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Saturday, February 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Fog 28° Fog

Grip on Sports: There is hope folks, as the unofficial start of summer is only days away

Seattle’s Robinson Cano was the latest player suspended by Major League Baseball for violating the joint drug agreement with the union. (Carlos Osorio / AP)
Seattle’s Robinson Cano was the latest player suspended by Major League Baseball for violating the joint drug agreement with the union. (Carlos Osorio / AP)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Is there anything you need to get done, either on the job or around the house? This seems like the week to do it. Read on.


• The PGA is moving its signature tournament, the PGA Championship, to May next year. Too late. We needed it here in 2018.

Yes, there was a time when May was ceded to horse racing, but that was when my father was a young man. The ponies, while still exciting, don’t have the drawing power they once had and, honestly, are barely a blip on the big stage.

There are places in the nation, sure, where the NBA or NHL playoffs are the be-all and end-all, but that’s not the Northwest. Not since the Sonics were spirited away, ending their rivalry with the Blazers and giving Washington residents another reason to hate David Stern. And the NHL? It may become a big deal around here in the near future, but the TV ratings tell you it isn’t just yet.

This early in the season baseball still lacks the drama of late summer, unless you call losing your highest-paid player for half the season dramatic. Then it’s really on. But the Mariner faithful, while encouraged by the team’s record and the ineptitude of many American League franchises, are still skeptical. Wait-and-see isn’t an attitude in these parts, it’s a lifestyle.

Speaking of a lifestyle, the upcoming weekend may mark the unofficial beginning of summer in most of the country but around here it marks the emptying of the cul-de-sac. From now until Labor Day the outdoor enthusiasts among us disappear on the weekend, leaving for parts unknown, otherwise known as “The Lake.” 

Which lake? Doesn’t matter. As long as there is a campground nearby to drive a tent stake into the ground, “The Lake” beckons.

Makes it quiet for the rest of us, that’s for sure.

But quiet isn’t a sports fan’s best friend. Excitement is. This week, excitement seems to have hit the snooze button. 


WSU: Matt Woodley wasn’t in Pullman all that long, but the basketball assistant did have a hand in the successful Tony Bennett run. Since he left, he’s started a family and coached all over the nation. It’s the former, and its travails, that are covered in this ESPN piece. … Florida Atlantic has some gender equity issues pop up since Pat Chun left for the Palouse. … The news around the Pac-12 is a hodgepodge of football recruiting (Colorado) and basketball recruiting (Washington, where a tall project familiar to local high school fans will walk-on). There is trial news (Todd McNair lost against the NCAA but an appeal seems likely considering the jury issues) and baseball rumors (from Oregon of all places). And, like always, there are opinions about a possible change to an NCAA event. … Arizona State’s grand football experiment is still garnering national attention.

Gonzaga: After talking about his current job (Hoopfest executive director) recently, Matt Santangelo returns to the Press Box pod, joining Larry Weir and Ralph Walter once more to talk GU hoops from back in the day. 

EWU: The Canadian football league has always been good to Eastern Washington, but we may be in a golden age. Jim Allen takes a look at the alums currently playing north of the border, including one former Eastern star, Vernon Adams, who has yet to find his bliss in Canada. … Portland State is mining the junior college basketball ranks.

Whitworth: The Pirates have decided who will be their first new women's basketball coach in nearly a quarter century. Jim Allen shares what he knows about Joial Griffith, who comes to the Whits via Williams.  

NIC: Rain forced the NWAC softball tournament to bleed into Monday, when the Cardinals won the title. It wasn't their only one yesterday.

Preps: The Washington state golf championships begin today and our Jim Meehan has a preview. The tournaments may have been my favorite high school event to cover over the years. Not only were they fun to watch, but walking the course added some exercise. … We can pass along a softball roundup as well.

Mariners: The M’s were traveling to Oakland yesterday but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to pass along concerning this soap opera of a season. Ryan Divish examines the options and opportunities presented the Mariners by Cano’s suspension.

Seahawks: The voluntary OTA’s began Monday and Earl Thomas volunteered to stay home. Bobby Wagner said he missed him


• Two more days until the Eagles land in Spokane (if no one else gets sick). Maybe someday I’ll share memories of a New Year’s Eve concert they put on when I was young. The story includes cognac, Joni Mitchell, Dan Fogelberg and more balloons than “Up”. Until later … 

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