A GRIP ON SPORTS
Even Superman had his Kryptonite, right? I guess we found LeBron James' last night, didn't we? And, ironically for the team he plays for, it was the heat. Or maybe it was the humidity. Read on.
• Let's be clear. This isn't a criticism of LeBron. I have some criticism but it's not aimed at the best player in the game. Last night in San Antonio, in the first game of the NBA Finals, the air conditioning was on the fritz. Really? A billion-dollar industry can't get the air conditioning to work? What is this, GM or something? With the temperatures of West Texas in June – and the accompanying humidity – doing a number on the players' endurance, it's no wonder someone went down with leg muscle cramps. When it turned out to be LeBron James, then you have the formula for a social media explosion. Heck, the narrative went, Michael Jordan played with the flu. And Kobe Bryant walked off after tearing his Achilles. LeBron couldn't finish one game because of leg cramps? And he had to be helped off the court? What a disgrace. Yes, it was a disgrace all right, but not for LeBron. How do I say this? Have you ever suffered a leg cramp? And were you able to run and jump and hit people right away? I didn't think so. I can remember my calf muscles seemingly exploding in the middle of the night after a weekend of catching, burning my legs with a pain I couldn't fathom. Or get rid of. Heck, I couldn't even pull myself out of bed for a while, let alone run up and down a basketball court. I understand what LeBron was dealing with. But I don't understand why he was dealing with it. This is the most important player on the Heat team. Heck, he's the most important player in the league. The Heat training and nutrition staff knew two things leading up to the game: It was going to be warm in San Antonio – maybe warmer than they expected thanks to the air conditioning failure, sure, but still warm – and LeBron has a problem with muscle cramps before. Precautions needed to be taken. There are vitamin and mineral levels that should be monitored. There are hydration procedures to follow. Every preventative measure that can be taken better be taken. Maybe they were. Maybe they didn't work. But it is a failure of some system that led to LeBron missing a crucial part of the series' opening game. Would the Heat have won? Who knows. But we do know they are better team with him on the court than they are with him sitting on the bench in agony.
• We have been receiving more and more Father's Day memories, which is a good thing. And they are great. Keep them coming. We want your memories of your dad and sports. Of times good – and bad – you spent with your father playing catch, watching golf, running Bloomsday. Whatever. The time he yelled at an umpire or told you he was proud of you or embarrassed the heck out of your brother. We'll put them together and run them in their entirety here on SportsLink. Some might even be featured in the Review. Don't worry about polish, just share what's in your heart. Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll take care of the rest. Make sure to include your name, as the newspaper needs it for confirmation purposes.
• WSU: I once ran into Deone Bucannon at Safeway (or it might have been Dissmore's, I'm not sure). All I remember is he was shopping as was I. Remembering my college days I'm sure I thought it would be nice to help the guy pay for his Top Ramen or OJ or something. But that was – and is – against the NCAA's rules. Little did I know I should have asked Deone to pick up my frozen dinner and ice cream. He could afford it. Not then, maybe, but certainly now. Bucannon signed his first NFL contract yesterday – Jacob Thorpe has all the particulars in this blog post – and the Arizona Cardinals guaranteed him more than $6 million. Maybe now Deone will buy Dissmores. I mean the entire store. ... What's the most important stretch of the Cougars' 2014 football season? ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog has its opinion.
• Gonzaga: A couple of stories out of Eugene, when former GU women's coach Kelly Graves welcomes in fifth-year transfer Danielle Walter, who graduated from Gonzaga recently. The guard will be eligible to play this fall. Also, former Zag assistant Nicole Powell is working for Graves in Oregon.
• EWU: The FCS favorite for 2014? That would be the Eastern Washington Eagles. Jim Allen has more in this story.
• Indians: With the draft beginning yesterday, the minor league baseball season here in Spokane is just days away. Things will be a bit different for the Rangers' front office this year as they follow the play of the Indians. Chris Derrick explains in this story.
• Seahawks: The Hawks held an OTA yesterday but it was closed to the media. Only the in-house writer was let in and he had this report. ... We can pass along another post-draft depth chart, this time the linebackers. ... One of the Hawks coaches made a reference this week to a possible tailback-by-committee approach for the Hawks. That would not make Marshawn Lynch happy. ... Colin Kaepernick's mega-contract is actually pretty friendly to the 49ers' bottom line.
• Mariners: While the M's were enjoying their off-day in Tampa, the front office was busy trying to build a foundation for the future. The guy I wanted the M's to draft, Nick Gordon, was tabbed fifth by the Minnesota Twins. Dang it. The M's then went with a high school catcher, Alex Jackson (pictured), who they intend to turn into an outfielder. Of course, the powerful Jackson is everything the M's could have wanted. At least that's the company line. ... One of our faithful readers found this piece on Felix Hernandez and shared a link on Twitter. So I will pass it along.
• Sounders: Seattle will be without a lot more players than Chicago will be missing this Saturday but Sigi Schmid wouldn't use that as an excuse. ... The road match is Seattle's last until the World Cup break and the Sounders hope to get healthy during the time off.
• Is it Friday already again? I'm worried. It seemed like only yesterday it was Thursday. A Thursday in April. Now it is already D-Day. At least the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Wow. Now that's worth remembering. Until later ...