A GRIP ON SPORTS
What a day. The alma mater is headed to the NCAA semifinals and I read a headline I thought I would never see in my lifetime. Read on.
• First the headline. Yep, the Raiders used character as one of their draft criteria. Really. Not characters, but character. Al Davis must be rolling, well, you know. And those fighting Anteaters? For the third time in six years, they are headed to the NCAA Final Four. In volleyball. Men's volleyball. Ya, I know. You weren't even aware the NCAA still offered men's volleyball. Well, it does and UC Irvine is a power in it. Keep your snide remarks to yourself.
• We have a few snide remarks about the Mariners' pitching yesterday, but we'll keep them to ourselves as well. Just because the guy who pitched the shutout for the Blue Jays is another ex-Mariner, we won't be bitter. No siree. Life's too short to dwell on the folks the Mariners gave up on that came back to bite them in the butt. You just wouldn't have time for anything else.
• Early on the draft process, I read a couple stories about how Washington's Chris Polk was impressing NFL folks. How he was moving up draft boards. Then, all of sudden, I didn't see much on Polk anymore. Nothing negative, but just nothing. Which is exactly what happened to Polk in the three days of the draft. One of the most productive running backs in the Pac-12 went undrafted. We have a lot of links in the WSU section from the Seattle-area trying to explain why that happened. As far as I can figure, something snowballed on Polk concerning injuries, something that may or may not be true. It's too bad, as he seemed to be a guy worth rooting for.
• Washington State: Christian Caple was back on the blog this morning, linking news from around the Pac-12 and his own stuff. That includes his coverage of WSU's 2-0 baseball loss to Arizona State. He also has the news on three WSU seniors who signed free agent contracts with NFL teams: Alex Hoffman-Ellis, Jared Karstetter and David Gonzales. … Christian also linked to the S-R coverage of the Pac-12 women's golf tournament in Pullman. … The Cougar men won their dual meet over UW yesterday, though the Washington women claimed that one. … As we promised, here are the links from the Puget Sound on Polk's non-choice. I agree with Jerry Brewer, Polk will still end up making some sort of a mark in football, whether it be with the Eagles, who signed him yesterday, or someone else.
• Gonzaga: Jim Meehan was able to talk with recruit Lucas Meilke's father yesterday and put his comments on this blog post. … The WNBA camps open today and Kayla Standish should get a lot of looks early.
• Idaho: It looks more and more likely the Western Athletic Conference is going the way of the dodo bird. There were more musical chairs pulled out yesterday, meaning the Vandals seem to be staring into a big void. Josh Wright has more in this blog post. He also covers a Vandal draft pick. … New-look Utah State, which had three football players drafted, including two by the Seahawks, seems to be headed to the Mountain West.
• Preps: The Inland Empire tennis tournament wrapped up yesterday and correspondent Steve Christilaw had this story for the S-R.
• Shock: Spokane coach Andy Olson was happy about just one thing: The Shock left Jacksonville with a 56-48 victory. But Olson wasn't all that happy with the way his team played. … The Sharks aren't happy either and they don't have a win to take the sting away.
• Mariners: If the Mariners are going to take anything positive out of a 7-0 loss, it would have to be the seven innings of three-run baseball – and it could have been seven innings of zero-run baseball if Kyle Seager had made a play at third base – from fifth starter Kevin Millwood. Those type of outings from your fifth guy can lead to a lot of wins. Just not on a day when Brandon Morrow was pitching like the guy the M's thought he would be when he came out of Cal and the Mariners were hitting like Mario Mendoza. … It's Sunday, so Larry Stone has a column and his power rankings.
• Seahawks: The draft finished up. It seems the Hawks emphasized speed. And size, in at least one spot. How good was it? There will be grades, of course, but none really matter until a couple years down the road.
• Sounders: A couple things you don't see everyday: Eddie Johnson scored what was eventually the game winner in Seattle's 2-1 win in Chicago, and the Fire's Marco Pappa scored when his corner kick curved into the post and bounced into the net.
• Have a fun Sunday. It looks as if it might be the last nice one in the Inland Northwest for a while. Until later …