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Saturday, September 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A Grip on Sports: For the sports fan, are summer weekends actually worse than winter ones?

Seattle Mariners' Tim Beckham reacts as he heads to first base after hitting a grand slam during the third inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Thursday, July 25, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) ORG XMIT: OTK (Ted S. Warren / AP)
Seattle Mariners' Tim Beckham reacts as he heads to first base after hitting a grand slam during the third inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Thursday, July 25, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) ORG XMIT: OTK (Ted S. Warren / AP)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • A quick question. Are summer weekends better for sports than winter ones? Or vice-versa? Maybe the best way to answer that question is six months from now will you be happier on that January Friday than you are today?

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• That thought ran through my head this morning as I looked at Spokane’s weather forecast for Saturday and Sunday. It’s going to be hot today, really hot – after spending two weeks in Las Vegas, that’s relative, but still 93 degrees is warm. And then the weekend is expected to be perfect, 86 and 85 with lows in the 50s, allowing for a refreshing night’s sleep.

In other words, we are in store for a weekend in which anything is possible.

And that’s my problem as a sports fan. Anything is possible. There is no excuse for sitting on my behind, watching golf, soccer or baseball, which seem to be our main viewing choices for the weekend.

None at all.

Six months from now, other than shoveling the driveway, why would anyone want to be outside? There will be NFL football on – though if this is the opposite end of the calendar from the Pro Bowl, than NFL football really isn’t on. There will be college hoops galore. The NBA. Golf from someplace warm, like Hawaii or California. Heck, there will even be a major tennis tournament to watch from Down Under.

And nothing to get in the way. Not a hike in the woods with your dog, unless you want to become a popsicle somebody finds in March. Not yard work, unless you need to replace a couple of fence boards knocked down by a mean January wind. Not bicycle riding or windsurfing or beach blanket bingo for goodness sakes. It will be too cold and snowy for any of those things.

So let’s make a deal. Let’s all get out this weekend and soak up about a billion units of vitamin D. Store it away. And then draw on that energy in January as we laze around the TV set wondering if the Zags’ will solve Pacific’s zone defense.

• Actually, you might want to get to a TV a bit this weekend. After all, what weekend the rest of the season will you get to watch the Mariners play someone who is actually worse than they are.

As far as I can tell, our regional AAAA baseball franchise doesn’t have any games scheduled against Pacific Coast League teams, so the Detroit Tigers will have to do.

•••

WSU: Football isn’t a world-wide sport. Not really. But if there is ever a five-star prospect from Cambodia or Israel, you can be sure Mike Leach is probably the only Pac-12 coach who can speak about personal experiences in the prospect’s home country. Theo Lawson examines Leach’s travels this offseason, a continuation of Leach’s life-long quest to have new experiences. … On more typical matters, Theo also shares award news. Center Fred Mauigoa and receiver Travell Harris are on watch lists. … Theo also has basketball news, as WSU announced its nonconference schedule yesterday. … That’s not all. Theo spent time with Larry Weir yesterday and their conversation is the centerpiece of Larry’s latest Press Box pod. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12, with all the schools opening preseason practice in the next week or so, there is football news from just about everywhere. … Oregon has a great quarterback and some underrated running backs. … Oregon State, which is upgrading its facilities, is looking forward to a bit easier opener. … Colorado needs its offensive line to step up. … A defensive back is a leader of the UCLA defense. … If games are scheduled to start at 9 a.m., when would players have to get up to be ready? Would 4 a.m. be early enough? Just wondering. … Utah has a pretty lofty goal. … Arizona State’s athletic director is becoming one of the conference’s leaders.

Gonzaga: Early August will not be a time for Mark Few to be lazing around. Nope, he’ll be coaching basketball. Jim Meehan tells you where in this story. OK, we’ll dish. He’s going to be Las Vegas. With USA Basketball. … The Zag women have another recruit in the fold for 2020. A four-star recruit from California committed this week. Jim Allen has the story.

Indians: Though Spokane won handily, 14-4, over Tri-City on Thursday, that’s not the key element of this story. Nope. The second paragraph is the key one. One Dust Devil made six errors. Six. That’s even more than I have in this column today. … Elsewhere in the Northwest League, win or lose, Everett has one of the fastest players in the M’s organization. Still, the AquaSox lost to Vancouver last night. … Eugene is doing better in the second half.

Mariners: Yes, the M’s won last night as Tim Beckham hit a grand slam and Wade LeBlanc pitched well. But the best story from Seattle was Ryan Divish’s interview with Felix Hernandez. Age never loses folks. … Gene Warnick is back with his Out of Right Field recap today. For the first time in a month, it’s on the second of back-to-back wins. See, I told you Detroit is awful.

Seahawks: When will Bobby Wagner sign an extension? Today? Tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Most folks think it will get done – soon. He was in sweats on the first day of training camp. … The running backs are going to share time, unless injuries cull the group a bit. … The Hawks are getting healthier. … Pete Carroll was, wait for it, unrelenting positive yesterday. Yep, that’s Pete. … Jarran Reed doesn’t think he deserved a suspension.

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• Yesterday was fun. Heck, talking sports for three hours is always fun, whether you do it at home with your child, in a bar with good buddies or on the radio with a longtime friend. I wasn’t cognizant at all that a whole bunch of folks were listening. Well, maybe a little. Hope you have a chance to join us today, also from 3 to 6 p.m., on 700 ESPN. I’ll be talking with Dennis Patchin once more. And you can listen here. Until later …

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