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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane’s minor league baseball history is rich and so is the present

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Triple A baseball was gone from Spokane when I arrived, spirited away from the town by my brother-in-law’s old high school coach. For years a vocal segment of the population campaigned to get it back, though at no time loudly enough to get it done. Last night offered another good example of why it is never returning. Read on.

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• Triple A baseball’s schedule closely approximates that of the majors, though it starts a bit later and ends a lot earlier. Both those are problematic here in Spokane. Spring’s weather isn’t the most conducive to sitting outside in the evening and watching baseball. The elements, despite this year’s evidence to the contrary, don’t often cooperate. April’s showers often as not include snow not just rain. May’s flowers are usually accompanied by thunderstorms. June’s gloom is just that, cloud-covered days of wet warmth. All of which keeps our area green, for sure, but makes it tough to draw consistent baseball crowds. Take last night for instance. Whitworth University used the Indians’ home, Avista Stadium, as the host site for the NCAA Division III regional. I’m not sure what the crowds were but that’s immaterial. What is material, however, is the weather. Yesterday was a fine day, conducive to yard work, walks in the park and sitting on the back deck. (This guy did all three.) But last night? Thunderstorms roiled through the area. Not even big ones, not like the ones last week that seemed to knock the doors off. Still, Whitworth’s game against Case Western Reserve – Division III has the coolest school names – was delayed more than an hour by lightning and rain. Nothing wrong with that, unless you are sitting through it. Which was always the case here when Triple A was all the rage. As I said, my knowledge of Spokane Triple A baseball is limited to listening to Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett extoling the virtues of Joe Moeller, Bobby Valentine and Tommy Lasorda, so I have no first-hand knowledge of the early season crowds. But I have lots of friends who have lived here their entire lives and are more than happy with short-season A ball. You know, the minor-league season that arrives in mid-June, just as the weather is reaching its peak and ends before the Cougars take the football field. It seems to be a perfect fit. And probably always will be.

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• WSU: ESPN.com’s Pac-12 blog ranks the season-opening weekend for the conference’s football teams. Washington State vs. Eastern Washington should have been ranked about two spots higher based on entertainment potential alone.

• Idaho: The Vandals' golf team just missed out on an NCAA championship berth.

• Whitworth: Tom Clouse was at Avista for the long day’s journey into night and has this story on Whitworth’s hard-earned 8-5 win.

• Preps: The State golf berths were determined yesterday for the GSL schools and Jim Meehan was there with this coverage. ... There’s a lot of running in soccer. Even more in track. Greg Lee has a feature on CV’s Briegan Bester who once played the former and now does the latter. ... Coeur d’Alene High is looking for a new boys’ basketball coach. Greg has the story of Kurt Lundblad’s ouster.

• Mariners: There are trades that help both teams. Then there are trades that are so one-sided they continue to haunt one side for years and years. Presented for your disapproval is this one from 2008: Adam Jones, George Sherrill and farmhand Chris Tillman for Erik Bedard. Holy crud has that trade bitten the M’s over the years. It did again last night, with Tillman improving to 7-0 against Seattle as the Baltimore Orioles evened the series with a 5-2 win. ... The M’s offense has picked up this month.

• Seahawks: Doug Baldwin is one of the NFL’s best 100 players. Actually, one of the best 72. ... Should the Hawks give Michael Bennett more money? ... Questions and answers from Bob Condotta. ... The Hawks' news just keeps on coming.

• Sounders: The second-best (or best) team in the MLS invades CenturyLink this weekend. ... Eddie Johnson misses the game. ... Portland has to dig out of a huge hole.

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• Of all the Spokane Indians of the 1960s, Joe Moeller was my favorite. I honestly don’t remember why, but he was huge in the Grippi household. 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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