A GRIP ON SPORTS
As the calendar turns to September, the power of football, be it the Seahawks or the local colleges and high schools, begins to assert itself. There is little room for anything else. It wasn't always that way around here. Baseball used to be relevant after Labor Day. Not anymore. And we are beginning to wonder if it every will bounce back. Read on.
• There was a time, not long ago, when September was a time for the stretch run. The Mariners' stretch run. If you are over the legal drinking age you probably remember those heady days of 1995 to 2001, when the Mariners were important. I haven't thought about them much recently and only a Larry Stone column today in the Times brought me back to them. The Mariners were so good as the 20th century wound down and the 21st began they led the majors in attendance in 2003, drawing more than 3.5 million fans. But that was then. The reality now is the M's stink. They haven't had a winning season since 2009. They've only had two in the past decade. They haven't been in the playoffs since 2001, when they came within a meltdown in Cleveland of having the best regular season record in baseball history. Now, as the limp toward another awful record, trying to excite the fan base with another six-pack of youngsters brought up from the minor leagues, we note the results and not much more. There just isn't any room in our sports consciousness. We have to spend brain cells on the Hawks and a possible Super Bowl run, the Cougars trying to claw their way back to respectability, the Eagles looking to duplicate the 2010 championship season, the Huskies attempting to regain prominence nationally and, yes, even the Sounders as they put together a push toward the MLS title. The Mariners are really lucky the NBA put the kibosh on Chris Hansen's plans to bring back pro basketball or they would be even further down the list this month. As it is, they are basically irrelevant, as irrelevant as they've ever been. And that's sad. But there is only one thing that will fix it. Not another can't-miss kid. Not another long-term signing. Not a managerial change. Nope, just one thing will fix it. Winning. In this case Vince Lombardi was right. It is the only thing. The only thing that can bring the fanbase back. And make September a baseball month again.
• WSU: Want to know what the Cougars think about USC? Well, Mondays are the only days to find out, holiday or not. So Christian Caple was in Bohler yesterday interviewing them and coach Mike Leach. He has video of their appearances, including Elliott Bosch, Darryl Monroe and Justin Sagote. Christian has more than that, though. He has a story on WSU's confidence in the running game, a first look at USC, his appearance with SWX last night, the depth chart for this week, a blog post on Connor Halliday's thoughts and his morning post. ... Mondays are a day to look back at the Pac-12's weekend and to look ahead, quickly, to this coming one. Oh, and to rank the conference's teams.
• EWU: The buzz over Eastern's win against Oregon State is not subsiding, mainly because the accolades for Vernon Adams continued to roll in Monday. Adams (pictured) won just about every player of the week award you could imagine – and some you may never have heard of. Jim Allen has more about Adams and the Eagles in this story and his blog post this morning. ... The Eastern volleyball team rolled to a win.
• Indians: One for me, one for you. One for me, one for you. The Indians split their season evenly this year, winning one, losing one just about every two games. In the end, after Monday's 9-3 defeat at Everett, they finished at .500. Overall, on the road, at home.
• Mariners: Another game, another light-hitting loss. This time it was Felix Hernandez who bore the brunt of no offense and he strained himself trying to carry the M's to victory. No, I mean it. He suffered a muscle spasm in his side during the seventh and had to leave the M's 3-1 defeat at Kansas City. He should be OK, long-term, but the Mariners lack of offense can't be doing much for Eric Wedge's health. ... With four weeks left in the season, the M's got Mike Zunino back in the lineup and gave Abraham Almonte a chance to play centerfield.
• Seahawks: The Hawks returned to the practice field Monday with their 53-man roster ready to go and the eight-man practice squad put together. The biggest news was injury related, but in a good way. Chris Clemons, who blew out his knee late last season, will return to practice on Wednesday, though he isn't ready to play just yet. ... The cuts over the weekend mean Derrick Coleman will be the starting fullback. ... Brady Quinn wasn't out of work long. He signed with the Jets yesterday.
• Sounders: There is no disagreement between the Sounders and forward Eddie Johnson. Everyone agrees he deserves to be paid more. That's why the team doesn't have a problem with his goal celebration. ... Steve Zakuni's last couple years have been a pure hell. ... Lose to the Sounders and lose your job.
• And that's it for today. We'll be back here tomorrow as per usual. Until then ...