A GRIP ON SPORTS
The Mariners' win streak came to a screeching halt yesterday but that wasn't the biggest news out of Safeco Field. No, not even close. Read on.
• No, the biggest news concerned manager Eric Wedge, hospitalized a couple days before with dizzy spells. It turns out the 45-year-old Wedge had suffered a stroke, albeit a minor one according to an M's press release. The health of their manager, piled on to the news the team's third-base coach, Jeff Datz, is battling cancer, has to be causing consternation in the Mariners' clubhouse. Such medical news is unusual in professional sports. Sure, there are always competitive injuries, things like blown out shoulders and torn up knees. Life and death stuff? That usually stays away until players retire. But here you have one member of the coaching staff gone for most of the season as he receives cancer treatment and then the manager, the guy who is supposed to be the rock of the team, felled by a stroke. Now, I'm not in the clubhouse on a daily basis, but I have to believe the mood is pretty somber. The guys must be a bit on pins and needles. Which makes yesterday's blowout loss pretty easy to understand. The players weren't told of the exact nature of Wedge's problem until after the game, but not knowing why he was in the hospital still had to be tough. No matter how much you try to put health worries about those you love, respect or admire behind you – for anyone, not just professional athletes – the thoughts creep in while you are working. It's not easy to focus on the task at hand. It's another challenge it what's turning out to be a challenging season for the team. But time has a way of dulling the impact, allowing things to return to normal. As each day passes, expect the M's to deal with the news better.
• One last thing. I am surprised such occurrences don't happen more often to major league managers. There aren't many more mentally demanding jobs and the stress level has to be extremely high. It has to take a toll on the physical well-being of each manager.
• WSU: The football season is getting closer. Heck, the Cougars begin training camp next week. And they'll spend part of their time in Lewiston, due to construction work around Martin Stadium (pictured). Christian Caple has more in this blog post and short story. … Christian also has a blog post on Mike Leach's day with ESPN yesterday. … Tyler Hasty, son of former WSU great James, was dismissed from the Oregon State football team yesterday. … Utah is making pretty good dough from football ticket sales. … Sonny Dykes isn't saying when Cal will get better.
• Gonzaga: More on Kyle Wiltjer's decision to transfer to Gonzaga.
• Indians: So far the Indians have scored zero runs in the second half of the NWL season. Granted it's only two games old, but still. Chris Derrick has more on the second consecutive shutout in this blog post and story.
• Mariners: The Wedge news overshadowed the end of the M's eight-game winning streak. The Indians jumped all over Joe Saunders in the 10-1 victory, though the M's still won the series 2-1. The loss ended what had been a great July for Saunders.
• Sounders: The Sounders opened up some roster space by waiving forward Sammy Ochoa. … Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan (pictured) scored as the U.S. National Team moved into the Gold Cup finals with a 3-1 win over Honduras.
• Seahawks: Training camp opens today for the Hawks and they'll be facing something new this season: massive expectations. The biggest question is whether or not they can handle the hype. … More broadcast news was announced yesterday. … Look who is on Sports Illustrated's cover. Oh-oh.
• One nice thing about Thursdays. The weekend is almost here. Until later …