A GRIP ON SPORTS
You might notice a new poll on this page, just to the left of where these words sit. Then again, you might not, especially if you access this column via your mobile device. But either way, there is a new question, though we are going to spend the next few minutes discussing the previous one. Read on.
• Just about every website in America dose on-line polling, changing them on a daily basis or, like SportsLink, occasionally. I've seen, them you've seen them, everyone sees them. Most of the time they are like furniture, useful if you want to rest for a second but just there in the periphery if you don't. That's usually the case with our polls. A lot of you participate consistently. I know that because the number of answers usually varies just a bit, whether the poll is on the site for one or two days or a week. That's been the case for the past three years. Until last week. Then we asked a question about college football. And our local teams. Boom. Whose college football season is most important to you? Is it Whitworth's? Is it Idaho's? Washington's? A pretty mundane question, wouldn't you say? Not to college football fans. At least it doesn't seem that way. The number of responses was staggering. Almost 10 times as many responses as any Spokesman-Review poll in the last month. About 25 times as many as our usual polls. I'm not sure but standing up for your school seems to be a point of pride for college football fans around here. The final tally indicates Eastern Washington fans are either wildly enthusiastic about their team or they know how to use their computers better than anyone else. The Eagles ended up with 34.64 percent of the vote, using a surge over the weekend to get past Washington State, which had just a bit less than 30 percent. Idaho's fans turned out in better numbers (14 percent) than Husky fans (10.8 percent) with Whitworth and "other" trailing behind. The odd thing is only 1.4 percent picked "don't care," which is quite a bit below the usual percentage. I guess it isn't odd at all. College football seems to bring out the mama grizzly (or cougar or eagle) in all of us.
• WSU: Sunday or not, the Cougars were back at it in Lewiston yesterday, banging around and doing all that college football stuff they do. Jacob Thorpe was there as well, observing, taking notes and being a sports writer. He had a really good summary of yesterday's practice on the blog as well as another post this morning with links and stuff. The crowning achievement today, though, is this story on the fellow bidding to replace Andrew Furney (pictured) as kicker, Erik Powell. But there is no way anyone will every replace Furney in the hearts of Cougar fans. I have to admit, Andrew was a personal favorite of mine as well. There was a time when guys like me were allowed up-close contact with players during practice and the special team guys, with all the time they had on their hands, were almost always available for conversation. Reid Forrest, Nico Grasu, Zach Enyeart and, yes, Furney, always were around, willing to talk and listen. It made the time go by just a bit faster and, for that, I will always be indebted. ... ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog has its first power rankings of the season and the Cougars are – wait for it – eighth.
• Indians: It's not easy for one guy to throw a no-hitter over nine innings. Take that difficulty and times it by 44. That's probably what it takes for four guys to throw a no-hitter that covers 11 innings. It happened last night, though, in Everett as four Spokane pitchers combined for the first extra-inning no-hitter in Northwest League history. The final was 3-0, Spokane, but that seems incidental to the no-no.
• Seahawks: Guess who was going full blast at the Hawks' practice yesterday? Yep, Marshawn Lynch. The running back who held out for a while looked, as Pete Carroll said, as if he is in great shape and he showed it during practice. ... Steve Schilling (No. 52 at left in a Michigan uniform) is trying to make his hometown NFL team. To do that, the Bellevue High product will play anywhere he's asked on the offensive line. ... As per usual, there were a few roster moves yesterday. ... There is a quarterback battle going on in Seattle. For the backup job, to be sure, but a battle nonetheless.
• Mariners: When the M's made the trade for Austin Jackson, they were hoping the former Detroit Tiger would goose the offense a bit down the stretch. He certainly did yesterday, driving in a career-high four runs as the M's held on to defeat the White Sox 4-2. ... Erasmo Ramirez made the start, was pulled mid-batter in the fifth and then headed back to Tacoma. He did his job, though, holding the Sox down until the offense could get going. The bullpen took care of the rest, though Fernando Rodney, as is his wont, made it exciting in the ninth.
• Sounders: Yuck. That was my only response to the CenturyLink turf last night. Seems Amazon rented the Clink for a corporate event this week – what, they burned a bunch of Stephen King remainders at midfield? – and beat it up pretty badly. So badly, in fact, the grounds crew had to add more rubberized pellets to the turf and they didn't have time to sink in. The result was a bit slippery field and an ugly view. As for the game, the result was beautiful for the Sounder fans in attendance – more than 50,000 of them – as Seattle won 2-0 over Houston, snapping a bit of a losing streak. ... Obafemi Martins picked up a red card and will miss Seattle's next MLS game. ... Sigi Schmid, who won his 200th MLS match, and others talked about the field, the game and the absence of DeAndre Yedlin, in street clothes after his trip to England. ... Chad Marshall was back.
• Thirty-five years ago today, I was scared out of my wits. It was my wedding day. Now, I don't know what I had to worry about. We were – and are – perfect for each other. Well, she's perfect for me. Actually, I think she could have done a whole heck of a lot better. Happy Anniversary Kimmy. To celebrate, she's at work and I will be on the radio from 3 to 6 p.m., talking sports with Dennis Patchen and Rick Lukens. Then it's dinner at home. I think I might make hot dogs. With diced onions. My specialty. And romantic as heck. Until later ...