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One injury can change an entire season

A GRIP ON SPORTS

That was predictable. The difference between winning and losing in the Arena Football League is as thin as an X-ray. In the Spokane Shock's case, the X-ray of Erik Meyer's shoulder. Since Meyer, the best quarterback in the league, went down with an injury, the Shock have lost three consecutive games, including last night's defeat at home to San Jose. As we said, predictable. Read on.

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• We've said it before and we'll continue to say it. There is no more important position in sports than the quarterback spot in the AFL. Have a good to great one and your team is good to great. Don't and it isn't. The Shock had Meyer, the best in the AFL last season and they were within a couple games of the title. They had him at the beginning of the season and they lost one game. Now he's out. And so are their chances of winning. The Shock have tried free agents, they've tried a wide receiver and last night they tried Brian Zbydniewski (pictured), a veteran who has played for them in the past and who they traded for this week. None of it has worked. It may in the future, as Zbydniewski becomes more comfortable with the offense, but will they be out of the playoff hunt by then? Probably not, as the West isn't all that strong other than at the top, where defending champion Arizona lives. A three-game losing streak may not doom Spokane, other than forcing it to play the Rattlers early in the postseason then anyone would like. But the rest of the team is still solid, if not spectacular. If Zbydniewski can hold the line until Meyer's return, the Shock may still be OK.

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• WSU: Jacob Thorpe covered some ground yesterday on the blog, hitting China with the news DaVonté Lacy is part of the team the Pac-12 is sending this summer as ambassadors of the conference. And he hit parts unknown with this post on three players no longer with the Cougar football team. ... The baseball team opened its last Pac-12 series of the year with a loss to Arizona State. ... Yes, we do have ESPN.com's Pac-12 mailbag as well. ... Bud Withers catches up with Jason Gesser and talks with him about his new jobs.

• Gonzaga: The Bulldogs' baseball season came to a close with a loss in the WCC tournament.

• Shock: John Blanchette covers a lot of our thoughts on the quarterback position in this column from last night's 52-34 loss to San Jose. Jim Meehan has the game story as well as a blog post on the defeat. Dan Pelle chips in with photographs from the game.

• Golf: It's Saturday, which means we have Jim's weekly golf notebook. The courses were treated poorly by Mother Nature this winter, as was my back yard.

• Preps: Greg Lee is in Pasco this weekend for the State track and field regional (pictured), an event that didn't start all that well for the local folks. ... Ferris is the lone area representative still in the soccer playoffs and the Saxons have their hands full today at Camas. ... Lewis and Clark showed off its depth in the tennis playoffs. ... The Tigers are looking for a new basketball coach after Jeff Norton was let go a week ago Friday.

• Seahawks: Who says professional sports teams never show any heart? The Hawks signed Garrett Scott, their sixth-round draft choice, ensuring he will get his bonus money and at least part of a season's paycheck. Why is that a big deal? Because Scott has a rare heart condition and will not be able to play. It was discovered in his post-draft physical. ... The 49ers are struggling to deal with what to do with Aldon Smith.

• Mariners: Felix was dealing and Willie Bloomquist was stroking. Put those two together – one expected, the other not so much – and the M's are hard to beat. Houston couldn't as the Mariners rolled to a 6-1 victory. ... Taijuan Walker threw another simulated game yesterday (rumor has it if Brad Miller got a hit, Walker was going to be cut immediately) and came through sound. He's ready for a rehab assignment.

• Sounders: A few days ago, Brad Evans was in the Bay Area competing for a spot on the U.S. World Cup squad. Today he'll be in Vancouver helping the Sounders try to hold off the speedy Whitecaps. I would expect nothing less from an Anteater. Zot. ... New goalkeeper Stefan Frei gets another taste of the Cascadia Cup rivalry. ... Both teams have some injuries to deal with. ... The decision to cut Landon Donovan was still being debated yesterday.

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• Have a good day. Mine is starting with a couple doughnuts, so I'm thinking it is already near perfect. Until later ... 




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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