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

A Grip on Sports: Between the M’s and British Open golf, the weekend starts early each day

A GRIP ON SPORTS • If the weekend actually begins on Friday, this one had an inauspicious start. Thunderstorms rolled through the area before the day barely began. And scared the living soul out of our old dog.


• Junior, named after the best baseball player to ever grace the Pacific Northwest, would never make it as the M’s centerfielder. Not with his inability to deal with loud noises. Mariner fans are making a lot of noise right now. And should through the weekend.

After all, as July turns towards the end of the summer’s nicest month, there is little to watch on the television this weekend other than the M’s. And golf from Scotland.

The nice part of both? They will be done early, allowing you to spend your Saturday and Sunday evenings enjoying whatever is you enjoy as the sun settles somewhere toward Seattle.

In fact, if you want to watch the entirety of a British Open round, you have to basically not go to bed. Or wakeup at zero-dark-thirty. Time zones and all that. At least live coverage of the final few holes will happen in the early part of Sunday here on the Best Coast. You might have to watch church via Zoom, but you’ll not want to miss Scottie Scheffler or Patrick Cantlay emerge from the Valley of Sin with an 72nd-hole birdie and the Claret Jug, right?

Those are our picks to be left standing Sunday, but we never pick the correct winner. Not in golf, not in baseball.

It’s why we tried a reverse jinx on the Mariners a while back. (Ya, a weak-as-heck backpedal, sure, but it’s ours and were sticking with it.) Now that it worked, and Seattle has put together an 11-game winning streak, you have to start watching. The goal has always been to make the postseason and, thanks to the surge, the Mariners hold the second wild-card spot all to themselves. Maybe that’s why there were thunderboomers this morning.

The games Saturday and Sunday start early, so you can’t use the we-have-late-plans excuse. Get up early, watch golf, watch baseball and then head out to Dairy Queen for dinner. Or see a movie. We hear the latest Minions one will keep the kids entertained.

But what if golf and baseball are too slow for you? Sorry, no football to watch, unless you are one of those folks who call soccer by that name. There is basketball, with the NBA summer league and the WNBA regular season going on. And some world-class track and field from Eugene. (And, by world-class, we mean the world championships, which is a big deal.)

As summer weekends go, it’s pretty darn full.

• We mentioned the Mariners above, as well we should have. There were plenty of heroes in their come-from-behind 6-5 victory at Texas.

The biggest one? We present one Marco Gonzales, the pride of Gonzaga, who started the game with quite possibly the least command he’s had all season. The Rangers raked him early, scoring three runs in the first. It looked hopeless.

If Gonzales felt that way, you would have been watching Adam Frazier pitching in the late innings, that’s for sure. Instead, Gonzales battled. Gave up another couple runs, sure, but pitched through the sixth. Gave the bullpen (and the offense) a chance. The length of his stint, which could have ended early, was crucial. Seattle’s bullpen was taxed from Wednesday’s doubleheader. It needed a break. It got one, thanks to Gonzales. And then the offense figured out a way to win. For the 11th consecutive time.


Gonzaga: Speaking of recent GU players, and that’s what Theo Lawson has been doing with his time in Vegas, we present to you one Jalen Suggs. Theo had a conversation with the point guard about his first year in the NBA. … The Basketball Tournament is back and there are players from the Inland Northwest competing. Jim Meehan touches base with them in this story.

WSU: Around the Pac-12 and college football, maybe the changes coming to the game will actually be better. That’s Matt Calkins’ position. We don’t agree, but that’s just us. … We wondered when UCLA announced its Big Ten move how the Board of Regents agreed to it. Turns out, the Regents were not consulted. They will get involved. … There is a lot of pressure on the George Kliavkoff. … The lack of more quick realignment news could be bad for Washington and Oregon. … The Huskies picked up a Texas recruit. … Spencer Webb’s death in a diving accident is still reverberating through Oregon and the sport. … Colorado won’t change its recruiting philosophy despite the changes in the Pac-12 footprint. … Could BYU and Utah be in the same conference again? … What are the best options for the Arizona schools? … Arizona State’s Herm Edwards is feeling some heat. … In basketball news, Arizona’s athletic director joins the NCAA selection committee.

Idaho: Lauren McCluskey’s name will be remembered on the Palouse. As Peter Harriman tells us, her name now adorns the University of Idaho track inside the Kibbie Dome. The parents of the Pullman High runner, who was murdered while at the University of Utah, have used foundation funds to thank the University of Idaho for its help developing their daughter’s track skills. … Around the Big Sky, Idaho State and Montana State have some news on summer basketball workouts and upcoming schedules. … Northern Colorado has three players on a prestigious preseason football list.

Indians: Eugene turned on the power and defeated visiting Spokane 4-2.

Golf: Friday has turned out to be moving day at the Open with a handful of scores six- or seven-under par. That comes after a Thursday highlighted by long, long rounds at St. Andrews. … Tiger Woods won’t be playing the weekend. He finished his two rounds nine-over. … The LIV golfers, including Dustin Johnson, may have realized this could be their last Major hurrah. Many are playing better.

Mariners: Ty France came through with a two-run eighth-inning single to rally the M’s to their 11th consecutive win. Still, France was snubbed for an All-Star spot once again. … Seattle has another catcher in its system.

Seahawks: You have questions? We found some answers. … Always compete? Then pursue this quarterback.

Kraken: A hockey legacy is trying to carve his own path with Seattle.


• If you asked us who the greatest athlete of all-time was, we would at least mention Jim Thorpe. Ya, we know. A century ago and all that. But he dominated his peers. Which makes his complete reinstatement by the IOC so special. It allows the world to once again see how dominate he was. Until later …