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

A Grip on Sports: When we talk, hardly anyone listens but at least we are still in (the football) business

A GRIP ON SPORTS • No one has ever said this before, but could we envision this beautiful day as the calm before the heat? It certainly is in Spokane, if you are referring to the weather. It is also similar if you’re looking around the sports’ world.


• The sun is shining as we type. The weatherman tells us the high temperature today will hit the 70s. Then explode into the 80s tomorrow and for the next week or so. Heat dome incoming, or so it seems.

Fine by us. Sitting outside in the middle of the day, a cold drink in hand, is one of the awesome perks of retirement not shown enough in old E.F. Hutton commercials. Mainly, we have to believe, is old Mr. Hutton was too stuck up (and greedy) to listen to folks whose dream was to sit under a spreading chestnut tree, shirt off and shorts loosened, would have enough money to invest with his company. Well, you struck out on that one pal. We did. And we will be enjoying the fruits of our labors all summer long.

With a radio on. Listening to our favorite local broadcasters talk baseball for a few hours. Loud enough, we hope, to drown out the noise of the neighborhood kids playing their imaginary games.

That will be possible, thanks to Mr. Sol and his friends, Dr. Clear Skies and Ms. Lightbreeze.

• If baseball is the summer game, then what is football? The game of the year? Doesn’t really matter what day it is, or what the weather is like, we seem to trip over football news constantly. And consistently.

What will the Seahawks’ defense look like, post-Pete? How will we be able to watch Washington State play, post-Pac-12 (as we knew it)? Who should we root for in the Big Ten come post-October, and why should it be Oregon?

Isn’t it weird to be thinking about such things one day short of D-Day’s 80th anniversary? Then again, no stranger than using the next 24 hours or so to contemplate Kyrie Irving’s return to Boston for the NBA Finals. Or whether the Panthers can finish their Stanley Cup dream this season. Didn’t James Naismith invent basketball to get us through winter healthy, wealthy and wise? Or was that Ben Franklin’s plan when he invented ice hockey? Ben did that, right? After all, every playoff game sizzles with electricity, even in June.

Here we are, decades after Dr. Naismith has exited the stage and his second-greatest invention is playing its professional championship series on the cusp of summer, with a decent chance of bleeding into that season. Same for the NHL.

Don’t those who run those sports understand summer is for other things?

Mini-camps. Preseason. You know, football.

• Attendance was on the mind of baseball fans in the East Bay last night. Would the area’s outgoing Major League Baseball franchise, the A’s, outdraw the area’s new Pioneer League – an independent entity these days – franchise, the Oakland Ballers?

Wonder what the odds were? And if any A’s relievers put down bets? If so, better hope they picked their team to cover. The Athletics did. Barely.

With the first-place Mariners in town, the A’s announced an attendance of 5,624. Try as we might, we couldn’t independently verify that number, as counting a crowd on TV is darn-near impossible.

The Ballers, playing up the road at their ballpark, the refurbished Oakland landmark Raimondi Park, packed the place. But it holds just 4,100. As a percentage of available seats, the minor league franchise won. Easily.

Meanwhile, the A’s did what they do. They lost. They battled, sure. But lost. For the 38th time this season, their last in Oakland.

The M’s? The won on the scoreboard, but may have lost too, as closer Andres Munoz had to leave the game in the ninth after a collision at home plate following his wild pitch. He’ll be examined today and Seattle should find out his status.

Hopefully it will be minor. Maybe Munoz will have to sit a few days. Take a chair in the bullpen and enjoy the sun for a while. It’s the thing to do in early June.


WSU: It’s not often our lead Washington State news is about track and field. Then again, early June also means the NCAA Championships. And the Cougars have two of the best hurdlers in the nation. John Blanchette, as only he can, introduces us to Maribel Caicedo and Micaela De Mello, South American imports who have a chance to finish on the podium in this weekend’s meet. We would read one of John’s stories if he was writing about wheat growing outside Colfax. But when he writes about track and field, it’s not to be missed. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and the nation, Jon Wilner tries to quantify how many potential eyeballs are available for WSU and Oregon State football games this fall. And compare that number to the potential ones last year. Thanks to the new media deals, the duo has a chance to be seen by a lot more people. … Back to track and field. With the championships starting today, we want to pass along every preview we could find. We have Washington, more than one from Oregon, Colorado, Utah and Arizona. … At UW, Christian Caple talked with Pat Chun about the Huskies and his new job. … The numbers countdown continues for Oregon. … The Beavers are a little up in the air at tight end. … Utah has bowl options but maybe the Utes should be thinking playoffs instead. … Oregon State is off to Kentucky for the Super Regional. And Oregon is headed to Texas A&M. … This headline is wrong. It should use “return as” instead of “become.” … The NCAA’s House settlement gives the players money and the non-Power 5 schools the shaft. … Arizona is looking for a new women’s golf coach. … Finally, we love this idea.

Gonzaga: Around the WCC, Grand Canyon is building something lasting it seems.

EWU and Idaho: Around the Big Sky, the best men’s players in the conference once again decided to play elsewhere next season. Six of the seven first-team selections won’t be returning. … Weber State has added to its women’s basketball roster. …. The Wildcats hired a new head softball coach, who happens to be a longtime assistant.

Indians: Despite the offense coming around, Spokane fell 8-6 to visiting Hillsboro to open a six-game series at Avista. Dave Nichols has the game coverage. … Elsewhere in the Northwest League, the race for the first-half title tightened as second-place Eugene walloped host Tri-City 20-5. … Everett handed visiting Vancouver a 6-2 defeat.

Mariners: We mentioned the win above but there was more to the 4-3 decision than just Munoz’s injury and the sparse crowd. … Do you believe the Mariners will treat this trade deadline differently? Mike Vorel is less than convinced. … One person feels Munoz will be the M’s lone All-Star representative. … Victor Robles says he had a lot of offers.

Seahawks: The offense is coming together, but the defense, under Mike Macdonald and defensive coordinator Aden Durde, is still stuck in neutral, thanks to injuries at linebacker.

Kraken: Florida seemed a bit antsy in losing the Cup to Las Vegas last season. The Panthers say they are more relaxed this year.

Sonics: Yep, the NBA Finals start in Boston. Irving didn’t do well in his time as a Celtic. … Boston had a pretty easy road to the finals.

Storm: Ezi Magbegor signed an extension earlier in the day, then led Seattle to a relatively easy 80-62 victory over the visiting Phoenix Mercury.


• We are going to make a list first thing this morning. Everything we need to get done around the house. Attack the chores with gusto (and a lot of coffee). The goal is to finish every indoor chore we have, leaving the next few days free to lay-about outside. It’s our favorite thing to do. We might even get Ron Cey’s autobiography done, so we can pass along a review. Until later …