A GRIP ON SPORTS
How strange is this time of year? It is raining this morning, a light gentle rain that waters the grass and coaxes the dandelions out of their winter sleep. We will probably get sun later, with a chance of a light burn on the back of your neck if you're not careful. Picking up the paper, there were stories about football, basketball and baseball, all of them relevant and interesting. Yep, it's a strange time of year. Read on.
• One could argue, I guess, that spring football isn't relevant. It's just practice, after all. But Jacob Thorpe's story this morning focuses on one of two position groups that will determine Washington State's success or failure in the fall: the secondary. It's a group that is undergoing a makeover after having lost three seniors, one of them the team's best player. If the Cougars are going to return to a bowl game next season, the secondary is going to have grow up fast – as will the offensive line. While the Cougar football team is working on next season, the rest of college sports has its eyes on the end of this basketball season. The Final Four is in the Dallas area this weekend at Jerry Jones' palace. It should be interesting to say the least. And then there is the beginning of the baseball season. The M's were undefeated entering last night's game at Oakland but lost in such a typical Mariners style. How is that, you ask? Give up a late, tying run and have an offense that had brought up comparisons to the 1927 Yankees in its first three games turn into the 1961 White Sox on Thursday. Oh well. No one thought the M's would go 162-0. Few probably believe they will win more than 81 games. But I will say this. The starting pitching thus far has surprised me. With Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker out, it seemed as if the M's were patching together a staff and it would bite them in the backside. But so far, so good. Yes, it's early. But it's better than the alternative.
• Chiefs: Seattle was no match for Kelowna in the first game of their WHL playoff series.
• Preps: Spring break is next week – why is there a week off this time of year anyway? – and the GSL's softball schedule pauses after yesterday's games. Chris Derrick was at Lewis and Clark's win over Ferris which pulled the Tigers into a tie for first place. ... Thomas Clouse was at Shadle Park's baseball win (pictured) over Mt. Spokane.
• Seahawks: Everyone will gather at the Hawks' facility this morning as the team announces a contract extension for head coach Pete Carroll. The new contract may just lock up Carroll for the rest of his career. ... The Hawks also signed a long snapper yesterday, an underrated position if there ever was one. ... The team's off-season workout schedule was announced in case you want to observe. ... One question about next season.
• Mariners: If the M's were going to lose, I believe I would have bet money it would have been on a late Hector Noesi gopher ball. And if I had, I would have been right. The 3-2 defeat came on a Coco Crisp walk-off home run in the 12th for Oakland (pictured). ... The M's had a new right fielder last night. Logan Morrison played the position for the first time in the bigs.
• Sounders: One of the interesting aspects of this year's Cascadia Cup matches is all the switching between teams, especially between Saturday's foes, Portland and Seattle. Most rivals don't like to make deals with each other but free agency and such has made that somewhat moot. ... Both teams are dealing with injuries but Portland got a boost yesterday when the MLS backed down on a red-card suspension. Odd the league didn't shave a game off Clint Dempsey's over-long suspension but did in this case. ... The Sounders have one player looking to make a mark on the pitch and another in what's basically a minor league.
• It's Friday already? Really? Where did the week go? Boy, my back hurts. Oh, now I remember. But before we go take some Alleve, I want to pass along this John Canzano column. It's just worth reading. Until later ...