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Saturday, October 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Enjoy the weekend

Rim Rippers’ Trevor Pease goes up with the ball as teammates Koby Haikkila, right, and Evan Ernst, background watch. Defending are FBOG players, from left, Erik Marlow, Jessie Naylor and Chris Hess. The Rim Rippers have been playing in Hoopfest since fourth grade. (Dan Pelle)
Rim Rippers’ Trevor Pease goes up with the ball as teammates Koby Haikkila, right, and Evan Ernst, background watch. Defending are FBOG players, from left, Erik Marlow, Jessie Naylor and Chris Hess. The Rim Rippers have been playing in Hoopfest since fourth grade. (Dan Pelle)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The next couple days are going to be long ones. And hot ones. And fun ones. Read on.

•••

• Though we don’t play in Hoopfest anymore – I played in the first 15 and assorted others after that – we still enjoy the feeling of participation. Only now, we participate through spectating, cheering and supporting friends. It’s not as exciting but not nearly as taxing either. So we’re out of here in a few minutes and will report tomorrow morning what we saw.

• Before we go, however, we have to make fun of major league baseball’s instant replay system once again. If you didn’t see last night’s example of a system that refuses to work because the same incompetent people are making the decisions, you should have been watching the top of the third inning of the M’s game. Let’s set the scene. With two outs, Brad Miller had worked his way to third. Austin Jackson rolled over a ball but placed it perfectly in the 6-hole, where shortstop Erick Aybar made a great stop, planted, jumped and threw across to first. Jackson went hard out of the box and, in a bang-bang play, appeared to beat the throw. But umpire Jeff Nelson, the crew chief, called him out. Lloyd McClendon was out of the dugout like he was on a zip line, and immediately called for a replay challenge. Off to New York the decision went. While the unseen umpire in the city that never sleeps took his sweet time about making the decision, the replays were shown on the TV and the big board in Anaheim. One angle was impossible to use, but another seemed quite clear: Jackson’s heel hit the back well before the ball hit Albert Pujols’ glove. Then the good folks on TV slowed it down. It was obvious. Jackson was safe. While this was happening, you could hear a moan reverberate through the stadium. The home crowd had just been shown the same replay. They all know. The M’s had scored. The game was tied at one. Except it wasn’t. Nelson took off the headphones and signaled Jackson was out. What? Later, Dave Sims relayed the news the umpire in New York, who may or may not be related to Stevie Wonder, couldn’t discern for certain if the ball was in the glove before the foot hit the bag so the call stood. Really? So we wasted five minutes of our lives on a futile exercise that shouldn’t have been futile at all. If this call had occurred in the World Series, the next day you wouldn’t have been able to turn on the TV without hearing some talking head berating MLB. And rightfully so. But for all of you worried about technology creep, the human element lives. And so will mistakes.

••••••••••

• WSU: The Cougars continue to pile up commits from in-state players. Jacob Thorpe has the latest in this blog post. ... It’s Saturday and we have a mailbag to pass along from ESPN.com’s Pac-12 blog.

• EWU: Tyler Harvey’s Thursday was a day like none other in his life. Jim Allen caught up with the former Eastern star and has this story.

• Idaho: It's official. My friend and broadcast partner the past three years is bailing. Dennis Patchin will be the new voice of the Idaho Vandals. Congrats Dennis. But I'm still ticked you're leaving me.

• Indians: The road proved to be kind to the Indians last night as they snapped their three-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over Salem-Keiser.

• Shock: Not the best of days for the Shock. Not only did they get pounded for the third time this season by San Jose, arrest warrants were issued on the two players accused in Las Vegas. Jim Meehan has the story on the 62-27 loss to the SaberCats while Tom Clouse has more on the Las Vegas incident in this piece.

• Hoopfest: Not only will warmer temperatures be in town this weekend, so will SportsCenter. The show will originate from downtown tomorrow morning.

• Golf: Jim Meehan’s golf column takes one last look at the U.S. Open and Chambers Bay.

• Ironman: Jim also has a look at last year’s Ironman champion, back to defend his crown.

• Seahawks: All the Russell Wilson “news” this week was anything but. ... Frank Clark says he has tried not be influenced by the talk about his past.

• Mariners: Taijuan Walker has turned it up a notch. He might not be throwing at an 11 yet, but he’s between 9 and 10. He had another solid outing last night in Anaheim, McClendon used Carson Smith in the key spot – in the eighth – and Fernando Rodney got the save. All in all, a strong 3-1 win in Anaheim. ... Speaking of Anaheim, it was a weird feeling for Mark Trumbo to be a visitor. ... Ryan Divish covers some ground we covered earlier: Who goes down when Hisashi Iwakuma becomes healthy?

• Sounders: The Sounders and Portland meet again. Seattle is just hoping a handful of players get healthy enough to play. ... Clint Dempsey has a mercurial personality. ... Real Salt Lake hopes to bounce back. ... The U.S. women played a strong second half and defeated China 1-0 at the World Cup. Next up is No. 1-ranked Germany in the semifinals.

•••

• Time to head downtown. Have a good one today and stay cool anyway you can. If you see me wandering Hoopfest, don’t’ be afraid to say “hi.” Until later ...




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

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Vince Grippi's daily take on all things regional sports has been moved to our main sports section online. You can find a collection of these columns here.