A GRIP ON SPORTS
As we sit down to write today, I'm not sure of my plans for this evening. Should I spend any time at all watching the All-Star Game? Or should I just work on finishing the book I am reading? Read on.
• Yep, those are about the choices tonight. The All-Star Game is on Fox and it dominates the sports landscape. It's something I don't get exactly, but somewhere in the back of my mind I can still remember when the game was competitive (ask Pete Rose and Ray Fosse - and see below) and yet didn't have the home-field advantage of the World Series riding on it (the dumbest rule in sports). Ever since the tie in 2002, the All-Star Game has lost its luster for me, though the shine had been fading for years. At some point – I don't quite recall when – players started getting ticked if they didn't get to play, and expressing their anger publicly. That's when the All-Star Game went from being a point of pride – at one time the National League players hated to lose to the American League players and vice versa – and degenerated into a meaningless exhibition. And that would be OK with me, if it was billed that way. Tell everyone all the stars will play, use the pitchers that want to pitch accordingly and play a nine-inning exhibition. If it's tied, so be it. But Bud Selig was embarrassed in 2002 and the response was ridiculous. Though starters still only play a few innings and the managers run through pitchers like a slo-pitch team after a hot July tournament, the game is supposed to be about winning, with the seventh game of the World Series as the carrot. But if it were really about winning, then the best players would play the longest, the best pitchers would throw more than an inning and someone might get hurt (again, ask Pete Rose and Ray Fosse). No one really wants any of those things. So the game shuffles on, an exhibition contest that used to have relevance when there were actually two leagues now lost in a time of everyone-gets-a-trophy excess. ... By the way, Cecil Fielder's kid Prince won his second home run derby last night. That's my living-in-the-past way of giving you the link. And Matt Cain will start tonight for the National League over former Mariner A.J. Dickey, who is having a better year.
• Washington State: Quite a bit from the Palouse (or Palouse-related) to pass along today, starting with Ted Miller on the Pac-12 blog at ESPN.com rating the conference's coaching jobs. He has USC No. 1 and Washington State No. 12. Yep, the job held by Mike Leach (left) is last. Send your e-mails his way, not mine. ... Miller also looks at the conference's offensive lines this upcoming season. ... Some news from a couple of guys with WSU connections: Former assistant basketball coach Donny Newman has found a new job in the NBA. And Eli Edwards, a JC defensive end from Southern California who signed with the Cougars in 2011 but never arrived on campus after deciding to grayshirt, has surfaced at Colorado State. ... Basketball coach Mike Montgomery has signed on for two more years at Cal. ... One of Montgomery's former players at Stanford, Peter Sauer, died after a pickup game in a park. He was 35. ... Former Washington soccer star Hope Solo has been warned for a positive drug test. ... The Huskies have moved up the opener against Boise State next year by a week, to the end of August. The new Husky Stadium will be done by then. ... Looking at ASU's defensive line.
• Indians: The losing streak reaches five after a 4-3 loss in Tri-Cities last night. The Indians are off tonight.
• Mariners: Though the team is scattered around the country – only Felix Hernandez is in Kansas City, where he once again professed his love of all things Mariners and his desire to stay in Seattle – there isn't a lot in the way of coverage, though columnists from Art Thiel to Jerry Brewer used the morning to weigh in. ... Could Chris Chambliss use some help? Yes. ... Jesus Montero is still trying to shake the effects of a concussion. ... The youngsters are on display in KC, though none of the M's youngsters.
• Cycling: We had the news about Lance Armstrong's court filing yesterday, so we should pass along the news the judge threw it out. It should be refilled soon.