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

A Grip on Sports: No matter how badly we hope it will, nothing stays the same, though that’s not always bad

Former Seahawks QB Russell Wilson sat behind the Stanford bench Friday during its game with Maryland in the Spokane Arena.  (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Just south of our house, there is a field the size of the Fairground’s main parking lot. Bigger even. For the past 37 years, we’ve driven by it at least a thousand times on the way to school, the market or just heading out of town. Soon, it won’t be there anymore. Change happens.


• More than a hundred homes are earmarked for the field. People, lots of people will have a place to live. That is what’s gained. But the green space is lost. Such is the nature of change. Gain and loss. Everywhere. In everything that occurs. Including sports.

For the Mariners, they are trying to change two decades of futility. Two decades of wandering in the wilderness. Would trading their best prospects, five or six of the players they hope will bring continuity – and success – to the franchise in the years to come, for the transcendent talent that is Juan Soto, be enough to ensure that change?

Thanks to Jerry Dipoto’s rebuild plan, they may have enough talent to make a deal. To bring Soto to Seattle for a couple years to pair with Julio Rodriguez. Then, poof, Soto will be gone in free agency. He won’t sign with the M’s long-term. History – none of their previous transcendent talents have – and the fact his agent is Scott Boras seem to ensure that fact. Is such massive change worth the return? Tough question.

There are other hard questions concerning change as well. Most are at the college level, what with the NCAA in what looks to be its death throes.

The organization is slowly getting out of the major football business, a process that has been going on for decades. But it also is no longer interested, seemingly, in making rules concerning athlete’s compensation. And it’s is moving toward allowing all athletes in all sports the ability to move freely from school to school. The more the organization retreats from such areas, the fewer reasons there are for it to exist – at least in its current bloated form.

Change is always constant in the NFL, with this year’s Seahawks about as clear an example of that as possible.

No more Russell Wilson. No more Bobby Wagner. No more anticipation of the postseason. What’s gained? Uh, an appreciation of what we’ve had that past decade or so? Is that enough?

Besides, more change could be on the way. What if the Hawks and DK Metcalf, the de facto face of the franchise due to the defections, can’t agree to a contract extension. What then?

Nothing, at least for the short term. Metcalf, who skipped some of the summer workouts, reported for camp Tuesday. There are contract discussions going on. They will continue. Will he be on the field? It doesn’t matter all that much, does it? It’s not as if the Hawks don’t know what he offers. And he doesn’t know what they want. But the long term would become cloudier, that’s for sure. Let’s open that can of worms only when we have to, OK?

There is a can of worms that has been open for a while know, with some big ones wriggling away. With UCLA and USC digging their way toward the Midwest, what happens to the 10 other schools left on the Pac-12’s hook? Will they be enough bait to land one of the big media fish?

Maybe we will find out more Friday when George Kliavkoff kicks off the conference’s football media day from Los Angeles. The commissioner’s speech usually revolves around the future. How bright it is for the glamorous Pac-12. Talk about change. Right now, two of the bigger lights are burning out. And finding replacement bulbs is getting harder and harder.

Then again, if we’ve learned anything in our time on this planet, we’ve learned nothing lasts forever. Not even the green grass near home.


WSU: There is football news this morning, what with the Pac-12 releasing its preseason all-conference team. As Colton Clark tells us, two Cougars, Ron Stone Jr. and Dean Janikowski, were named to the first team. Others, including Spokane’s Armani Marsh, earned honorable mention honors. … Stone and Daiyan Henley were also named to national awards’ preseason watch lists. Yes, Colton has more here. … The Cougars also released their preseason camp practice schedule. Nope, no trip to beautiful Lewiston. Colton has that story as well. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and college football, Jon Wilner has this Mercury News story concerning some proprietary technology the Pac-12 Networks developed. … Stewart Mandel answers some questions on The Athletic’s website. … We can share preseason all-conference stories concerning Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona and Utah. … There is a lot of change with Oregon’s roster heading into camp. … We can also pass along more on Arizona’s French basketball recruit.

Gonzaga: Hunter Sallis as camp counselor? Sure. He’s going to be filling that role for Damien Lillard’s new endeavor. And GU commit Dusty Stromer will be one of those in attendance, as will Lake City High’s Blake Buchanan, who is committed to Virginia. Theo Lawson has more. … Around the WCC, the BYU women will be better equipped to join the Big 12 than they would have been a week ago. A top recruit is headed to Provo. The draw? Her mother is the head coach. Amber Whiting had previously been committed to Oregon.

Idaho: Golfer Jose Suryadinata will be playing in a professional tournament in his home nation of Indonesia. That and more are covered in the S-R’s latest local briefs column. … Elsewhere in the Big Sky, it’s a big deal to win the conference football title. … A day late, but we can pass along a Weber State media day story.

Preps: Signing day? In the middle of summer? Yep. Dave Nichols was at Rogers High for a ceremony honoring sprinter Anthony Deerfield’s letter of intent signing with Central Washington University.

Indians: It was hot in Pasco last night. But not as hot as Spokane starter Will Ethridge, who tossed six scoreless innings in the Indians’ 9-3 win over Tri-City. Dave Nichols has more.

Mariners: Rodriguez returned to the lineup after four days off with his wrist injury and promptly hit a leadoff home run. But the M’s bullpen seemed ready to waste that and George Kirby’s near-perfect start as Texas led heading to the bottom of the ninth. A few minutes later Seattle had scored twice and earned a 5-4 victory. … Cole Young, the M’s top pick in the draft, signed his contract, took part in pregame warmups and appeared on the TV broadcast. All in one day.

Seahawks: We came close to writing about Chris Carson this morning. Probably should have mentioned him in the beginning anyway. After all, his entire career was a series of comings and goings. The hard-hitting running back is retiring after a neck injury derailed him for the last time. … Bob Condotta has the final 10 Hawks ranked in order. … There are other players unable to perform as camp opens.

Sounders: Since Joao Paulo’s injury, Seattle has searched for the right midfield combination.


• We are somewhat intrigued by what’s going on with the PGA and LIV. Not so much to give golf a separate spot above but enough to link this AP story about the FedEx points and the PGA defectors. Until later …