A GRIP ON SPORTS
Just wondering. How many of you have a four-day holiday weekend? Read on.
• When I was a working man – as opposed to now, when I am a semi-retired working man – I always felt having a holiday fall on a Thursday (as Thanksgiving always is) or a Tuesday was the best. You couldn't make it work every time, but when you could talk the boss into the Friday or Monday off, bingo, you had four days free. It was like a mini-vacation. Today is one of those Fridays, and it shows. I believe a lot of folks in the journalism business were able to take the holiday off and thus the papers they produced were pretty devoid of daily reporting. There was this one piece from the Seattle Times on a big man from British Columbia committing to Washington, a piece that brought back some memories. The first summer I was covering Washington State, I had to do the same thing on a Fourth of July, write a commitment story. I had just taken over the beat from Glenn Kasses and was unsure of all the obligations. But I didn't feel suspending a Fourth of July barbecue to make phone calls was one of them. It was. I spent the day trying to get a hold of Mark McLaughlin in Cincinnati, where he was playing in an AAU tournament. I needed quotes for a story on the shooting guard's commitment to WSU, which he had given the night before to coach Tony Bennett. After a bunch of phone calls (and a barbecue that went on without me), I was finally able to run down McLaughlin and we talked. But it was a waste of time. A few weeks late he de-committed. And I had to do another story on the kid they offered the scholarship to. Somebody named Klay Thompson.
• WSU: Nothing that big today, just a story out of Utah on the Utes new football operations building. It won't be too far down the road and there will be stories out of Pullman on the Cougars' new football operations building. ... Speaking of commitments, here's a story on WSU defensive back commit Calvin Green (pictured).
• Indians: Nothing better on the Fourth of July than a minor league baseball game in which the home team has a huge inning late to ensure a win. And then a bunch of fireworks. (By the way, we could hear them from our home, which is up the hill from the stadium.) Chris Derrick has the story of the 10-3 win over Eugene. The Indians are better than .500 for the first time this season.
• Mariners: A sweep just wasn't in the cards. Or, more precisely, in the bats. Let's take Justin Smoak's at-bats in the M's 5-4 loss in Texas on Thursday, a game in which Adrian Beltre supplied the fireworks with two home runs. Twice he came to the plate with a runner on third and less than two outs. All he had to do was make contact and the M's would have scored. Twice he struck out. The other two times he came up, with no chance to drive home a run, he doubled and singled. So he was 2-for-5. An unproductive 2-for-4. It's part of the reason the M's had 14 hits but stranded 13 runners. The M's lineup was 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position for goodness sakes. Pathetic. ... Now it's on to Cincinnati, where Aaron Harang will get to face his old team. ... Earlier this week I wrote about trading Kendrys Morales and admitted I had little faith in Jack Zduriencik's ability to make a trade that would help the M's in the long run. Here's why. Yep, Larry Stone looked at all of Zduriencik's mid-season trades. Not an impressive track record.
• That's it for today. Other than writing a few of these columns, I'm taking a four-day weekend. I talked with the boss and she said it was OK. Until later ...