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A Grip on Sports: On the day after the M’s first victory, baseball is hit with its first virus-caused postponement

Miami Marlins catchers Jorge Alfaro, center, and Francisco Cervelli, right, pause during baseball practice at Marlins Park, Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in Miami.  (Associated Press)
Miami Marlins catchers Jorge Alfaro, center, and Francisco Cervelli, right, pause during baseball practice at Marlins Park, Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in Miami. (Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Have you enjoyed baseball season? We certainly did. And, yes, the past tense is deliberate.

•••••••

• ESPN was first reporting some news this morning out of Miami that directly deals with the future of the baseball season. According to Jeff Passan, the Marlins will cancel tonight’s game with the Baltimore Orioles. An early season rain out? Nope. Maybe a season-ending COVID-19 outbreak.

The virus seems to be running through the Miami clubhouse with the speed of Rickey Henderson. At least 14 Marlins have come down with the disease, according to ESPN’s sources, which is almost half the active roster. If that’s true, Miami will have trouble fielding a competitive team for a couple weeks.

OK, we know the obvious wise-acre comment. The Marlins aren’t competitive even when they are healthy. But it’s not the team but the circumstances that matter.

What has happened to the Marlins can happen to anyone. Yankees, Dodgers, Mariners, anyone. Unlike the NBA or MLS or WNBA, baseball isn’t able to play in a self-contained – and controlled – bubble. Players are not supposed to be mingling with others, but it is probably happening. Or support personnel are, and bringing the bug back with them. Whatever the reason, baseball’s leaders have been sounding warnings since the plan was hatched.

And now it seems their worst nightmares are being realized. How the waking dream will impact the rest of the season should become clearer as the day wears on.

• At least if the season were to end today, the Seattle Mariners would not end winless. They picked up their first victory yesterday in Houston and, in the process, ended a couple of long losing streaks to the Astros. How long? Twelve games in Houston and 15 overall.

How they won was also important. They showed some resilience after Yusei Kikuchi was knocked around in the fourth and the M’s yielded what had been a three-run lead. The bullpen was solid and the offense, capped by Kyle Lewis’ good piece of hitting in the eighth, scored just enough to take home a 7-6 win.

The game also had special significance for Gonzaga baseball coach Mark Machtolf, who was able to watch, from in front of his TV of course, two of his former players make their major league debut. Taylor Jones and Brandon Bailey appeared for Houston, joining the M’s Marco Gonzales to give the Bulldogs three representatives among the teams.

We wrote about such things in the Out of Right Field game summary that appeared in this morning’s paper.

• Sometimes when passing along little sports news nuggets forced upon us due to the coronavirus, I forget the individual cost. That’s really true when it comes to the news a college athletic department is dropping a sport.

Each of those teams is made up of individual athletes. And each athlete has their individual stories.

Ryan Collingwood contacted a few local athletes affected by such news recently and today shares their stories. Not all of them have a happy ending.

•••

WSU: Around the Pac-12 and college sports, two more of Oregon’s outstanding women’s players from last season made their WNBA debuts yesterday. … A recent Colorado basketball recruit is headed to the Rockies from Washington D.C. … Arizona State has come up with a novel way to ensure its swimming program can ride out the pandemic waves.

Whitworth: The Pirates gathered in some basketball academic honors recently. That news, and more, is part of weekly local briefs.

Mariners: Watching the M’s win Sunday took patience and a cast-iron butt. It was a slog, what with the long innings and the lack of excitement emanating from Minute Maid Park. It resulted in our Out of Right Field game summary and games stories from all over. … Jose Marmolejos is enjoying his first big league experience. … Kendall Graveman makes his first start in a few years today.

Seahawks: With Jamal Adams now a key part of the Hawks’ roster, other, less-crucial players are being let go. Yep, the roster churn has begun.

Sounders: Seattle will try to stay alive in the MLS Is Back tournament tonight when it faces LAFC in Orlando. The match will start at 8 tonight and will broadcast on FS1.

•••       

• It’s going to be hot this week. On one weather app I have, the high is expected to hit 104 Thursday. That would only be four degrees less than the record high recorded in Spokane, last hit on Aug. 4, 1961. But every day this week is expected to be in the 90s. For those of you reading this in Phoenix or Las Vegas are wherever, you are probably wondering what the big deal is. But for those of us used to the northern climes, it’s going to be way too hot. Heck, the upper 80s are way too hot. But our house is blessed with a working air conditioning system and we have the wherewithal to be able to afford it. For those of you who don’t, you are in our thoughts. We’ve been there. No amount of shade can keep you cool in such weather. Stay safe. Until later …

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