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Unless the M’s can figure out how to handle Texas, this year won’t be ‘next year’

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Fans of the Brooklyn Dodgers used to have a saying. “Wait ‘til next year,” they would chant year after year until it finally came true. Maybe it’s time for the Mariner fans to adopt that attitude. Read on.

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• When the M’s began the season with such promise, many of us who follow the team began to wonder if maybe, just maybe, this was the year they would return to the postseason. But a good start is nothing more than that, and the last week or so has put a dent in the high hopes. For the Mariners to be a contender, they have to be able to play with the contending teams – especially in their division. As of now, there is only one other: the Texas Rangers. In the past 10 days, Seattle has met Texas six times. The Rangers have won five. The M’s went into Arlington two weekends ago tied for the lead in the American League West. Today they wake up five games back. Yes, there is still a lot of time left in this year. But unless the M’s can figure out a way to consistently win against the better teams – and, in a somewhat related matter, consistently win at home (they are 15-18, the only team in the American League with a winning record overall and under .500 at home) – then this year will be filled with an August and September of “wait ‘til next years.”

• The three teams I wanted to win the Stanley Cup – in order of preference, Tampa Bay, Washington and San Jose – all lost this postseason to Pittsburgh. Not a big Penguins fan. Actually, not a big fan of any professional team in Pittsburgh. But c’est la vie. Anyone I root against is probably bound to win. And the Penguins did, winning their fourth Stanley Cup.

• The Warriors will try to win their second consecutive NBA title tonight at home vs. Cleveland. And they’ll be doing it without their do-everything guy, Draymond Green, suspended for acting like a selfish doofus over and over again. And that’s what his rants have been, selfish. For a team that preaches we before me, Green can’t seem to get the idea that when his anger gets out of control, when he makes a team game an individual war, he’s hurting the group. So he sits. And the Warriors are diminished because of it.

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• Mariners: The M’s lost 6-4 yesterday but what most people will remember from the game is the final out. Robinson Cano drives in the fourth run with a sure double in the right-field corner, only be thrown out at second base when his leg guard comes loose and he stumbles over it. Is it just me or does it seem that these things happen only in Seattle and to the Mariners? ... James Paxton had a good outing the other day. Now, can he repeat it over and over as Felix heals? ... Scott Servais thinks the M’s are about to go on a winning streak. You expect him to say anything else?

• Sounders: The Copa America comes to Seattle in a big way this week, with Argentina and Lionel Messi playing at CenturyLink tomorrow night and then the U.S. team in its quarterfinal match with Ecuador on Thursday. ... In between, the Sounders will play a U.S. Open Cup match against a local squad. ... Portland isn’t too happy with its U.S. Open Cup draw again. ... Wonder what the papers in Brazil are saying today (sadly, I can't read Portuguese)? The most dominant team in the Western Hemisphere lost 1-0 to Peru yesterday on a goal that should not have been allowed. Just think if someone won a big NFL game on an illegal play. Wait.

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• As you may recall, my son attended UC Santa Barbara. I’m glad to see the Gauchos used the out-of-state tuition to upgrade their baseball program. Now they are headed to the College World Series for the first time. And how they got there was amazing. ... By the way, no team west of the Rockies was allowed to host a Regional tournament. None were allowed a home Super Regional. And yet two of them, UCSB and Arizona, earned trips to Omaha. That’s 25 percent of the field. 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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