A GRIP ON SPORTS
We're officially unofficially into summer. And it is raining outside. But not inside, where it's pretty darn dry. Read on.
• How do I know summer has started around here, even if the calendar says there are more than three weeks to wait? The Memorial Day weekend is over, the weather has turned iffy and there is little outside of major league baseball to talk about. Oh sure, I could get all worked up over the lack of respect West Coast teams receive each year from the NCAA's baseball selection committee – Only four Pac-12 teams? Nine from the ACC? Are you kidding me? Do you know the Pac-12 and other California schools have combined to win 33 of the 66 NCAA Division I baseball championships and five of the last 10? No Stanford, no Arizona (the defending national champions), no UC Irvine (yes, that ticks me off) but there is a Louisiana-Lafayette, an Illinois, a Georgia Tech and a William & Mary. It is painfully obvious the NCAA values geographic diversity more than allowing the best teams to play for the title. – but I realized hardly anyone cared about that, so I decided not to rant too long. Which leaves us, basically, spending time on the NBA or the Mariners. Seeing as how the NBA has snubbed its nose at this area time and time again, it's hard to get excited about the league's playoffs, even though the San Antonio Spurs are a great example of how beautiful team basketball can be. And it's tough to spend day after day writing about the Mariners, how their rebuilding project just took a left turn in the past week, how they are winning games with retreads while many of their vaunted youngsters head back to the minors with the goal of resetting their game. Kind of sad, really. So we'll just pass along the links and call it a day.
• WSU: Christian Caple was able to talk with Mansel Simmons, the Washington State tight end who had a bunch of bones in his face broken by a punch this spring, and put together this story. … I decided to put all the stories I found on the NCAA baseball selections in this section, though some of them feature schools in other conferences.
• Mariners: Before we get into yesterday's surprising win – not surprising that the M's won because the Padres are not all that good either but Aaron Harang throwing a complete-game shutout, now that's a surprise – I wanted to pass along this Geoff Baker blog post from last evening. He's right you know. The M's have been banking a lot on a group of youngsters becoming, if not stars, at least good major league players. Thus far, only Kyle Seager has really earned that label. Michael Saunders has shown more signs that he may still reach that point, but for everyone else it is still more of a hope, not a reality. … OK, the M's did win 9-0 and Harang did throw a shutout. That's our “wow” for the day. … As we said, the rebuilding took a left turn this week, with second baseman Nick Franklin earning a call-up – though he wasn't in the starting lineup, he did play – and Dustin Ackley (pictured) a ticket to Tacoma. Yes, it is good the M's are not settling anymore and are trying other players. But it's bad the time they've spent with Ackley (and Montero and a currently injured Justin Smoak) hasn't paid off just yet. … The M's have to decide what to do with Jeremy Bonderman by Saturday.
• Sounders: After Saturday's awful defeat, the Sounders just want to get right back at it. They get their chance.
• That's it. We are on the radio today, joining Rick Lukens and Keith Osso on 700 ESPN from 3 to 6 p.m. We will be on the rest of the week, so you can listen here if you like. Until later …