A GRIP ON SPORTS
Is there a professional sports league with worse management than the AFL? No. Read on.
• A couple of weeks ago, the Arena Football League declared Arizona the champions of the National Conference. The Rattlers could lose out and still would win the conference title. Except ... that just may not be the case. Maybe. Sort of. If Arizona loses at Iowa today, then Spokane, with its 14-4 record, would tie with the Rattlers atop the standings. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head. The teams split. The second is the record in the West Division. They tied at 4-2. The third is record vs. common opponents. And that's where it gets sticky. Does record vs. common opponents mean most wins or winning percentage? The AFL bylaws, written as they were in crayon on a napkin, don't say. It matters. Spokane is 10-2. Arizona would be 11-3. Go by most wins and Arizona is champion, gets the top seed and more-than-likely would host the conference title game. If it is winning percentage, which is how every other professional sport figures out titles, than Spokane wins. Which is it? The AFL isn't saying. All the league will say is it will announce the rules and competition committee's decision Sunday, if necessary. So here's my guess. If Arizona loses tonight in Iowa, the AFL will figure out a way to hand the title to the Rattlers. After all, the league's website has been saying for two weeks they have won the title. And it's pretty obvious the AFL doesn't like Spokane, which began life as an AF2 team and has never been a part of the AFL royalty. So either the league will determine that number of wins is the criteria for the third tiebreaker or another tiebreaker is needed to sort everything out. Either way, I will not be surprised if Arizona gets the nod.
• WSU: Christian Caple was at the Pac-12 football media day yesterday and filed a couple stories, including an overview of the Cougars and a notebook. He also put up a handful of blog posts, culminated in this morning's, which summarizes and links everything he did. ... There are way too many stories from up and down the coast on media day, though most concentrate on individual schools. However, the Times' Bud Withers has a WSU-related story with a quick note on fall practice beginning in Lewiston. He also has a column on the day. ... ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog has a post on Larry Scott's talk and a notebook on the day while Jon Wilner also wraps up the proceedings. ... Finally, I usually don't do this, but it's for a good cause and done with the right attitude. CougCenter is trying to raise money for Make-A-Wish after a personal interaction by one of the site's founders.
• Shock: Besides the controversy concerning the tie-breaker formula, which Jim Meehan covers in-depth in this story and blog post, there was some football played last night. And though it took the Shock a half to really get going, they did, routing Pittsburgh 61-43. Jim has the story and a postgame blog post. ... Tyler Tjomsland also has a whole bunch of photos from the game.
• Golf: Jim also has his weekly notebook for your Saturday.
• Mariners: Felix Hernandez had a strong outing but couldn't finish it, as the Twins scored with two outs in the ninth to tie the game at one, then won 3-2 in extra innings. The results just added to a dismal day for Seattle, which started with the news rookie catcher Mike Zunino suffered a broken bone in his wrist and will be out about six weeks. That prompted the M's to sign a veteran catcher for the duration.
• Sounders: Injuries have been plaguing the Sounders as well, though they are getting healthier headed into Sunday's game with Chivas. ... General manager Adrian Hanauer covered a lot of subjects in a short conversation, including possible roster changes. ... The U.S. National Team will be without its head coach for the Gold Cup final.
• Seahawks: The second day of training camp wasn't as shocking as the first, though Pete Carroll did tell USA Today if Percy Harvin has hip surgery he's done for the season. Oh joy. ... Russell Okung showed this offseason he can really move his feet if properly motivated. ... Brandon Browner will have a bigger paycheck this season. ... Will the pass rush be better this year?
• The next couple days are pretty packed for yours truly so I'm not sure I will have time tomorrow morning to put together a blog post. Sorry, but I need a day off once in a while. However, like Cal Ripken, I will try to be in the lineup if I can muster up the time. So check back anyway. If it's not up early, it won't be up at all. Until later ...