A GRIP ON SPORTS
Let's keep it short and sour today. After all, we're never sweet. Read on.
• I will say it looks as if the weather will be at least somewhat sweet. Which is good. It doesn't look as if it will be that way in Seattle on Saturday, for Washington State's annual CenturyLink game. I kind of miss this trip, especially this season when the M's are playing in the afternoon and I could have watched them finish out another wasted season in person. But those days are gone and they are not coming back, for all of you who have asked. Thanks a bunch but my plate is filled with other items these days. The post-game call in show. An occasional radio gig. This column. Lunch with friends. “The Rockford Files” on Netflix. Making Kim's time after work miserable with my whining. You know, the retired life. As for the Cougars, I see where Christian Caple predicted they would win this week in his Pac-12 picks. His last pick as a Cougar beat writer and he fell for the oldest trick in the book: The stars seemingly aligning for WSU. After all these years I've learned when the stars align that usually is a harbinger of a comet about to fall on the stadium – in the form of a tough loss. It's when the stars are completely out of whack – the Apple Cup game last year, the Oregon State game a couple years ago – that the Cougars do their best work and pull an upset. Yes, I think they'll be able to compete with the Cardinal this week. And yes, they could upset the nation's fifth-ranked team. But I don't think it will happen.
• Eric Wedge feels as if he's “hanging out there” due to his contract status with the M's. OK, I get that – despite Wedge's 212-271 record in three years with Seattle. He's been a good soldier and followed the plan. However, he sounded a bit whiny with his comments yesterday. Here is what I would have said if I were in Wedge's spot: “You know what bothers me? That I am still waiting to figure out what my status is for next year and Jack (Zduriencik) has already been given a contract extension. You know what I mean? After all, I'm his second manager here and the first guy didn't win either. Think that's a coincidence? He's the guy who has been supplying me the players. You think I wanted Chone Figgins or Jack Cust? I had Nick Swisher all fired up about joining us and Jack low-balled him. Look what the Indians are doing now. And the young guys – heck, some of them don't even know how to catch a popup correctly. What the heck are we teaching in the minors anyway? That's on Jack. Why do you think I had health problems? If the organization is going to renew his contract, it damn well better renew mine.”
• Finally, there was an incredible comeback in the finals of the America's Cup yacht race yesterday. The Oracle boat, down 8-1 at one point and needing to win 11 times due to a cheating penalty, capped a long winning streak with the clinching win Wednesday. You now what such a magnificent rally like that teaches? If you have a boatload of money, you can fix anything. No, wait, it's all about never giving up and it ain't over until it's over. Or something like that.
• WSU: The Cougars long volleyball winning streak is over, though not due to enough support. Bohler Gym was packed to the rafters last night as second-ranked UW invaded the place and came away with a 3-0 sweep. Christian was part of the sardine-can atmosphere and had this coverage. … Christian also has this story on WSU's need to be stout up front against Stanford, his picks, yesterday's live chat and a morning post that also includes a practice report from Wednesday. … You like predictions? We have more for you along with what ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog thinks you should watch this weekend. We also have more conference power rankings.
• EWU: Jim Allen is right. If No. 2 (Eastern) was playing at No. 4 (Sam Houston State) in FBS football, everyone would be all over it. When it's in the FBS, only we are. Which makes his life a beat easier. He has this advance of Saturday's matchup in Texas along with a morning post.
• Chiefs: I am going to make a prediction: If Spokane continues to score six goals a game – as it has in the WHL's first three games – it will win the Memorial Cup. OK, no one scores six goals every time out. But the Chiefs have thus far. Chris Derrick has this blog post following Spokane's 6-1 win at Victoria.
• Preps: The GSL girls' soccer season began yesterday and Jim Allen was at Lewis and Clark's 1-0 win over Mt. Spokane. … CV's girls won a cross country showdown with U-Hi. Mike Vlahovich has the coverage. … Greg Lee and Sam Adams have their picks for the weekend while Greg also has this feature on Lind-Ritzville's seniors and a note on a college commitment. And, lest we forget, Greg has a column as well. It's on Joe Albi's future.
• Mariners: Let's not argue anymore. Hisashi Iwakuma was the M's best pitcher this season. He put an exclamation point on that sentence last night when he shut out Kansas City, 6-0, stretching his streak of scoreless innings to 23. His 14-6 record and 2.66 earned run average were both among the best in the American League (OK, 14 wins doesn't seem like a lot but it is, especially with the M's offense). He had 10 starts in which he pitched six inning or more without allowing a run – last night he went eight, giving up just four hits. … The Mariners situation is just awful. … Even Bud Selig thinks Oakland should move. So why doesn't he tell the Giants to butt out of San Jose?
• Seahawks: The offensive line is a mess. If the Hawks can defeat Houston on the road Sunday with what may be a makeshift offensive line, then their status as conference frontrunners should be assured. The latest news about the line? Breno Giacomini (pictured) and Max Unger did not practice Wednesday and JR Sweezy was limited. Line coach Tom Cable is going to earn his money this week. … As is Pete Carroll, who spoke with the media yesterday, as did Cliff Avril. … It wouldn't be so bad if the Texans didn't have one of the best defensive linemen in the league. … The Hawks defense offers its own unique set of problems for Houston. … Another roster change.
• Sounders: Eddie Johnson is healthy and Obafemi Martins was mad at himself after he was taken out last weekend. And Mauro Rosales is still handing out assists. All's right in the Sounders' world. … Want to know who makes what for Seattle?
• That's all we've got today. I know it's a bit late but it's not my fault. I'm blaming Eric Wedge. Until later …