A GRIP ON SPORTS
That's it. The baseball season is finally over. And the Boston Red Sox have won again. This is getting old. Read on.
• For more than 75 years, the Boston fans were kind of lovable. How could you not love a group who should have had T-shirts made with the phrase "long-suffering" on them? A quaint old ballpark, a bunch of close calls in the World Series and a curse the team couldn't shake. It was the stuff of baseball legends. Then the Sox won in 2004. OK, then. The fans with the funny accents and the now faded T-shirts had their title. They would be happy, right? How about insufferable? Talk about haughty. They quickly became the enemy of all that was good. And when they won again in 2007 it got even worse. Red Sox fans, wearing their red and white uniforms, would invade visiting ballparks and act as if they owned the place. But things have a way of evening out – or as they call it major league baseball, the Valentine Effect. Yep, hiring Bobby Valentine as their manager last year led to an awful season – and the haughty were brought low. It was sort of biblical. And it seemed as if the Red Sox Nation had been disbanded, thrown to all corners of the earth. But it was a mirage. As soon as the Sox rebounded this season, the Sox fans ran to the front of the pack. And there they were as Boston won the American League East and roared through the playoffs. Last night's 6-1 win over St. Louis brought the Sox to the pinnacle again, the third time in a decade. And that more than makes up for all the years living under the Curse of the Bambino, don't you think? It's time for someone else to ascend to the top of the mountain, someone with long-suffering fans who will show some class when their team finally begins to win. Long-suffering fans who know what it's like to live without hope year after year, to deal with disappointment in May or June instead of October. And, no, we're not talking about Cub fans. We're referring to us. M's fans. Like Job railing into the wind, we want to know when our suffering will end. When the baseball gods will smile on us. When we can travel to Fenway Park and Busch Stadium and Tropicana Field wearing our Griffey jerseys and pontificate about the importance of the no-out ground ball to the right side with a runner on second base. And be insufferable when our team wins.
• Speaking of long-suffering, how long has it been again since the Cougars have gone to a bowl game? They could take a major step in a warm-weather direction tonight in frosty Pullman with a win over Arizona State. But other than the game-time temperature, which is supposed to be somewhere around 40 degrees, circumstances are not in WSU's favor. The Halloween night crowd probably won't be as large as it could be, with many fans opting to stay home and take care of their trick-or-treaters. And the students may pull their all-too-typical leave-at-halftime-and-never-return trick. Plus ASU is pretty darn good, as the Sun Devils showed in wiping out USC and Washington at home earlier this year. But this game isn't in Tempe, so there's that. If the Cougars can strike early, get out in front and force the Sun Devils to press a bit, there is a chance for the upset. In the end, however, I'm thinking ASU wins, 35-28. And the Cougars' bowl hopes will be put on hold for a couple more weeks.
• WSU: Jacob Thorpe doesn't agree with me. He's picking the Cougars in an upset as part of his weekly Pac-12 picks. He also has an advance of tonight's game with Arizona State in the paper along with the keys for a WSU victory. He held a live chat yesterday and that can be found on the blog along with a morning post with links. ... The guys at ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog have their picks of this week's games along with a look at the conference race. ... The WSU basketball team will open the season with an exhibition game Friday night against Central Washington. ... Speaking of hoops, former WSU star Klay Thompson (pictured) began his third NBA season with a career-high 38 points last night in a win over the Lakers.
• EWU: Idaho State likes to throw the football. That suits the Eastern defensive linemen just fine. Jim Allen has the story. ... Jim will also have a live chat at noon today.
• Chiefs: The Chiefs are slowly sinking in the West, though last night's fall in Kamloops wasn't slow at all. Spokane fell behind quickly, rallied to tie it up but lost 5-4. ... Portland has won nine consecutive games.
• Preps: It's Thursday, which means we can pass along Greg Lee's column, this one on the relationships coaches develop with each other, and the picks from Greg and Sam Adams. ... Mt. Spokane won the District 8 3A soccer title last night. Jim Allen has the story and Jesse Tinsley the photographs. ... Coeur d'Alene girls are heavy favorites in this weekend's state cross country race. ... We also have a short roundup of Wednesday's action.
• Golf: Pullman native Kirk Triplett is having a lot of success on the Champions Tour but one of the major reasons why is no longer with him.
• Seahawks: Wish the Hawks would protect Russell Wilson better? You are not alone. And neither are the Hawks. ... Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said yesterday he wanted Marshawn Lynch to want the ball more. Does that sound as if Lynch is upset about something? Probably not, but I'm the worrying type. ... Pete Carroll isn't. ... There are always injuries in the NFL. ... Speaking of injuries, with Sidney Rice out, Jermaine Kearse and Doug Baldwin need to step up. The loss of Rice also means there was a roster move made yesterday. ... Where are the Hawks at the halfway point? In a pretty good place. And winless Tampa is next. ... Golden Tate was fined for his taunting, something he says won't happen again.
• Sounders: A must-win game that was actually must-win. How cool. And the Sounders won. Even cooler. Which means they will face Portland in the next round of the playoffs. That's the ultimate cool. ... They will face the Timbers without their starting goalkeeper, however, at least for the first match. Michael Gspurning received a red card in the 2-0 win over Colorado and will have to sit in Saturday's match. Which leaves the underdog Sounders a bit thin – and a lot older – in goal. ... The win ended a seven-match losing streak and took a lot of the heat off Sigi Schmid and the rest of the team, all of whom were willing to talk afterward.
• That's it for now. Don't forget, we'll be on the radio about an hour after tonight's Cougar game ends along with Dennis Patchin. We're there to field your calls, answer your questions and get you home from Pullman if you would like company. If you are outside the area, you can listen in by using the TuneIn Radio app on your phone or tablet. Until then ...