Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Welcome to Wednesday. 'Twas a big day yesterday for all the pro teams in our neck of the woods.

For today's random note...I'll let you in on what used to be my LEGO habit. Apart from getting the individual figures out of the store that come with the manuals and everything, I had this other big bucket of LEGOs. What I would do is get the smallest pieces in there, which I guess were two-by-one, with the numbers being the little bumps, or whatever you want to call them. I'd stack two of those side by side, then I'd stack two more on top of those, except rotate the top pieces 90 degrees. Then I'd repeat until none of these pieces were left in the bucket. Then usually some method of quick destruction was involved, whether it was taking the elongated LEGO monstrosity and pounding it against the floor until the pieces broke loose, or whether it was throwing things at it until it fell, and then throwing the biggest and heaviest metal toy car at it so it'd topple.

Seriously, I've never had to dwell for more than about ten seconds when trying to come up with a random thought to post, and then the detail comes out pretty quick. I'm torn as to whether this is a gift or an affliction.

On to the post!

In camp yesterday, it rained, but one field was clear for bunt defense drills. Since I was an outfielder throughout my playing days, I was usually a runner (conditioning) or trying to lay down the bunt if they were really getting situational on us.

Thus spake Ichiro. He's not setting any numerical goals yet or anything like that. It's February, after all. He says he doesn't know if he will ever hit .400 in a season, or if anyone will ever do it again. Ichiro is more likely to score runs this year also, but he more than likely won't come close to the modern era record of 177 by Babe Ruth circa 1921. Ichiro also says last season was "awful" and that he wants to cut down on mistakes at the plate. What do I say? Doubles into the gap. That's what I want to see out of Ichiro more than the singles machine from last year, albeit the best singles machine I'll ever see.

Mike Hargrove had a talk of decent length with the players before starting workouts with the full roster. Apparently Hargrove's not as big as Willie Randolph's new rules for the Mets, which include bans on facial hair, loud clubhouse music, and crookedly worn caps. If the latter of the three triggered a Mike Cameron holdout, I wouldn't be surprised. Okay, maybe I would be. Also, Matt Tuiasosopo apparently got new personalized bats reading "Tuiasosopopopo," which makes me immediately think that Bret Boone had a hand in it. If he did, come on, Bret, you probably haven't even said a word to the guy. You've got all camp to mess with him.

In that last P-I notebook article, there was a little blurb about Jeff Smulyan putting down a deposit to possibly buy the Washington Nationals. If he actually buys the team, how can their organization spin that at the press conference? What do you put on the website? "Smulyan owned the Mariners in the '80s...and they later went on an incredible run in 1995." Can you attribute anything good to the Smulyan years? Why would the Nationals subject themselves to this? Wait, don't answer that.

As was being reported as on the verge of happening last night, the Seahawks had the press conference yesterday to announce that Matt Hasselbeck was locked up long-term as the starting quarterback. Matt will be getting six years and as much as $49.4M (incentives) with a $16M signing bonus. Mike Reinfeldt rules -- I don't know what more there is to say. Hasselbeck's agent said that the contract talks were sometimes "contentious" between he and Reinfeldt, but ultimately, a deal got done. This was amidst 20-30 conversations between Reinfeldy and Dunn throughout the last weekend.

Though it could have been announced yesterday, the Seahawks decided to let Hasselbeck have his day and name Tim Ruskell president today instead. Sure, we brought up Randy Mueller's name more than a few times on this site, and he's local and everything, but I can't argue with Ruskell's credentials (as so nicely stated here or two posts below by Jeremy). He helped assemble some crazy-good defenses in Tampa Bay, and if some of that crazy-goodness can be brought to Seattle's defense, then that's absolutely great. I want the Seahawks to pound the daylights out of the Rams next year. Yes, it's officially a rivalry.

With the opinion column of the day, Steve Kelley gives much-justified props to Mike Reinfeldt. Kelley then presents the moves he would make on both sides of the ball. Understandably, it's mostly on defense, and equally understandably, finding a receiver is also involved. Of course, I hope Shaun Alexander doesn't get ticked off by all this. If nothing else, I hope Alexander has a chat with Casey Treat and they agree to more commercials were Treat gets leveled while playing football. I'm sure that could be a dealbreaker. Nonetheless, the non-exclusive tag they've put on Alexander does allow him to shop around to see if teams want to give up two first-round picks to get him, though I've heard that's unlikely.

Jose Miguel Romero puts forth the list of the Seahawks' remaining unrestricted free agents, with a little blurb on each of the players.

The Marvin Williams Watch
In North Carolina's 81-71 win on the road against NC State, Marvin Williams scored 14 points, pulled down 2 boards, and recorded 3 steals off the bench in 20 minutes. He nailed two of three from the field and shot 10-for-12 from the free-throw line. Marvin is averaging 11.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Per 30 minutes of play, Marvin is averaging 15.6 points and 9 rebounds.

The Tar Heels travel to face Maryland on Sunday (2:30p, FSNNW) before hosting Florida State next Thursday (6p, local only)

The Huskies host Arizona State tomorrow (7:30p, FSNNW) and Arizona on Saturday (1p, FSNNW)

The Zags go to Portland tomorrow (8p, ESPN2) and host Northern Colorado the following Monday (FSNNW Seattle, Q6 NBC Spokane) before starting WCC Tournament play.

For my take on last night's game, scroll down a post or click here if this is the only post on the page.

Scrapping was what Nate McMillan said the Sonics needed to do again. Part of this was the Ray Allen loose-ball scramble into the bench after Dikembe Mutombo bricked the free throw that would have given the Rockets a one-point lead. Allen was helped into the bench by David Wesley, whose foul sent Allen to the line to break the tie and account for the final margin. Part of the scrapping was Rashard Lewis defending Tracy McGrady, with the key play coming late when Lewis swatted the ball away after McGrady drove past him. The ball ended up in Luke Ridnour's hands, and Ray Allen was almost to the basket on the other end, and packed it. The Sonics have ended three of the six longest winning streaks in the NBA this season.

Another measure of scrap that I forgot about was when Jerome James got great position near the baseline on Yao Ming, and Ming got whistled for the sixth and final time. Furthermore about Rashard Lewis' defense, on the final Houston possession, McGrady passed up the final shot (Lewis and Radmanovic were on him) so Scott Padgett could airball a wide-open three. Think about that for a second -- the Rockets had Tracy McGrady on the floor, and the ball was in Scott Padgett's hands for the final shot. I guess it's all hindsight if Padgett makes the shot, but sheesh...

Yippee! More Ray Allen trade speculation! Can the deadline just pass already so I don't have to hear any more of this? That said, I'm going to be absolutely blindsided if the Sonics deal Ray Allen by the deadline, given everything we've heard as well as the fact that there's been little to no rumblings or rumors about who the Sonics would get back in a possible deal.

David Locke says that the Sonics' unexpected non-suckitude has altered the plan a bit in terms of possible personnel moves. If the Sonics move Vitaly Potapenko and Ron Murray, it could deprive them of cap space that basically gives the Sonics leverage against a Ray Allen sign-and-trade. At the same time, Locke says the Sonics could use a big with decent perimeter defense, but is Vladimir Radmanovic too much of a price to pay, and how much would his subtraction hurt the offense? I just say they go with what got them here, personally. If no one out there is a must-have, then they should stay put.

Tonight at New Orleans (5p, FSNNW)
Friday vs. Minnesota (7:30p, FSNNW)
Sunday at Milwaukee (12p, FSNNW)
Tuesday at Indiana (4p, FSNNW)

The Times has a little blurb about blueliner Zack FitzGerald of the Thunderbirds, a Saint Louis draftee whose future is uncertain. Right now, however, he's tied with teammate Matt Hansen for fourth in the WHL in plus-minus with a plus-30.

Kamloops beat Everett 2-1. All the goals in this one were scored in the first period. The Blazers got the 2-0 lead and never looked back. Kyle Annesley scored the lone Everett goal on a power play with 26 ticks left in the period. Kamloops outshot Everett 26-19, and Mike Wall stopped 24 for Everett.

Kelowna beat Portland 2-1. The Winter Hawks lost in their final game at Memorial Coliseum for the season, and will play the rest of their home games at the Rose Garden. All the goals in this one were scored in the second period, and Portland had the early lead before it slipped away. Brandon Dubinsky scored the lone goal for Portland before the Rockets scored twice on the power play late in the latter half of the period. Kelowna goalie Kristofer Westblom (age 17) stopped all 15 shots he faced in the third period as Portland kept on the attack. Portland was outshot 39-38, and Blake Grenier stopped 37 for the Winter Hawks.

Tonight: Seattle at Kelowna, Tri-City at Vancouver, Manitoba at Wilkes-Barre Scranton
Tomorrow: Manitoba at Syracuse
Friday: Seattle at Kamloops, Everett at Tri-City, Portland at Spokane, Kelowna at Vancouver, Tri-City at Puget Sound (Cascade Cup semifinal -- Game 1 of best-of-5)
Saturday: Portland at Seattle, Vancouver at Everett, Manitoba at Hamilton, Tri-City at Puget Sound (Cascade Cup semifinal -- Game 2 of best-of-5)
Sunday: Spokane at Seattle, Tri-City at Everett

Have a great Wednesday, everyone. Bonus points to those who sniffed out the Def Leppard reference in the post title.

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