Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Saturday, February 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 48° Clear


Every loss means something, it’s just some mean more than others

Los Angeles’ Jett Bandy celebrates his solo home run against the Mariners. The Angels won 7-6. (Kevin Sullivan / Associated Press)
Los Angeles’ Jett Bandy celebrates his solo home run against the Mariners. The Angels won 7-6. (Kevin Sullivan / Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Every loss means the same in the standings. But they don’t all count the same. Last night’s Mariner loss has to mean something more. Read on.


• It’s not just the M’s lost last night in Anaheim. It’s the way they lost. And what happened some 1,500 miles east. First in Disneyland’s home town. The M’s had to go with a spot starter due to James Paxton’s injury. No big deal. The bats came alive and took care of the problem. That and the Angels are pretty darn inept, having lost 11 consecutive games. They helped in every way they could, thus Seattle took leads of 4-1 and 6-5 – while the nearly impenetrable bullpen was in the game. Except on this night the bullpen wasn’t impenetrable. In fact, it was leaky. Nick Vincent gave up a couple of home runs and the first lead. Then Arquimedes Caminero couldn’t leverage the second lead into a win. The newest member of the pen didn’t have command of his fastball and the Angels took advantage. Instead of another win to pull closer to the Texas Rangers in the West, the M’s had only their second loss in the last 10 games. And they lost ground in the standings thanks to the A’s. Oakland had every chance to put away the Rangers only to pull out an extra-inning defeat that allowed Texas a 6.5-game lead in the A.L. West. In the course of only a couple hours, the M’s went from staring at a chance to get within a handful of games of the Rangers to being more than a half-dozen back. All because their bullpen didn’t do what it’s been doing and Oakland’s did. Such are the vagaries of major league baseball.

• Life in the junior hockey ranks is usually full of vagaries as well, but that hasn’t been the case in Spokane. Tim Speltz has been the Chiefs’ general manager since the last century, 26 years at last count. But he won’t be here much longer. Speltz and the team announced yesterday he is leaving to become an area scouting director for the Toronto Maple Leafs. This is a big change for Spokane, and could be a big blow depending on whom owner Bobby Brett brings in as general manager. Speltz, as he has for two-and-a-half decades, will help Brett with that decision, so I'm willing to bet it will be a solid one.


• WSU: The Cougars returned to Pullman for preseason practice this week and will scrimmage Saturday. Jacob Thorpe will be there and he points out today a player you may want to watch, safety Robert Taylor (pictured). ... That’s only part of what Jacob has to offer today – he will be holding a live chat today as well – as he has a practice report on the blog along with video interviews with Mike Leach, assistant coach Dave Nichol, Trey Tinsley and Luke Falk. ... Falk leads these Pac-12 quarterback position ratings basically all by himself. ... The Cougars are in the middle of the pack in the defensive back ratings. ... The Huskies have a player who is all ready getting involved in helping his community. ... UCLA welcomed back to practice a highly touted freshman. ... The Trojans don’t have their left tackle available right now. ... Stanford may be the favorite, but the Cardinal don’t practice as if they are. ... Utah hopes to pass the ball better and keep others from passing it well. ... Arizona came real close to its starting right tackle being in Rio instead of Tucson. ... Arizona State is a bit thin at safety. ... Colorado always seems to have at least one good wide receiver. ... Dakota Prukop had a good scrimmage Tuesday and seems to have taken the lead in Oregon’s quarterback competition.

• EWU: Speaking of quarterback competition, Eastern’s Gage Gubrud is ready to take control if he can. Jim Allen has a feature on the sophomore who hopes to grab the reins to the Eagles’ potent offense.

• Chiefs: As we mentioned above, Speltz is leaving the Chiefs for the NHL. Tom Clouse has the news story and John Blanchette adds a column on what Speltz has meant to Chiefs’ hockey.

• Indians: Eugene is finally leaving town, having hung five losses on the Indians’ record. Josh Horton has the game story concerning the final one of those five loses, one in which Spokane coughed up a lead. ... A former Indian from long ago died recently. Jim Price has Mike Brumley’s obituary. ... Everett is getting a catcher back from injury. ... Tri-City got past Boise.

• Mariners: The 7-6 defeat will be followed by another spot start today, as Gonzaga’s Cody Martin was called up to fill another gap in the rotation. Despite such holes, the M’s continue to hang tough. But for how long? ... Is it time to make a change at shortstop?

• Seahawks: This team is loose. It’s also ready for another potentially great season. Well, at least Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas are. ... Social media is getting involved in everything these days, including helping to find players.... The running back corps will be fine. ... One play doesn’t make a career. But it can jumpstart one.


• I’m sitting here watching Gonzaga play Washington State in Olympic basketball. Or Lithuania vs. Australia if you prefer. So far, the Cougars (Aron Baynes and Brock Motum) have the edge over GU (Domantas Sabonis). By the way, in one of the oddest occurrences in Olympic history, the United States had 84 medals coming into today. It had 28 gold, 28 silver and 28 bronze. Symmetry. Until later ...

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

Follow Vince online:

Looking for a Grip on Sports?

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.