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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

A Grip on Sports: There is plenty to watch this weekend, but only one right way to kick it off

From left, Dennis Patchin, Rick Lukens and Bud Nameck will join Vince Grippi Friday at 6 p.m. for a Northwest Passages event.  (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • With Pac-12 schools opening football practice this weekend, it’s only a matter of time before your Saturdays will be filled with hoping USC will lose. Or something of that ilk. But before then, we still have a few weekends to fill. Starting today. What should we watch?


• Tonight is easy. Skip the Lakers’ coronation (or the Heat’s first-step of a memorable comeback), fire up your Apple II, dial into AOL and watch the best Northwest Passages event ever.

(Editor’s note: Vince’s opinion here is colored by his participation so please, like everything else that appears in this space, take it with a grain of salt substitute.)

Yep, the S-R is putting the old – emphasis on old – Friday Night Sports Extra gang back together for one night only. The plan? To reminisce about the early days of the groundbreaking KXLY show and its iterations through the years. (Cue Bruce Springsteen croaking out “Glory Days.”)

What a fun idea.

Dennis Patchin, Bud Nameck and Rick Lukens are gathering together at the Review building. The online webinar will be hosted by – checks notes – me? Crud. Really? That’s like having Mr. Ed show Secretariat, Affirmed and Seattle Slew around the pasture.

But, yes, I’ll be there, joining my old KXLY county-league basketball teammates – I donated the way-too-small jersey to Goodwill during an early pandemic cleaning spree – for a night of unabashed memory sharing. Thankfully, we are so old, there is no one around to call B.S. when exploits are exaggerated.

The event starts at 6 p.m. – about five hours earlier than the show used to start, but, you know, the guys eat dinner at 3 in the afternoon new and are asleep by 8 – and it can be accessed at

If I have to be there, so do you.

• What else is there this weekend?

Well, not as much baseball as one would like. There is only one divisional series still ongoing. The Rays will try to eliminate the hated Yankees tonight, giving us a American League Championship series with a true hero – Tampa Bay – and villain – Houston, of course. That series is set to begin Sunday.

The National League series is set, with the Braves and America’s Team – if America is contained in my living room – the Dodgers.

There is basketball, as we said, but that might end tonight as well. Which leaves us with football. OK. This time of year, that’s enough.

There are 10 games featuring ranked teams on what is expected to be a rainy Saturday around here, including the best matchup, No. 7 Miami traveling to top-ranked Clemson. Just guessing here, but unless the Hurricanes’ turnover bauble gets a workout, this may not be as close as it seems.

Sunday is filled with the NFL. The Seahawks cover the Sunday night spot once again, hosting a Minnesota team that won its first game last week. The other three televised contests – Rams at Washington, Raiders at Chiefs, Giants at Cowboys – don’t seem all that competitive, so the RedZone will probably get a good workout. Barring another coronavirus outbreak, of course.

Still, it’s the NFL. It’s a Sunday. It’s October. That’s enough.


WSU: Theo Lawson spent Thursday answering questions. No, there was no bright light in his face. Just questions from Larry Weir – for the latest Press Box podcast – and from readers via Twitter – for the latest mailbag. … There is a look at the Cougars from the outside. … Around the Pac-12, there will be early kickoffs this season. Will they return in the future? … Washington athletic director Jen Cohen answered questions this week. So did Jimmy Lake, who has a plan for an expanded playoffs. He still is determining a starting quarterback, though. … Speaking of questions, they are everywhere. They are there for Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, USC, Utah, just about everyone. … The Ducks secondary has been decimated. … The California schools either have approval for practice or have figured out a work-around. Except Cal. … Colorado just got approval. Now the Buffs can pick a quarterback. … Arizona was picked to finish last in the South, which isn’t a good thing. … UCLA will wear the same gear this year despite a multi-million dollar lawsuit in play. … USC and UCLA have five players who must come through. … Thanks to better recruiting, Arizona State has a shot at the conference title. … In basketball news, the Sun Devils are among the favorites, which suits Bobby Hurley just fine. … Arizona is still fiddling with the schedule.

Gonzaga: The men’s conference schedule came out yesterday and the Zags open Jan. 2, hosting USF. The most interesting date, however, is Feb. 27. That’s the final game of the regular season and it is at BYU. Senior Night for the Cougars. That should be fun. Jim Meehan has more in this story. … Elsewhere in the WCC, the Cougars are still building their non-conference schedule. … USD opens the conference season on New Year’s Eve.

Preps: It’s a Friday night. There is football in Idaho. Dave Nichols has a preview as the games begin to count toward postseason berths.

Seahawks: Chris Carson spoke with the media yesterday and he had a lot to say. Some of it can’t be printed verbatim here. … Kam Chancellor is still helping the Hawks. … Is DK Metcalf the best in the world, as Russell Wilson says? … No matter what, Sunday’s game is worth watching.

Mariners: Kyle Lewis has a chance to be something special. And should be an award winner this year. … The M’s have a new head groundskeeper but longtime trainer Rick Griffin and others are gone.

Storm: Is it time to erect a Sue Bird statue in Seattle? … The WNBA’s bubble worked well. But for Courtney Vandersloot and Briann January, two players with deep Spokane ties, it was sort of a slog. Dave Trimmer talked with both and has this story.


• I wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday yesterday, either on Twitter or via email. (For those of you who posted on my never-used Facebook page, sorry, but the only reason I know you did is because I can’t figure out how to turn off the notifications from that knapweed-like site. Thanks to you too as well.) I realized yesterday I have some 365 days to figure out how to deal with Medicare and its kin. How fun. Do they call them the golden years because you are always shelling out your hard-earned gold? Until later …