A GRIP ON SPORTS
If you had any doubts professional sports can spawn a true rivalry, then put them away. Now. We have proof. Read on.
• Free agency is hitting the Seattle Seahawks hard. Everyone, it seems, wants a piece of the Hawks. Heck, even backup safeties are signing contracts that stagger the mind. But it was to be expected. The team was successful and, in a confluence of events, had a handful of players whose contracts were expiring. That handful included a couple of big names, none bigger than Golden Tate. When the wide receiver signed with Detroit, there was some gnashing of teeth and – it's modern equivalent – some social media response. But nothing too bad. After all, most thought going to Detroit – and having to live there – was punishment enough for having left the good old Seahawks. But some news broke on Twitter yesterday that got the Hawk faithful all fired up. Reserve cornerback Walter Thurmond III was on his way to visit the San Francisco 49ers. Not sign with them, mind you, but visit. What a bombshell. It was as if the Pope had converted to Buddhism. The Hawk fan base was outraged. Hadn't Tate said in a radio interview he had received overtures from the Niners, but he couldn't do that to the 12th man? That's the correct attitude, right? But Thurmond, he was thinking about heading down the coast. Blasphemy. Some fans understood. They get it's all about the money. But others? No way. Signing with the Niners, even thinking about signing with the Niners, heck that's like committing to Washington State and then heading to UW. But one guy hasd the right perspective. His tweet yesterday simply said: "What do you expect from a Duck?" Now that's a guy who understands a rivalry.
• WSU: Kind of quiet on the Pullman front – the calm before the storm? – but the Times' Larry Stone has a column on the future of some of the state's college basketball coaches who are deeply connected. ... Arizona dominated Utah last night at the Pac-12 tournament but the big news was California losing to Colorado. That might cost the Bears an NCAA berth. To make matters worse, rival Stanford won and probably is headed to the Big Dance.
• Gonzaga: BYU is dealing with injury added to the insult Gonzaga put on them.
• EWU: The season Tyler Harvey had is still being rewarded, and rightfully so. ... The Eagle women went down to defeat in overtime at the Big Sky Conference tournament. ... The Eagles held their pro day and Jim Allen was in attendance. He has this story on an alum taking another chance at pro football. ... Portland State continued its hot play, stopping Montana at the Big Sky tournament. Host Weber State will face Northern Colorado in the semifinals.
• Idaho: Stephen Madison wasn't about to let the Vandal season end again in the first round of the WAC tournament. The senior scored 26 points to lead UI to a 73-70 win over UM Kansas City, the Vandals first tourney win since Don Verlin became coach. Jacob Thorpe was in Las Vegas and has this story. ... Josh Wright covered the win in this blog post.
• Chiefs: Everett is trying to catch Spokane and improve its postseason position.
• It's Friday. Time for a little dance. Thank goodness there is no video uplink with this blog. Until later ...