A GRIP ON SPORTS
The All-Star game was Tuesday night, right? Today is Friday. And baseball is just getting going again? These guys need another day off in the middle of the season? Really? Read on.
• Correct me if I'm wrong but the All-Star break used to last three days, right? Last game Sunday night, Monday for travel, Tuesday for the game, Wednesday for travel back and games resume on Thursday. That was the way it was for years and years, from Carl Hubbell to Randy Johnson. But a couple years ago a few teams began getting Thursday off as well. Now this season everyone was off yesterday, stretching the break to four days. Doesn't seem to make sense, especially when there is constant criticism from fans, media, players and everyone else about World Series games stretching into November. It just seems counter-intuitive to me. The M's get back at it tonight in Anaheim – just down the road from where I am typing this – with Hisashi Iwakuma taking the hill. The weather is about as nice as you could ask for, with the game-time temperature around 75 degrees. With less than two weeks until the trading deadline – the non-waiver trading deadline – the M's are supposedly in talks with Tampa Bay about a couple of big names, pitcher David Price and do-everything hitter Ben Zobrist. I'm not holding my breath. When it comes down to it, I'm not sure anyone in the M's management can pull the trigger on trading their young talent, not after a series of awful deals in years past. I know everyone likes to point to the Adam Jones for Eric Bedard fiasco as the worst one – back in the Bill Bavasi era – but I'm more inclined to cite the Doug Fister for, basically, a bag of balls as the worst deal in recent M's memory. (If you recall, Fister (pictured below), a right-handed pitcher with limitless potential, was dealt to the Tigers at the 2011 deadline for Francisco Martinez, Casper Wells, Chance Ruffin and Charlie Furbush. A decent left-handed arm in the bullpen isn't nearly enough for a guy who has won 40 games and has had an ERA of right around 3.00 in the three-plus seasons since, a success rate that anyone could see coming.) It's deals such as that one that scares the bejesus out me. David Price is a transcendent talent, who wouldn't be in Seattle long. Ben Zobrist is a nice player who would help the lineup. But if the price isn't right (pardon the pun), don't dismantle the minor league system to make the deal. Which makes this answer Bob Dutton gave in a Tacoma News-Tribune Q&A kind of scary. Asked why he thinks the M's will make a move, Dutton wrote, "Everything I hear, from inside and outside the organization, is that general manager Jack Zduriencik is pushing hard to make a move. So, yes, I think something gets done." Great. A deal just to make a deal. That's a recipe for success.
• WSU: The Cougars don't fare all that well in this rating of backup quarterbacks in the Pac-12 North.
• Indians: The three-game losing streak is over, as the Indians pulled away late for a 12-5 win in Boise. The victory dropped Spokane's magic number for clinching the first-half North title to three.
• Seahawks: Training camp is just around the corner, so ESPN.com takes a look at the Hawks'. ... Bob Condotta has another question that will be addressed during camp. ... The 49ers signed a key offensive lineman to a new contract as they opened their new stadium in Santa Clara.
• Mariners: Besides the trade talk, the M's made a roster move yesterday. Needing another bat around when they return to interleague play, the M's brought up outfielder Stefen Romero and optioned pitcher Lucas Luetge to Tacoma. ... Lloyd McClendon believes the Mariners are headed in the right direction. ... Maybe the A's can work out their new stadium lease after all.
• Sounders: European teams like to spend the summer in America, just like a lot of their non-soccer playing counterparts. The Tottenham Hotspurs are coming to Seattle this week to face the Sounders in a friendly. But Seattle is going to treat it with a little more emphasis after a 7-0 pasting a few years ago in friendly with Manchester United. ... Seattle lent a reserve to a minor league team.
• Another morning's task is done. Enjoy your Friday. At least there will be some baseball on the TV this evening. Until later ...