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Wednesday, March 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Grip on Sports: It’s time to plan for warm summer nights watching the Spokane Indians fly around Avista Stadium

The Spokane Indians baseball team take a tour of the air traffic control tower, Tues., June 12, 2018, at Fairchild Air Force Base. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
The Spokane Indians baseball team take a tour of the air traffic control tower, Tues., June 12, 2018, at Fairchild Air Force Base. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The weatherman tells us it’s going to get real warm around here soon. Which is appropriate, considering summer is officially just around the next bend. And the Spokane Indians are about to start their season. Read on.


• Apple pie you can enjoy year round. But baseball, minor league baseball, is a summer thing. And our minor league franchise, the Spokane Indians, part of the short-season Single A Northwest League, is certainly a summer thing.

Actually, one of the best summer things.

Warm nights at Avista Stadium. (Or is Hydro One Stadium?) Hot dogs and a cold adult beverage. (With your buddy Vince doing what he always does, serving as the designated driver.) Chasing after foul balls, checking the spelling of the Rangers’ next great second baseman, wondering if the Everett star will stay healthy enough to finish the season. (If you didn’t know, Everett is the Mariners’ Northwest League team and the franchise’s No. 1 draft pick usually ends up there.)

It’s baseball and it’s summertime. 

It begins this Friday night, when the Indians host Boise. There will be fireworks, guaranteed. Oh, the game may not include them but, being this is minor league baseball and promotions are its lifeblood, there will be a fireworks display afterward. Then there is the $1 family feast night on Saturday, when hot dogs, pop and ice cream sandwiches are, yep, a buck.

Too bad the ice cream sandwich promotion couldn’t be next Thursday, when it is supposed to be in the mid-90s, but one thing you can be certain of, the warm weather will return. And the $1 family feast. Such things always do. Heck, I think I saw Max Patkin or The Chicken perform their shtick at least a dozen times over the years during Indians games. 

And the baseball? It doesn’t matter all that much. The guys on the field are, for the most part, just beginning their dreamed-of-forever professional journey. 

They are the interns of the baseball business world. They will make mistakes. They will learn. They will improve.

And they play as hard as they can on ever pitch. 

Besides, what happens on the field is just part of the experience. The view is great, the weather is (usually) great, the ambience is great. The apple pie? You have to supply that yourself.


WSU: The Golden State Warriors held another victory parade yesterday. And the star was, again, Klay Thompson. … Around the Pac-12, the College World Series begins Saturday, with Oregon State facing the school it defeated for the 2007 title, North Carolina. … Washington’s Super Regional win made one major league player ecstatic. The athletic department's current success is doing the same for Husky fans. … Oregon’s three-on-three team in the FIBA world championships lost in the quarterfinals to the eventual champion, Italy. Spokane’s Oti Gildon had three points. … In other basketball news, Arizona is still trying to improve its roster and Colorado is back to scheduling state rival Colorado State. … On the football field, Arizona State's Herm Edwards is winning over some folks. 

Indians: The Spokane players toured Fairchild Air Force Base yesterday as part of a team-building exercise. Ryan Collingwood and Colin Mulvany followed along, with Ryan supplying the story and Colin the photographs

Preps: Central Valley High has a new girls basketball coach. It’s alum Ryan Bragdon, who last coached at the college level two years ago. Dave Nichols has more on a coach who follows in some Paul Bunyan-sized footsteps.

Mariners: The balls are flying out of Safeco Field right now and it’s the M’s hitting most of them. Well, the M’s and the Angels’ Mike Trout. But the team is greater than the man, even the best man, and Seattle won 6-3 last night. … The M’s have signed most of their drafted players. … Nick Vincent was hoping to be healthy enough to get off the disabled list. It didn’t happen. … Jean Segura is an All-Star even if he doesn't earn that honor. … The M's finished their trade for Roenis Elias.

Seahawks: Minicamp began without Earl Thomas yesterday and even Mr. Positive, Pete Carroll, couldn’t be positive the All-Pro safety will ever play for the Hawks again. … Other folks who missed OTAs were at the minicamp. … Russell Wilson has a new hobby.

Sounders: Some of Seattle highest-paid players are finally starting to get back on the field. … North America was awarded the World Cup for 2026 today, which means there is a really good chance the U.S. team will actually play in it.


• Coming tomorrow: Your thoughts on the Mariners and the season. (That’s called “a tease” in the business.) Coming Friday: Who knows? Until later … 

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