A GRIP ON SPORTS • In a period of relative inactivity among sporting events – other than Miami Marlins players being driven to quarantine – it’s too bad the Seattle Sounders decided not to show up last night. As a result, they were knocked out of the MLS Is Back tournament by LAFC and our state has one less professional team to root for over the next couple weeks.
• Yes, we know there are always the Mariners. Hopefully. (See Miami smart-aleck comment above.) But having the Sounders in the mix helped. It gave us something to look forward to the past few weeks. Now that is gone, done in by a series of self-induced errors and a better team.
LAFC is the better team. It is right now. And it probably was last season, when the Sounders won in the playoffs en route to another MLS title. That’s OK. If the team you are rooting for won all the time, it leads to entitlement and arrogance. C’mon, you know what I’m talking about. We’ve all dealt with Yankee fans. And Patriots fans. Who wants that?
(Put your hand down Mariner fan in the corner. It’s never going to happen for you. Even if they make it to the World Series and, somehow, figure out how to win, they are not becoming a dynasty. So you don’t have to worry about entitlement and arrogance. You do, however, have to guard against apathy and fatalism.)
The Sounders are just successful enough to make their fans want more. But two MLS titles in the past four years (and another MLS Cup finals appearance) is pretty darn good. Winning the Cascadia Cup is also special, in a regional way. Dominating? Not hardly. Seattle has a maddening way of showing up small in some big matches, like last night. Like in its most recent foray in the CONCACAF Champions League. Like the occasional goof in Portland.
That’s fine. It keeps everyone humble. And makes the victories all that sweeter.
• My son and I were watching the M’s play yesterday on his day off. He posited the Mariners were going to figure out some way to make the postseason this year, barely getting in as the American League’s eighth seed.
The reward? A three-game series at the top seed, in his mind the Houston Astros. And a quick two-game exit.
Wait a minute, Mr. Negative. I see an opportunity. After going 1-9 against Houston in the regular season, the M’s will trot into Minute Maid and sweep the Astros out of the playoffs. It has been foreordained. It’s karma for the Astros’ cheating their way to a 2017 World Series title that should have been vacated by baseball. It won’t make the Dodgers feel any better but the Astros being swept by the M’s in the playoffs will give the rest of the baseball world some sort of closure.
WSU: Not only did Mike Leach turn around the Cougars’ fortunes in the Pac-12, he also recruited enough good players the school has a decent presence in the NFL once again. Theo Lawson takes a look at every Washington State football player attempting to either start or make a roster as the league opens training camp. … Aron Baynes is back in the Suns’ camp after his COVID-19 battle. … Around the Pac-12 and college sports, Jon Wilner wonders what happened to Larry Scott’s proclamation sports wouldn’t happen if students weren’t on campus. What happened is those in charge realized there is probably more of a chance to avoid a COVID-19 breakout among teams if other students were not around to serve as a petri dish. It’s something we’ve been harping on for a while and the contrast between the NBA bubble – no positive tests – and baseball’s non-bubble – lots of positives – illustrates. Without students on campus, college athletics has a chance to create a semi-bubble. Is it the right thing to do? I’m not sure. But it should help keep the virus transmission numbers down. … Speaking of virus numbers, Oregon State is reporting zero new positives. … Baseball’s problems don’t bode well for college football. … When it comes to the fall, each of the Power 5 conferences, including the Pac-12, is acting on its own. … Oregon’s Penei Sewell is the offensive line’s anchor. … To get into an Arizona athletic event, you will have to have a way to show a virtual ticket. … Arizona State’s recruiting seems to be going well. … In basketball news, Utah is looking down the road with a recruit.
Gonzaga: No one thought Peyton Watson, a 6-foot-7 forward from Long Beach, was going anywhere but UCLA. And everyone was right. The senior-to-be made a commitment to the Bruins yesterday, leaving GU and many other schools unfulfilled. Jim Meehan has this story.
EWU: The Big Sky media days’ virtual format robbed us of having Eastern coach Aaron Best and his predecessor, current Cal Poly coach Beau Baldwin, on the dais at the same time. Instead, they shared a zoom call with Idaho’s Paul Petrino. Ryan Collingwood has a notebook filled with what they had to say. … Speaking of Idaho, Larry Weir talks about the Vandals in the latest Press Box podcast. … Elsewhere in the Big Sky, Idaho State pushed back the start of football practice due to coronavirus concerns. … Montana hopes to play a nonconference game. But the game that still matters the most is against Montana State.
Preps: Montana has come up with a plan for fall sports. It includes an on-time start.
Mariners: Kendall Graveman’s feel-good return to baseball turned into another Houston win, as the Astros knocked him around a bit. … The M’s know they have to do a better job to keep the virus away. … Want your mug on a cardboard cutout? The Mariners will do that for you. For a price. … The M’s reserve players are getting after it in Tacoma. … Justus Sheffield makes his first start of the year against the Angels tonight.
Seahawks: Was Jamal Adams worth the price? Pete Carroll thinks so. … Quinton Dunbar has yet to be formally charged in the Florida armed robbery he stands accused of abetting. That didn’t stop the NFL from putting him on the exempt list, however. … First-round pick Jordyn Brooks signed his contract yesterday. … Will the Hawks sign any other free agents? … A new Seahawk offensive lineman has opted out of the season due to coronavirus concerns.
Sounders: As we said, Seattle’s mistakes contributed mightily to the 4-1 defeat. … Portland tries to stay alive against FC Cincinnati.
• You don’t have to be old to remember a hot summer day. In fact, at my age, they all seem to run together a bit. I do remember one really scorching one from college, though. The summer between my junior and senior year. Caught both ends of a doubleheader in 100-degree heat. Hit the ball well, too, so I had to run the bases a lot. What do I recall? Drinking gallons of water on the way home and sleeping for like 16 hours straight. Ah, to be young again. Until later …