A GRIP ON SPORTS
Isn't it supposed to be a sweeps month? Yet on one channel last night there was a rerun and on two others, the same show. Television has gone batty. Read on.
• The rerun last night was, of course, the Washington State basketball game. If it was not a rerun, then the screenwriters guild should investigate, because the plot was ripped off from a handful of previous shows. The Cougars share the ball, the Cougars take a lead into halftime, the Cougars struggle for a second-half stretch, the Cougars lose a close game. I know, right? It's the same plot that's played out in almost every Pac-12 game. Sure, when you take the show on the road, it's fresh and fun in the city they are visiting, but to those of us who watch on a regular basis, it's become easy to turn the TV off halfway through the second half. Especially games that tipoff at 8:30 p.m. And the redundant broadcast? For some reason last night Gonzaga's televised undressing of Pepperdine was broadcast not only on SWX, the cable channel focused on local sports, but was also on KHQ, Spokane's NBC affiliate, as well. The one-for-two sale meant NBC's highly touted comedies, such as the season premier of "Community" and the always funny "Parks and Recreation" were not broadcast in their usual time. Nope, they and a couple other shows will be shunted to odd times on the weekend. Now I'm not William S. Paley or Philo Farnsworth, but it does seem odd to me you build a television station that specializes in local sports and it carries the GU game as, what, a backup for the main channel? And you tick off the non-basketball fans by showing the game instead of the national broadcasts?
• The news on Felix Hernandez and the Mariners broke pretty early yesterday, blowing up the Northwest's Internet with joy. Yep, it looks as if the M's management understands the importance of keeping Felix in Seattle. They understand well enough to offer a seven-year, $175-million contract. I'm pretty sure before the season starts some buyer's remorse will set in, but for now, as the deal winds its way towards official status, it's time to celebrate. Not only to celebrate that Felix is locked into the Mariners until I can start drawing Social Security but also that the M's ownership consortium is finally beginning to loosen the purse strings. (I have this vision of an old guy prying open an ancient coin purse and a moth flying out.) The willingness to actually spend money is a welcome change. When the Washington Nationals signed Jayson Werth a few years back, they woefully overpaid for him. But I heard Tom Boswell, a baseball writer I really respect (yes, time does begin on opening day), say the Nationals needed to overspend. They had to convince other players they were serious about competing. Two years later they are in the playoffs. The Mariners may or may not be overpaying for Felix, but they are certainly telling other players they are serious about competing. And that's refreshing.
• Washington State: Christian Caple was in the Galen Center, along with about a thousand of his closest friends – and my best and longest friend (I even overlook the fact he is a USC basketball season-ticket holder), Kent, who turns 57 today – to witness the Cougars fritter away another second-half lead. He had his pregame blog post, then filed a game story, a tale of the tape and quotes afterward. Christian followed up with his usual morning post today. ... Former WSU star Klay Thompson is making his mark in the NBA.
• Gonzaga: You would think any show that played on two channels would feature a lot of drama. Nope. The Zags turned this into a comedy early on, using their defense to force the Waves offense into the slapstick category. Jim Meehan was in the house and filed a game story and a postgame blog post. He'll be along sometime today with another blog post looking back at the GU win. ... Colin Mulvany has the story of the game in photos. ... Bud Withers was in town and he wonders if the GU fans are becoming a little jaded. ... St. Mary's stayed on the Zags' heels by routing Santa Clara on the road. ... Meanwhile, BYU fell further behind when it fell to San Diego in California. The Toreros have won two consecutive games since the tough loss to the Zags. ... Portland won at home behind the play of Spokane's Ryan Nicholas.
• EWU: Talk about reruns. The Eagles lost another road game they had a chance to win, when a late-game scoring drought helped Sac State to victory. ... Idaho State is struggling through an awful season as is Portland State. ... The Eastern women have been coming on as of late and stayed in the Big Sky title chase with another home win last night. Chris Derrick was there and filed this game story and blog post.
• Idaho: The Vandals suffered the same fate against New Mexico State they suffered the last time, a late loss. Josh Wright has a blog post about the defeat and we have this story. ... Denver continues to roll.
• Preps: The Greater Spokane League regular season came to a finish last night, with the Mead girls pulling out a late win over Gonzaga Prep and pulling out the league title. Greg Lee has the story. ... The Mead boys also won, leading the GSL boys roundup. ... We also have another roundup of area basketball action.
• Chiefs: Spokane was resting yesterday as Portland and Kelowna prepared for back-to-back games in Kelowna.
• Mariners: The Felix news – and yes, we know it's not official as of yet – dominated our Thursday afternoon but the M's did some other things yesterday, including reaching agreement with a left-handed starting pitcher. ... The farm system came under scrutiny again, in a good way. ... Ryan Divish has a couple of position previews, including Justin Smoak and first base.
• Seahawks: See, Steve Hutchinson knew what he was doing oh so many years ago. And he laughs at it.
• Not busy this afternoon? Then listen to my verbal wanderings this afternoon on the radio as I join Dennis Patchin and Rick Lukens on 700 ESPN from 3 to 6 p.m. You can listen here. Until then ...