A GRIP ON SPORTS
Guess what? We're a little short on thoughts today. College football, start soon please. Read on.
• The Mariners' up-and-down season seems a little old hat right now. The Seahawks have been covered to death. The rest of the sports that make up July these days haven't really done anything to attract attention. So where do we go from here? Hopefully, out to Cheney later this week. Or down to Lewiston or Moscow. Anywhere college football camps kick off. I don't know why it is, but this time of year I begin to get antsy for the sights and sounds – and, yes, smells – of preseason camp. The big fellows running off the field after practice to jump in tubs of ice, hoping to cool down their big, ahem, bodies. The sounds of football descending from the sky, landing loudly in trash barrels or softly in nets as the quarterbacks practice their fades into the corners of the end zone. The colorful language from the coaches, even when there is no profanity involved. The sounds of a 100 college-aged men moving between drills, pads clacking against their bodies as they try to give the best effort despite the oven-like temperature. Even the smell a late-afternoon rain brings, as it hits the artificial turf and turns sweat-soaked adults into puddle-jumping little boys. The optimism of the early days of camp is almost palatable no matter how bad the season before finished. And then it begins to fade away, ground down by the reality that more effort won't overcome lack of talent at certain spots. Honestly, preseason football camp is an amalgamation of emotions and intellect, mixed together in a physical stew. It's like no other aspect of sports and I can't wait for it to get here.
• WSU: As we count down the days until preseason camp begins, we offer an outsiders view of the 2014 Washington State football team. ... Utah's presumptive starting quarterback, Travis Wilson, got himself in trouble with the authorities at a concert. ... Former California athletic director Sandy Barbour landed on her feet in Happy Valley.
• Gonzaga: The Bulldogs have added a local coach to their soccer program.
• EWU: You know who else begins preseason football camp this week? Yep, the No. 1-ranked Eastern Eagles. Jim Allen has an advance of the season, which actually starts in July this year. Wow.
• Indians: The losing streak to start the second half is officially over, courtesy of a 4-1 win over Salem-Keizer to end a road trip. ... The Indians and relief pitcher Johnny Fasola begin an eight-game homestand tonight. Chris Derrick has a feature on the one-time shortstop turned closer.
• Shock: That bump in the middle of the season? It seems to have been forgotten now, as the Shock finished out the regular season with a five-game winning streak. They won number five last night in Portland, holding off the Thunder 45-40 in a game in which neither team played their starting quarterback. Jim Meehan has a bit more about the contest in this blog post. ... San Jose, the Shock's first-round playoff opponent, rolled to a 72-43 road victory to close out its regular season.
• Track: There really hasn't been a professional track meet in this area for a while. OK, scratch that. It's been a really long while. John Blanchette's feature advances a revival of sorts in the Spokane area that's coming up soon.
• Preps: The state legion baseball tournaments featured some wins and some losses for Spokane teams.
• Seahawks: We are now two days into training camp and guess what? The Marshawn Lynch holdout retreated to the back burner a bit – and he's now not on the roster, moved to the did not report list. ... Even if Lynch isn't here this year, the Hawks' offensive philosophy will remain the same. ... Larry Stone is putting the onus for the season on Pete Carroll's shoulders. ... Earl Thomas and Russell Wilson have an interesting little competition going on. And, thank goodness, it has nothing to do with punt returning. ... Wilson had a few things to say yesterday.
• Mariners: A well-pitched game turned out to be enough for the M's yesterday. Barely. Chris Young (pictured) threw seven shutout innings – if the M's make the playoffs, could you make a case Young has been their most important piece, considering how little was expected? – and Seattle held on to win 4-3. Fernando Rodney picked up his 200th career save, along with a shaving cream pie. ... Dustin Ackley did just fine in the two spot of the batting order. ... Brandon Maurer is doing just fine in the bullpen. .... Ryan Divish has his weekly power rankings.
• It's a travel day for us, so we'll sign off now. Tomorrow this column will come to you from the beautiful confines of my own home. Almost two weeks on the road can seem like a month. Until later ...