A GRIP ON SPORTS
You never know what type of weird glitches you may find after changing an operating system on your computer. I installed Maverick on my MacBook Pro yesterday and everything seemed to go just fine. But when I opened this file today, it looked as if it was written in Chinese. (Insert your own joke about my writing style here.) It seems some of my fonts – I've always used the easy-to-read Verdana as my go-to font in Word – don't want to translate to the new OS. Oh well. There could be worse details to deal with. Just ask the Red Sox. Read on.
• You don't think I was going to skip commenting on the obstruction call that ended last night's World Series game, did you? And I bet you figured I am going to take the umpires to task, especially Jim Joyce, the guy who made the call. If that's the case, you figured wrong. It was the right call. And a great effort by Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks. He just got caught. If, over the years, you ever had the opportunity to play baseball or fastpitch softball with or against me, you would understand every word I'm about to write. I cheated. Sort of. It was in my DNA. See, my dad grew up in the 1930s, the time of St. Louis' Gashouse Gang, a group of ballplayers who "skirted" the rulebook as much as possible. How else would they ever beat the all-powerful Yankees in the Series? It was reading about the Cardinals (and being coached by a guy who spent some time in the organization) that my dad learned a whole bunch of little tricks. And he passed them along. One he taught me concerned the ball hit straight down into the dirt in front of home plate. Instead of accepting the sure out at first base, it was drilled into me to fall to ground, moan in pain, grab your left leg and start squeezing, hard. The idea was to make the umpire think the ball hit you and call it a foul ball. And the squeezing? It would raise a red mark you could show the ump if need be. It worked. Often. But that's not all. I may have been the only eight-year-old in Little League who was taught the finer points of lying on a baserunner after a tag attempt went awry. You had to make an "effort" to get up without really getting up. There was an art to it. Which is why I recognized Middlebrooks' effort to get up last night for what it was – as did a veteran umpire like Joyce. When you push yourself up off the ground, do you use your knees or your feet? Your feet, of course. But if you use happen to use your knees, the baserunner might just "accidentally" get caught up in your legs and trip. A nice trick my dad taught me years ago and probably used, ironically enough, many times by the Cardinals of the 1930s. But Joyce was having none of it. Heck, he would probably even see right through my hit-by-the-ball trick. Of course, the fine folks in Boston don't see it that way. And the St. Louis fans? They are quick to point to the umpire discussion session in Game One that went against them and say it's all even. Add it all up and it's been a pretty darn entertaining World Series thus far.
• With no Cougars yesterday and the Hawks off until tomorrow night, you would think it would be a somewhat flat weekend. Not really. We can thank the Eagles and Griz for that. As rivalries go, this one is fun, especially when both teams are solid, as they are this season. Though I was channel surfing a bit – how can you not what with all the games available these days? – every time I switched over to Root, something fun was happening, whether it be a long touchdown pass, a big hit or a flag on the Eagles. I must admit I was rooting for Eastern. I am on the record on the radio as predicting a 10-2 regular season for the Eagles and they have already lost two games. I want to be right, you know?
• WSU: The rest of the Pac-12 was in action Saturday, other than the Cougars and their Halloween foe, Arizona State. So Jacob Thorpe has a morning post with links to games. We also pass along a couple items from ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog, including the weekly awards and what we learned. I think we learned Oregon is the No. 2 team in the country and will assume that role in the soon-to-be-gone BCS after its win over UCLA. We'll see tonight.
• EWU: Montana is the closest Big Sky school to Eastern and, as such, are a rival (though Montana's true rival is Montana State). And a rivalry game deserves great coverage, which Jim Allen and John Blanchette supply. Jim has the game story of Eastern's 42-37 win along with a sidebar while Blanchette adds this column. ... We can also pass along the game story from the Missoulian. ... Southern Utah got past Idaho State 19-9 and Portland State defeated North Dakota 14-10.
• Whitworth: The Pirates went on the road and came through with a 33-14 win over Puget Sound.
• Chiefs: Yes, Portland is the WHL's defending champion. And the Winterhawks are beginning to play like champions. They held off the Chiefs 4-3 Saturday night in the Arena. Chris Derrick has the game story as the Winterhawks moved into first in the U.S. Division standings.
• Preps: The first state titles of the fall were decided in Idaho yesterday, with Sandpoint's girls winning a 4A soccer crown. There was also more prep action during the day. ... Greg Lee looks back at Friday night's football action and what it means going forward.
• Seahawks: With no game today, the Seattle Times thought it would be a good day for a history lesson. We agree. ... Though the Hawks will be healthier than they have been in a while Monday night, one of the returning players will not be Percy Harvin. ... The defensive linemen are fine with the rotation. ... Pete Carroll talked a bit Saturday.
• Sounders: It may seem somewhat meaningless, this Sunday night match between Seattle and Los Angeles. After all, both have already made the playoffs. But there is a lot riding on it. The winner avoids the 4 vs. 5 play-in game (the Galaxy just need to tie to stay ahead of Seattle). So the 66,000 on hand will be doing everything they can to help Seattle gain some much-needed momentum heading into the postseason. ... There are some health questions going into tonight's match. ... This is way down the road, but San Francisco could have a tiebreaker edge.
• That's it for now. Another Sunday without the Seahawks. It's getting to be a habit. Until later ...