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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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And the award for best comeback in San Diego goes to …

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It’s time to give an Academy Award-like speech. You know, when the speaker acknowledges everyone from his or her first-grade teacher to his or her dialect coach. That’s how I feel about the Golden State Warriors’ bench right now. And it has to do with the M’s. Read on.

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• If not for the outstanding performance from the Golden State reserves last night, I may have missed the greatest comeback in the Seattle Mariners’ history. Or at least the greatest one in which they were the team making the comeback. We harken back to the loss against Cleveland back in 2001, the blown 12-run lead (twice, actually) and the 15-14 loss that ultimately cost the M’s the all-time single-season wins record by themselves. And well we should. It was the ultimate example of a great team doing something not so great. So when the converse happens, we better be ready to celebrate it for years as well, huh? Thanks to the Golden State bench, we can. See, the M’s were a sidelight last night, especially after San Diego scored seven runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 12-2 lead. Why bother paying attention when the Warriors and Cleveland were involved in a decent tussle in the opening game of the NBA finals? Why indeed? Well, maybe because this M’s team is different. I don’t know how to quantify it but I’ll try. Most Mariner teams of the recent past never would have scored nine runs in the top of the eighth to take a 16-12 lead. Not just nine runs, mind you, but nine runs after two were out. Yes, there was just one out needed to end the rally and send them to Texas with a two-game losing streak. Instead, the M’s just kept getting hits, scoring runs and, finally, winning. Now this edition of the San Diego Padres isn’t anything like the M’s of 2001, but it is, last I checked, a major league baseball team with major league players. A 12-2 lead heading into the seventh inning should be enough. It wasn’t. Mainly because this edition of the Seattle Mariners is nothing like the previous incarnations. You know, the recent ones who seemed more hell-bent on getting back in the clubhouse at times than battle for a win. Heck, even if the 2015 team had rallied, my guess is the bullpen would have blown the two-run lead in the ninth or something. The record-setting comeback wouldn’t have mattered, however, if the Warriors hadn’t pulled away late. It was the classic “tree-falling-in-the-forest” scenario. I wouldn’t have been there to listen to the “holy smokes” or the “I can’t believe what I just saw” descriptions if the NBA game had held my interest. But one quick check and I was hooked like a rainbow trout. No more basketball. It was time to watch, to see if the M’s could complete an unlikely comeback. They did. And I would like to thank Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa and Andre Iguodala for making it possible.

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• WSU: The Cougars didn’t sign a quarterback during the February signing period, which is usually the case. But they did find one late and City College of San Francisco’s QB Anthony Gordon (pictured) signed a financial aid agreement yesterday and will head to Pullman. The JC quarterback will have three years of eligibility left. Jacob Thorpe has more in this blog post and story. ... Washington State had three baseball players earn All-Pac-12 honors. ... The Cougars have improved as much as anyone over the last three football seasons. ... The Pac-12 Networks actually scored a win this week.

• Gonzaga: For the first time since 2009, the Bulldogs are in the NCAA baseball tournament. They begin play today on ESPNU against Arizona State at noon. Jacob has more in this advance. ... Hoopfest’s GU-bent is becoming a bit more pronounced, what with a Gonzaga alumni charity game scheduled to kick off the weekend. Tom Clouse has more on the first-year event. ... Former Saint Mary’s star Matthew Dellavedova had an altercation during the NBA finals’ first game? I am shocked, shocked to hear that such a thing occurred.

• EWU: The Eagles are flying down under (or does AP want us to call it “Down Under?”) this summer, headed to Australia (where it is winter) for a tour. Jim Allen has the story.

• Preps: There has been a lot of turnover in the high school coaching ranks this spring. Greg Lee tries to catch up with all of it in this story.

• Mariners: The 16-13 win not only featured the biggest comeback in Mariner history, it also was former Gonzaga pitcher Cody Martin’s (pictured) first victory in a Seattle uniform. The relief pitcher was called up Thursday when the M’s designated Joel Peralta for assignment. ... Will James Paxton ever reach his potential?

• Seahawks: The Hawks signed a versatile linebacker yesterday and filled out their roster. ... There may be a lot of depth at running back even without Marshawn Lynch (yes, we have another story to pass along). ... What is Doug Baldwin worth?

• Sounders: Nelson Valdez hopes to continue to add to his memory bank with the Sounders. ... Real Salt Lake earned a 3-2 win in New York. ... The Galaxy and Kansas City played to a scoreless draw. ... So what is this Copa America thing and why should it matter?

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• Ready for a heat wave? It may be short, it may be sweet but it’s going to get as hot as the M’s bats in the seventh inning around the state starting today. Water the flowers folks. Until later ...



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

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