A GRIP ON SPORTS
There is a lot on our plates this weekend, and by "our," I mean everyone who is reading this missive along with myself. Read on.
• It may still be 90 degrees out there (and is expected to stay that way through Sunday), but the football season is already in full swing. Every Pac-12 school is in action. Idaho welcomes the best to the Kibbie Dome in quite a while. Eastern heads east for another chance to defeat an FBS foe. The high school schedule is crowded, as usual. And the Seahawks host the 49ers. As I said, a full weekend. Heck, with the right cable package and just a few gallons of gas in the pickup, you could watch football nearly continuously from about 5 tonight until 9 on Sunday night, taking off just a few hours to sleep. For some folks, that's their definition of heaven. For some spouses, that's their definition of hell. Either way, the options are there this weekend. And it's still summer.
• Speaking of summer, I was wondering how many Mariner fans have backup baseball teams to root for. Take my case, for example. My dad was a Tiger fan – it has to do with growing up in the '30s, Charlie Gehringer and Hank Greenberg – but when they weren't going well he rooted for the Dodgers and, to a lesser degree, the Angels. I grew up a Dodger fan but once we became ensconced in the Northwest a million years ago, I started rooting for the Mariners, if only to instill the behavior in my boys. (I checked, CPS doesn't consider encouraging your children to root for the M's a breach of any existing laws.) But I do have a couple of fallbacks in these long, winless days of late summer. I can honor my father and root for the Tigers or I can wear Dodger blue if need be. The latter is easy right now, as they have played better than any team in baseball since the end of June, but I still feel a bit cheap coming back to them after their irrelevance of the past decade or so. Rooting for the Tigers, on the other hand, always gives me a good feeling. It takes me back to 1968 (pictured) and the Al Kaline, Bill Freehan, Mickey Lolich group that brought my dad a summer and fall of happiness. So I'm hoping they come through again, so I can sit in front of the TV in October and remember days spent the same way with my dad.
• WSU: Short-timer Christian Caple is slacking off today, what with a story on Damante Horton's decision to attend WSU, a post following yesterday's practice, a few pictures of the new look to Martin Stadium and a morning post. What, no videos? Slacker. ... Christian linked this feature by Bud Withers, but because Andrew Furney has always been one of my favorite WSU players, I am linking it as well. Why was Furney one of my favorites? We had similar body types - and personalities – when he entered college. ... It's a big weekend for the Pac-12, with measuring stick games against some decent non-conference foes.
• EWU: The term "walk-on" is sort of a misnomer. It doesn't mean a player wasn't recruited, it just means there wasn't a scholarship offered. After two years on campus, however, said player can earn a scholarship without it costing against the limited number that can be offered each year. Eastern linebacker J.C. Agen (pictured) was one of those players and is now, as Jim Allen's story shows, a key component of Eastern's defense. Jim also has a summary of his live chat from yesterday and a morning post today.
• Idaho: The Vandals don't get many high-caliber non-conference foes to make the trek to Moscow, so tomorrow's visit by Northern Illinois - a BCS-bowl team a year ago – is special. Josh Wright has more in this blog post.
• Mariners: There was no game yesterday - the M's are traveling – but there was some news. Ryan Divish has a feature on Abe Almonte's road to the big leagues - and sobriety. And Geoff Baker lets everyone know he's leaving the M's beat. Now, if anyone knows how I get that job, let me know. My dream as a young journalist was to be a baseball writer. Why not now?
• Seahawks: The buildup to Sunday night's rivalry game with the 49ers in what will be a loud CenturyLink is not letting up. And rightfully so. Though every Seahawk and 49er who talks about the game try to downplay its importance, it is a big one that has been growing for some time. ... The Hawks are nursing a bunch of nagging injuries that could limit a handful of key players. ... The game through the eyes of a 49er beat writer. ... There have been more roster changes for the Hawks this week. ... Golden Tate is the Hawks' biggest threat at receiver these days.
• Sounders: With Real Salt Lake coming to town tonight (and one of the Grippi boys making the cross-state trip to watch), there is more than one rivalry game in Seattle this weekend. The Sounders hope to be at pretty much full strength with the return of Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson – who explained his "show-me-the-money" goal celebration of the other day – and some good news on the injury front.
• That's it for today. I think I need to rest up today so I have the energy for the football weekend ahead. My advice to you is to do the same thing. By the way, if you want to listen to our call-in show following the WSU post-game show and don't live in Eastern Washington, download the free Tunein Radio app for your smart phone or tablet or computer. I've been told the show is available there. Until later ...