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Tuesday, May 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Grip on Sports: Washington State’s spring game returns to Pullman and Martin Stadium today

Washington State head coach Mike Leach speaks to his team after the Crimson and Gray Game on  April 22, 2017, at Albi Stadium. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Washington State head coach Mike Leach speaks to his team after the Crimson and Gray Game on April 22, 2017, at Albi Stadium. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The Washington State Cougars will hold their final scrimmage of the spring today. For the first time in almost a decade, it will be in Pullman instead of Spokane. In (possibly) unrelated news, it is supposed to rain in Pullman today. And be nice in Spokane. Read on.

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• Of course we are joking – but only a bit. There is actually a much-greater chance of rain in the Palouse today than in the “big” city, and it is supposed to be almost 10 degrees cooler. It’s almost as if the big fella upstairs would have rather seen the Crimson and Gray Game, which is the crowning achievement of spring practice, stay at Joe Albi Stadium.

Then again, it’s rained quite often during spring games the past eight years, all of which were held in north Spokane.

It doesn’t really matter anyway. All that matters is whether the Cougars’ newest X receiver has good hands, whether the middle linebacker can make a tackle and whether the punter is good at putting the ball in the coffin corner.

In other words, win and they will come – no matter where it is. Or if it is a scrimmage.

The inaccurately named spring game is about competition. Make it as close to a fall afternoon as you can under the circumstances and see if your redshirt freshman guard can hold up against a senior d-tackle. The final score is irrelevant – and is usually whatever Mike Leach wants it to be to teach.

This is still a classroom setting. The 12 tests are scheduled to start in the late summer. And Leach, like all college football coaches, teach to the tests.

Build a foundation now, let the players put up the walls together in the summer and get ready for the big bad wolves to huff and puff in the fall.

(OK, are their any other metaphors I can mix up – and mix in – here?)

• By the way, I wonder if Leach will allow his “Leadership Lessons in Insurgent Warfare and Football Strategies” teaching assistant, Spokane County Treasurer Mike Baumgartner, to call a play or two today.

Is “Big Gulp Left” about to be replaced “The Malayan Emergency?”

•••

WSU: If you are going to be at Martin Stadium this afternoon, then Theo Lawson has five players you should keep your eyes on. Wait, I just re-counted. He has six. … He also has a preview of everything connected to the Crimson and Gray Game. … A defensive tackle from the Midwest is headed to Pullman. Theo has that story as well. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12, there are scrimmages – or spring games if you prefer – at Oregon and Oregon State, where Dennis Erickson is hanging around, today. … Colorado scrimmaged last night. … There is also football news from UCLA and Washington. … Sean Miller won’t have to testify, which is good for Arizona, but what was said about him in court was bad. … Oregon State is possibly losing another player.

EWU: There is a lot of experience on Eastern’s offensive line. And talent. Ryan Collingwood has a story on the newest member. … Former Eagle head basketball coach Ray Giacoletti spoke with Larry Weir for the latest Press Box pod episode.

Idaho: The Vandals held their final spring scrimmage last night in the Kibbie Dome. The veteran offensive line dominated the Silver and Gold game. Peter Harriman has the coverage.

Whitworth: The Pirates, already NWC champions, defeated Linfield in baseball yesterday to kick off their final regular season series.

Chiefs: The WHL Western Conference finals began last night in Vancouver and the series didn’t start the way Spokane would have liked. The Giants won 4-1. Game two is tonight in Vancouver.

Indians: Last year’s Spokane squad was pretty successful. And those players, scattered throughout the Texas Rangers’ farm system, have started this season relatively successful as well. Dave Nichols has more in this story.

Preps: We can pass along roundups from Friday’s soccer, tennis, softball and baseball action.

Mariners: Once again Marco Gonzales pitched well. But he didn’t get his fifth win of the season, even though the M’s pounded out a 5-3 victory in Anaheim. Mike Trout’s eight-inning home run tied the score before Seattle hit two solo home runs in the ninth. … A prized minor leaguer is hurt. … There is a difference between playing and being an ass. That is all. … Daniel Vogelbach, star. … Gene Warnick has the usual Out of Right Field summary.

Seahawks: Russell Wilson’s contract helps the Hawks as well. … Yes, the draft keeps getting nearer.

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• Did I love “Field of Dreams?” Sure, despite all the inaccuracies and sappy acting. But is it a good movie? Nope. Still, it delivered a pretty good fastball right down the middle, which is something movies need to do occasionally. Until later …

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