A GRIP ON SPORTS • Our earliest memory concerning prayer dates back to when we were about 10 or so. It was a Friday night. We were lying in bed, listening to rain pelting our roof. We had a Little League game scheduled for the next day. We prayed as hard as we could the rain would stop. And also sang the little ditty about “rain, rain, go away.”
• Looking back on it, we probably should have just put our eggs in one container. The two rituals probably canceled each other out because, as we recollect, we didn’t get to play the next day. Neither our singing nor the prayers could overcome a front moving in from the Pacific.
But the episode highlights our love of the game. Baseball was so important to us, we were willing to bargain with the Big Guy to get on the field. Or trust in the magic of some pagan song from thousands of years ago. Anything. Everything. All we wanted to do was play.
More than likely it was springtime then. As it is now. West Coast baseball this time of year, the final few days of May, can be disrupted by rain coming off the ocean. Even when you live 300 miles inland.
We were thinking about this Friday while walking through the Fred Meyer parking lot pushing a cart containing more than $100 worth of groceries. So, really not that much. But the groceries and the person responsible for them were both getting wet. It was raining. Just a sprinkle at first but by the time we stowed them, got in the driver’s seat and turned on the car, it was pouring. Buckets of the stuff.
And we thought back to our days of playing baseball and softball. How many times did we show up at the ballyard, maybe even begin a game and then have to huddle in the dugout to avoid a soaking.
Meanwhile, puddles would form here and there. After the showers would pass, the umpires and the coaches would walk the field, trying to determine if the conditions allowed the game to continue. We never played at a level in which there was a grounds crew to take care of the issues. We had to grab the rake or shovel ourselves to get it done.
Fun. Not really. But neither was being sent home, the game rescheduled for another time.
Baseball is rare in that regard. Golf can be played in the rain, unless lightning is around. Football is fun in the rain but even more so in its winter compatriot, snow. Basketball, volleyball and wrestling compete indoors. Soccer is fine in mud. Rain tires allow cars to keep racing. Hockey is the opposite of baseball in the outdoor version actually needs awful weather to survive.
But baseball has a delay. Then a rainout. Next thing you know, you’re sitting in your car, sipping on the remains of a warm Diet Coke, trying to figure out if pizza or a hamburger would be better for dinner.
Or if maybe, just maybe, you could visit Our Lady of Perpetual Sunshine and light a few candles in hopes of clearing skies.
• The Mariners played last night and won. The Indians, despite the Spokane deluge, played last night and won. Gonzaga played in the West Coast Conference tournament and lost, then won. The local high schools found little in the way of success in their State tournament games.
They will all play again today. As long as it doesn’t rain. It’s baseball season. And we are humming a little song about rain going away. We still believe it works.
WSU: Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and college sports, if you have some questions, Jon Wilner may answer them in the Mercury News. … The Cougars’ best draft prospect? This story says it is Cameron Ward. We would go with Ron Stone Jr. … The conference did pretty well in the NCAA’s softball Super Regionals. In the one matchup within the Pac-12, Oregon State handed host Stanford a 3-1 loss. … UCLA rallied to defeat Duke in Los Angeles. … Arizona won at Mississippi State. … Arizona State lost at home in extra innings to Northwestern. The winners are one more win from the World Series, the losers have to win twice to advance. … In the conference baseball tournament, Arizona (over Arizona State) and UCLA (over California) won. The Bruins play Oregon State and the Wildcats face Stanford today. … In basketball news, a former Arizona State player has found a home. … An Oregon player is not turning pro.
Gonzaga: We mentioned the mixed baseball results above. The Zags need to win twice today over San Diego – the team that handed them their Friday loss – to win the conference’s auto bid to the NCAAs. … Former Iowa State point guard Tyrese Hunter picked Texas over GU and other schools. Theo Lawson has more in this story. Not sure it made a difference (Narrator’s voice: Yes he is) but the Longhorns have quite a good NIL-thing going right now. … Around the WCC, BYU went a different direction with its new assistant basketball coach.
Preps: State track meets continued Friday. Keenan Gray is in Tacoma and has the coverage of the 4A/3A/2A meet. … Dave Nichols was out in Cheney and has this roundup of action in the 1A/2B/1B meet. … Dave also has roundups of tournament action in baseball, softball and tennis.
Indians: Dave dodged the weather and made it to Avista in time to cover Spokane’s 15-7 win over Everett, whose nickname, the AquaSox, should make them uniquely qualified to deal with rain.
Mariners: Justin Verlander may be the best pitcher in baseball right now. But last night Julio Rodriguez and friends made him look, dare we say it, ordinary. Rodriguez’s first-inning home run led to a deluge of four home runs and a 6-1 win. … If you are looking for a reason to stay engaged with the M’s during the sunny days of summer, Rodriguez may just be it. … Roenis Elias is back with the big club.
Sounders: There is more to life than what occurs on the pitch.
Auto racing: The Indy 500 is tomorrow. We don’t know who will win, but we won’t bet against a Chip Ganassi car.
• We have been holding our old iMac together with duct tape, weird workarounds and the occasional séance. All because we don’t want to spend the money to buy a new one. That ends today. We are taking the plunge. We have to. And, yes, everything is backed up with Time Machine and to the cloud. Wish me luck. (Or send 21 $100 bills.) We’ll need it. Until later …