A GRIP ON SPORTS
I'm sort of torn today. I'm not sure which way to go. Should I rip the Mariners for something that hasn't been proven, though sounds real, or should I keep it topical and write about college football? Read on.
• If I am smart, I will stay away from the M's. The local major league baseball franchise is like Kryptonite right now, slowly sapping the interest of even the most loyal fan. And watching last night's American League Division game, which the Tigers won over Oakland and advanced to face Boston in the AL championship, didn't help. After all, watching playoff baseball just reminds one of how long it's been since the Mariners were involved. And it makes Ken Rosenthal's report yesterday for Fox Sports even more disturbing. Rosenthal, one of Fox's baseball writers, reported the M's asked Lou Pinella if he wanted to return as manager. Yep, that's how you lay a foundation for the future, hiring a 70-year-old manager. One who last put on a uniform in 2010. Sure, he was the last guy to get the M's into the playoffs, but that was – seemingly – a lifetime ago. Sure, the M's have had 11 winning seasons in their history and Pinella managed seven of them, but past performance doesn't guarantee future results, not on Wall Street and certainly not in the big leagues. Even I, as big a fan of Sweet Lou as anyone reading this, know this would have been the wrong choice. And I guess even Lou knew it, as he reportedly turned them down. I hope he did it without laughing too much and, after composing himself, recommended a 35-year version of himself, whoever that may be. Whoever the new guy is, I hope he can bring as much entertainment as Pinella. And at least as many wins.
• If you liked Lou Pinella, you would have loved Ed Orgeron last night. USC's interim coach was jumping all over the place, chest-bumping players, leading the high-fives, just being the antithesis of Lane Kiffin. It worked. Well, at least the Trojans won, 38-31, over Arizona. Orgeron was a lot more enthusiastic when USC built a 28-3 lead then he was in the second half, when the Trojans nearly melted down on defense.
• WSU: Only about 36 hours until the Cougars return to Martin Stadium for another Pac-12 football game, this one with Oregon State. Jacob Thorpe has a feature on a key WSU defensive lineman, Toni Pole (above grabbing a fumble against Cal), and his support system. Jacob also has a summary of Thursday night's practice and another blog post this morning. … Ted Miller thinks Saturday night's game will feature a lot of passing yards. Yep, those ESPN.com guys are bright. … More Pac-12 picks, though the author is already 0-1 this week.
• Gonzaga: Where do the Zags ranks this year among the top West Coast conferences? Sixth, according to one attempt to list all the WCC, Mountain West and Pac-12 schools.
• EWU: Ashton Miller (pictured, No. 66) is at the center of everything the Eagles do with their offensive line. Literally and figuratively. Jim Allen has this feature on the senior center who came to Eastern as a defensive end. … Jim also held a live chat yesterday and has a summary here along with a morning post today. … Eastern's volleyball team didn't have a good night in North Dakota.
• Whitworth: The Pirates will try to snap a three-game losing streak tonight with a tough matchup in Oregon. Thomas Clouse has an advance.
• Preps: It seemed as if at least one of the Thursday night games at Albi should have been close, but neither were. Greg Lee was in attendance and covered Gonzaga Prep's easy win over North Central and Shadle Park's victory over Mead. Jesse Tinsley has photographs from the latter game. … Greg Lee also has a story on a couple of girls' basketball commitments and Chris Derrick covered U-Hi's comeback win over Central Valley in volleyball. Oh, and then there is this roundup of Thursday's action.
• Seahawks: Facing third down, Russell Wilson has just one thought: Do whatever it takes to get a first down and keep the drive alive. Stay calm and make sure the drive continues. … The string of Jermaine Kearse stories continues. … The defense has figured out what went wrong last week, fixed it and moved on. Thus said Richard Sherman. … The Hawks won't be injury free this weekend against the Titans, but they should be better, especially on the offensive line.
• Mariners: I loved Pinella when he was the M's manager. I loved his intensity, his ability to get the most out of each player in his lineup, his cordial conversations with the umpires. Mainly, though, I loved how they won. But Pinella is no longer what the Seattle Mariners need. And that's what makes the report that surfaced yesterday – and we covered above – so typical. Instead of building for the future, the M's are once again dwelling in the past. That's not how you build a winning team. Sorry.
• Sounders: There has been more than a few movies made where a main character says “Now is not the time to panic.” And a few comedies where that is soon followed by a question: “Now?” “Yes.” That's how I feel about the Sounders this morning. … Another thing to panic about: Eddie Johnson hurt his groin while practicing with the National Team. That's great.
• Hey, I wrote about the M's. I guess that proves, once again, I'm not all that smart. But it also shows I am stubborn. Not a good combination. Maybe I should go into politics. Until later …