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Wednesday, September 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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No one is faster … or playing as well … or moving the ball better

Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, second from left, wins the men’s 100-meter final ahead of Canada's Andre De Grasse, left, United States’ Justin Gatlin and France's Jimmy Vicaut, center. (Martin Meissner / Associated Press)
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, second from left, wins the men’s 100-meter final ahead of Canada's Andre De Grasse, left, United States’ Justin Gatlin and France's Jimmy Vicaut, center. (Martin Meissner / Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Let’s start this week with a few items from Rio to Oakland and on through Lewiston. Read on.

••••••••••

• Usain Bolt’s speed is insane. It’s as if the three-time Olympic 100-meter champion – the only person in the world that can be written about – has an automatic transmission that kicks into high about 40 meters into every race. He did that again Sunday in cruising to his third consecutive gold in the event, leaving the seven next-fastest men in the world in his Roadrunner-like dust cloud. Beep beep indeed. There were some questions about Bolt coming into the Olympics – as an aside, if he were a U.S. runner, he wouldn’t even have been eligible to compete in Rio, having missed Jamaica’s Olympic trials with a hamstring injury; he was awarded a spot on the team, something not allowed in this country – but he answered all of them. With flair, as always. He is not only the fastest man ever he is also the single-most dominant sprinter ever.

• The Mariners are seemingly unstoppable right now. It doesn’t matter who steps to the hill to start, they are doing a competent-enough job. It doesn’t matter who comes out of the bullpen, they are shutting down the opposition. And it doesn’t matter who gets the big hit. It’s someone. Yesterday, as the M’s won for the 10th time in the past dozen games, it was Wade LeBlanc, three relievers – only one who was on the 40-man roster as the season began – and Kyle Seager who filled those roles. Maybe the M’s are playing better. Or maybe it’s because the schedule is easier. But whatever the reason, they are winning. And making August baseball fun again.

• The Lewiston portion of the preseason is over for the Cougars. It ended yesterday with a scrimmage. A scrimmage in which the offense asserted its dominance. That’s not a bad thing. WSU’s defense has been holding its own, or winning, much of the preseason thus far. But Mike Leach’s offense is the hallmark of his teams and with all the weapons the 2016 group possesses, it will be again. There are some “ifs” of course, centered around the left side of the offensive line – it will be fine – and the health of the starting quarterback – that’s something that is not controllable – but as a group, the Cougars should be just as good as last year if not better. And that’s a good thing.

•••

• WSU: Jacob Thorpe was at the scrimmage yesterday and has the coverage, both in the newspaper this morning and from the blog yesterday. He also has video interviews from Robert Lewis, Dezmon Patmon (pictured), JaMarcus Shephard, Falk and Leach. ...The Seattle Times also has coverage of the scrimmage and I can pass along this feature about Luke Falk and his health. ... WSU is ranked higher in these Pac-12 power rankings than any school from the South. ... A big offensive lineman from Portland decided to go to Los Angeles to play collegiately. ... Speaking of Los Angeles, one school is losing weight, the other gaining it. ... If you want to get to know ASU’s football team better, read this. ... Utah has a defensive lineman it knows really well. And Oregon has the same on the offensive side. ... No matter the reason for the opening, someone has to step up for Arizona at center. ... Hey, Klay Thompson had a great game yesterday. And this story was brought to our attention.

• Empire: There is no single position in any level of football more important than quarterback. The Empire signed a new one yesterday.

• Indians: The Eugene Emeralds continued their dominance of the Indians with a 4-2 win at Avista on Sunday. It was Eugene’s seventh consecutive win over Spokane. Josh Horton has the game story. ... Tri-City lost to Boise on the road.

• Mariners: The M’s 8-4 win at Oakland yesterday allowed Seattle to head to Anaheim having won another series. ... The M’s are willing to attack the first pitch, led by Robinson Cano’s example. ... James Paxton should start tomorrow.

• Seahawks: The first preseason game is in the ledger, marked on the win side thanks to a last-second score. But how did the offensive line really do? And how did performances change the Hawks’ projected roster? ... Expect more Seattle players to be on the field at least for a few plays this upcoming weekend. Just don't try to figure out where Garry Gilliam will be playing.

• Sounders: A coaching change. A new designated player. All of a sudden the Seattle Sounders are tough to beat. They showed that again yesterday with a solid 2-1 home victory over Real Salt Lake in a match not reflexive of the final score. Seattle dominated from the start and had more scoring chances. No matter. It was the Sounders second consecutive victory.

•••

• Have a good workweek. The Olympics are on. Just not live. 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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