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Wednesday, February 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Grip on Sports: There is little to distract us this morning except some bad news

Seattle Mariners’ Mitch Haniger hits a sacrifice fly ball in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Monday, June 25, 2018, in Baltimore. Dee Gordon scored on the play. (Patrick Semansky / AP)
Seattle Mariners’ Mitch Haniger hits a sacrifice fly ball in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Monday, June 25, 2018, in Baltimore. Dee Gordon scored on the play. (Patrick Semansky / AP)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It seems too early to be in the dog days of summer, and not nearly hot enough, but we may be in the puppy part of it. Other than baseball, what’s on the radar? Read on.


• If this weren’t a sports column, we might be writing about dogs anyway. More specifically, people who let their dogs run around without a leash, in defiance of city ordinances and common sense.

But that’s for another time and space, the “Get off my Lawn” podcast or something. This space is reserved for sports news.

Which is why there is a big honking pile of nothing between here and the links. 

We can’t write about the Mariners every day, can we?

Sure, they are back to playing teams they can beat – thank the baseball gods for the Baltimore Orioles – but that news has a flip side. The playoffs, if the Mariners are to be so lucky to end their 482-year postseason-less streak, will include teams a bit different than the Orioles. It will be more Yankees, Astros and Red Sox. 

But that’s for the fall. The summer is lucky enough to include more teams on pace to lose 100 games than any in history. Only once in history have four teams lost 100 games (2002, three in the American League, one in the National). This year, three American League teams are on pace to hit that mark and three National League teams are close.

This week the M’s are playing Baltimore four times. The Orioles, who have lost more games over the years than any other American League franchise, are historically bad, winning less than three out of every 10 games. Since 1900, that’s only happened 20 times, only 11 times outside of the state of Pennsylvania. 

And yet we have this year’s Orioles. And the Kansas City Royals, who are barely better. And the Chicago White Sox, who have lost 51 games.

The Mariners have won 48 games, more than all but three teams in baseball. Sadly those three teams have already been mentioned above. The three that sit atop the American League.  

• Tyler Hilinski's parents went on the Today show this morning and revealed their son was suffering from CTE when he committed suicide. The parents allowed the Mayo Clinic to examine Tyler's brain after his death and the disease was present.

"The medical examiner said he had the brain of a 65-year-old," Mark Hilinski said. "He was the sweetest, most outgoing, giving kid. That was difficult to hear."

The Hilinski's national television appearance coincides with a Sports Illustrated article and other stories about Tyler and his death.


WSU: Around the Pac-12, the money gap between the conference and the top Power 5 leagues is getting worse. … The College World Series’ final series, between Oregon State and Arkansas, was scheduled to begin last night. Didn’t happen. That’s Nebraska in the summer. Clear skies one minute, a downpour the next. … The Beavers have lost a starting linebacker. … Oregon has lost its softball coach – to Texas. … Utah keeps making its basketball schedule better.

Gonzaga: There is quite a bit of news about former GU players’ summer plans, all of it covered by our Jim Meehan. There is NBA summer league assignments for Kyle Wiltjer and Jordan Mathews. And there is international play in David Stockton’s immediate future.

EWU: The Eagles introduced their new volleyball coach yesterday, Leslie Flores-Cloud. Jim Meehan was at the introductory press conference and has this story.

Chiefs: Another Spokane player will be in an NHL camp.

Indians: If you need a win, it always helps to get a dominant start. Spokane received just that from Ryan Dease and rode it to a 6-0 win to end its series with Vancouver. Dave Nichols was at Avista and has the story. … Around the Northwest League, Boise swept host Eugene and Everett’s long winning streak is over. 

Shock: Larry Weir’s newest Press Box pod features a talk with former Shock – and Empire – coach Adam Shackelford. 

Preps: Gonzaga Prep’s Daniel Roy is ready to help Stanford in the pool. Ryan Collingwood has a story that answers most every question except whether he’s run into the Hull sisters yet.

Mariners: For about 15 minutes last night it looked as if the M’s would waste another in a series of recent good outings by Felix Hernandez. But a walk-fueled two-run rally lifted them to a 5-3 win at Baltimore and gave Hernandez his seventh victory. … Jean Segura was back in the lineup by Mike Zunino was not. … Despite a tough stretch, the M’s are still in the wild-card driver’s seat. … Ben Gamel has  relaxed and is hitting better.

Seahawks: Could the Hawks take a defensive back in the supplemental draft? They need help.


• Yes, this time of the year is quite quiet. It’s so bad, I went looking for stories around the Internet today and got caught in a rabbit hole of Roman history. Mr. Fox would have been so proud. (If you are wondering, Mr. Fox was my ninth-grade ancient history teacher. He was incredibly excited about ancient European history and made me a convert.) Until later … 

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