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Saturday, March 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Golf supplies the background music this morning

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The television is on ESPN, with the sounds of the British Open (or as the Brits call it, "The Open Championship" with an emphasis on the "the") floating around behind my head. It's sort of a distraction, but a good one. However, if there are any mistakes in today's post, blame Brandt Snedeker's outstanding round or a Tiger Woods long birdie putt. Read on.

••••••••••

• There is something odd about watching the British Open. It may be because the weather is always gray, or because the broadcast's images have an English flavor (bland) or because the ESPN/ABC announcing crew isn't as interesting as NBC's or CBS's crews. For the record, I am a fan of both Johnny Miller and Nick Faldo, something not found among most golf aficionados. But there is no Miller or Faldo at the Open, so the announcing is as bland as the weather, taking the edge off the golf action. Then again, it could just be the hour of the morning.

• If you ever want an illustration of how great a pitcher Felix Hernandez is, then Thursday's win at Kansas City may just be your Rembrandt. We all know Felix can be overpowering, as he leads the majors in strikeouts and has been known to put up double-digit Ks often in his career. But it was hotter than Hades in Kansas City yesterday and it was humid as well. Strike out a bunch of guys and the pitch count rises, the innings melt away and the bullpen has to be taxed in the series' final game. But Felix didn't pitch that way. Throwing a bunch of sinkers, moving the ball around and changing speeds, Felix pitched like a young, right-handed Jamie Moyer – with heat. Instead of being a Fascist (see "Bull Durham" if you don't understand that), Felix pitched to contact. And was still more than effective enough. The result? Eighty-nine pitches in eight innings and a 6-1 win.

•••

• Washington State: The Cougars announced their opponent in the Seattle game, the Hardwood Classic. WSU will face Buffalo on Dec. 21 at KeyArena. I'm sure the Bulls will bring dozens of fans themselves to the game. ... Let's talk money. The Oregon assistant football coaches will be paid quite a bit more this season though their raises don't compare to the one former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck will be getting. Luck's job, however, is a bit tougher. ... New Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez is going to chance a rainout during camp. ... The Big Ten may give the conference commissioner the power to fire a coach. Wow.

• Eastern Washington: Speaking of the Pac-12, the Eagles will face one school a year for the foreseeable future. Jim Allen has the reasons why in this story.

• Indians: So much for the winning streak. Spokane's three-game run ended in Vancouver last night, losing 7-4 to the Canadians.

• Mariners: Though Felix's performance received most of the ink out of Kansas City, Jesus Montero (left) and the M's offense was the story of this four-game series. Of course, the opponent was the Royals, whose pitching can't be compared to the 1965 Dodgers. Or the 2012 Nationals. The Mariners won three of four in the Midwest. ... John Jaso is figuring out left-handed pitchers. ... The M's need to figure out what to do with Ichiro. Here is one (tongue-in-cheek) idea. ... Finally, the Rainiers game Wednesday was one for the (modern) ages.

• Seahawks: Jerry Brewer is sure the Hawks will never know what they are getting in Marshawn Lynch.

• Sounders: Fredy Montero (right) wants to play soccer on a higher level, but right now he's Seattle's best scorer. If Eddie Johnson isn't. Funny, those two are linked here. ... The Sounders are about to get their starting goalkeeper back.

• Golf: The British Open isn't the only tournament to talk about. Former Lewis and Clark High golfer Chessey Thomas will play for the 111th Pacific Northwest Women's Amateur Championship today.

• NBA: Another day, another governmental meeting of some sort about the proposed Sodo arena. Tax dollars at work.

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• One of the first things I do when I am on the road is find a donut shop in the immediate vicinity. The iPhone's map app is attuned to it, with the word donut popping up as soon as I type a "d." Found some good ones this morning. Really good ones. By the way, I have some early morning commitments tomorrow so we won't be posting. We'll be back on Sunday. Until then ...




Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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