A GRIP ON SPORTS
Just when the Mariners begin to be fun to watch, we are in no position to watch them. Read on.
• When I was 18, I looked 21. At least. With long hair and a bushy mustache (and sideburns to match), it was easy to pass as a legal-age adult. Which is why I don't gamble these days. See, one of the first roads trips I took in college baseball was to Las Vegas, Reno, Davis and Stanford. Meal money was handed out before we got to Vegas and I lost it in less than 20 minutes playing blackjack in one of the casinos. I had the mistaken impression I was good at it. I was good and hungry the entire trip, let me tell you. And learned my lesson. Gambling was not for me. So last night, when I sat down in the Caesar's Palace sports book, it wasn't to bet on the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl, (though, at 6-1 odds, I was tempted). It was to catch a bit of the M's game. It seems the team hasn't lost since I hit the road – is there a correlation? I hope not – and I wanted to watch. Of course, while I was sitting there, they fell behind. So I got up and wandered. By the time I got back within range, they were ahead 4-3 but the Indians were threatening against Tom Wilhelmsen in the ninth. So I wandered away again. Lo and behold, the M's turned an odd double play (pictured), got out of the inning and won their eighth consecutive game. It's enough to give an M's fan hope. And quite possibly change how the Mariners approach the next few months. Which just might not be the best idea. I understand the M's need to win games to keep everyone engaged, including the young guys in the clubhouse. But the management supposedly has a plan to win in the long run. If it included making selected trades at the deadline to bolster the team for next year and beyond, does it make sense to change now just to chase a tough-to-get wild-card berth this season? Not to me. If you have a plan you trust, stick with it. Isn't it better to have five-to-10 seasons of contending than one? If someone were to offer the M's two good young arms for Kendrys Morales, a guy that more than likely won't be in a Mariners' uniform next season, why would you turn that down? Yes, it would make it tougher to win this season but if one of the arms turns out to be a solid middle reliever, then it would be better than letting Morales walk as a free agent, wouldn't it? Of course, I am assuming part of the plan was to make selected deadline trades, which seems to be a smart thing and a tool many teams have used to bolster the roster for the long run. Which means it probably wasn't even on the radar of the M's management.
• WSU: This is the morning the Pac-12 North football coaches go through the immersive ESPN experience in Bristol, Conn. Christian Caple put up the schedule in this blog post last night. ... Part of the deal will be a live chat with Ted Miller and ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog. ... The Cougars kick off practice Aug. 2, first among the conference's schools. ... Arizona and UCLA both lost a safety this week, but for different reasons. ... With media day on Friday, the number of football-related stories is growing.
• Gonzaga: BYU will have a different type of point guard to throw at people this season.
• Shock: A few upsets last weekend ensured the Shock a first-round home game in the AFL playoffs, though it hasn't been officially announced. Jim Meehan explains what that means to this week's game in his notebook.
• Mariners: As we mentioned above, the M's winning streak is at eight, the last two coming while manager Eric Wedge watched from the hospital. Wedge is undergoing tests as he deals with dizziness. ... The 4-3 win over the Indians, and the weird way the ninth inning unfolded, seems to be payback for that weird loss in Cleveland in which Wilhelmsen dropped the game-ending out at first base and sent the M's into a tailspin. ... The M's lineup hasn't changed much recently but why should it? ... Larry Stone comments on Ryan Braun's incredibly brazen lies.
• Seahawks: The Hawks open training camp Thursday and they seemed a bit worried about their tight end depth. So they did something about it yesterday. ... The Hawks' games will be broadcast in Spanish this season.
• If you want to know when the Mariners' win streak will end, I am in Vegas until Sunday. I'm sure as soon as I can watch or listen consistently again, they'll lose. Until later ...