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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

A Grip on Sports: As summer heats up, the broadcast schedule cools, leaving center stage to the Mariners

Julio Rodriguez (44) of the Seattle Mariners celebrities with teammates Abraham Toro (13), Adam Frazier (26) and Cal Raleigh (29) after hitting a grand slam home run against the Texas Rangers during the eighth inning at Globe Life Field on July 15, 2022, in Arlington, Texas.  (Tribune News Service)
Julio Rodriguez (44) of the Seattle Mariners celebrities with teammates Abraham Toro (13), Adam Frazier (26) and Cal Raleigh (29) after hitting a grand slam home run against the Texas Rangers during the eighth inning at Globe Life Field on July 15, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. (Tribune News Service)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Where were we? Oh, yes. Thinking about the temperatures rising. Does this mean the dog days of summer are already upon us?


• In the sports broadcast sense, sure. This weekend will be one of the lightest we can remember. No major golf to watch. No football – of course. Nothing big on the international soccer front. Which leaves us, basically, baseball.

Thank heavens the Mariners will be back. The All-Star break is over, Houston is in town and Seattle carries a 14-game winning streak into July’s final weekend.

Besides, watching on your television is about your only option. Tonight’s game in T-Mobile is sold out. Saturday and Sunday will probably be as well. Welcome to success, Seattle style.

The M’s and the first-place Astros play tonight, then match up for two day games. The stadium will be rocking. It’s what we hoped would happen all those years ago when Jerry Dipoto announced a rebuild. All the years of mediocrity. All those last weekends in July when nothing really mattered. Now we’ve been able to watch two consecutive years of contention, though this year seems a bit different from last-season’s unsuccessful run.

More solid. Jello as opposed to custard.

• Let’s see what else is shaking. Track’s world championship meet will end this weekend in Eugene. Friday saw a longtime national record in the 200 meters fall when Noah Lyles ran a 19.31 to erase Michael Johnson’s name from the U.S. record books.

There is also some golf, though the major involves the old guys playing in England, which isn’t as fun as the young guys playing in Scotland. There is auto racing from all over the world, a couple of key WNBA games and the always interesting Tour de France.

The pups should get a chance to sleep. There isn’t a lot of shaking going on.

• We missed our chance to pontificate in a timely manner when the news broke Washington State and Idaho won’t play basketball against each other this year. The series’ demise is an unintended consequence of the Pac-12 trying to get its teams to play tougher nonconference schedules. Or is it?

As we used to tell our kids all the time when they would say they didn’t have enough time to get their homework done, their failure was a matter of priorities.

If Washington State has to average a certain NET rating in its schedule due to the conference fiat, then it needed to prioritize its games. If playing Idaho was a high enough priority, it would have been done.

Oh, sure, the Vandals could have helped by having a better program the past couple years. That would have alleviated the numbers crunch some. As would have UI recognizing its part in the problem and agreeing to more games in Pullman until its program improves. But WSU could have made it work. If it was enough of a priority.

• Who knew Pac-12AfterDark would save the conference? Jon Wilner posits that argument this week, explaining how important the late-night broadcasts in major media markets are to ESPN. And how the network might be willing to pay something of a premium to keep them.

Even with the shocking loss of the Los Angeles schools, the Pac-12 remains represented in three of the top 12 media markets: the Bay Area, Phoenix and Seattle. And all those areas are able to host late-night games consistently throughout the college football season. And put up good ratings.

Will it be enough? No one knows for sure.


WSU: We mentioned one aspect of the realignment puzzle above. Another one? Can UCLA weather the anger of the UC Regents and California’s governor? Yes, it can. … We also mentioned the Palouse basketball news, which we link below. … Colton Clark shares the news a backup wide receiver is leaving. … Just about every year we link a story about something cool Klay Thompson does. We have another one. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and college football, the Big 12 and the Pac-12 seem to be sniping at each other. … Colorado lost one of its all-time best receivers. Charles E. Johnson died recently. … Oregon held a celebration of Spencer Webb’s life. Utah has a strong realignment resume if need be. But the criteria always seem to change. … USC has dealt before with a dominant dad among its quarterback families.

Gonzaga: The Zags weren’t the only West Coast Conference school represented at the NBA summer league. As Theo Lawson tells us, there was quite a contingent from the WCC this year.

EWU: The ESPYs were handed out Wednesday night and Cooper Kupp was honored for the best championship performance. Of course he was. Theo has the story. … Around the Big Sky, a Minnesota transfer is calling Montana home. … Weber State is finalizing its nonconference basketball season.

Idaho: Peter Harriman has all the information on the ending of the series with Washington State. How shocking is it? The last year the two schools didn’t play, there hadn’t even been a World War yet. … On a brighter note, former Vandal quarterback John Friesz will be part of the Big Sky Conference’s first Hall of Fame class. As Dan Thompson relays, the delayed banquet will be held Saturday night at the Davenport.

Shock: Adam Shackleford is still connected to indoor football. Justin Reed caught up with the former Spokane coach recently and talked with him about his current role within the Indoor Football league’s Frisco Fighters.

Indians: Dave Nichols takes some time this week to introduce us to utility player Mateo Gil, whose father, Benji, made a long career for himself by being versatile.

Soccer: The Military World Cup concludes today at Union Stadium with a series of medal matches. Molly Wisor has a preview.

Basketball: Does Spokane have room for a professional basketball franchise? A couple of local folks believe it does. Dave Cook has this story about the Lilac City Legends.

Mariners: So just how have the M’s turned their season around? And can they keep the success going? … The second half should feature an easier schedule (after a while) and some players returning to health. … “Chaos ball” is as the core of what Seattle does.

Seahawks: Another ranking. This time, players 60-51 on the roster. … The Hawks want to get an extension with DK Metcalf done at some point. … Training camp is just around the corner. … There will be some changes to Lumen Field this season.

Storm: There won’t be many more matchups between friends Sue Bird and Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi.


• Enjoy your weekend. And stay cool. Until later …

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