A GRIP ON SPORTS
Believe it or not kids, there was once a time when streaming video did not exist. We had a thing you might call streaming audio. We called it a transistor radio. Read on.
• Was there any child of the '60s that didn't have a cigarette-pack-sized transistor radio somewhere in their vicinity for the World Series? It seemed as if every elementary school classroom had at least one guy in the back with an earpiece wire running up the back of his shirt, his hand strategically placed over his ear as he listened to the static-infused broadcast of a Dodger-White Sox or Cardinal-Tiger World Series game. The listener would then write down the score on a torn piece of notebook paper and pass it along. "Dodgers 1-0, Koufax 7 Ks" it might read. It was our prehistoric form of social media. A simpler time, maybe, but the precursor to today, when ESPN expects to have millions and millions of soccer fans around the nation glued to their smartphones, tablets or computers watching the U.S. face Germany in a key World Cup match. You just might see the same hunched-over sitting position displayed back in 1964 classrooms repeated in cubicles all over America today. There will be a couple differences, of course. There are the two great-sounding earpieces on headphones today, instead of the single, less-than-clear one of yesteryear. And the eyes will be down, glued to the screen, instead of up, watching without comprehension what Sister Cletus – yes, I had a Sister Cletus at St. Rita's Elementary – was writing on the board. But the goal is the same. To follow a sporting event when obligations don't allow you to be home in front of your TV. Of course, there was the occasional elementary school teacher – Sister Patrice comes to mind – that understood the importance of keeping up with the national pastime. They would either commandeer the radio, put it on their desk and let everyone listen or they would turn a blind-eye to the activity back by the pencil sharpener. Either way, we could follow the game. And I'm sure there will be bosses today who will allow the office TV to be tuned into the match, despite their inability to grasp why a soccer game would be so important to their workers. Either that or they will have to deal with a bunch of folks suffering back problems tomorrow after spending today hunched over in a futile attempt to hide their iPhone.
• By the way, before the World Cup began, I asked my resident soccer expert what would be the best scenario for the U.S. in group play. He said he was hoping for a win over Ghana, a tie with Portugal and a tight game with Germany. With that, he hoped, the U.S. could move on either on points or due to the tiebreakers. Despite the disappointment of the late tie in the Portugal match, his scenario could still happen. It is raining hard in Recife, site of today's match.
• WSU: Ernie Kent reached into the Salt Lake City area for his first basketball recruit of 2015, a 6-foot-8 power forward. Jacob Thorpe has more on Jeff Pollard (pictured) in this blog post. ... The Cougars announced their new baseball assistant. ... We can offer a midweek mailbag from ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog. ... Former UW football coach Jim Lambright had a run-in with the authorities recently.
• Indians: All good things must end, right, so it comes as no shock the Indians' undefeated streak at home was terminated last night. The Boise Hawks did the deed, 8-4 at Avista. Chris Derrick has the game story and a blog post on Tim Hulett's record 543rd game as Indians' head coach.
• Seahawks: If Marshawn Lynch appearing nude in ESPN The Magazine's body issue doesn't appeal to you – and I know it doesn't to some folks – then how about Richard Sherman's Madden cover? No? Then how about the Hawks signing former UW receiver Kevin Smith to the roster, hoping for some special teams help?
• Mariners: Hisashi Iwakuma hasn't really recaptured last year's form yet this season. That showed last night as he failed to get out of the fifth in a game Boston won 5-4, snapping the M's five-game winning streak. ... The M's made a roster change, bringing up a pitcher from Tacoma and sending Erasmo Ramirez down. It wasn't Taijuan Walker, though, but newly converted relief pitcher Brandon Maurer, who hit the high-90s consistently in his stint last night. Walker is expected to be recalled before Ramirez's rotation spot comes up again.
• Sounders: There is a lot going on in the Sounders' world. They will leave this afternoon for Washington, D.C., where they will return to MLS action Saturday against D.C. United. But they also want to keep an eye on teammate DeAndre Yedlin in his match this morning. And then there is the U.S. Open Cup, which resumes next week with Portland coming to Starfire. ... G.M. Adrian Hanauer addressed most of those things, along with the Starfire turf, in a quick meeting with the media yesterday.
• We're done a bit early because I want to get ready for the U.S. match. With Italy already eliminated – my backup team – it's up to the U.S. to move on to the knockout round or I'm out of luck. I would have to root for Switzerland, the patron country of all neutral journalists. Until later ...