July 7, 2013 in Sports

A Grip on sports

 

Vince Grippi has an opinion about everything local, especially sports. Every Sunday we provide samples of his daily riffs. Read him daily at spokesman.com/sportslink.

Thursday: Boston general manager Danny Ainge gave Kelly Olynyk the greatest gift he could ever give him yesterday afternoon.

He named 36-year-old former Butler coach Brad Stevens as the Celtics’ 16th head coach. With one decision, Ainge made Olynyk an afterthought in the coming season and, in the process, took all the pressure off his first-round draft pick. If Ainge had hired just about anyone else – say former WSU head coach Kevin Eastman, a long-time Celtic assistant – to fill the role, everyone would have known the coach was a place-holder, put in the chair to keep it warm until the Celtics’ roster improved.

Then Ainge would hire the coach he really wanted. So all the scrutiny would have been on Olynyk and his progress. That’s a lot to put on Olynyk’s shoulders. But with the Stevens move, Ainge has changed that dynamic.

No matter what happens with Olynyk and the rest of the Celtics players, the Boston media will be dissecting Stevens more. He’ll be the focal point of the unblinking eye. Which gives Olynyk time to develop his game in about as much anonymity as the NBA allows. And it doesn’t hurt that Stevens is known as a great teacher of the game.

Olynyk went from being under the gun to being in one of the better spots he could be in.

 Tuesday: Today seems like a perfect day to talk about hot seats. After all, if you are outside and sit down, you are on one. But does the term really apply to anyone in the Mariners front office?

If you are a fed-up Mariners fan, then  Geoff Baker’s blog post from last night is a must.

I agree with just about everything Baker writes in this post and have written similarly in the past couple years. The M’s problems are not just with the players on the field, the manager, the coaching staff, the GM and the other people under Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong. The problem is Lincoln and Armstrong.

They are the common denominator with all the failures in the past decade-plus. Baker makes that abundantly clear. But there is more. I, unlike Baker, believe Armstrong and Lincoln are not all that good at managing the bottom line either.

Yes, the M’s are making money. But not as much as they could be. If the M’s had invested wisely in players and management the past decade, the stands would be full – everyone latches on to a winner – and the TV ratings higher. Thus, the media deal quite possibly would have been worth even more and the value of the franchise even higher. Give them props for making the woeful Mariners a billion-dollar franchise, but ding them for being responsible for the woeful part.

Monday: 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.

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