A GRIP ON SPORTS
I don't know what it is about a explosive managerial meltdown about a missed call, but I have to admit I like it. Read on.
• Maybe it is the soothing pastoral nature of baseball. Maybe it is the game's slow pace. Or maybe it is just the raw human emotion on display. Whatever it is, a blowup by a manager during a major league game is always welcome. Especially when he's right. As was Lloyd McClendon yesterday. When John Buck obviously checked his swing on a 3-2 pitch in the dirt but was called out anyway, McClendon popped out of the dugout like a prairie dog, then proceeded to do a wolverine impression. If wolverines wore hats. And threw them into the outfield. Within seconds, McClendon was also tossed, given the heave-ho by base umpire Lance Barksdale, who must have known he blew the call or he would have probably given McClendon a chance to make his point. Though the confrontation didn't last long, it was great theater. And it also had a point. McClendon made it clear to his team he wasn't about to go meekly into the afternoon light. Even if his team wasn't putting up much of a fight at the plate – the M's had just two hits in a 2-0 loss to the Rays – he was going to go down swinging. Unlike Buck, who checked his swing. To top it off, McClendon put together an impromptu "Manager's Hat Day" when he left the field, tossing his cap once more, this time to a lucky fan in the stands. Now that's marketing.
• When the news came out yesterday afternoon Tramaine Isabell (pictured) and Washington State had cut ties – the Cougars gave the Garfield High basketball recruit a full release from his letter of intent – the speculation began immediately. Was this Isabell's idea? Did it come from new coach Ernie Kent? What was behind the change of heart, especially after Isabell had reiterated his commitment just a couple of weeks ago? My guess is it was a mutual decision. It probably has to do with Kent recruiting a bunch of guards for next year, with more targeted. I'm guessing the Cougar coach told Isabell he still had a scholarship, but getting playing time as a freshman, and maybe beyond, would be tough. If Isabell wanted to try his hand somewhere else, he would be released. And so Isabell decided to re-enter the market. If that's the case, such honesty is the way it should work. There is no reason to hold a kid to an LOI if the circumstances have changed radically. And there is no reason to kick him to the curb either. If the decision was Isabell's, it shows Kent gets it. And should help him with other players down the road.
• WSU: There was more news from Pullman than just the Isabell decision, which Jacob Thorpe covered in this blog post and story. Yesterday was also the day the NCAA announced all the APR results for the year and the Cougar volleyball team was hit with some penalties. These things happen more frequently during a coaching change. Jacob has a story and a blog post on the volleyball team (pictured) losing some practice time. ... The Pac-12 is officially announcing today the football championship game is moving to the Bay Area. And I was hoping for a snowstorm-filled game in Pullman some day. ... The Oregon president feels the school handled the basketball rape allegations correctly. ... Washington reinstated a quarterback but a receiver is transferring.
• Gonzaga: The Zags made official something that's been out there for months: The basketball schedule next season will contain two West Coast heavyweights, UCLA and Arizona. Jim Meehan has the story.
• EWU: The Eagles have signed one more player to a basketball letter of intent for next season.
• Whitworth: The Pirates dipped into the Midwest talent pool again, this time for their new athletic director. Thomas Clouse has the story on the hire.
• Idaho: Josh Wright covers Idaho's APR news, the worst of which was reported a while ago.
• Preps: And yet again, a lot of prep action to report on. Greg Lee kicks it off with an advance of the Idaho State track meets this weekend and also offers a track notebook. ... Tom Clouse has a preview of Idaho's 5A baseball tournament this weekend. ... We also can offer a roundup of action in other sports.
• Mariners: McClendon's explosion was the only fireworks on the M's side all day in the 2-0 defeat, unless you count Brandon Maurer's inability to find the strike zone in the fourth inning. Maurer is quickly working his way back to the minor leagues, especially with Taijuan Walker and James Paxton getting closer and closer to returning.
• Sounders: If defense wins championships, as the old saying goes, then the Sounders are in trouble. Their defense is the MLS' worst right now. Sigi Schmid addressed that yesterday on the heels of last weekend's 5-0 drubbing. ... Chad Marshall was really close to competing in the 2010 World Cup. Not this year.
• The nicest day of the year thus far. That's the distinction today should hold. Got to like that. Until later ...