A GRIP ON SPORTS
Social media is really big on creating virtual communities, groups of people with like-minded interests that gather in the ether of the Internet to converse and commiserate. It's a pretty new phenomenon, though it mirrors something I've seen going on in Spokane for, I don't know, 30 years. Read on.
• One of the things social media does is create subsets of people – and puts them together. For example, there is everyone in the world. That's the default set. But there is a subset of those people who are baseball fans. In that subset is another group who are Mariners fans. They are spread out all over the globe and would rarely interact outside Safeco Field if were not for Twitter or Facebook or whatever. But they do, just about every night. That's the magic of the medium. (There are more subsets, for sure, among the M's fan subset itself, including disgruntled Mariner fans, always happy M's fans and, the smallest group of all, the Howard Lincoln fan club.) It's a virtual meeting place. But what about the real world? Is there a parallel? Sure there is. You see it every day in the Spokane area. It's called the sports community. Here's how it works. Spokane isn’t a small town. Heck, between Spokane, Spokane County and North Idaho, the I-90 corridor, there is more than 600,000 people. You can get lost in a crowd that big. But not if you are part of the sports community, a subset of folks that always seems to be bumping into each other. I was reminded of this yesterday when I ran some lunchtime errands. I stepped into a Valley sandwich shop and ran into a local high school football coach and basketball coach. Boom, a 15-minute conversation as my sandwich grew stale on the table behind me. No big deal, right? Just a typical day. Could happen anywhere. Sure. Then a quick stop at a department store nowhere near the neighborhood I live in. In the course of the in-and-out trip there were interactions with a parent of kid I coached years ago and a former high school coach. Two different people. Two different conversations. It reminded me of what former Ferris High volleyball coach and current athletic director Stacey Ward says about Spokane: It's a large city but the sports community is a small town. She's right. Just walk through any crowd around Spokane and you'll feel it. Somewhere in there is a connection made through sports. Of course, if they see you first – in my case anyway – they probably will ignore your friend request.
• WSU: OK, we are getting down to it. The last Seattle football game. At least that seems to be the consensus. Even among the fans. Jacob Thorpe writes about its demise in today's notebook and this blog post really tells the tale. Only 26,000 tickets have been sold for Thursday's Rutgers game (a 7 p.m. kickoff, I had that wrong yesterday, sorry). No crowds, no game. ... Jacob also has his usual practice report from yesterday and his morning blog post with links from around the Pac-12. ... Bill Moos held his radio show yesterday and Jacob has a summary for you. ... A couple of Cougars will be among the trio of folks inducted into the state's hall of fame this week. ... Bud Withers also wrote about the Seattle game's problems in today's Times. ... USC's Josh Shaw might have cost his team yesterday, though he made the right decision. The defensive back leaped off a balcony to aid a relative in distress in a pool. The leap resulted in two high ankle sprains. And, quite possibly, one saved life. ... The first week of Pac-12 games isn't going to knock anyone's socks off. ... This Pac-12 bowl guess doesn't include the Cougars.
• EWU: Idaho State will try to put a scare into Utah this weekend as the Big Sky teams kick off the season in earnest.
• Indians: Spokane returned home for its last regular season homestand and began it with a victory. Chris Derrick has the game story and a blog post – with a look at the Northwest League pennant race – from the 4-3 win over Salem-Keizer.
• Seahawks: This has to be the toughest time to be a fringe player in the National Football League. Everyone, including the Seahawks, is making cuts. There were no surprises within the group the Hawks let go yesterday, including former Eastern running back Demitrius Bronson. ... Bobby Wagner is finally getting healthy and that's good news, since one of his backups, Heath Farwell, might be out a while. ... The Hawks play their final preseason game Thursday night in Oakland and it's probably Terrelle Pryor's last chance to impress the coaches and win a spot on the roster. ... The 49ers are replacing the grass in their new stadium again.
• Mariners: OK, the less said about last night's offensive performance the better. But it was putrid. Awful. A stinker. OK, that's enough. The M's lost to Texas and struggling rookie starter Miles Mikolas, 2-0. ... Lloyd McClendon feels it was just one of those games and it was time to move on, except there aren't all that many of those games left to play. Each one matters. ... Art Thiel takes a mulligan concerning McClendon. ... The M's are pushing back the starters a day again. ... Brandon Maurer has been a beast out of the bullpen. ... The success thus far this season has done wonders for the fans' outlook.
• That's it for now. Seems like just about everyone thinks the Cougars are going to win big Thursday night at CenturyLink. At least that's what our poll showed. So we asked another question today. It's about the Seattle game itself and how you feel about it. Until later ...