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Monday, October 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

Grip on Sports: The hits just keep on coming in the Northwest these days

Seattle Mariners left fielder Denard Span  and center fielder Dee Gordon watch as a double by Houston’s Tyler White drops between them during the eighth inning Tuesday in Houston. (David J. Phillip / AP)
Seattle Mariners left fielder Denard Span and center fielder Dee Gordon watch as a double by Houston’s Tyler White drops between them during the eighth inning Tuesday in Houston. (David J. Phillip / AP)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but the M’s are not winning the American League West this season. That and other bad news awaits when you read on.

••••••••••

• It’s official. The Mariners cannot catch the Astros. It’s a done deal after last night’s 7-0 loss in Houston. Soon, we will be able to write the M’s have been eliminated in the wild-card race, ensuring another year without a postseason berth.

That’s not just said, it’s hard to comprehend. I mean, who among us thought in 2001, when the Mariners were en route to 116 wins, we wouldn’t see them in the playoffs again in our lifetime? And that’s true, or will be in a few days or so.

Maybe it’s karma or something for Lou Piniella’s treatment of umpires that season. Or for the greedy grabbing of wins, when 110 would have sufficed. Of course, it could just be ineptitude from the front office, though it’s hard to believe such Three Stooges-level hijinks could last this long.

It has, though. It has.

It’s time to let out a long sigh, shake the head a bit and put baseball, M’s baseball, away for another winter. Refresh a while. And get ready for spring, when hope springs eternal. 

Maybe, just maybe, next year is the year.

• There have been better fortnights at Washington State than the most recent one. (If you didn’t know, a fortnight is a two-week stretch, long before the spelling was changed slightly and it became synonymous with online gaming.)

The football home opener was criticized by some, including Tyler Hilinski’s family, for not honoring Tyler well enough. That criticism has continued, including a recent jab from the Hilinski’s Hope foundation’s Twitter account concerning a nice gesture Eastern’s football team did before the game last week.

And the athletic department has been rocked by the ongoing saga of allegations of sexual misconduct against fundraiser Jason Gesser, who up until this season was also the radio analyst. The ugly stain on the department’s reputation came to head yesterday with Gesser’s resignation, but the ongoing investigation – the second by the Office of Equal Opportunity – is still moving forward.

If there is evidence of others in the department trying to sweep the allegations under the rug or hindering any investigation, Gesser may not be the only one out the door.

• And, in our final bit of bad news, did you see the Seahawks’ game Monday night?

Well, it was worse than it appeared.

Seems Pete Carroll misinterpreted Chris Carson’s “fatigue” and left the Hawks’ most effective runner on the bench in the second half.

And the front office also lost a calculated gamble with the roster, meaning an already thin defensive line will be thinner this week.

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln …

•••

WSU: The Pac-12 opener looms, with big, bad USC on the horizon in Los Angeles. However, USC isn’t what it once was and neither is Washington State. Still, playing in L.A. is important for a large segment of the Cougar roster. Theo Lawson has that angle in this story. … Theo also has his Pac-12 power rankings. … Tom Clouse, as he’s done for a week, covers the Gesser story while Shawn Vestal chips in with some thoughts in this column. … Back to Theo, he has post-practice video of interviews with Mike Leach and assistant coach Steve Spurrier Jr. … USC’s defensive struggles aren’t hard to figure out.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, the theme of the day in Seattle seems to be friendship, between Huskies and between Washington and its opponent, Arizona State. … The theme in Oregon may just be Love, as in stopping Bryce when Stanford visits this Saturday. The Cardinal will be without a key defender. … Oregon State has emphasized balance offensively and it has worked. … Colorado may be on a bye but the Buffs are happy with their start. … UCLA’s struggles have caused some family squabbles. … The Utah offensive line looks to have improved. … Video has made an Arizona player a star.

Gonzaga: If you are a fan of the Zags, or Eastern for that matter, you know who Ray Giacoletti is. Larry Weir caught up with Giacoletti this week and their conversation makes up the latest Press Box pod.

EWU: The golf and soccer teams had good weeks, that’s for sure. … Around the Big Sky, Montana State is looking forward to the challenge of the Portland State defense. … Though he’s injured, Jacob Knipp wants to help Northern Colorado’s offense. … Idaho State struggled on third down against California. … The UC Davis ground game needs to bounce back. … Weber State is grateful for the contributions from South Dakota’s fans. … Montana matches up with Sacramento State this week. 

Idaho: The Vandals opened Big Sky Conference volleyball play with a sweep over Eastern Washington.

CCS: The Sasquatch volleyball team is undefeated and has hardly lost a set this season. They are also the lead subject in Jim Meehan’s volleyball notebook.

Chiefs: Elsewhere in the WHL, Everett made a trade to strengthen its forward depth.

Preps: It was a busy night in the high school ranks, with roundups available from soccer, slowpitch and volleyball.

Seahawks: The defensive lineman the Hawks lost? That would be Tom Johnson, who is back in Minnesota though his paycheck is coming from Seattle. … Shaquill Griffin is pretty good. … Monday night was a mess.

Mariners: A rookie shut down the M’s offense last night. … James Paxton’s next start is still to be determined but I have a thought: why not just shut him down for the year? Save his arm for next season when it might matter. … As we said, Daniel Vogelbach just wants a chance.

•••        

• Wednesday already? My, that was quick. See you tomorrow. Until later … 

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