A GRIP ON SPORTS
Not happy with how your team is playing? Well, the answer is simple. Open your front door, step out onto the social media superhighway and shout until your heart is content. Read on.
• As Washington State was suffering through the final minutes of its second-half retreat at Oregon last night, Twitter came alive. The main point being made? It was time to make a change. Not at point guard or in the zone scheme, no. It was time to kick coach Ken Bone to the curb. And the conversation got a bit heated. One side was adamant he has to go, the other side defending the fourth-year WSU coach. Name-calling, invective, the social media equivalent of thumbing your nose, it all occurred. Which is nothing new, I know. Only the form and speed has changed. Heck, look back at the movie "Hoosiers," set in the 1950s. The fans portrayed there were ripping Norman Dale at the barbershop just about every day until Jimmy Chitwood's shots started falling. Then came the 1960s and the advent of the letter to the editor in sports sections around the country. Sports talk radio took up the mantle after that and the voices of the discontent got a larger – and louder – forum. The invention of the Internet allowed anyone with a computer and the ability to pound a keyboard a chance to share their thoughts anonymously on a message board. Now, with Twitter and Facebook, the disgruntled don't even have to wait until the end of the game to start voicing their displeasure – full disclosure here: I've used the Twitter forum to react to hard-to-fathom officiating more than once and I am not going to apologize for it – about, well, anything. But the main thrust is usually aimed toward coaching. I've seen criticism of Mark Few, who just happens to be one of the most successful coaches in terms of won/loss record in college basketball today. I've seen complaints about Lorenzo Romar, about Roy Williams, about just about everyone. But right now the criticism aimed at Bone is almost overwhelming. In the fourth year of a seven-year contract, Bone has won more games than he's lost at WSU (not a lot of WSU coaches can say that), but the lack of conference success – not to mention following arguably the most successful coach in school history – has led to a contingent of fans who want a change. And they have outlets for their opinions. Lots of outlets. The stands churn. The message boards burn. And Twitter ignites. Only a string of wins can douse it and even then, because some folks have reached the end of their fuse, it may not stop. But will it matter? Think of this visual. There's a scale. On one side are all the opinions in the world about Cougar basketball. On the other side is athletic director Bill Moos' opinion. Which one weighs more? Ya, that's right. Moos' side. Until he decides what he wants to do all the others are sound and fury, signifying nothing.
• Washington State: The latest in a series of similar defeats occurred last night in Eugene, as the well-prepared Cougars took it to the Ducks in the first half. The 10-point lead didn't last, however, as Oregon overpowered them inside after halftime and got its transition game in gear. Christian Caple was sitting above that god-awful court and filed a pregame post, a tale of the tape, quotes and his game story for this morning's S-R. He also has his morning post and, being it is Thursday, a summary of the rest of the weekend. ... Hey, the NCAA is at it again. Except this time, the organization's enforcement ineptitude is seeing the light of day well before the verdict has come down in the Miami case. Bud Withers has some thoughts – as do every USC fan in the nation.
• Gonzaga: It's time for another Big Game in the Kennel, with BYU coming to town (hence our poll question). Jim Meehan has an advance and a blog post from today to get you ready, along with a summary of the weekend's games and the lead item in our notebook. ... As it is National Gonzaga Day, John Blanchette has put together a Gonzaga basketball trivia test (and yes, John Stockton is mentioned). Let me warn you, it's pretty damn hard to figure out the right answers. I did about as well on this as I did in my French literature class my senior year at Irvine. Maybe even worse, though I'm not sure that's possible. ... Matt Carlino's resurgence has come just in time for the Cougars. ... USD heads up the coast to face St. Mary's.
• Idaho: The Vandals are at home for the weekend and Josh Wright has put together this summary. ... Utah State has a lot of trouble inside (by the way, the guy pictured on the link is the answer to one of Blanchette's trivia questions).
• Chiefs: The Portland Winterhawks are in something of a slump – they have lost four consecutive games – and the Chiefs took advantage last night to pull closer in the standings with a shootout win last night at the Arena. Chris Derrick has the story and a blog post while Colin Mulvany chips in a photo story.
• Preps: It's Prep Page day in the S-R with Greg Lee having his column along with a notebook. Mike Vlahovich has a wrestling feature and we can pass along a note on Central Valley kicker Austin Rehkow committing to Idaho. ... We also can link the boys and girls Washington state basketball rankings.
• Mariners: The M's held a long pre-spring-training press conference yesterday with manager Eric Wedge and general manager Jack Zduriencik saying all the typical things. ... Seattle is about to honor Edgar Martinez again. He deserves it.
• Sonics: Despite Chris Hansen's seemingly seamless maneuvering, there is a chance the purchase and the move of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle could become messy. As always, it is the kids who are caught in the middle.
• That's it for today. I sure hope Few doesn't do anything tonight the folks on Twitter deem inappropriate. They may just start calling for his head. Until later ...