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Monday, October 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Grip on Sports: Every day in June is worth celebrating, but none more so than today

Michael Bradley celebrates after scoring for the U.S. against Mexico during a World Cup qualifier at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City on Sunday. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. (Eduardo Verdugo / Associated Press)
Michael Bradley celebrates after scoring for the U.S. against Mexico during a World Cup qualifier at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City on Sunday. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. (Eduardo Verdugo / Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The first Monday in October. The first Monday in May. The second Monday in June. They are all important, in different ways. Read on.

••••••••••

• When the Supreme Court opens its term each year on the first Monday in October, there is a chance it will make a ruling that will change your life. When you try to get out of bed on the first Monday in May, there is a good chance your Bloomsday effort will make that darn near impossible.

And the second Monday in June? For the past 30-plus years, a shadowy Spokane-based organization has used that day to gather en masse and plot its nefarious plans. A local golf course supplies the perfect cover. As does the feigned jocularity of the group.

It’s not as bad as the gathering described in this book, but make no mistake about it: Today’s gathering of co-conspirators at an unnamed golf course is a threat to your way of life.

And to good taste everywhere.

• The Pittsburgh Penguins are once again Stanley Cup champions.

It was sort of ordained a month ago when the Pens got past bitter rivalry Washington, the best (regular-season) team the NHL had to offer.

But the playoffs are different. Sidney Crosby and his mates have figured that out for the past decade or so and finally became the first franchise since the Red Wings of the late 1990s to win back-to-back titles.

Why hadn’t there been consecutive champions since then? It might be due to the NHL’s salary cap. Or it might just be that navigating hockey’s minefield of playoffs is really hard. Whatever, no one has done it in almost 20 years.

Until now.

• The U.S. Men’s National Team entered Mexico this weekend having to do something special if it wanted to continue its run toward Russia’s World Cup in 2018.

The team didn’t do anything too special yesterday, but Michael Bradley certainly did. His early punch from 40 yards out helped the U.S. to a 1-1 draw and earned a hard-to-get point in the group standings.

Bradley’s goal in the sixth minute allowed U.S. coach Bruce Arena to play a conservative style, one that highlighted youngsters and, for some reason, did not include Clint Dempsey at all.

It worked out. But only because Bradley came up with something special.

•••

WSU: You know it is mid-June when you peruse the interweb and find nary a story about Pac-12 football or basketball. OK, we found one.

Empire: Arizona continues to roll and, if Spokane can win this weekend and Nebraska lose, the Empire will face the Rattlers in the Intense Conference final.

Indians: Jim Price delves deep into Spokane’s baseball history with this piece on Bob Cress, who took the term stealing literally. We also have this group of photographs.

Mariners: The Blue Jay fans made Safeco feel like Toronto once again this past weekend and, with a 4-0 win Sunday, the Jays won the three-game series. … En route to Minnesota, the M’s traveled as Twins. … Felix Hernandez looked much better in his second rehab start for Tacoma. … Mitch Haniger returned to the lineup yesterday and reached base again. He’s reached in every game he’s played this season. … The baseball draft begins this evening and we wrote about it. It’s an important draft for the M’s as Jerry Dipoto tries to restock their farm system.

Seahawks: There may just be some outstanding competition at the running back spot.

•••       

• We’ll be back here tomorrow. Just like most every day. Will we be celebrating another NBA champion or just looking forward to another game? Until later … 

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