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The next few weeks are going to be fun

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's Monday. The workweek begins. But there is hope. After it ends Friday, there is college football Saturday. Read on.

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• We had intended to have a report from Cougar practice to begin your workweek, but circumstances both in Spokane and Pullman conspired against us. Let's just say we headed out to Pullman, got part of the way there and ended up turning back and leave it at that. The Cougars practiced yesterday, though it was an hour later than originally scheduled and it wasn't their best of the late summer. Mike Leach wasn't too happy with his charges, though that didn't stop him from going through with the now-everywhere Ice Bucket Challenge. As we said at the top of this column, college football starts for real Saturday and that first game happens to be in Cheney. Then the Cougars get involved five days later when they host Rutgers in Seattle. From there we are off and rolling.

• Speaking of "off and rolling," that a good description of the Mariners right now. Since we came to the conclusion last week the M's are getting hot at the right time and will end up winning the American League West, other, more intelligent, folks have joined our little bandwagon. Today the News Tribune's John McGrath came on board, which is nice. But what is even nicer are wins. Lots and lots of wins. Runs help, and the M's scored lots of those yesterday, starting with two in the first inning. Chris Young did the rest. You think after the M's roar down the stretch and win the division and Felix Hernandez runs away with the Cy Young and, quite possibly, the MVP Award, that Young will pick up some hardware of his own? Say the comeback player of the year award? Could be. Heck, if he continues to pitch this well, make it should be.

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• WSU: It was a long practice and Jacob Thorpe took it all in, leading to this long practice report afterward. Jacob also has video of Mike Leach's drenching – I wonder if Toni Pole won a raffle or an arm-wrestling contest or something to be able to hoist the water bucket – and his subsequent challenge of two of his Hollywood friends. A WSU coach with Hollywood friends? Who would have ever thought? ... Jacob also delves into the most important position for defensive success, the cornerbacks and safeties. Everyone knows the line and linebackers will be solid. If the back end holds up, the defense will be stout. ... One last link from Jacob. Today's post with links from around the conference. ... Bud Withers has a nice feature on the relationship between assistant coach Dennis Simmons and linebacker Jeremiah Allison (pictured). ... The Pac-12 Network has a WSU preview. ... Six Pac-12 teams were ranked in the first Associated Press poll of the season.

• Indians: What happened to the Indians' offense, once the dominant force in the Northwest League? For the second time in three games, Spokane was shutout. Chris Derrick tries to figure it out in this game story and blog post following a 7-0 lost to Tri-City.

• Seahawks: The biggest questions over the next couple weeks for the Seattle organization concern the roster. Who to keep, who to cut, who to put on the practice squad. ... There have been more than enough penalties in the first couple weeks of the preseason but Pete Carroll thinks it will start to slow down soon.

• Mariners: If you were watching the M's play yesterday, you may have seen a first. A manager ejected just for waving off an umpire's call. Basically, giving a signal he didn't agree with a blown call – and replays showed it was incorrect. That's what happened to Lloyd McClendon, he did he "phooey" wave with his arm and was ejected. Now that's screwed up. Afterward, defending the second consecutive ejection of McClendon by Tony Randazzo, crew chief Brian Gorman (pictured) said "Gestures are just as powerful as words sometimes." OK. A middle-finger gesture is just as powerful as words, sure. A throat-slash, yep. A gesture my dad used to make by thrusting his hand in the air and slashing at his elbow with his other hand, that too. But waving off a call? Talk about benign. It's just a way of dismissing someone. And that doesn't warrant ejection, anywhere, anytime. If Randazzo isn't disciplined for that ejection, baseball should be embarrassed. ... Back to the game. Chris Young pitched well. The offense exploded. And the M's are back in the lead for the second wild card spot. ... Will Michael Saunders return before September? I doubt it. ... The A's come home after a lost road trip.

• Sounders: The season doesn't just stop because the Sounders lost a key MLS match. In fact, it just keeps getting more crowded. Because of that, a couple of reserves are finding their playing time increased. ... Can the Sounders start finding Clint Dempsey earlier? ... It wasn't an own goal after all that did Seattle in Saturday.

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• I'm sure Eastern Washington football fans had Saturday circled in red ink on their calendar for months. If they have a calendar anymore. (Does anyone?) It's not too far away now. 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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