A GRIP ON SPORTS
It just might hit 100 today around here, which doesn't happen all that often. And you know what heat does, don't you? It dries things out. Read on.
• The best thing heat dries out? Fairways. I can actually hit a drive more than 210 yards in the middle of summer. If I get all of it. The worst thing heat dries up? Well, there's my flowers. And skin. And links. No, not the golf type. But as the weather warms up and folks head out on vacation – it is July after all – the number of stories to link seems to shrivel like a worm caught on a hot sidewalk. Oh sure, there is always baseball, but the Mariners' chances of being exciting dried up a long time ago and the victory drought on the recent homestand certainly clinched a long, hot rest of the summer. There is little, if any, excitement coming out of Safeco Field right now. So we won’t force anything today. It's too damn hot for that. (And yes, we used the word damn there on purpose, as it is going to be as hot as Hades today. It's not a cussword in that context, just an adjective.)
• I can't let today pass without singing, one last time, the joys of Hoopfest. Walking downtown this weekend – and I put a bunch of miles in – once again confirmed my faith in sports as a great equalizer. There were people of all genders, ages, races, and physical abilities on the streets playing hoops. And, for the most part, they were having a good time. It is the most democratic event put on in Spokane. Nothing else comes close.
• Gonzaga: NBCSports.com thinks GU just might be the landing spot for Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer. Of course, it is more of a repeat of what others are saying, not anything new.
• Hoopfest: I can remember watching Nick Denbeigh (pictured chasing the ball) play youth basketball. And playing football for Lewis and Clark High. And football for Eastern. So it came as no surprise I could watch him play for the Hoopfest 6-foot-and-under title last night. Denbeigh's Ballerz By Law team won and took home the title. Greg Lee has the story of the elite men's games (David Pendergraft won another title which is, I believe, his 134th in the 24-year-old tournament). Jim Allen has the story on the women's title game.
• Mariners: There is a bottom line here. The M's lost 7-6 to the woeful Chicago, they lost two of three to the Cubs and were 3-5 on the homestand. That puts them 12 games under .500 entering July. Trades are coming before the month is through folks, with the M's dumping players with value (Raul Ibanez anyone? Kendrys Morales? Aaron Harang?) and, once again, building for the future. … As for the short-term future, Ibanez has faith, even though the veteran, who hit his 19th home run of the year, may not be here to see much of it. He thinks the M's have fortitude, as they have the ability to rally when they get down, as they did Sunday thanks, in large part, to an ineffective Jeremy Bonderman. Add it all up and the M's are sinking again. … Hey, a trade. This time Eric Thames, a guy the M's picked up last July 31, was sent away instead of being released. … Dustin Ackley should be OK and back in the lineup soon.
• That's it. As for the rest of the day, the lawn needs to be mowed, but it may be too warm for that. Or to play golf. Or to sit outside. Maybe a movie? Or a brisk three-mile run? Or possibly a nap, where the run can occur in a dream. That seems to be the only safe place for a run today. Until later …