A GRIP ON SPORTS
I watched a lot of baseball yesterday. A lot. And all of it, appropriately enough, on a screen no larger than the one I had in my college dorm room back in 1975. Yet I was happy. Read on.
• I remember a baseball game against Cal State Fullerton in May of 1978. I didn't play, of course, but I'm pretty sure I coached first base, which would have given me a good view of the stands. And those stands were more than likely basically empty, despite the fact the Titans were just a year away from a national title and featured a future major leaguer, Tim Wallach, at first base. College baseball wasn't much of a draw back then, even in Southern California. About all that showed up were parents, girlfriends and an occasional biology major looking for a place to study and catch some rays. That's about it. Television? Forget about it. Radio was more like it, with the college station occasionally broadcasting a game that could be heard as far away as the Humanities building. But no TV. Like everything else, except maybe my level of intellect, college baseball has changed. How much? Well, after my radio stint (during which I said something quite stupid) and dinner last night, I sat in a comfy chair and watched every NCAA regional game I wanted. Every one. All on my iPad and courtesy of the WatchESPN app. On one feed was UCLA, en route to a relatively easy win over San Diego State. On another was Oregon, doing what a George Horton-coached team does – by that, I mean getting great pitching and very little hitting. There was Oregon State falling behind UT San Antonio and Cal State Fullerton having no trouble with Columbia, despite Lou Gehrig's name being invoked about every third pitch. Back and forth I went, occasionally missing a pitch or two while the game loaded, but not anything important. I saw Oregon State rally in the bottom of the ninth to win (pictured), leaving UTSA on the field. I saw Oregon rally in the bottom of the eighth, overcoming South Dakota State's best effort. And I didn't see Fullerton win. After all, that outcome was ordained and I'm not a big Titan fan anyway (Orange County rivals and all that). I touched on the NetFlicks app and watched a couple of “Arrested Development” episodes before going to bed. And, no, I don't see any irony there. Even if George Micheal is attending UC Irvine.
• Shock: As I mentioned, I said something stupid on the radio yesterday – insert reader thought bubble containing the words “only one?” here – but it was actually accurate – to a point. I said San Jose wasn't playing well. Now remember, the Sabercats (pictured) are on a five-game winning streak, so, on its face, that's a stupid comment. But what I was referring to was last week's game in which the Cats won 35-34 over Utah. Everything I read about that game, including the player and coaches' comments, indicated San Jose had played poorly. And I'm one of these folks who ask, what have you done for me lately, so that's what was behind the pronouncement. Have I rationalized the stupid comment enough yet? No? Well, I'm done anyway. I turn you over to Jim Meehan, who has an advance of tonight's game at the no-longer-named-after-Jon-Bon-Jovi Arena.
• Golf: Have I mentioned it's Saturday? Which means we have Jim's weekly golf column to pass along as well.
• Mariners: Speaking of a not-so-stupid comment, I couple weeks ago I wrote Hisashi Iwakuma (pictured) might just be the Mariners' ace these days. Since then – in another example of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately thinking – he's taken over that mantle in others' eyes as well. He scattered a bunch of hits yesterday, got help from a great defensive play from Brendan Ryan and a home run from Kendrys Morales, and defeated the Twins 3-0. … Art Thiel thinks the M's should sign Morales to an extension now. Not going to happen. His agent, Scott Boras, wants all his clients to explore free agency. It's his thing. … Mike Morse and Justin Smoak are in Minneapolis with the M's but aren't ready to return to the lineup on a full-time basis just yet. … As we suspected, Jeremy Bonderman will return to the big leagues and start for the M's on Sunday.
• Seahawks: With Anthony McCoy out for the year, the Hawks are looking for contributors at the tight end spot.
• Sounders: Tonight's opponent, Chivas USA, has been in turmoil this week. But, to a lesser degree, so have the Sounders. Which makes this up-and-down season harder to predict. … The Sounders still have a few injuries.
• That's it for this fine Saturday morning. Seems like a good day to get a lot done around the house. Darn it. Until later …