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Monday, November 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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We are into the idle days of March

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield holds the trophy as he and his teammates celebrate their win over Oregon. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield holds the trophy as he and his teammates celebrate their win over Oregon. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • There is that old saying about March, a lion and a lamb. Turns out it wasn’t about the weather. At least not around here. Read on.

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• With the local basketball season finished and the regional baseball season yet to officially get underway, there is really nothing to roar about right now. Or even bleat about. It’s a soft time in sports. Which is a good thing. We could all use a bit of a break. Oh, sure, if you are one of those bleed-crimson, what-to-know-everything WSU football fans, then spring football practice is important to you. Same with those of you who have an Eastern football sticker on your car. But most of us understand spring football is just practice. It’s important, sure, but a lot happens between now and September. This isn’t Tuscaloosa, after all. Yet, spring football is about all we have at this moment. Well, there are the WHL playoffs, but the Chiefs are already in a 0-2 hole to the best team in the conference and have yet to play on home ice. So that may not last long. And the NCAA tournament soldiers on – without anyone from west of Denver. Which brings us to baseball. Last year at this time there was a feeling of hope with the M’s. That disappeared quickly. Now there is just a whole bunch of questions. Hope? I’m not sure that’s still in the equation. We’ve been burned so many times, hope has been scabbed over. Still, there is a reason baseball season begins in the spring. It is the season of rebirth, of growth, of possibilities. Maybe, just maybe, this is one of those wondrous years when the M’s catch lightning in a jar and surprise us all. Or maybe it’s another year of loss after loss. Whichever it is, we’ll find out soon. The season opens in about a week. Until then, use the time wisely. Fertilize the lawn, paint the kitchen, get the taxes done. You should have the time.

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• Gonzaga: Despite the ups and downs, it was a special season for Gonzaga. That’s the thrust of Jim Meehan’s post-mortem story in today’s paper. ... Next year is on the mind of many Zag fans.

• WSU: The Cougars practiced yesterday, though they are not yet in pads. Jacob Thorpe was there and has this blog post on all the action. Jacob also has a feature on the Cougars’ presumptive new left tackle, Andre Dillard (pictured), and how he developed into the role. ... Oregon was the Pac-12’s last hope for the conference’s first Final Four team since 2008 and the Ducks couldn’t get it done.

• Idaho: There are a lot of questions facing Idaho athletics in the coming years and Jacob asked the man in charge of the university, president Chuck Staben, about them.

• Chiefs: As we said, Spokane dropped the second game of its series with Victoria, 4-3. ... Everett also leads Portland 2-0 in that series.

• Preps: A Central Valley swimmer has qualified for the Olympic trials.

• Seahawks: So just who will be the Hawks’ backup quarterback this season?

• Mariners: The M’s rallied for an 8-7 win over the Dodgers but it didn’t come without some fireworks and some tension. ... It’s becoming decision time around major league clubhouses, including the Mariners’. What will happen with Jesus Montero? ... Hisashi Iwakuma is getting his work in against minor league teams. ... Charlie Furbush (pictured) isn't getting in work anywhere.

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• Another Sunday. The biggest question on my mind today is whether Tony Bennett and Virginia will make the Final Four. After that, I’m pretty relaxed. 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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