A GRIP ON SPORTS
There's an autographed plaque hanging in my office at home. A gift from my thoughtful older sister. It includes a photograph of the first pitch of the World Series game held on Oct. 8, 1956. The photo (on the link) is signed by the guy on the mound, Don Larsen. He went on to get that first batter – and the next 26, pitching the only perfect game in World Series history. A pretty big day for him. And for others. Read on.
• Yep, it's my birthday again. No. 57 in, what I hope, is a long line of them. I'm not sure how many of them I'll get to share with the guy in the photo, who just happens to live in North Idaho, but let's hope many more as well. I've never met the man, but I feel as if our lives have always been intertwined. When I was younger, I felt destined to play in the big leagues. After all, with my birthday, why not? As I grew older and realized those dreams were just that, dreams, my birth date just became a way for me to stand out among other baseball fans. (As an aside, I remember the day I realized I would never be a major league baseball player. It happened my freshman year in college in Tempe, Arizona. We were playing the Sun Devils and one of our guys drilled a ball to right center. A sure triple. But Kenny Landreaux, later to have an 11-year major league career, come out of nowhere, dove away from the plate, and caught the ball. I realized right then these guys were way, way better than I would ever be.) Still, it was a connection to baseball, big-time baseball, and I've always cherished it. As far as I've ever been able to tell, there was only one guy born the same day who made it the major leagues, former Cardinal pitcher Jeff Lahti, so I guess the date held no significance. After all, there had to be thousands of boys born on that day in 1956 and to have only one reach the highest level, well, that shows you just how tough it is to get there. I'm guessing I wasn't alone in my childish thoughts, feeling as if the day I was born held special powers that would propel me into a baseball career. But nothing, not the day you were born, not hard work, not coaching, none of it serves an athlete better than talent. And, I guess, that wasn't a gift given to most of us born on this day 57 years ago.
• WSU: The Cougars had the day off from the practice field but that doesn't mean there isn't news. Coach Mike Leach and a few players were available for interviews, which led to this Jacob Thorpe notebook. Jacob also has the first look at Saturday's game along with a blog post containing what Leach had to say and another with videos from the interviews. Then, of course, there is today's morning post with links. … Got roasted a bit yesterday on Twitter from UW fans who, for some reason, thought I was assailing their school instead of ESPN, the intended target. I guess I wasn't clear enough for some folks. My bad. … Connor Halliday's passing total last week is still getting noticed. … Adam Lewis has posted a video of the Steve Gleason/Pearl Jam meeting that appeared on ESPN. I pass it along. … ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog has their Tuesday mailbag and a look ahead to this weekend's games. … I can also pass along this final look back at last week's games.
• Gonzaga: The Bulldog women's volleyball team is on a roll. Enough of one that Jim Meehan leads his weekly notebook with their accomplishments.
• EWU: Jim Allen has a morning post today with links from around the Big Sky.
• Idaho: There was another weekly award given a Vandal after last week's blowout loss, so it probably comes as no surprise it was given to punter Austin Rehkow. Josh Wright has more in this blog post.
• Chiefs: Spokane occasionally sends out a local talent onto the ice and this year fits that mold. Chris Derrick has a feature on Keanu Yamamoto (pictured) in advance of the Chiefs' upcoming game at the Arena tonight. … Everett is headed east.
• Seahawks: With the season's first defeat now in the rear-view mirror, the Hawks and coach Pete Carroll are looking toward Sunday's home game with Tennessee. However, Carroll still has some thoughts about what happened in Indianapolis. … The Hawks will be getting a couple of players back but may have lost a key defender. … Jermaine Kearse is playing well for the hometown team, so there is another story on his production. … Just call the Jaguars “Seahawks East.” … Matt Flynn is again looking for work.
• Sounders: If there has been any blemish on a pretty bright season for the Sounders, it's been their injuries. The list is still pretty long going into tomorrow's game with Vancouver. … And then there is the loss of the stars to the national team. … Oh, and there is one other blemish. Last weekend's loss.
• Is gift-giving a competition? Just wondering because, if it is, my wife Kim is winning. I went out yesterday afternoon for a meeting with a friend and, when I returned home, one whole table in the living room was filled with presents. Well, wait until next April. I'm thinking either a new car, a diamond or a puppy. But, because I'm a man, I'll probably end up with Albertson's flowers bought in a forgetful rush, just like last year. Until later …