A GRIP ON SPORTS
One of the biggest draws for minor league baseball is fireworks night. The pitch: Watch a game, see fireworks after. Well, Mother Nature put on her own fireworks show in the Spokane area last night, with a lightning storm that rivaled the best pyrotechnics one can see at any ballpark. It was so impressive, they even stopped the Indians game so everyone could watch. Read on.
• The stoppage was a safety precaution, of course, as it doesn't make a lot of sense to be running around in metal cleats while lightning is in the area. But the storm, which left long enough for the Indians to finish a 1-0 win and end a 10-game losing streak, supplied those of us on Spokane's south side an impressive show off and on throughout the night. The booms of the thunder were loud enough to wake me more than once. Which was a good thing because without the noise rousing me, I would have missed the show.
• Really, does anyone need any more proof Safeco Field is in the head of Mariner hitters? After another homestand of mainly inept offensive outings, the M's go on the road and put the hammer down on the Royals, winning 9-4. Though Casper Wells was the offensive star – five RBI – homers by Justin Smoak (yes, really) and Dustin Ackley (yes, really) are my evidence of a Safeco curse. The duo couldn't get a ball out of the infield (figuratively not literally, though almost) in the recent homestand. Then they get into a different park and boom, the ball is in the stands. Of course, the offensive fireworks had nothing to do with facing the Royals and their vaunted pitching staff. No, it's all about Safeco.
• Washington State: A bunch of Pac-12 players are on the Lombardi Award watch list, including the Cougars' Travis Long (right). ... ESPN.com's Ted Miller examines the defensive tackle groups around the league. The Cougars are rated higher than I expected. ... Klay Thompson is making an impression around the NBA. ... ESPN reportedly has agreed to pay $50 million more a year for the Rose Bowl rights, bringing the total to $80 million a year. Wow. ... Jon Wilner's vacation is over and he has some thoughts on what happened why he was gone. ... Bud Withers looks at the Pac-12's wildest football games since 1974.
• Eastern Washington: The Big Sky Conference held its media gathering yesterday in Park City, where it revealed its new logo. Jim Allen has a story and a blog post. He also has a blog post on the Eagles picked to finish second in the conference football race. Montana State was picked first in the preseason media and coaches poll. ... The conference's football schools are looking forward to taking on the Pac-12.
• Indians: It wasn't easy (and it also included the aforementioned 55-minute weather delay) but Spokane was finally able to snap its losing streak, which had reached 10 games. Greg Lee was at the 1-0 win and filed this story.
• Preps: Greg also has his weekly youth notebook.
• Mariners: The road trip begins in Kansas City with Wells' career-best five-RBI night in a 9-4 win. It was a good night pretty much all around for the M's young hitters as well as Ichiro, who may well be playing his final half-season in Seattle. ... Geoff Baker is this close to jumping on the move-Safeco's-fences-in bandwagon. ... Blake Beavan is back with the big club and will start tonight's game. The M's seemingly tried to keep it a secret for some reason.
• Seahawks: Oh-oh. Running back Marshawn Lynch was arrested early Saturday morning in Northern California on suspicion of DUI. Not good news for the Hawks. ... Either has been the performance of some of the reclamation projects and Jerry Brewer feels they need to limit those players in the future.
• Sounders: Wednesday's friendly with Chelsea will be played in front of a CenturyLink crowd larger than what the Blues could draw at home. Though some of the folks may be rooting for the English club.
• We are supposed to play golf this morning but with lightning in the area, I'm pretty sure that's going to be a no-go. The only thing dumber than walking around in metal cleats during a lightning storm is walking around with 14 metal sticks on your back. Until later ...