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Sunday, July 5, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Grip on Sports: Should we be preparing the Mariners’ epitaph already?

Kansas City Royals’ Salvador Perez, right, is greeted by Eric Hosmer at home after Perez’s two-run home run against the Seattle Mariners during the 10th inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 5, 2017, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
Kansas City Royals’ Salvador Perez, right, is greeted by Eric Hosmer at home after Perez’s two-run home run against the Seattle Mariners during the 10th inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 5, 2017, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • There is a tombstone in the cemetery of Placerville, Calif., that actually made my dad laugh out loud. “See Martha,” it reads, “I told you I was sick.” The name on the tombstone was immaterial. The date, sometime from the 1800s. But it was the laughter it invoked I will always remember. It’s as close to a perfect epitaph as I can recall. Read on.

••••••••••

• So what will be written on the Mariners’ 2017 tombstone? Or is it too early to know?

After last night’s 9-6, 10-inning loss to the Royals, the M’s seventh consecutive home loss, everyone on social media seemed ready to write their epitaph.

Then the earth shook. Which seemed like nature’s way of telling us not to jump the gun, or am I reading too much into an earthquake?

The latter is true, but it also may be true it is too early to write about the M’s demise.

Yes, this recent swoon has made it tougher. Much tougher. Too many games like last night, games the M’s could have won, maybe even should have won, falling into the loss column for the lack of a timely pitch, or hit or even a defensive play, has made it so.

But as Bluto Blutarsky once asked, was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

No, it was not. And neither is the M’s season. Though, unless something kicks in soon to give us a modicum of hope, it sure will seem like it.

Look at the numbers. Again.

The Mariners have played 86 games. We figured they had to win around 88 to 90 to assure themselves a wild card spot.

Let’s go with the low end. To get to 88 wins, Seattle must win 47 more games. That means the Mariners can lose only 29 more times – or less than 10 each of the next three months – to get there.

Has anything showed you the M’s can go 47-29 the rest of the way?

I didn’t think so. Heck, there may be only two American League teams with 47 wins at the All-Star break this season, and that’s stretch is more than half the season.

The Mariners will not be one of those teams. And it’s hard to imagine them being a team that could win 47 after the break either.

The season isn’t over. The tombstone may be on order, but the writing hasn’t been chiseled in just yet. What will be written on it?

My guess is, after so many years of frustration, the epitaph won’t make us laugh.

•••

WSU: Gene Conley died Tuesday. If you don’t know who that is, you should. Not many guys won NBA and MLB championships. Only one, actually. Gene Conley. A WSU alum. And yes, it was a long time ago. But history is history, and it is important. … Around the Pac-12, California has a new baseball coach. … Oregon State will have some battles for spots on the offensive line. … We’ve focused on Gonzaga’s U19 participants (see below) but Oregon has a couple guys playing as well.

Gonzaga: If you wondered how good Rui Hachimura may be with the Bulldogs next year, wonder no longer. If you’ve watched any of Hachimura’s games at the FIBA U19 World Cup, you now know he can be really good. He was exceptional yesterday. … Killian Tillie, who was good last year, has been strong for France as well.

Indians: Roger Clemens threw out the first pitch at Avista last night, even though his son was in the visitors’ dugout. So the Indians played giving hosts, booting the ball around enough to help Vancouver to a 3-2 win. Whitney Ogden has the story. … Whitney also has the story of a new flight at Spokane International Airport that is a big deal for the Indians. … Around the Northwest League, Everett, Boise and Hillsboro won. … Thanks to a 20-inning game, Eugene had a tough choice on the Fourth. 

Preps: Greg Lee takes an early look at Greater Spokane League football. … Former Mt. Spokane (and Oregon State) pitcher Drew Rasmussen was unable to reach agreement with Tampa Bay. Dave Nichols has the story of the first-round pick facing a choice.

Mariners: Dave’s Mariners Log is back, which means we are back to adding the links there.

Seahawks: Kenny Easley will go back to high school when he’s inducted into the pro football Hall of Fame. … There are always questions about the Hawks. Bob Condotta usually has answers.

Sounders: How bad is Ozzie Alonso’s knee injury? The Sounders are anxiously waiting to find out.

•••       

• Having grown up in the suburbs of Shakytown, last night’s Montana earthquake roused me a bit, but didn’t seem important enough to make me get out of bed. When the earth moves, it better be really something or I’m not budging. Until later …

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