A GRIP ON SPORTS • For some reason it is a little tough to get going this morning. Maybe it’s because I stayed up late – a relative term – to watch the Dodgers remain alive in the World Series hunt. Read on.
• If you are a Cubs’ fan, this week must have been fun. If you are a fan of any other team still playing, it’s been filled more with anxiety and trepidation. Watching the celebration at Wrigley Field last night almost made me wish the Cubs would win the Series this season. And, if the Mets win in Los Angeles Thursday, I will – no matter who wins the American League. Though there is one thing that may keep me from going all in with the Cubbies: The way Steve Bartman has been treated. OK, we all know Bartman should have let Moises Alou alone to catch the foul ball in the 2003 National League championship series. That’s what knowledgeable baseball fans are supposed to do when a player on their team is trying to make a play. The converse is true as well. When the visiting team’s player is trying to reach into the stands to grab a ball, then all’s far, including, but not limited to, “accidentally” spilling a drink on said player. That’s just good hard-nosed baseball. But what Bartman did, interfering with his team’s chance to win the game by trying for a souvenir, just isn’t done. Except it is done all the time and no one notices. For years after the Bartman gaffe – and the Cubs meltdown – I paid close attention to foul balls and the interplay between home-field players and the fans. Rarely did I see a fan cede the right-of-way to his team’s fielder. Not in Boston, home to the world’s most knowledgeable fans (ask them, they’ll tell you). Not in New York, home to the world’s most privileged fans. Not in Los Angeles, though I must admit most of the times I’ve seen foul balls in Chavez Ravine, it was after the sixth inning and the stands were empty. Anyway, my point is simple. Those who haven’t sinned can cast the first ball. And very few folks haven’t sinned in this regard. So give Bartman a pass. Let him live in peace. And go Dodgers.
• WSU: It’s Wednesday, so that means we have notebooks from around the Pac-12 to pass along. We start, appropriately, with Jacob Thorpe’s notebook in the S-R today. Jacob also has his Pac-12 power rankings and multiple items from last night, including a practice report and video from interviews with Mike Leach, Jim Mastro and Clay McGuire. Jacob also passes along WSU’s game notes and a morning post with links. ... Is WSU done with the rollercoaster play of the past? It sure seems as if anything is possible. ... Former quarterback Jeff Tuel is back in the NFL. ... Other notebook subjects include how Utah has improved, the sea change that seems in the works in Washington, the turmoil at USC and the excitement available in the Bay Area. ... Why would Oregon do this? ... The college football playoff picture is pretty cloudy. ... WSU’s goalkeeper was honored by the Pac-12.
• EWU: Beau Baldwin would like you to not judge his defense by the numbers. As Jim Allen’s story relates, he has other ways to rate their effectiveness. ... Jim also has a morning post with some Big Sky Conference links. ... Jim Meehan’s college volleyball notebook this week takes a look at Eastern’s fast start in Big Sky play.
• Shock: Spokane added a couple of defensive backs to its roster.
• Seahawks: The Hawks need help in the secondary. To clear room, they waived a familiar player yesterday as well as one we saw carry the ball this past weekend. No, not Thomas Rawls. He’s back to being a reserve, though. ... Is the Jimmy Graham experiment a failure? ... Before the end-of-game collapse, the offense had done some good things. ... The Hawks are 2-3. Is this week’s game against the undefeated Panthers crucial to the season’s success?
• There was a time when a Dodger postseason game would get my blood moving. Of course, that was before the advent of 17 rounds of playoffs. Still, I am shocked at my own equanimity during their games. Either I’m getting old or watching the M’s have beaten the excitement out of me. I’ll go with the former. Until later ...