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Monday, December 9, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A bittersweet time of year


Oregon State coach Craig Robinson tweeted something this morning that every basketball fan understands: "Bittersweet time of the year. Still wish you were playing but get to spend time with loved ones. Ugh!" Yep, everyone wishes their college basketball team was still playing. Wait, there are two local teams still playing aren't there? Yes there are, Washington State's men and Gonzaga's women. And spring football started yesterday down in the Palouse. So there isn't really more time to spend with the loved ones, is there? Which makes me wonder, what was Robinson's "ugh" about? Read on.


• Hope it wasn't about spending more time with the loved ones, though that prospect has probably sent me over the "ugh" line more than once the past 55 years. And the loved ones? They never want to spend more time with me. Heck, I was bitching about something last night and Kim said, "If you don't like it, why don't you just go back to Pullman." She was joking. I think. ... If I were in Pullman, I would be covering spring football, with all that entails (and trying to find out the scoop on Brock Motum's ankle). One thing that always cracked me up about the first day of spring and fall camps: the media crowd (maybe this year it even rose to the level of horde). The first day always attracted more onlookers, who melted away as quickly as the spring snow, leaving just myself, usually someone from Cougfan and a rotating group of student reporters as the day-to-day observers of practice. The early days of practice were a bit crowded for my tastes. Wonder if it will stay that way with Mike Leach around?


• Washington State: If you want to know how the first on-field day of the Leach era went, there is no better chronicler than Christian Caple. He even put up some of his own video, though I wish he had turned his iPhone 90 degrees to the right so I could have seen how many folks were crowded around Leach. Christian also has a long post-practice blog post, a story in today's S-R and his morning post, which has all the WSU links you might need. ... John Blanchette was also in Pullman for Leach's first day – I'm guessing that was the fourth or fifth new Cougar football coach that John's observed on their first practice day – and filed this column. ... Marquess Wilson is a bit different than many of the receivers Leach had at Texas Tech. ... Western Washington will play for the NCAA Division II title Saturday morning.

• Idaho: Spring football started in Moscow as well, with Josh Wright filing this story on the Vandals first day. There were a lot of new faces on the field for UI, in uniform and on the sideline.

• Eagles: Jim Allen talked with former SMU quarterback Kyle Padron and confirmed his intention to enroll at Eastern this summer. Bo Levi Mitchell's replacement at SMU is trying to get another year of eligibility after being hurt last season.

• Gonzaga: Went looking for news on GU's opponent Sunday, the Kentucky women, but then I remembered: Louisville and Kentucky are in the men's Sweet Sixteen. There isn't much room for anything else in the Bluegrass State's newspapers. Sorry.

• Chiefs: Spokane opens the playoffs this year with the Vancouver Giants, whose goaltender has a familiar name to area fans. Jessica Brown has a preview of the first-round series that opens tonight in Canada.

• Mariners: Yep, the M's are in Japan, getting ready to open their season with the A's next week. Veteran sports writer Art Thiel is filing every day for the S-R – this should be fun – starting with this piece. ... We also have more from the Seattle Times and the News Tribune, including the 30-man roster the Mariners took with them to Japan and a look at the Ichiro museum. Yes, there is an Ichiro museum. The picture of the outside above is from the Seattle Times.

• Sounders: The Sounders get back on the CenturyLink Field pitch tonight (love using those football terms even if they are a bit awkward) against the Houston Dynamo, with some subs having to make big contributions.


• That's what we have for you today. By the way, really got into Kat and her competitors in "The Hunger Games" yesterday. Almost finished. Ready for the movie. ... Hey, we have another tweet for you, this one from Braulio Perez, the Cougfan correspondent who spent many an afternoon on the practice field with me. This is from yesterday: "@vinceg55 jimmy johns sponsoring all spring practices... free beach clubs for media w supersized diet cokes... miss ya out here man #Cougs." Crap, I know I shouldn't have retired. Free food. ... We'll leave you with one last tweet, this one from Tracy Morgan: "Paper cut: A tree's one glorious moment of revenge." ... Until later ... 

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

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