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Saturday, February 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Grip on Sports: Maybe we were lucky not to be able to watch the last couple innings of the M’s on Wednesday

Texas Rangers' Shin-Soo Choo hits a foul ball during the first inning of a baseball game as Seattle Mariners catcher David Freitas looks on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, in Seattle. Choo grounded out during his at-bat. (Ted S. Warren / AP)
Texas Rangers' Shin-Soo Choo hits a foul ball during the first inning of a baseball game as Seattle Mariners catcher David Freitas looks on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, in Seattle. Choo grounded out during his at-bat. (Ted S. Warren / AP)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The second of 80 games without Robinson Cano didn’t go too well for the M’s last night as they treated the late innings like Cano treated baseball’s drug testing rules: with disdain. Read on.


• You would have thought the Mariners would have been so excited to receive seven shutout innings from fill-in starter Christian Bergman, they would have exploded for 10 runs and defeated the Rangers easily yesterday.

(Column intermission one: Bergman and I are the only two people in the history of the world – as far as I know – to have played baseball at St. Francis High School in La Canada, Calif., and at UC Irvine. Of course, he was more successful at both places – and beyond.)

But they didn’t. Part of that was because 44-year-old Bartolo Colon, whose age finally matches his waist size, stymied the M’s suddenly struggling attack with a combination of guts and guile. Of course, he has more than enough of the first to spare. 

Not that I saw any of this, of course. The game was not on television. Not on over-the-air or cable TV anyway. It was broadcast on some sort of Russian-backed social media system owned by some guy who just testified before Congress and apologized for some thing his company did. 

I tried to watch, but my subscription to The Facebook expired, I changed credit cards and it didn’t automatically renew. Or some thing like that.

Anyway, I was listening to Rick Rizz and Gary Hill when the M’s decided to give the game away in the late innings.

(Column intermission two: The Rangers scored two runs at one point on a strike out. Yep. A third strike got past David Freitas and the runner from third and the one on second both scored. I wish I could say I’ve never seen that before but a) I didn’t see it yesterday because, you know, Facebook; and 2) I was a catcher. And no, we don’t want to talk about it.)

And Mariner fans were worried their team would miss Cano. I’d be more worried right now about Nelson Cruz, who sat yesterday after being beaned twice Tuesday, missing time due to his sore foot. With Cano on the shelf, Cruz’s bat is needed more than ever. And not just his usual bat. The super one he pulls out every once in a while that seems to burn with the heat of a thousand atomic lighters would be appreciated.

If not, Mariner fans could be facing another June swoon, this one more than somewhat self-inflicted.  


WSU: We are in the second half of May and there is news from Pullman. Imagine that. Theo Lawson has the story of a proven defensive tackle who is transferring to Washington State. And another on 12 conference stars the Cougars were able to miss last season but who they may face this year – if they stay healthy. … The Cougars are also at the center of the most recent Larry Weir Press Box pod. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12, there is more on the media-rights money. … Dennis Erickson is returning to football coaching. Just not at the college level. … Arizona’s depth chart may look something like this. … I almost forgot to pass this along. It's Dennis Dodd's takedown of the Pac-12's recent (lack of) success.

Gonzaga: The NCAA each spring highlights the highest-achieving athletic teams around the nation. Once again the Bulldogs had a bunch of team earn the honors. Jim Meehan has more in this story. … The Salt Lake Tribune laid off more than a third of its newsroom lately, including its BYU reporter. Maybe that is why it was a day late reporting Yoeli Childs is returning to BYU.

CCS: The Sasquatch will be hosting a NWAC Super Regional this weekend. Dave Nichols has all the particulars in this story.

Preps: The state playoffs are in full swing this week, with Greg Lee profiling a Post Falls jumper who hopes to set some records at the Idaho state meet, and Jim Allen keeping track of Lewis and Clark’s soccer team, the only one from the GSL still playing. … We also can pass along a softball roundup.

Mariners: The late-inning fiasco was more than enough to cover in the 5-1 defeat, but then again so was Bergman’s impressive start. He deserved better. … What if the M’s weren’t allowed to spend Cano’s suspension-caused salary rebate? Would that discourage players from trying to get an edge? Uh, no. Not one bit. … Joey Votto apologized for some disparaging remarks about James Paxton’s no-hitter.

Seahawks: The Hawks signed their top draft pick for a pretty Penny. OK, I’m sorry. … They expect to add a return man to the roster.


• Remember the last time the M’s made the postseason? I do. I was at the opener of the Cleveland series after that magical 116-win season and some Indian pitcher just shut them down. His name was Bartolo Colon. Yep, he’s been around that long. Until later … 

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