A GRIP ON SPORTS
There's no reason to lie. I'm tired. Really tired. Getting home from Pullman after midnight will do that to you. But before we can get back to what we do best – napping – we have to pass along a Valentine's Day blog post. It concerns, appropriately enough, what we loved about the past couple days. Read on.
• We love college basketball. I think you folks have figured that out by now. Cupid's arrow hit me before I was in my teens and the infatuation has only grown since then. So being able to watch Oregon State outlast the Cougars last night was a nice pre-Valentine evening for me. I am also lucky enough to be married to a women – going on 34 years now – who shares my crush on college hoop, so we'll be at Gonzaga's first-place WCC showdown with St. Mary's then race home to watch Gonzaga's first-place WCC showdown with St. Mary's. The former is a women's game, the latter the men. Add in a pregame meal and it's almost a perfect evening. (Now come up with a winning Lotto ticket and it will forever be known in the Grippi household as the perfect evening.)
• We also love baseball, a sport that stole my heart even before college hoop. It got me the first time my dad “had” a catch with me. (Really, though, does anyone say “would you like to have a catch” like in Field of Dreams?) And yesterday reminded me how deeply even grown men playing major league baseball can love the game. I'm sure not everyone is as enamored of the game as Felix Hernandez, but the pitcher's display of emotion yesterday while signing his $175 million contract with the M's touched even a jaded old guy like me. The true cynic would say Felix was crying because of the $175 million aspect. OK, I get that. But I think Felix was crying because he was thinking of his past, when he had nothing. When he played baseball not as a job but for the pure joy of it. And how that joyful little guy has morphed into a man who has ensured his family's well-being forever. And yet, that man is still a little boy when it comes to the game itself. How do I know? Felix's reaction to his perfect game last season and his reaction yesterday. No matter what he says, and how others react to what he says, those actions reflect the love of the game in his heart.
• One other thing we loved about the past couple days. The ability to use the tools of our trade, our two eyes, our two ears and our two fingers, to write about what we love. It's a blessing to be able to still do it despite an early retirement. Two days ago I was able to cover a high school basketball game for the Review. Last night, a Pac-12 contest for the Oregonian. Both days – heck, everyday – I've been able to write here. Talk about fun. But I have to admit I could sure use a nap.
• Washington State: Before the game last night I had a chance to say hi to DaVonté Lacy. I told him not to talk with me, because I was covering Oregon State for an Oregon paper. He laughed and said he always likes to talk. I told him I wouldn't be writing about him unless he made seven 3s or something. Just might happen, he answered. It did. I still didn't have time to talk with him afterward. … Lacy's career-high was just part of WSU's barrage of 3-pointers that nearly brought the Cougars all the way back from a 15-point deficit. Christian Caple was at the game for the Review and he filed this game story. He also has his usual items, including a pregame post, tale of the tape, postgame interviews and a morning post today – I buy the guy dinner and he rats me out for my absent-minded behavior; that's the last burger he gets on my dime. … It is Thursday, so Christian also has his usual summary of the rest of the weekend ahead. … There was official football news yesterday, with the Cougars hiring another assistant. Christian has a blog post and a short story.
• Gonzaga: The coverage of tonight's game in Moraga is nearly never-ending – it's also our poll question this morning – starting with the best coverage in the nation, that coming from our Jim Meehan. (Don't believe me? Read this ESPN.com piece, a quarter of which is directly from Jim.) Jim has an advance of tonight's game, along with a blog post that covers more of the same ground. He also has his summary and leads our college hoop notebook with more on St. Mary's. … Unlike the usual WCC game-day, Jim's coverage is joined by other sources, including Bud Withers in the Seattle Times, and advances from the Bay Area papers. … Missed this the other day, but Dave Boling has some thoughts on the Zags in the News Tribune. … There are other games tonight in the WCC, including a big showdown between USD and Santa Clara. … BYU is trying to figure out what's going on. … As we mentioned before, the GU women will be hosting St. Mary's tonight. Chris Derrick has an advance and a blog post concerning the game.
• EWU: After last weekend's monster comeback, the Eagles return to action Saturday night. Jim Allen has a summary of their weekend. … Weber State and Montana meet in Ogden tonight with lots on the line.
• Idaho: Kyle Barone has made something of his life, despite some past mistakes. Josh Wright has a feature on the UI center in today's S-R. Josh also has the weekly summary of Idaho hoop. … For the Vandals to move up in the WAC standings, they will need to win tonight and get some help from Utah State.
• Preps: It's Thursday and you know what that means. Prep Page day. Being as this weekend is the 25th Mat Classic, Mike Vlahovich has a feature on a father-son act going into the big weekend. He also has this preview on state wrestling. … Greg Lee has this feature on three Post Falls seniors who are seeking their first state title as Idaho has its girls' tournaments this weekend. … State hoop continues in Washington and Greg previews the GSL battles. … We also have a roundup of Wednesday night's action.
• Chiefs: Despite falling behind 2-0, Spokane had Calgary's number last night, rallying for a 4-3 win. Chris has the game story and a blog post on the comeback. … Maybe this is the secret to the Winterhawks' success.
• Mariners: OK, we covered Felix's water works above (someone once famously said there is no crying in baseball, but Hernandez had 175 million reasons to ignore that bromide) so we'll get to the other M's news. … Wait, we have one more item. Big contracts have been bad, and good, in the past. OK. … Joe Saunders has pitched some tough games in his career, but none more so than one against the Mariners. … The M's made a trade with the Yankees on the first day of spring training and George Costanza's dad will be glad to hear Ken Phelps wasn't involved.
• OK, is that enough for you? Enjoy your Valentine's Day. After I run out and buy a trunk full of presents as my wife violated our no-gifts-for-V-Day rule before heading to work, I am going to take a nap. Until later …