A GRIP ON SPORTS
After 12 days on the road, I understand just a little how tough the major league baseball season can be on players. And how nice it must seem to them when they return home and get to sleep in their bed. Heaven. Read on.
• No, this is not an advertisement for a bedding company. It's an advertisement for just how nice it is to be back in Spokane. It is my happy place. Though spending a day traveling to get here isn't a lot of fun. But that also lends a sporting perspective. Think if you are a recruiter for Washington State or Gonzaga. On the road watching kids, and want to come home? It takes a day if you are outside of the Northwest. It's not like the schools in Los Angeles or the Bay Area, where direct flights occur seemingly on the hour. It's a labyrinth of connections and delays getting back here. And just another obstacle to overcome to win in the Inland Northwest. But enough complaining. Let's celebrate the positives of the area. How about inexpensive, and challenging, golf courses? That's a given. Then there's the weather. Not too hot, not too cold, and no humidity. Perfect for whatever outdoor summer sport you want to compete in. (I know it got warm here why I was gone – the yellow patches in my lawn stand as mute testament to that – but when you are walking around in 110 heat with a thunderstorm off in the distance, Spokane's 90-degree days look pretty darn good.) Want to watch a baseball game? The Indians are here half the time during the summer and the price is affordable. Plus, the M's are on TV nearly every night (though that hasn't always been a good thing the past few years). OK, I know I'm acting a bit like Dorothy Gale, but after nearly two weeks away, you do come to understand there is no place like home. Besides, it's a Monday and there really wasn't all that much in the sporting world to write about.
• WSU: It's the lull before the training camp storm. The Cougars begin that grind Friday in Lewiston – guess what, we'll be in Pullman for a good friend's wedding this weekend, so we'll probably have to drive through Colton and Uniontown to watch a bit of Saturday's practice – so there is little for Christian Caple to report right now. However, we did find this preview of WSU's season from Salt Lake City. ... We can also add a story on Utah's schedule and Art Thiel opining on the NCAA's future.
• EWU: Southern Utah will have to replace one of the Big Sky's better quarterbacks.
• Indians: Boise continued to quiet the Indians' bats, winning 3-1 in Idaho and dropping Spokane to 22-22 on the season.
• Shock: We wrote about the AFL playoffs when we were last with you on Saturday, so it seems only fair to pass along the denouement of that problem. Jim Meehan's blog post explained Arizona's win kept the AFL from having to explain its not-so-clear tiebreaker rule.
• Preps: The state's American Legion tournaments are going on and a handful of area teams are still battling for a title.
• Mariners: Win or lose, the M's seem to be fun to watch again, thanks to the emergence of a couple of young players who were not with the team at the beginning of the season. They are Nick Franklin (pictured),who hit two home runs yesterday, and Brad Miller, who had a couple hits in the M's 6-4 win over Minnesota. ... The M's were buoyed by a pregame clubhouse visit from manager Eric Wedge, who is still dealing with the after-effects of a recent stroke.
• Sounders: In a game the Sounders had to win – Chivas is the Houston Astros of the MLS, with legal problems thrown in – they did, rallying in the second half for a 2-1 victory and three hard-earned standing points. ... The U.S. National Team won the Gold Cup for fifth time, overcoming Panama's defensive emphasis and winning 1-0 on Brek Shea's goal.
• A light day, to be sure. And I'm sorry I couldn't join you for your morning cup of coffee yesterday but I was busy trying to get out of Las Vegas with my finances still intact. I'm sure many of you can relate. But just to be clear, we're not talking gambling losses. It was just trying to eat when you are stuck in a Strip hotel. Talk about sticker shock. Until later ...