A GRIP ON SPORTS
Every have a feeling of certainty about your team and a particular game? I did last night. The M's were trailing by a run or two late in the game with the Angels and I knew – knew – they were going to rally and win. I was certain. So I went to bed. When I was jarred away at about 1:30 in the morning by a sudden downpour outside our window, I checked the score, still certain they had rallied and won. Yet, like most everything lately with the M's, I was wrong. It took me more than two hours to get back to sleep. Read on.
• So now I'm certain they will win tonight. That would get the M's back to .500, exactly where they belong. I overreached yesterday. The M's a better-than-.500 team? No way in God's green earth. If ever there was a major league team that seemed destined for a Sisyphus-like season, rolling the rock of a winning season up a hill all year, only to see it roll back over them just as they get near the top, it is these M's. Yes, they spent money and their offense seems better – though I'm not sure the raw data shows much improvement. And, yes, they still have two of the better starting pitchers in the bigs in Felix and Hisashi Iwakuma, but the rest of the rotation is hit and get hit again (except Chris Young in Safeco). But there are too many holes in the lineup, too many guys who make inopportune errors in the field and too many relief pitchers who fail at just the worst time for the M's to be successful. It's too bad. I do believe the baseball fans in the Northwest are ready to get back on board as soon as the M's begin to win again. There is a core who still treks to Safeco when the weather is nice, there's a core that still listens to Rick Rizz and sighs every night and there's a core that still tunes into the games when everything else on television is at commercial. The rest of us are on the fence. We enjoy baseball. Good baseball. The baseball we saw in the last year's of the Kingdome and the first of Safeco. But we're tired of watching bad baseball. It just hurts, sort of like watching a guy get run over by a boulder. Yet there is the pull of summer, the desire to root for the local major league team. It's hard to avoid. We are caught between those two forces, hoping, just hoping, soon the M's will be fun to watch again. Then we can give in to our base instincts, grab a hot dog and an adult beverage and scream our heads off. For our team.
• Don't forget, we're asking a favor of you for Father's Day. Share with us your memories of dad and sports. Of times good – and bad – you spent with dad playing catch, watching golf, running Bloomsday. Whatever. The time he yelled at an umpire or told you he was proud of you or embarrassed the heck out of your brother. We'll put them together and run them in their entirety here on SportsLink. Some will be featured in the Review. Don't worry about polish, just share what's in your heart. Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll take care of the rest. Make sure to include your name, as the newspaper needs it for confirmation purposes.
• WSU: The Cougars have a new track and field coach. And don't give me any of this "national search" malarkey. Bill Moos rode his bike down the trail to Moscow and came back with Wayne Phipps (pictured), the Vandals long-time coach. Jacob Thorpe has more on the hire in this blog post and story. ... Remember when Washington State was trying to scrape by on a million or two in TV money? That's really changed. ... Only one of two ESPN writers project the Cougars in a bowl next season. ... Mike Leach is still out there selling his book on Geronimo.
• Seahawks: There was a lot of news from the Hawks yesterday from their OTAs, including Pete Carroll saying that Earl Thomas would be the punt returner if the season began today. It doesn't and that's probably a good thing because Marshawn Lynch was nowhere to be found. And besides, who wants an All-Pro safety injured returning a punt? Percy Harvin said he would do it, but there's another injury waiting to happen. ... The Hawks signed a couple more draft picks yesterday and decided not to add another person to their front office.
• Mariners: And the other good news from the Mariners? James Paxton has been shutdown again, as his arm hasn't responded well for his recent Tacoma start. It is expected to be just a little while but I'll believe that when I see it. ... The 6-4 loss to the Angels last night was built by a three-run second inning yielded by rookie starting pitcher Roenis Elias. And the lack of a clutch hit late. ... The M's are trying to sign a veteran outfielder.
• Sounders: The biggest question coach Sigi Schmid had to answer yesterday concerned keeper Stefan Frei. Will he remain the Sounders keeper after the two goals he gave up last week? Schmid seemed to indicate he would. ... Clint Dempsey didn't play for the national team last night in its 2-0 win over Azerbaijan. Dempsey was a late scratch due to a groin problem.
• That's it for today. Until later ...