August 17, 2014 in Sports

Grip on Sports: Forget wild card for the Mariners! How about a crown?

 
Associated Press photo

The current Seattle Mariners team has all the makings of a 1995 pennant-chasing run.
(Full-size photo)

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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.

Friday: On Aug. 14, 1995, the Mariners were 11 1/2 games out of first place in the American League West, sitting in third behind the high-flying Angels and the Texas Rangers.

We all know what happened. After yesterday’s games, the M’s found themselves in third place, 7 1/2 games behind in the West, trailing Oakland and the Angels, in that order.

In 1995, their eyes were on the wild-card slot.

This year, all anyone is talking about is the race for the second wild-card slot. So why do I think the M’s will repeat their late stretch run of 1995, pass the Angels and the A’s and win the American League West?

Yeah, why indeed? I don’t know. Just a feeling maybe that this team is putting it all together. That the pitching, solid all season, heck, record-breaking solid all season, will stay that way. That the offense, lagging behind since spring training, is finally waking up – to an extent. Enough really to instigate a stretch run.

Heck, 7 1/2 games is nothing. A couple weeks of hot play and poof, it’s gone. Ask the Tigers, the M’s opponent tonight. They were more than 7 1/2 games ahead of the Royals just a few weeks ago. Now they are in second place, looking up at Kansas City. The Royals got hot, the Tigers cold and, thanks in part to a couple key Detroit injuries, KC surged to the front. The M’s can do the same thing. Except, when they do it, it will be too late for anyone to surge back.

One other eerie comparison to 1995. The Angels were cruising along in August until the guy that held their infield together, shortstop Gary DiSarcina, went on the disabled list. That started their slide to a one-game playoff with the M’s. Yesterday, the A’s had to  put shortstop Jed Lowrie on the DL with a broken finger. The slide is starting.

Wednesday: If you are, like me, a bit of a front-runner and want to watch the home team win, then maybe you should be making plans to head out to Cheney this football season.

This might come as a surprise to those of you who don’t follow them, but the Eagles are going to be darn good again this year. So good, in fact, you would have to consider them the national championship favorites. That’s good.

Each time Eastern takes the red turf at Roos Stadium, it will be favored to win. For fans who hate disappointment, what could be better? Go to a game and come home happy. Perfect. Just don’t come complaining to me if they don’t win every game. I said they are favorites, not locks. No one is a lock in a football game. Ask Pete Carroll. And Jim Harbaugh. The seeds of their rivalry were sown years ago when Harbaugh’s huge underdog Stanford team walked into the Coliseum and knocked off Carroll’s behemoths from USC.

Monday: We asked a poll question last week about local college football teams. Whose college football season is most important to you? A pretty mundane question, wouldn’t you say? Not to college football fans.

The number of responses was staggering. Almost 10 times as many responses as any Spokesman-Review poll in the last month. About 25 times as many as our usual polls. I’m not sure but standing up for your school seems to be a point of pride for college football fans around here.

The final tally indicates Eastern Washington fans are either wildly enthusiastic about their team or they know how to use their computers better than anyone else.

Sunday: I’m writing this from the comfort of a nice hotel room. Kim and I got away this weekend to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. Wow, 35 years. Seems like 135. (Cue rim shot.) Don’t worry. She doesn’t read what I write anymore. It’s all part of her strategy to make sure we stay together another 35 years.


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