A GRIP ON SPORTS
You want to know what this week should really be known as? The week of the flower ads. Can you go anywhere, watch anything, listen to any station and not hear or see an ad for some flower seller? Me neither. Read on.
• Maybe some day I'll be able to say these words: "Just enter Vince in the upper right-hand corner for your special offer." Then I'll know I've made it. But until then I'll have to be satisfied with your compliments in the comments section for ego-gratification. With my mom no longer around, there is no one to tell me how good I'm doing, even when I'm not. As you know, Sunday is Mother's Day. We have, in the past, asked you for your sports memories related to mom. We're not doing that this year (but don't despair, we have something planned for Father's Day, so get your stories typed up now.) Instead, we're sending flowers to seemingly everyone in the universe who is female and related to us in some way. I do believe I am going to have to take out a second (or is it a third?) mortgage to pay the bill. The price of a smile and a thank you seems to go up every year. Which got me to thinking. Who would I send flowers to in the sporting world around here as a way to say thanks? Right now there are a few choices.
• The M's deserve a bouquet, that's for sure. After losing eight consecutive games and making the summer look irrelevant, they've bounced back, won a bunch of games and now are sitting at .500 again. That's good. It's also progress. There is a chance this team just might keep our interest into the warmer months. A chance to listen to a late-night July game with something on the line would make me smile.
• We would have to send some flowers down to Pullman for the athletic director, Bill Moos. He gave us Mike Leach, a guy who is full of thorns when asked football questions but comes up roses when pontificating on Geronimo or salad dressings or the best way to stalk a wild boar. And Moos wasn't afraid to make the needed change in the basketball program, at least after he found enough change in the cushions to pay off Ken Bone's contract. Save your money, we'll get the flowers.
• Another bouquet must be sent to Eugene, for the memories Kelly Graves supplied us over the years, but a bigger one to Gonzaga. New Bulldog women's basketball coach Lisa Fortier has some big shoes to fill – literally; Graves had size 18 or something – so she needs all the encouragement she can get.
• Hey, if we send flowers to Fortier, does Title IX demand we send a bunch to Mark Few as well?
• The Sounders deserve a rose or two for the way they've been playing. No matter how your feel about soccer, when a pro team in the area is leading its league, that's something worth celebrating.
• We should also send a bouquet or two to the folks in the Bloomsday and Hoopfest offices. Thanks for all your hard work. When you see the families get off the buses after walking Bloomsday or you watch all the kids at the neighborhood parks playing three-on-three, you realize how much those events have become part of the fabric of our community. That's something special.
• And finally, we can't forget the Seahawks. Yes, the Super Bowl win was months ago. Who cares? The glow is still with us. Now, what about next season?
• WSU: Man, there is a lot of Pac-12 news today. Just not a lot of has come from Pullman. The women's team announced another basketball signee – the sixth in this class – Monday, a point guard from Australia. ... What is in the water down in Eugene right now? Nothing good, that's for sure. A football player was arrested for a DUI and three basketball players are under a cloud of suspicion concerning an incident with a woman. ... We had the breaking news yesterday concerning Craig Robinson's firing at Oregon State. Now we can add the speculation about who the Beavers might hire to replace him. ... Utah is improved in basketball. Now it is improving its facilities. ... California's football APR is ticking up a bit. ... Rick Neuheisel is rebuilding his reputation one chord at a time.
• Gonzaga: Fortier was able to announce her last hire yesterday and it is her husband, Craig (pictured with EWU coach Jim Hayford), who is leaving Eastern Washington's men's program to join her. Tom Clouse has the story. With a third child on the way, the move should ease the family's scheduling woes a bit. Now instead of juggling two basketball schedules, they'll only be dealing with one. ... The Bulldogs may have a former player in the NFL soon. ... Highly ranked SMU and Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown will come to town to open the season this fall. ... Incoming freshman Silas Melson is the subject of this Portland Tribune story.
• Preps: It's getting to be time for playoffs, with soccer and baseball leading the way. Jim Allen has an advance of the soccer playoffs in Washington and we have this story on the baseball games in Idaho yesterday.
• Seahawks: With all the free agency losses, the Hawks can pick and choose whatever player they want and still help fill a hole. The choices available at receiver are pretty interesting. ... Everyone seems to have a different opinion on who the Hawks will take in the first round. The question is, will Seattle even keep the pick?
• Mariners: Scott Kazmir had yet to lose a game with the A's this season, until last night. The M's put two runs on the board in the first, saw Oakland tie the score, then pulled away for a rather uneventful – thank goodness – 4-2 win in the Bay Area. Stefen Romero's first career home run (pictured) turned out to be the game-winner. ... James Jones joined the club to replace Abraham Almonte, who is now with Tacoma.
• Sounders: With the Sounders playing again tomorrow night – their first midweek game of the season – there is some news today, including the thoughts from a bunch of different players after Monday's workout. ... Clint Dempsey has a leg up on the rest of the MLS in the race to be the top scorer. ... With some injuries on the back side, coach Sigi Schmid might have to make adjustments in the lineup. ... The penalty kick. Who takes it?
• That's it for now. For some reason my fingers weren't working too well this morning, so I apologize for any typos you might find. Until later ...