game). We also have a GSL boys roundup. ... Greg also has a feature on Lake City's goals for the season as he has the boys previews in the Inland Empire 5A and 4A along with an Intermountain League preview.
• Seahawks: Here it is Wednesday and we're still talking about Monday night's win over the Saints. We have some statistics and the usual snap counts from that game to get through. ... But there is another big game this Sunday, in San Francisco against a 49er team that needs a win to stay alive in the NFC West race. A loss and the Hawks have clinched the division. By the way, there are still folks in San Francisco who believe their quarterback will be better in the long haul. You mean Mr. Accuracy? ... The TV ratings were great Monday night as was the offensive line. ... Maybe Brandon Browner won't be suspended after all.
• Mariners: Have we mentioned the M's are rumored to be in the running for star second baseman Robinson Cano? Boy, he would really help. Man, they're going to be good next year.
• There's a rumor going around I'll be coming into a few million dollars soon. Yep, as soon as my lottery numbers hit, I'm rich. Hey, it could happen. Just like the M's could sign someone who would really make an impact on their lineup. Until later ...