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Sat., April 19, 2014, 7:32 a.m.

There are some shining lights out there

A GRIP ON SPORTS

As the good ship Mariner slowly sinks in the west, let's take a moment to be thankful for some of the good things out there. Read on.

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• OK, that's long enough. Let's get back to complaining. ... Just kidding. There is a lot to be thankful for, even with the M's. They seem to be better and, when the starting pitching gets healthy (or should I write "if"), then their record should begin to show it. The last couple games have been good, close losses, even though their starter didn't go but a few innings. ... The college football season around here should be fun. The Cougars should score a boatload of points, the Vandals will be improved (how could they not), Eastern will be Eastern and Whitworth will experience the excitement – and promise – a new coaching staff brings. Which means no matter your preference this fall, you should have something to cheer about. ... If you are a soccer fan, the Sounders and Clint Dempsey (pictured) have got to be playing with your emotions. One minute they are giving up a loose goal, the next they are rallying for a come-from-behind win. It might not be good for your heart, but it is exciting. ... Despite the brouhaha over the scheduling, Gonzaga and Washington State will meet on the basketball court next season. Instead of fighting over who is right or wrong if they weren't playing (ie. Gonzaga vs. Washington), fans of both schools can fight over who is right or wrong and then play. An upset would be that much sweeter, would it not? ... Easter is this Sunday and that's always a good day. ... It's not that long now and the Seahawks will be back at it. Though nothing will compare with last season (the first time you win a championships is always the most important), watching their quest to repeat will be worth the price of admission. As in, I need a new television set before the NFL kicks off. ... I think I can afford a new TV and that's always good. ... The Shock are 3-1 and still haven't played their best yet. ... Before you know it Bloomsday will be here and the number of folks lumbering around the streets in the afternoon will decrease a bit. ... When you get up in the morning, the sun has been shining more often than not. And that's always good.

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• WSU: Speaking of the Gonzaga scheduling tempest, John Blanchette has his take on the whole deal this morning in the Review. ... Jacob Thorpe has moved back to spring football, though he took time yesterday to talk with Bill Moos and the basketball schedule did come up. ... Jacob also has some football recruiting news and a morning post with links. ... The Cougar baseball team (pictured) had another rough go of it in Eugene, where George Horton won his 700th game. ... It's Saturday and you know what that means. No, not cartoons – I miss watching Bugs Bunny, eating Captain Crunch and playing baseball all day with no worries whatsoever. It's mailbag time from ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog. ... Hey, Mr. Emmert, we have to admit you are making progress. Sort of like one of those glaciers in Alaska.

• EWU: If you want to know the position grouping that has the most openings, read Jim Allen's story today. It's on the secondary. ... Defending Big Sky basketball champion Weber State dipped into the junior college ranks for help.

• Whitworth: Spring football at the Division III level is different than the other NCAA levels. Still, new coach Rod Stanfield is introducing a lot to the Pirates. Tom Clouse has more in this story.

• Chiefs: Mitch Holmberg is up for the WHL's top award. ... The WHL finals got underway last night and host Kelowna rallied for a 5-4 win over Portland.

• Shock: Spokane is back at home, hoping its offense begins clicking like it can. That will be tough tonight, however, as Cleveland has the AFL's toughest defense. Jim Meehan has an advance of the game. ... Portland is still looking for its first win.

• Preps: Jim Meehan has his weekly golf notebook and he leads it with a look at defending GSL boys champion Ferris.

• Seahawks: Though it is the off-season, the next few months will be important for backup running back Christine Michael.

• Mariners: In the old days – you know, last year – if a fielder caught a ball, stepped off the bag after a force and then decided to drop the ball while attempting to throw it, the runner at his bag was still out. Not anymore. Now you have to make the catch, take the ball and the glove, run to your car, drive to Cooperstown, put in on a pedestal and hope the ball doesn't fall out before it can be bronzed to get an out. Under the new rules, if the first baseman makes a play at first, comes off the bag and, as he's starting to throw the ball around, drops it, is the player safe at first? Does he have to come back from the clubhouse if he's already up there? Why the sarcasm? Because the new interpretation of the transfer rule bit the M's last night in Miami (pictured), part of an 8-4 defeat to the Marlins. It wasn't the cause of the defeat but it helped. Anyhow, isn't it time baseball took another look at the new interpretation? ... Hisashi Iwakuma threw a simulated game – there were only three replays during it – before yesterday's contest and declared he felt fine.

• Sounders: Game day for the Sounders, who travel to Los Angeles to take on Chivas USA, a team they haven't lost to since 2009. Maybe today they won't wait until the last minute to score the winning goal. ... Chivas is getting better. ... You know you are gaining traction when you are mentioned in a hit TV show. Heck, I think I remember a Sandy Koufax mention on "Gilligan's Island."

•••

• That's it for today. It's the weekend. Let's be careful out there. Until later ... 




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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