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Grip on Sports: We have thoughts about the Mariners to the Seahawks … and beyond

Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki is greeted by his teammates as he is introduced before the game against the Oakland Athletics on opening night, Monday, April 2, 2001, in Seattle, the last season the Mariners made the postseason. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki is greeted by his teammates as he is introduced before the game against the Oakland Athletics on opening night, Monday, April 2, 2001, in Seattle, the last season the Mariners made the postseason. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It’s the middle of the workweek already, which seems like a good time to bounce from thought to thought for a while. Read on.


• You can thank the Buffalo Bills, but the Seattle Mariners won’t. See, with the Bills last-second entry into the NFL playoffs – the video of their locker room when Cincinnati scored against Baltimore to send Buffalo to the postseason is priceless – the Seattle Mariners now hold the longest postseason drought in North American professional sports.

Longer than the Cleveland Browns. Longer than any NBA team. Longer than anyone.

It was 2001 people. That’s way too long.

• There’s no correlation, I’m sure, but Minnesota, which dumped Blair Walsh, is one of the NFC favorites. Steven Haushcka, the kicker Walsh replaced in Seattle, is in the playoffs – with the Bills. And the Seahawks? Well, you know.

• Just to let you know, I agree with these sentiments from the Oregonian’s Ken Goe. The college football “playoffs,” as we know them, are not what they purport to be. Someday, maybe not in my lifetime, there will be a true playoff structure.

• Last night Arizona fired football coach Rich Rodriguez. The Wildcats will be giving him more than $5 million to walk away. Though the athletic director and school president said it had nothing to do with it, the action came on the heels of a former employee filing a multi-million dollar claim against the state, charging Rodriguez with overseeing a hostile workplace.

The claim may not have been the sole reason for the decision, but it had to play into it. The publicity was going to be horrendous, no matter what, so to dismiss it as a factor would be silly. But if Rodriguez’s team had been 12-1 this season, heck maybe even 9-4, then Arizona may have hung tough.

• The action came just a couple weeks after more than a dozen young men had signed letters of intent with the program.

Now they are locked in, sitting in limbo until the school decides who the new football coach will be and that person decides who he will hire as assistant coaches.

Yes, the high school players signed their letters of intent with the university. But they signed them with the expectation they would be playing for Rodriguez and his staff. That expectation has changed. No matter who the Wildcats’ hire, they should allow everyone in the class to opt out if they want.

Those who are headed to UA because it’s UA, they’ll stay. Those who had other reasons? They can find another place to be happy. That’s only fair.

• With the Seahawks out of the playoffs for the first time in a handful of years, will you root for someone else? The Rams, possibly? Or the Bills?

Me, I’m in the “anyone-but-the-Pats” camp. As much as I admire Tom Brady, Darth Belichick is too much for me. There is no way I want another Super Bowl with the Patriots.

Sadly, the way the AFC is, it looks as if only the Steelers stand in the evil empire’s way. It’s enough to make me watch curling or cricket that Sunday.


WSU: It’s been a tough year for the Pac-12, what with the conference’s football teams finishing 1-8 in bowl games. Now the basketball season looks to be another tough one, with the conference probably battling to get more than two or three teams into the NCAA tournament. … Around the Pac-12, Stanford and Oregon are part of those outside looking in right now. UCLA and Arizona State are currently part of the “haves.” … Utah has won twice in conference but face a tough week. … As we said earlier this week, a lot of football players are making decisions about the NFL draft. Most of those making news have decided to go. But some are staying. … Washington will be good next year no matter how many players leave. … Former Oregon State head coach Gary Andersen decided to go home. He’s been hired at Utah, where he played and coached in the past. The hiring has led to speculation about Kyle Whittingham’s future. … The Pac-12’s football future needs to be solidified.

Gonzaga: The Zags have solidified much of their next two recruiting classes. Jim Meehan checked in with the players who have signed or committed to GU. … Elsewhere in the WCC, BYU is looking to diversify its offense.

EWU: The team with the best nonconference record in the Big Sky, Portland State, comes to Cheney this week. The Eagles will be ready. Jim Allen has an early preview. … Around the Big Sky, Portland State hired a former Washington State player as its defensive coordinator.

Idaho: The Big Sky women’s basketball player of the week is a Vandal.

Bloomsday: Yes, if you want to get a leg up on everyone else, you can register for the May run online. Five months in advance.

Preps: Basketball is back on, even as some school districts are still out for the winter break. Dave Nichols was at Gonzaga Prep last night to watch senior Tanner Christensen, who has signed with Idaho, face off with junior Anton Watson, who has committed to Gonzaga, in battle of two premier Greater Spokane League bigs. Alas, both were saddled with fouls. G-Prep won, 68-40. … We also can pass along roundups from girls and boys action.

Seahawks: You know that saying about the future being bright? Murky would be a better description for Seattle right now. Pete Carroll swears he will be back, but how his roster is put together seems up in the air heading into the postseason. One thing is certain. There will be a new kicker. … Did the Hawks’ activism affect their results? Could be. … How do you feel about this?


• A holiday to begin the week seems to throw the schedule off, doesn’t it? At least it does for me. Trash day being a day late is hard to adjust to. After all, it’s about all I like forward to these days. If this were a tweet, I would add the hashtag retiredlife and move on. Until later …