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Grip on Sports: Even after a day off, some things just don’t change – but others do

Seattle Mariners' Denard Span watches his RBI double against the Kansas City Royals during the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 30, 2018, in Seattle. (John Froschauer / AP)
Seattle Mariners' Denard Span watches his RBI double against the Kansas City Royals during the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 30, 2018, in Seattle. (John Froschauer / AP)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Where were we? Oh ya, the Mariners were winning. They still are. And Hoopfest was coming. It’s here. And some old Zags were playing hoops. That’s over. Read on.

••••••••••

• The rough patch seems to be over. Since losing five consecutive games, the M’s have not lost in their next six. That’s good, right? Heck, they even won last night wearing their pajamas and Felix Hernandez having to use a walker to get to the mound.

OK, it wasn’t that bad. The Turn Ahead The Clock Night, 2.0, featured the supposed futuristic uniforms from 2027 or something. And Hernandez, who won’t be pitching then, almost didn’t pitch last night, as he had a stiff back. But he threw fine after working out the first-inning kinks and Ryon Healy, who will still be playing in nine years, had four hits in the M’s 6-4 win.

It seems as if the Mariners are just not going to fade away, doesn’t it? 

• We spent much of yesterday walking around Hoopfest. Around is the operative word.

By 2027 the re-imagining of Riverfront Park may be done but I’m not so sure. For 2018, though, the inability to get through the center of the park made for a long Hoopfest Saturday.

If you had teams playing north of the river and others in downtown, the slog getting back and forth was made even tougher – and more circuitous – by the construction. 

That will be over soon, in geological time, however, and Hoopfest? It will go on. Come clouds, winds or rain, all of which was available yesterday. A quick way through the park was not.

• The organizers of The Basketball Tournament put the Saint Mary’s team, Gael Force, in the Spokane Hoopfest pod with the hope of matching them with the Gonzaga group, Few Good Men. And possibly drawing a decent crowd to Lewis and Clark High.

Both happened last night, though the crowd didn’t stick around for the end. It didn’t need to. The game was decided.

Gael Force was unstoppable, winning 95-48.

Which had to be satisfying to the former Saint Mary’s players. Maybe not as satisfying as winning a WCC title or making the NCAA tournament, a couple things that doesn’t happen all that often for the Moraga guys, but satisfying nonetheless.

• The future of football is cloudy. It’s the same for other sports that include repeated blows to the head, like rugby, boxing, soccer and MMA. Football, however, is our national sport and we feel some paternalistic affection for it.

It is also the subject of a trio of stories in today’s S-R, including a column from Shawn Vestal, a look at the local youth scene and businesses that are working to make it safer.

•••

Gonzaga: Jim Meehan was at Lewis and Clark last night and had to sit through the rout. He has this story from the game.

Indians: Spokane has lost its first two games of a five-game road trip to Hillsboro, including last night’s 3-2 decision. … Around the Northwest League, Eugene and Everett didn’t play last night. Rain? Nope, a scheduled night off because the Grateful Dead were in town. It's the last note in the linked story from Friday's game. … Avista Stadium is trying to win an award.

Hoopfest: Sometimes the competitive aspect of Hoopfest is overlooked a bit, but not today. Not when Ryan Collingwood does a story on Josh Heytvelt returning to basketball for the first time in a while or another on a group of Eastern Washington University football players, including former AAU summer basketball teammates Stu Stiles and Nick Ellison, getting together. Ryan also has an update on the elite bracket results. … You want more on the recreational aspect? There are these photos from Libby Kamrowski and Jesse Tinsley and this story from Rebecca White.

Mariners: As we said earlier, the Mariners are on another roll. The highlight, or lowlight if you prefer, of last night’s game was probably the uniforms. … Not only do many pitchers have individual game pitch counts, they also have a season-long innings count. And the M's are beginning to butt up against them. … If you didn’t see this earlier here, our Out of Right Field column this week looks at the M’s halfway through the season.

Seahawks: Could J.R. Sweezy be coming back?

Sounders: The 3-2 home loss to Portland may have put Seattle into such a deep hole there is no getting out. It at least makes it even tougher.

•••        

• We are headed back downtown today, but only for a while. The good thing about Sunday is fewer teams are playing, which makes it easier to get around and more intense. And no, Kent, there isn’t a wingtip division, though maybe there should be. Until later … 


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