A GRIP ON SPORTS
The Pro Football Hall of Fame welcomed some new members yesterday, including former Seahawk Walter Jones. But one of the biggest oversights in league history was also rectified. Read on.
• Years ago, whenever anyone asked me which professional athlete I would like to be, I didn't hesitate. Ray Guy. What's not to like? You get to sit on the sidelines for NFL games. You are asked to really work, like, three or four times in a three-hour period. You are paid well. Your team wins. Your career lasts seemingly forever. And you are the best at what you do, ever. Yes, ever. Ray Guy was the best punter the NFL ever saw. Booming punts. Balls kicked out inside the 20. A quick release. And, if need be, he could make a tackle or pass the ball to pick up a first down. But he was a punter. And if there is an less-appreciated position on a football team, other than the guy who snaps the punter the ball, I don't know what it is. Everyone takes punters for granted. Especially in the NFL when the difference between the best and the worst isn't all that clear to the common fan. But there is a huge difference, whether it be in hang time or location or a handful of other, under-the-radar nuances to the position. Ray Guy did them all well. And he deserved to be in the Hall of Fame. He deserved it for years. Now he finally is. And when I am asked that same question over a cold adult beverage and answer, "Ray Guy," maybe people will know who I'm talking about.
• WSU: The Cougars opened preseason camp yesterday in Lewiston and Jacob Thorpe was there. You know how I know? All the blog posts last night and this morning. And the story in today's paper. Not even Janet Cooke could make up that much. Jacob's story is on the ease of which the players transitioned into practice due to their familiarity with the system. He also has notes from yesterday, a look at the offensive line's drills and links and more from around the Pac-12. ... Bud Withers has a nice feature on Cougar quarterback Connor Halliday. ... Halliday is just one of almost a dozen strong quarterbacks in the conference. ... The Utah Utes need to win this year to save their coach's job.
• Indians: For the first time this season, Spokane lost a home series. Chris Derrick has the game story and a blog post from Saturday night's 12-9 loss, in which the Indians were blown out of Avista Stadium early.
• Shock: Speaking of being blown out, the Shock were just manhandled by San Jose in their playoff opener, losing 55-28 and seeing their season come to what-they-think-is-a-premature end. Jim Meehan has more on the defeat in this blog post.
• Track: No longer can anyone say there has never been a sub-4-minute mile run in Spokane County. John Blanchette has that and more in his coverage of last night's track meet at SFCC.
• Preps: If you don't think coaches are taking concussions seriously enough, you haven't been paying attention lately. Tom Clouse has a story on another aspect of the continuing education going on in youth sports. ... The transfer rules are different in California, but this story is still really interesting.
• Seahawks: Besides big Walter inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining other Hawks like Cortez Kennedy and Steve Largent (pictured), there was also some action at the Hawk camp yesterday. Seattle played a mock game and the only mocking was done by the defense, who put handcuffs on the first and second-string offense. Of course, Marshawn Lynch didn't play. ... The Hawks waived Michael Bowie, who has a badly injured shoulder, so the battle for the right tackle spot seems to be over already. ... Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson met with the media after the scrimmage. ... It's been a slow start for this year's draft class. ... A former Husky is trying to make his mark.
• Mariners: Robinson Cano hasn't hit a bunch of home runs this season but whenever he hits one, it seems to be big. His three-run blast yesterday, coupled with another decent pitching performance from the pen in relief of James Paxton, lifted the M's to a 6-3 win over the Orioles. ... The M's needed a spot on the roster to activate Paxton and Corey Hart, he of the near-.200 batting average, had a sore knee. So Hart is back on the disabled list and Paxton is available. ... It's Sunday, so that means it is time for a power ranking.
• Sounders: Is it time to get a bit worried about the Sounders? For the second consecutive match they were shut out, this time by one of the weaker teams in the MLS. The 1-0 loss was the result of one huge defensive breakdown (pictured) late in the first half and a physical game plan for San Jose, which didn't pay much of a price for repetitive fouls. ... The game also served as a dress rehearsal of sorts for Levi's Stadium, and there were some glitches that need to be fixed before the 49ers begin playing there.... Well, Sounders fans, it wasn't a completely lost day. Portland lost too.
• Have a good Sunday. We will be back here Monday morning. By the way, I stole the Ray Guy answer from a friend. He said it first, I liked it and then adopted it as my own. I used it so often I do believe, under copyright law, it's now mine. Until later ...