Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Welcome to Wednesday. Already. It seems like I was just ticked off about the Sonics' loss on Sunday, but they've given me more to be ticked off about thanks to last night.

For today's random...I've dropped a couple of horribly-out-of-place American Idol references here in the past few weeks, but this won't be the bulk of what I'm about to spew forth. I didn't see either of the first two seasons of Nashville Star, but apparently my parents did, and seemed to find the show somewhat engaging. But even I knew they wouldn't find this third season quite as appealing. Why? I found out a week or two ago that one of the judges this time around was Bret Michaels. After all, if there's anyone out there who knows what it takes to be a country music superstar, look no further than a guy who made his name in the '80s making glam-metal music while using more hair spray and even more makeup than all the female contestants I saw on last night's episode of Nashville Star combined. It'd be one thing if that was the only reason I had a problem with this, but there's more. On American Idol, the judges actually seem to have some pull and seem to know what they're talking about half the time. With Bret Michaels, he'd rather just tell the female singers that he wished they could come back to the bus after the show and party, or just merely say that the singer is "hot." Seriously, I'm not even sure why there are judges at all on that show. Man, this Bret Michaels-judging-country thing would be like me going to P Diddy for constructive criticism on my guitar playing. I was going to insert a P Diddy joke here that had to do with sampling, but it's late and my brain's not firing on all cylinders. I type the rest of the post before I type the random, you know.

Another thing that ticked me off, though was strangely more gratifying...it's called Chasm. As usual, when I mention most weird or random crap here that has some repeat or replay value, it ends up under "miscellaneous links" on the sidebar.

To the post!

Since won-loss records really don't matter in spring training, all the little things matter more. For instance, Wladimir Balentien and Jose Lopez failed to take the sign from third-base coach Jeff Newman, the former on a 3-0 count, when Hargrove was actually going to turn Jose loose, and he took instead. Just for comedic purposes, this is where I wish R. Lee Ermey was the manager of this team, to chew out players in spring training. "ARE YOU TWO MAGGOTS TOO GOOD TO TAKE SIGNS?! DON'T TOUCH ME!! LEAN FORWARD AND CHOKE YOURSELF!!"

In the non-radio split-squad game yesterday, Ryan Franklin threw 56 pitches in two innings (paging Villone), Bret Boone was muffing balls, Masao Kida was lit up (when don't I expect that?), and Rett Johnson was having some Rick Ankiel moments.

Joel Pineiro's start has been pushed back due to stiffness behind the throwing shoulder (i.e., not a flexor bundle). As a result, Felix Hernandez (who's he?) will be starting this afternoon.

Time for the specific non-notebook pieces...
Blaine Newnham gives some ink to Adrian Beltre, and it probably won't be the first time. It is kind of weird after these past few years to think of this team as the team that let Johnson, Griffey, and Rodriguez go, and then realize that now we get to see Adrian Beltre for the next few seasons. This is going to be fun. Former Florida manager and current Bavasi minion John Boles has some glowing quotes in the piece.

Miguel Olivo is surviving Camp Hansen. Olivo likens Roger Hansen to a sort of father figure away from home. I'd sure like to know who it was that told Olivo to hold his hands higher when he's batting. Also, I know the trade happened when I was at field camp, but the kidney stone thing totally slipped by me. I didn't know about it until now.

Don Baylor the motivator? The word "edge" is used a lot in that piece. Baylor beat cancer, and decades before that, he was nearly the first black football player for the Longhorns. He's a disciple of Frank Robinson and wants the hitters to get some swagger and some confidence as a whole. Anyway, that's what I got from that piece. I don't know where else to go with it.

What would you call a football version of a hot stove league? I have no idea. Cold grill conference?

Anyway, that's what's going on at Camp Ruskell.

New names involved in meetings and/or rumors, with named teams as teams the player was last with, if he's not currently attached to a team...

JEFF GARCIA, San Francisco quarterback, is scheduled to meet; the Seahawks are apparently up against the Broncos and Lions...
ANTHONY THOMAS, Chicago running back, in town for a visit...
***ROD GARDNER, Washington wide receiver, who would come via trade, and may spell the end of Koren Robinson in Seattle if he's on board...

[***Edit ~12:35p -- Rod Gardner is now matched with the correct team that he played for last year, instead of the Broncos.

Edit 2:44p -- Rod, not Ron, as I'd listed originally. I'm a wreck.]

BRYCE FISHER, Saint Louis defensive end, in town for a visit...
ANDRE DYSON, Tennessee cornerback, who left Seattle without signing a contract, though everyone's people will apparently keep in touch...
KELLY HERNDON, Denver cornerback, says through his agent that he wants to meet...
PATRICK SURTAIN, Miami cornerback, whose possible arrival in Seattle might be because Shaun Alexander would have gone the other way in a trade...
KEVIN BENTLEY, Cleveland linebacker, says he's planning a visit...
ANTHONY BECHT, New York Jets linebacker, says he's planning a visit...
ED HARTWELL, Baltimore linebacker, says through his agent that he wants to meet...
DONNIE SPRAGAN, Denver linebacker, says he's planning a visit...
JASON TAYLOR, Miami linebacker, supposedly unreceptive to possibly moving to outside linebacker if Miami goes with a 3-4 defense.

From the P-I article, Phil Neri is apparently a consultant helping the Seahawks prepare for the draft. Scot McCloughan left to be VP of player personnel for the 49ers, so the post has been vacant. Neri was the Seahawks' director of college scouting from 1984-1996. In 1984, the Seahawks were 12-4 and won a playoff game (I'm shuddering as I try to imagine that). After that, there's a 10-6 season (they missed the playoffs) two years later, followed by a smattering of 9-7s and 7-9s, followed by the Tom Flores era, and then a return to mediocrity with Dennis Erickson. The 1996 team was 7-9. Not that there's a direct correlation, but the Seahawks were 100-107 when Neri was in the fold.

Also mentioned in the P-I article is Mike Holmgren's upcoming NFL competition committee meetings in Maui. That should be fuuuuuun. I could dig back into last season's game posts to find it, but the first thing that popped into my mind when I read about this was (I think it was the Minnesota game) where Lucas, Hamlin, or Boulware recovered a fumble or something, and would have run it back the other way for a touchdown, but the ball was whistled dead. It was whistled dead even though if they had let the play go, the officials could have easily reversed the call of whether the ball was down, or the other team could have challenged it. All I remember was that somehow the play was not challengeable. I think the plays that are deemed unchallengeable might be just one of the things Mike Holmgren might bring up in an oh-so-nice manner at these meetings.

The Miah Davis Update
The Roanoke Dazzle host Florida on Saturday, and Fayetteville the following Saturday and Sunday.

The Marvin Williams Watch
The Tar Heels will get the winner of the ACC tournament's 8/9 game (Maryland/Clemson) on Friday (9a, ESPN2). The winner of that game plays Saturday (1:30p, ESPN).

The Huskies face Arizona State in the Pac-10 tournament's 2/7 game tomorrow (6:15p, FSNNW). The winner goes on to face Stanford or Washington State on Friday (8:45p, FSNNW).

Congrats to Gonzaga, not just because they landed an automatic NCAA tournament berth, but because they've landed next year's WCC men's and women's tournaments at the McCarthey Center. That's right! Them Southern Californians will experience Spocompton, and they will LIKE it! Hopefully they know that Spokane is an apple maggot quarantine area, and they remember not to transport homegrown tree fruit. For me, when I'm near Spokane, those signs are the official reminder to me that I am indeed entering Spokane.

Gonzaga now awaits the results from Selection Sunday.

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

Just to clarify, the game wasn't really quite as close at the end as the score would indicate because Ray Allen hit a meaningless three-pointer with 0.01 seconds left. When Jon Barry almost held the ball for too long on the inbound, and hit Tracy McGrady streaking to the basket for a layup, that was what did the game in for me, even though McGrady bricked the free throw and the Sonics still had 14.5 seconds and the ball, down three. But they couldn't get off a really clean shot to tie it.

The Sonics have done many great things this season, but coming back to win after a franchise-low quarter of basketball -- the third quarter in particular, where the Sonics scored a grand total of six points on 3-for-14 shooting -- is not one of them. Grand. Paul Silvi on KING-5 called it "Dennis Bounds-type basketball." Nate McMillan said the ball just wasn't moving that quarter, though the Sonics definitely had less time with which to score after turning the ball over seven times in the quarter.

Man, it's too bad David Locke's column has such horrible timing after a loss like this. Basically, he says that the Sonics' offense is special, incredible, and can even draw comparisons to great teams, if you use some stats. He uses turnovers by possession, shooting effectiveness, and rebounding rankings to see where the Sonics would stack. Basically what he ends up with is that they're the 72-10 Chicago Bulls, except with very spotty defense. I'm not sure how many wins that gets you or how far in the playoffs that will get this team. What I do know is that they lost their 18th game last night, which means that they have to run the table to equal the won-loss record of the Sonic team (64-18) that went to the finals and ran into that 72-10 buzzsaw.

In a related story, Vin Baker was with the Rockets at KeyArena last night and nobody gave a crap.

Friday vs. Chicago (7:30p, not televised)
Sunday at New York (3p, FSNNW)
Tuesday at Chicago (5:30p, FSNNW)

There's some buzz in the Times as the games pick up again.

For the Thunderbirds, Zack FitzGerald was being reviewed by league officials for an "intent to injure" penalty (I thought those were called match penalties) stemming from his payback move on Portland's Shane Halifax, who got five games earlier in the year for cross-checking FitzGerald's head. Coach Rob Sumner may also be suspended for throwing a pen onto the ice. In less turbulent news, goalie Bryan Bridges was named WHL player of the week.

For the Silvertips, Mark Kress (broken arm) and Zach Hamill (ankle sprain) are expected to come back to the ice this weekend.

Tonight: Tri-City at Seattle, Everett at Spokane, Manitoba at Grand Rapids
Friday: Seattle at Everett, Spokane at Portland, Vancouver at Prince George, Manitoba at Grand Rapids, Puget Sound at Queen City (Game 1 of Cascade Cup Finals)
Saturday: Portland at Everett, Vancouver at Prince George, Manitoba at Chicago, Puget Sound at Queen City (Game 2 of Cascade Cup Finals)
Sunday: Spokane at Seattle, Everett at Portland, Manitoba at Chicago
Tuesday: Prince George at Vancouver, Manitoba at Milwaukee

Have a grand Wednesday, folks.

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