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It’s baseball weather

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's spring and a young man's thoughts turn to … well, I can't remember. But an older man's thoughts turn to baseball. And with the Weather Channel predicting a high temperature of 67 on Saturday, who can blame me? Read on.


••••••••••

• Yes, 67. Anytime the temperature is higher than my age this time of year, I'm happy. (In January, all it has to do is get above my waist size.) And I start thinking about a few things. There's yard work, but that involves sweat. There's getting back into the habit of long walks with the dog, but that also involves sweat. There's golf, but that involves sweat and humiliation. And then there's baseball. The Great American Pastime that just may be past its time. Except this time of year. As opening day draws near, there is something in the air and it isn't the odor of defeat. It's the scent of optimism, a perfume that's been enticing me for almost 50 years. Heck, even Mariners' fans are feeling a bit giddy. Why not, when the power is on and the young pitchers are undefeated? Will the optimism still be in the air come June or July? Probably not. But that doesn't matter now. Like the crocus in the front yard, our heads are up and we are looking forward to the next few weeks. Who knows? Maybe this is the season the M's surprise us with a pennant race? Don't laugh. An older guy can dream, can't he?

•••

• Gonzaga: Nothing on the Zags per se, but they did host another women's NCAA tournament game last night and we were in the crowd, which included more folks than I expected. Chris Derrick was there as well and has this game story on Georgia's win. The Bulldogs will move on to this weekend's regional at the Arena, where they will be joined by California and two other teams, to be determined today. Jesse Tinsley also has a photo gallery. … BYU's men won their NIT game over Mercer in Brandon Davies' final appearance at home. … Santa Clara won another CBI game, this one at Purdue, behind Kevin Foster's 34 points.

• Washington State: Christian Caple will be back on the football field this afternoon – hey, the weather will be nice – but before he is, he has this morning post. … Jon Wilner has some thoughts on Ben Howland's firing.

• Idaho: It looks as if the Vandals have landed a spot for their football team. Yep, they'll get to play traditional rivals Arkansas State and South Alabama in the Sun Belt Conference. Josh Wright has more in this story.

• Chiefs: There is nothing better than going on the road with a 2-0 lead in a best of seven series, unless it's coming home with a 2-0 lead. The Chiefs have the former as they head to Tri-City tonight. Chris has an advance. … Seattle, surprisingly, is in the latter position. … Portland and Everett are tied at one.

• Indians: The new franchise in Hillsboro, Ore., looks to have a winning first season.

• Preps: Mike Vlahovich put together this Then and Now feature on former Ferris High basketball player Dennis Phillips (pictured), who is still involved in the challenges of college athletic administration.

• Mariners: What will the M's roster look like when opening day comes around? Larry Stone takes a stab at fleshing it out. … One guy who looks to be in the rotation is right-hander Brandon Maurer, who had another solid outing yesterday in a Mariner rout of the Reds. He is also pictured at the top of this blog post. And may I say, nice beard. … One guy who looks to be out of the starting mix is right-hander Erasmo Ramirez.

• Sounders: Slowly but surely the Sounders' injured players are getting healthy. Their return, whenever it is, can't hurt.

• Sonics: Sacramento seems to be hauling in big money folks right and left. Does it hurt Seattle's chances to land the Kings?

•••

• It is clear, dry and soon to be relatively warm around here. I really can't ask for anything more. Well, maybe a doughnut. A chocolate doughnut. Hmmm. Until later …


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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Greg Lee Greg Lee covers high school sports in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Josh Wright Josh Wright is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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