Saturday, January 29, 2005


Oh, how it warms my heart to see Lute Olson's Arizona Wildcats go down.

That's right, Washington State upset Arizona today 70-63. It was WSU's first win against the Wildcats since January 30, 1986. The Wildcats had defeated the Cougars 38 straight times until losing today.

Teddy, I mean, Channing Frye, only had 2 rebounds against WSU. He's just cementing his status as the most overrated player in the Pac-10 in the past 5 seasons. 2 REBOUNDS? AGAINST WASHINGTON STATE? Good grief.

In other college basketball news, Arkansas is leading Kentucky 33-32 at the half in Fayetteville. The game is on CBS, so if you need something to watch, then by all means watch this game. Nothing like watching a basketball game with 20,000 crazied red-clad fans who call the Hogs on occasion. No, don't ask me to call the Hogs. I look like an idiot when I even try to attempt to do it. It's not pretty.

I'll just leave that to the "experts".

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Man, that was a busy Saturday. At least it was for two of the sections below. I didn't see the Sonics play because I was busy watching some much-needed hockey live and in person with two teams that really do not like each other and that face each other again tonight. Seriously, they might be fighting from the opening faceoff.

For my random note today, I'm building off a Dane Cook joke. Does any game of Monopoly truly reach the end that is intended in the manual? Usually somehow one person ends up with most or all the higher-end stuff and eventually pulls out Boardwalk and Park Place and then you're pretty much screwed if you land on those two spaces. But do you ever really get bankrupt, or does the game go so long, but you're usually discouraged at a certain point and the game just dissolves?

**Late add ~2:25p -- The Stanford women's swim team beat 11th-ranked UCLA 176-124 in a dual meet yesterday. Bremerton 2002 grad and butterfly specialist Dana Kirk finished second twice to Kim Vandenburg in both the 100 and 200 fly with NCAA "B" qualifying times of 55.02 and 2:00.54. Stanford was to have another home meet today against USC.

On TV today -- North Carolina at Virginia (9a, ESPN), Portland at Gonzaga (8p, ESPN2)

Larry Stone gives some ink to the Mariners' hire of Mat Olkin as their number-crunching guy. Thankfully, Bill Bavasi and the front office realized that having such a person was needed in today's player personnel landscape. Does anyone want to take any wagers on which deal Mat Olkin helped quash? According to the article, Olkin's findings of a negative trend steered the Mariners away from a certain player.

Again, though a different sport, I link to you Kevin Pelton's articles on the Sonics using the approach of statistical evaluations.

The Seahawks still have no president and no vice president of football operations.

The Marvin Williams Watch
Marvin Williams and the Tar Heels play at Virginia bright and early this morning (9a, ESPN).

The Huskies look to bounce back from their loss in Tucson. Nate Robinson in particular wants to bounce back from his 4-for-12 game against Arizona with five turnovers. Also, Brandon Roy's big individual goal is to be named to the Pac-10's All Conference Team. Of course, that's directly related to him jumping to the NBA.

The Huskies play at Arizona State tomorrow (12:45p, CBS). Here's to hoping your part of the country doesn't get stuck with Connecticut at Notre Dame.

The Zags host the Portland Pilots tonight (8p, ESPN2).

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

Yes, the Sonics won despite getting next to nothing from their bench. Vladimir Radmanovic's three-pointer in the fourth quarter snapped a personal streak of 20 straight misses from the field stretched across all three games of the road trip. Antonio Daniels also went a sparkling 0-for-7 from the field. However, Rashard Lewis was able to have his way on the baseline most of the night to help negate the futility of the bench.

If there's one good thing from last night's game, it's that the main word that follows "ugly" is "win." The Sonics blew the 16-0 lead they piled up to start the game, then almost blew another 10-point lead to finish the game. Luckily Derek Fisher's three-point attempt to tie the game in the waning seconds didn't find the twine. After Rashard hit his jumper that accounted for the last Sonic points, and Ron Murray was defending Jason Richardson when he missed his jumper on the ensuing possession. Murray was lauded by Coach McMillan for his defensive intensity in the fourth quarter.

Man, how would you have liked to have been one of the Warriors' players or coaches and then falling behind 16-0 the day after having a big team air-out meeting? I'm almost glad for the Warriors' sake that they made a game out of this. That could have been even more crippling to a team that's horrible to begin with.

I could say more about this Ted Miller article, but I'll keep it simple to avoid much buzzkill. After this year, with all of the players that could leave the Sonics and given the dire straits the team is in...just enjoy this year, let's put it that way.

Monday vs. San Antonio (7p, FSNNW)
Tuesday at Sacramento (7p, FSNNW)
Saturday vs. Charlotte (7p, FSNNW)

Before this section starts, Chris Durand of the Thunderbirds got some press. He would be a top-15 prospect in the upcoming NHL entry draft if there was one.

Seattle beat Kamloops 4-2. Seattle coach Rob Sumner called his team's effort on Wednesday night, the Thunderbirds' third straight home loss, "awful." Last night, they played more physically and jumped out to a 2-0 lead on power-play goals by Clayton Barthel and Derek Couture in the first period. The Blazers got within one by the end of the first period on a 5-on-3 goal and eventually tied it in the second period on a shot just inside the blue line. Ladislav Scurko beat Kamloops goalie Devan Dubnyk five-hole on a two-on-one rush for the winner with 5:50 to go in the middle period. Tyler Metcalfe iced the game with an empty-netter in the third period. Seattle outshot Kamloops 31-24. Bryan Bridges stopped 22 in the Seattle net.

Portland beat Everett 4-2. Everett has fallen on hard times as the Portland Winter Hawks' first three-game winning streak of the year has put them in a tie with the Silvertips for second place in the WHL's US Division. The Winter Hawks killed off all four Everett power plays last night, and have killed off 27 straight power plays over the last five games. Portland chased Mike Wall after they scored twice (Garrett Festerling and Mike Funk) on their first eight shots. Everett cut the deficit in half when Curtis Billsten put in a rebound about six minutes into the second period, but Brandon Dubinsky of Portland raced in off the bench on a change to score 48 seconds later. Tyler Dietrich scored in his first game back from injury with a goal to get the Silvertips within one at 3-2 just past the halfway point in the third. Everett eventually pulled Leland Irving from the net in the final minutes, but Alex Leavitt took an untimely high-sticking penalty. Portland eventually finished it off with a Dan DaSilva empty-netter. Everett outshot Portland 25-24. Mike Wall stopped 6 and Leland Irving stopped 15 for Everett, and Blake Grenier stopped 23 for Portland.

Vancouver beat Tri-City 3-1. The Giants scored once in every period to beat the Americans. Vancouver got the first goal from Andrej Meszaros and never lost the lead. The other goals were from Mitch Bartley and Gilbert Brule, who scored the empty-netter shorthanded in a 6-on-4 Tri-City attack. Vancouver badly outshot Tri-City 28-16. Marek Schwarz stopped 15 for the Giants, and the continent's top-rated goalie going into the NHL entry draft (if there is one), Carey Price, stopped 26 for Tri-City.

Utah beat Manitoba 4-3 in a shootout. Manitoba scored in each of the first three periods, but blew a 2-1 lead and pulled Alex Auld out of the net for an extra attacker in the late minutes to get the tying goal (3-3) to net a point in the standings and force an eventual shootout, where the Grizzlies won on the their seventh shot. Jeff Heerema scored the first and last Moose goals, and Peter Sarno scored the other. The Moose outshot the Grizzlies 33-25. Alex Auld stopped 22 in net for Manitoba.

Puget Sound beat Spokane 3-2. These two teams do not like each other, a point which was punctuated when Maciej Michalik of the Tomahawks dropped the gloves with under five minutes left in the game with a Spokane opponent and also dropped the Flyer in four punches, sending him to the ice and making slow to get up. There was also a good deal of trash-talking after the finall buzzer. The Tomahawks killed off back-to-back minors in the third period with a 3-2 lead to stave off the Flyers. Whit Garey shot into an open net from low in the slot to open the scoring just past the five-minute mark, and Mike Truex put in a sharp-angle low shot from the corner that hit the inside of the far post for a 2-0 lead. Spokane scored just past four minutes into the second period, but took a penalty not long after, and the Tomahawks converted on an end-to-end passing play, the last pass of which went from the left point to Chase Ambuter low in the slot, where he punched it in for a 3-1 Puget Sound lead. Spokane got to within one in the third period with 10:53 left on a breakaway in which goalie Iggy Slepokourev may have been screened by his only defender that the Spokane skater had to beat. The Michalik got into that fight after a whistle that was originally for a Puget Sound penalty. The Tomahawk minor was short-lived, as the Flyers got whistled six seconds later. The Tomahawks withstood the Flyers' assault in the final minutes, and had the help of two key plays. A Spokane skater carrying the puck was moving across the blue line on a rush, but new acquisition Brett Dreher caught him with his head down and nailed him, breaking up the rush. One puck was deflected high up into the air and was grabbed by the hand of Jan Loboda, who was positioned in the slot. He was able to bat the puck away into a less dangerous area of his own zone. Iggy Slepokourev also withstood a flurry of activity in close until the buzzer sounded. The same two teams go at it tonight.

Tonight: Everett at Seattle, Tri-City at Portland, Kelowna at Vancouver, Manitoba at Utah, Spokane at Puget Sound
Tomorrow: Everett at Tri-City
Monday: Grand Rapids at Manitoba
Tuesday: Grand Rapids at Manitoba, Queen City at Puget Sound
Wednesday: Spokane at Seattle, Vancouver at Red Deer, Queen City at Puget Sound

Whew. Have a great Sunday, everyone.

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SuperSonics 88, Warriors 85

I didn't see the game, so what I'm about to post is based mainly from the boxscore and stuff I heard on the Sonics' radio postgame show with David Locke, who charts how the Sonics get their points. It's nuts, but that's how we find out that the Sonics' catch-and-shoot game saved them in the fourth quarter, and that more often than not means that there was some ball movement going on.

The Sonics jumped out to a 16-0 lead in this game before eventually blowing that lead. They went on another run to start the 4th quarter and had a ten-point lead with 4:20 to go. Then the Sonics' defense just collapsed and the Warriors scored on six straight possessions to get within one before the Sonics were able to weather the storm.

Additionally, Ron Murray got some minutes down the stretch and reportedly did a pretty good job on Jason Richardson.

Disturbing things about tonight's game -- probably the defensive collapse late, the inept bench, and the low assist numbers, despite the resurgence of catch-and-shoot baskets in the fourth quarter.

Ray Allen 26 pts/3 ast/5 reb (10-22 FG, 4-9 3pt), Rashard Lewis 24 pts/4 reb (11-18 FG, 0-3 3pt), Luke Ridnour 14 pts/3 reb/2 ast (6-11 FG, 2-4 3pt), Reggie Evans 0 pts/17 reb (career high in boards)

Vladimir Radmanovic 6 pts (1-9 FG, 1-6 3pt, 3-4 free throws, 21 min), Danny Fortson 4 pts/7 reb (19 min), Antonio Daniels 4 pts/3 ast (0-7 FG, 0-3 3pt, 4-4 free throws), Nick Collison 4 pts/3 reb (2-4 FG, 0-4 free throws), Ron Murray 0 pts/2 reb/1 ast (12 min, mostly defensive)

Jerome James Watch
6 pts/3 reb/2 blk (2-3 FG, 2-2 free throws, 15 min)

shot 33-for-79 (41.8%) from the field, shot 7-for-25 (28%) from downtown, shot 15-for-20 (75%) from the line, outrebounded the Warriors 47-41, turned the ball over 13 times for 12 Warrior points, dished out only 11 assists, bench badly outscored 39-18 but outrebounded the Warrior bench 15-12, scored only four fastbreak points all night

What David Locke has down at his site is that the Sonics had exactly zero fastbreak points coming off of their 35 defensive rebounds, and this was somewhat echoed in Nate McMillan's postgame comments with Kevin Calabro, as he said there were a lot of guys tonight that were just walking the ball up the floor rather than pushing it. As for the 11 assists, the ball movement just has to come back along with the gritty defense. I can only take so much stock in myself tonight if I said the Sonics held the Warriors to 85 points. It's the Warriors we're talking about here. They're not good, but they almost pulled this one out of the hat, and if they were a team of any worth, they would have. Coach McMillan told the team, and Calabro in the postgame, that if the Sonics played this game 30 times, they would only win it once, and that was tonight.

I asked Jinkies what the Sonics can do tactically on the offensive end to move the ball better (of course, there's one really obvious answer to that). His reply: "You have a tender heart. If my owner Peja is ever mangled in a crash of cars and can no longer care for my needs, you are my #1 choice. Prrrr."

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Friday, January 28, 2005


Before the New England Patriots were recognized for being a championship-caliber franchise, they were one of the biggest laughingstocks in all of sports. From the days of playing in Foxboro Stadium to the infamous Bill Parcells departure in 1997 with the Lisa Olson scandal in between, the Patriots were anything but a respectable franchise.

Enter Bill Belichick in 2000.

Belichick had been on Parcells' staff during the 1996 AFC Championship season. He would have been the right hire for owner Robert Kraft to replace Parcells after the Tuna had left for the New York Jets. But Belichick followed Parcells to the Jets and the Patriots hired Pete Carroll.

When Parcells resigned in early 2000, Belichick had taken over the position. It would be a short-lived tenure, as Belichick jumped to New England to take over for Carroll. Belichick's previous head coaching experience was in Cleveland, where he took the Browns to the playoffs just once out of 5 seasons. While in Cleveland, Belichick would make one of the gutsiest moves ever made by a head coach in the NFL by releasing fan favorite Bernie Kosar. A similar situation such as this would come into play 8 years later for Belichick.

Former Boston Globe sportswriter and current "I, Max" personality Michael Holley followed the Patriots during the 2002 and 2003 seasons. The Patriots won their first world championship in 2001, defeating the heavily favored St. Louis Rams. Holley approached Belichick about experiencing several aspects of the NFL culture through the eyes of the then-defending world champions. To those who believe that Belichick was a hard person to deal with, it was surprising to find out that Belichick liked Holley's idea. The rest, as they say, was history.

Holley was a fly on the wall for a Patriots team that finished 9-7 in 2002, missing the playoffs just one season removed from a world championship. Injuries and questionable personnel decisions had cost the Patriots in 2002. One of the decisions that was made in 2002 was questionable at the time, but right now, it sure as hell doesn't look that bad at all. During the 2001 season, veteran quarterback Drew Bledsoe, the face of the Patriots' organization since he came to Foxboro in 1993, was knocked out by the Jets' Mo Lewis with a vicious hit to his rib cage. Second year quarterback Tom Brady, a 6th round pick out of Michigan the year before, would replace Bledsoe. Brady would go on to lead the Patriots to a world championship just 4 months later with Bledsoe on the sidelines. Bledsoe was traded to Buffalo, one of the Patriots' AFC East rivals, for a first round draft pick in April 2002. The move was questionable only because the Patriots were trading Bledsoe to a divisional rival. But the important thing to realize about the Patriots is that they are only worried about making their team better. Not many teams think that way and there's a reason why the Patriots are where they are today.

Seahawks fans remember tight end Christian Fauria leaving Seattle for New England in 2002. Fauria was asked about the Patriots team-like atmosphere and the following should be a wake-up call to the Seahawks organization:

"It wasn’t like this in Seattle," he says. "I’ll use training camp there as an example. There was a serving tray where they had the salad, and it was kind of like the divider in the room. There were tables on both sides. I’m telling you, all the white guys were on one side, and the black guys were on the other. Now, I’m not saying it was prejudice or a race issue, but it always seems to happen that way."

"I don’t see that here at all. You see those domino games in the locker room? You have guys like Marc Edwards and Mike Vrabel saying, ‘Slap the domino, motherf**ker,’ just like everyone else. Seriously, I think it’s a credit to Scott (Pioli). He really brings good guys in. And I felt that right away. All the guys are generally good guys, with the same emphasis on winning."

Love or hate Fauria, you can't disagree with the man here. This isn't the first time I've heard about the Seahawks being talked about in this light, so obviously there has to be something to this. It is so important for the Seahawks to have a successful offseason this spring. The Seahawks are similar to the Patriots in a few ways, especially when you consider both teams' pasts. I'm a firm believer that if the Patriots can turn things around, so can the Seahawks. It just takes a good operation to do that, which the Patriots definitely have with vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli, Belichick, and vice president Jonathan Kraft, Robert's son. In the "I did not know that file", Pioli is married to Bill Parcells' daughter Dallas. Pioli is also one of Belichick's best friends. So for those who would love to see Pioli in Seattle, I seriously doubt it. That's why we've been pushing for Randy Mueller and Mike Reinfeldt to join the Seahawks front office.

Reading "Patriot Reign", I feel that I have a better understanding of the machine that is the New England Patriots. There are those who call the Patriots lucky. Nonsense. The organization brings in guys who know how to play football. All 53 players play some type of role for the Patriots. It's truly a team there in New England. There are a few guys such as Corey Dillon and Rodney Harrison who in their former cities (Cincinnati and San Diego) were considered "cancers". What did Harrison do in his first year as a Patriot? He won a world championship. Dillon is on the verge of winning his first world championship. Not only have the Patriots brought in good football players off the scrap heap, they have had success in the NFL Draft as well. Case in point, look at their draft picks from 2002 to 2004.

2002: TE Daniel Graham (1), WR Deion Branch (2), WR David Givens (7)

2003: DT Ty Warren (1), CB Eugene Wilson (2), WR Bethel Johnson (2), DT Dan Klecko (4), C Dan Koppen (5)

2004: DT Vince Wilfork (1)

Those are 9 of the Patriots' key draft picks over the past 3 seasons. And all 9 of those picks have contributed to the Patriots' success. There's a reason why the Patriots front office is the best in football right now.

I enjoyed "Patriot Reign", although I thought it was a little too short at 240 pages. I wish I could have been able to read at least another 25-30 pages. But I digress. It's not easy to write a book like this, because the NFL usually frowns upon those who want so much information about a team. Give credit to the Patriots. They weren't worried about their story being told to the world. Even with the information that is detailed in this book, the other teams still have to find a way to stop the Patriots. It's similar in a way to a team stealing another team's playbook. Yes, you may know the plays from the other team. But you still have to stop the other team.

There's still another week until the Super Bowl, so you should have plenty of time to read "Patriot Reign". In case you don't want to buy the book yet, my advice to you would be to check your local library, because chances are, they may just have it. Yes, even I go to the library. Amazing, huh?

Anyways, check out "Patriot Reign". It's a good read and you'll be able to appreciate the Patriots run of the last 4 years a lot more than you would have before reading the book.

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Welcome to Friday.

Since I'm sure you're looking for something completely random here before I go on with the usual post, I'll give you something completely random...

Food that I ate at college (Ellensburg) when I had my own place and no meal card...
-- pizza, usually of the Papa Murphy's or Papa John's variety, and 99% of the time I had a coupon for it
-- ramen, which I believe was part of the contract I signed to rent the place
-- whatever cereal at Safeway that was marked down if you had a Club card (I grew fond of Apple Jacks and Honey Bunches of Oats)
-- banana, usually chopped and put into the cereal (one of the few dents into the nutritious parts of the food pyramid)
-- quesadillas along the lines of melted cheese and hopefully some ground sausage between the two tortillas
-- uber-breakfast burritos; a mixture of scrambled eggs (sprinkled with cayenne pepper), sausage, melted cheese, salsa, and possibly sour cream, all wrapped in a tortilla. Usually I'd make four of these at a time and they'd last me two days. Easily my best achievement ever while cooking by myself.
-- there's an exact recipe online that I can't find for stuffed mushrooms. Basically you take out the stems, dice those up, then mix the diced-up stems with cream cheese, crushed croutons, and the ground sausage, and then stuff the heads of the mushrooms with the mixture. Then you throw it all into the oven. It's not healthy, but it's damn good. The mushrooms come out juicy. It's scrumtrilescent.

Are you hungry yet? Was that random enough for you?

Sports? Oh yeah, that. Bremerton 2002 grad and butterfly specialist swimmer Dana Kirk and the Stanford Cardinal have two dual meets at home this weekend against UCLA this afternoon and UCLA tomorrow afternoon.

On TV tonight -- SuperSonics at Warriors (7:30p, FSNNW)

Now, the post...

Before I get to the Mariner articles here, I am sad to pass on that former Red Sox reliever Rich Garces, who I endearingly yelled "EL GUAPOOO!!" at along the warning track before a game in Seattle back in 2000, is apparently missing according to some reports in Venezuela. We know about Ugueth Urbina's mom being kidnapped and all, but this is just really disturbing that kidnapping top-dollar athletes seems to be all the rage in Venezuela. Thanks to blog colleague Jeremy for that link.

[Add ~1:40p -- Jeff cites Spanish news sources as saying that Garces merely took a 10-day vacation without telling his wife. Anyone want to wager on a divorce?]

Not surprisingly, there are questions about the pitching. Now it seems that this minor-league system which was once so rich in pitching before last season is now in a position where they only have 17 pitchers on the 40-man roster with just over two weeks to go until pitchers and catchers report to spring training. A total of 23 pitchers is slated to go to camp as of right now, and the Mariners have averaged 28 pitchers per camp for the last decade. Also in the Finnigan article is the revelation that the "divot" in Bucky Jacobsen's knee upon surgery was double the size they were expecting after seeing the MRI. Bucky is now taking hacks in the cage. At least he didn't injure his throwing arm.

John Levesque says that the Mariners lucked out on the defensive aspect of things this offseason. While it's no secret that Carlos Delgado was highly coveted because he was a lefty bat, he and his agent held out for a long time, just signing in the last couple of days. The Mariners ended up netting Sexson, who can pick at first, and Beltre, who can pick at the other corner. Surely this looks better defensively than Sexson in left and Delgado at first would. That would have been quite weird, and there would have definitely been a period of adjustment for Sexson to get accustomed to left field. Luckily, we don't have to deal with that. And we got Adrian Beltre too. And somehow Bill Bavasi didn't get taken to the woodshed by Scott Boras in signing him. Hooray!

Seahawks college scouting director Scot McCloughan will interview with the 49ers to be a not-quite general manager, or something like that. He apparently is also a rumored name on the list for the Seahawks' vacant VP of football ops post.

In other news, the Seahawks still do not have a president or a vice president of football operations.

The Marvin Williams Watch
Marvin Williams and the Tar Heels play at Virginia bright and early tomorrow (9a, ESPN).

If I manage to wake up early enough, I might turn the radio to KJR in the morning to hear Softy bitch about Arizona getting to the free-throw line 40 times while the Huskies only got 21 trips to the line. The Wildcats' 1-3-1 zone made the Huskies start bombing threes, and they drained 13 of 34. But the free throws on the other end were just too much.

[Add ~1:38p -- Softy wasn't nearly as ticked on his show, saying that although the game did have some "homer officials," the Wildcats were jumping up and down about the Huskies, which signifies how good the Huskies have become, and that all of the Huskies' goals are still intact even with the loss. Also, Softy says the Huskies win that game if it's in Seattle.]

In another note, Arizona's 6'11" Channing Frye had exactly two rebounds in last night's game. He had three inches on Mike Jensen and the Huskies killed the Wildcats on the offensive boards (Washington had 17) and outrebounded them overall 35-26.

The Huskies play at Arizona State on Sunday afternoon (12:45p, CBS).

The Zags host the Portland Pilots tomorrow night (8p, ESPN2).

Before going to the daily articles, I must note that Kevin Pelton's second part in his series, The Sonics Play Moneyball, is now up at the Sonics' official site. Part two of the series focuses on Dean Oliver's love of math, science, basketball, and Bill James' work, and how Oliver parlayed his hobby into his current job. Kevin also threw in a bunch of links to outside nuts-and-bolts statistical stuff that Oliver has been working with. The first article of the series is here.

It's the halfway point in the Sonics' regular season. Though it'd be fun to just multiply everything by two and have the Sonics finish 58-24 with a three seed, we can't do that. The fans just have to roll with the punches and hope everything turns out okay.

With that, there's some half-season pieces running.

As was put into the articles yesterday, Ray Allen says that one thing that could help the Sonics get their groove back in the coming months would be if one of Jerome James, Nick Collison, or Danny Fortson can average 12 points and 7-8 rebounds a game. That'd be nice, and Jerome James seems to think that Collison would be the best candidate to improve, due to his apparent camaraderie with Luke Ridnour. Of course, I'd have to agree with Fortson and Coach McMillan here -- the team just has to get back to playing defense again, and that's been all too obvious in the games since the second Miami game. The Sonics have had a fairly mediocre January, which currently stands at 7-6 (not 6-6 like I mistakenly said after the Jazz game the other day). This 7-6 January so far follows a 13-3 November and a 9-3 December. The Sonics are at Golden State and they host San Antonio before turning the page on the calendar to February -- where they get the back end of a back-to-back on the road against a torrid Sacramento team. Ouch. Maybe the Sonics can get bailed out by some previously undiscovered Chris Webber injury? Maybe some more Peja Stojakovic back spasms? Wait, the Nuggets had a ton of injured guys, and the Sonics still didn't beat them...

Usually when there's this much of an improvement in wins from the season before, it means there was either some very significant draft pick or trade bringing in some new blood or a change of coach. Really, everything has seemingly been held constant except that Brent Barry went to San Antonio, and Calvin Booth was traded for Danny Fortson. Other than that, it's just been largely the same group of guys playing together for another year. Last year, the team wasn't that great and there were some signficant injuries. This year, the players know the tendencies of their teammates and are more experienced as a group. Add some Danny Fortson screens and elbows inside, and add some plain ol' oomph to the defense, and voila! You've got what the Sonics have dished out over the first 41 games of the season. Of course, the defense was more shifted to the first 30 or so games, and hopefully the team finds that again.

Danny O'Neil's also got his three lists of five points each concerning where the Sonics could be headed.

Congrats to Luke Ridnour on being named to the sophomore team in the Rookie Challenge festivities for All-Star Weekend. Take a look at the sophomore team, because it's stacked.

I guess I'll close the Sonics' part of the post by saying this: does anyone realize that George Karl is now going to be coaching for the franchise that handed him and the city of Seattle one of the worst sports defeats of all time? Does Karl himself realize this?

Tonight at Golden State (7:30p, FSNNW)
Monday vs. San Antonio (7p, FSNNW)
Tuesday at Sacramento (7p, FSNNW)

Matt Gaschk sat down for a bit with Zack FitzGerald of the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Also, the Puget Sound Tomahawks look to bonuce back from two losses against then-second-place Portland by hosting the Spokane Flyers at the Bremerton Ice Arena tonight and tomorrow. They also have a Tuesday-Wednesday set when they host the Queen City Cutthroats, who hail from Helena, Montana.

Tonight: Kamloops at Seattle, Portland at Everett, Tri-City at Vancouver, Manitoba at Utah, Spokane at Puget Sound
Saturday: Everett at Seattle, Tri-City at Portland, Kelowna at Vancouver, Manitoba at Utah, Spokane at Puget Sound
Sunday: Everett at Tri-City
Monday: Grand Rapids at Manitoba
Tuesday: Grand Rapids at Manitoba, Queen City at Puget Sound
Wednesday: Spokane at Seattle, Vancouver at Red Deer, Queen City at Puget Sound

Have a great Friday and a great weekend, everyone.

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Thursday, January 27, 2005


What do you want me to say about tonight's Washington-Arizona game?

---The Huskies outrebounded Arizona 35-26, which was encouraging to see, considering the size differential between both ballclubs. The Huskies grabbed 17 of those rebounds on the offensive end and Arizona had just 5 offensive rebounds. My god, Arizona is soft as hell. Channing Frye is a senior yet he still looks like Teddy from "Full House".

---Arizona went to the free throw line 40 times compared to Washington's 21 attempts. This wasn't quite Sonics-Suns from the 1993 Western Conference Finals, but it was clear that the Wildcats got more than a few calls (27 Husky fouls compared to 17 for Arizona).

---I hate Lute Olson. I just do.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

Not only do I hate Olson, I hate the Pac-10 television contract. One of these days, I'm going to have a post detailing my absolute hatred of that deal. Thank God I have the Fox Sports College Sports package or else I would have missed the first half of the game tonight. My Fox Sports Net channel was airing SEC Women's Basketball between Mississippi State and Ole Miss. I bet that only 7 people watched that damn game. No, this is not a slam on women's basketball.

I just think it's a joke that a game between 2 Top 15 teams is not on a decent sports channel. Fox Sports Net is a joke and will always be a joke. Their damn score box didn't even work for the first 5 minutes of the game. That wouldn't happen with ESPN. Unfortunately, don't hold your breath for the Pac-10 to sign a television contract with the family of networks.

In other college basketball news, Arkansas State defeated Arkansas-Little Rock (UALR) 78-64. Go Indians! Hooray for Sun Belt Conference basketball!

Oh, and hooray for Salim Stoudamire's future suspension from the team, which should come in about 2 weeks. You know it's coming.

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The Arizona Cardinals have updated their logo to "a tough bird", in the words of owner Bill Bidwell.

Yeah, I've seen this "tough" bird before...

When they were called the Louisville Cardinals.

Difference being, the Louisville Cardinals could have been a .500 team in the NFC West in 2004, unlike the Arizona Cardinals who finished 6-10. The Cardinals will unveil their new uniforms sometime this spring. No word on whether they will identify their version of red as "Cardinal Red".

"As they say, it's not the size of the bird in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the bird," coach Dennis Green said. "The cardinal is a small bird, but it can be a very aggressive bird. That's the idea."

Several prominent Cardinals -- including Josh McCown, Larry Fitzgerald and Leonard Davis -- modeled apparel with the new logo.

With his rural Texas background, McCown was asked if he was something of an expert on birds.

"The only birds I know about are the duck and the dove and the quail, birds that you shoot," the Cardinals quarterback said. "You're not really supposed to shoot cardinals. I don't know if I'd shoot this bird. It looks pretty mean. This bird might pull a gun out and shoot right back at you."

That's great stuff.

However, I'm sure there are more than a few people in St. Louis and Phoenix who have thought about shooting Mr. Bidwell. So McCown's theory of how you're not really supposed to shoot Cardinals may be off base. Hell, McCown may not even be in Arizona for the 2005 season. We'll see what happens.

(Hat tip to Doug, one of the many great readers we have here at Sports and B's)

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It's Thursday and dammit, it's not just any Thursday.

Tonight on Fox Sports Net, Washington will take on Arizona in Tucson. Who knew that there would be a period of time when the Huskies are ranked ahead of the Wildcats? Washington is ranked 10th in both polls and Arizona is right behind them at #11 in both polls.

But tonight's Washington-Arizona showdown has got me so fired up that I need to post a list of reasons why I love college basketball. In my list, I'll have players, teams, arenas, media members, etc. Past and present items will be included. For instance, I prefer Maryland's Cole Fieldhouse over the new Comcast Center.

Anyways, the list.

---Nate Robinson (Washington)
---Tre Simmons (Washington)
---Ronny Turiaf (Gonzaga)
---Adam Morrison (Gonzaga)
---Andrew Bogut (Utah)
---Kevin Bookout (Oklahoma)
---Joey Graham (Oklahoma State)
---Dee Brown (Illinois)
---Ronnie Brewer (Arkansas)
---Marvin Williams (North Carolina)
---Chris Paul (Wake Forest)
---Luke Schenscher (Georgia Tech)
---Travis Diener (Marquette)
---Hakim Warrick (Syracuse)

---Oklahoma State
---North Carolina
---Wake Forest

---The Kennel (Gonzaga)
---Mac Court (Oregon)
---The Leavey Center (Santa Clara)
---The Pit (New Mexico)
---Gallagher-Iba Arena (Oklahoma State)
---Allen Fieldhouse (Kansas)
---Williams Arena (Minnesota)
---Breslin Center (Michigan State)
---Bud Walton Arena (Arkansas)
---Freedom Hall (Louisville)
---Smith Center (North Carolina)
---Cole Fieldhouse (Maryland)
---Madison Square Garden (St. John's/Neutral Site)
---The RAC (Rutgers)
---The Palestra (Pennsylvania)

---Al McGuire (CBS)
---Bill Raftery (ESPN/CBS)
---Ron Franklin (ESPN)
---Dick Vitale (ESPN)
---Marques Johnson (FSN)

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That's it, that's the list.

Remember, it's just a list. Post your favorites in the box.

I love college basketball. Just had to get that off my chest one more time.

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I know what you're thinking. How can I possibly keep going as a writer here at Sports and Bremertonians when The Learning Channel has axed Paige Davis as host of Trading Spaces? I seriously don't know how. But I do. Paige has gotten us a decent share of hits via Google over the existence of Sports and B's, or at least since she was first referred to on the page. Most likely, it was probably me saying that Paige is actually pretty tall; you have to really pay attention during any side-by-side shots to notice that yes, she is taller than any other female in the room, and just as tall as that guy over there scraping off wallpaper.

That said, I don't know how much more I can take on top of the indefinite delay of the third season of Chappelle's Show, or more importantly, the release of Season 2 on DVD, which also was delayed. But it's not all bad because Season 2 of Sealab 2021 is coming out on Tuesday. It's got the Bizarro episode, so I'll be waking up early on Tuesday.

I now refrain from that odd diatribe to bring you the usual...

Somebody stop the presses. Is it possible that Bob Finnigan has given up on his annual article on rumors of Griffey coming back to Seattle? It could be, if you consider the chance of Mike Cameron coming back within the realm of possibility. I'm thinking there's no chance in hell of it happening, but we can dare to dream. Ryan Franklin is probably praying for it to happen. Even if it did happen, he won't be the opening day starter, on account of that whole wrist injury.

Get Zumsteg. Today, it's an article on the tendencies of Mike Hargrove when it comes to using the starting pitchers. Though it's hard to draw conclusions from some of the stuff he did in Cleveland, Zumsteg introduces the P-I readership to Pitcher Abuse Points, and namely that Hargrove has rode his pitchers over 120 in a game on many an occasion. I like starters going deep into games and everything, but I think I start to freak out around 110 when I'm sitting there watching the game. When Melvin let Madritsch go for 133 last year, I couldn't believe it.

It's four years and $3.65M for Cuban refugee Yuniesky Betancourt. I might just call him "Yuno" just for the brutally obvious Extreme reference. To make room for Yuno on the 40-man roster, Aaron Looper was designated for assignment, which of course means Willie Bloomquist was not. BLAST! Bill Bavasi equates Betancourt to being a first- or second-round draft pick, presumably out of college since the Cuban is 22. In other Mariner news, Cha Seung Baek signed on for this year for $316k if he makes the big club.

Hire a president and a vice president of football operations, please. Thanks in advance.

The Marvin Williams Watch
Marvin Williams and the Tar Heels play at Virginia on Saturday (9a, ESPN).

A little over a year ago, the Wildcats came to Seattle ready to face a Husky team that was tied for last in the Pac-10. Times have changed, of course, and Lorenzo Romar is, needless to say, no small part of it. He's laid the framework for a lot of what we're seeing right now, and he does give Bob Bender for not leaving the cupboard bare when Romar got to Seattle.

Does anyone feel like reading a semi-skeptical article on Salim Stoudamire? I knew you would. Here's a non-skeptical one from a national perspective. Earlier yesterday when I saw the message board thing at the bottom, the very first topic was "Tre Simmons." Of course, the SportsLine board has since gotten ridiculous like it always does. There are also some SportsLine message board contributions from user "duke_is_crap." Good times.

Yep, the Pac-10 is 2nd in the RPI. Or 6th. Who knows? Lute Olson doesn't quite say it, but we will here -- it's a conspiracy against the Pac-10, part of the bigger entity known as East Coast Bias. Ah, how we know it too well.

Former Husky player David Hudson, Jr., is still contributing to the team. How? "It Must Be Husky." There's a downloadable clip. I'll say this -- it's roughly 10000000 times better than "Who Let the Dogs Out?" which was probably the main thing I hated about the Mariners' 2000 run.

The Huskies play at Arizona tonight (5:30p, FSNNW) and at Arizona State on Sunday (12:45p, CBS).

Erroll Knight is good. He's better when he's not hurt, which has been a lot. Coach Few says the team as a whole is also better with Knight on the floor. P-Mac probably isn't a total slouch, but the numbers he's been putting up haven't really been making people forget about Knight.

Also, Derek Raivio is five away from breaking the school record for consecutive free throws made. He's on 36, and Geoff Goss had 41 in 1992-93. Raivio also nails half his three-pointers, 90.8% of his free throws, and has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.24:1, all of which lead the West Coast Conference.

The Zags are home against the Portland Pilots on Saturday (8p, ESPN2).

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

Yes, the first few minutes of that fourth quarter last night sealed the deal for Utah. Even with Rashard Lewis having an off night and Vladimir Radmanovic having the offest of off nights (as in zero points), the Sonics still had a chance to get this one, but they let it slip away. It wasn't Carlos Boozer that was beating them either; it was Raul Lopez and Raja Bell, who apparently scratched the hell out of Ray Allen, according to Danny O'Neil's piece. Allen said in the Percy Allen piece that the Sonics need either Nick Collison or Jerome James to take their game to the next level. I've been watching a few games on television this year, and I think I can tell you that Nick Collison is showing a better rate of improvement than James, who has only a height advantage and maybe some better shot-blocking ability.

Also, the whole unfulfilled contract negotiations thing is getting to Ray Allen a bit. They got to Todd Bertuzzi at the beginning of the last hockey season too, except he had a really weird year after signing his new contract, and that was even before he started suckerpunching people and piledriving them into the ice.

In a weird note, the Sonics won three of four in the now-finished season series with the Jazz even while being outrebounded in all four of the games.

Friday at Golden State (7:30p, FSNNW)
Monday vs. San Antonio (7p, FSNNW)
Tuesday at Sacramento (7p, FSNNW)

Tri-City beat Seattle 8-1. I'm thinking the Thunderbirds probably want a mulligan after this one. This stinker of a game gives Seattle their third loss in four games. Chris Durand tied the game for Seattle at 1-1 late in the first period with the T-Birds down a man. Needless to say, it got way out of hand after that. The Americans scored four times in the second period, and three more times in the third period. Bryan Bridges was chased from the Seattle net for the first time this season. Tri-City coach Don Nachbaur notched his 250th win in the WHL, and he got it in Seattle, where he got 201 of those wins as coach of the Thunderbirds from 1994 to 2000. Tri-City outshot Seattle 36-30. Bryan Bridges stopped 16 of 20 and Gavin McHale stopped 12 of 16 for Seattle. Carey Price, who is pretty damned good, stopped 29 for Tri-City. Amazingly, no one was worse than minus-3 for Seattle, a fact helped by the Americans scoring three times on the power play.

Kelowna beat Everett 4-1. You know the Silvertips have fallen on hard times when goaltender Mike Wall's record is suddenly at .500 (16-16-5). The 'Tips only goal tied the game at 1-1 in the second when Karel Hromas scored on Everett's second power play of the game. Shea Weber of the Rockets netted the game-winner just 43 seconds after Everett tied it. Kelowna got a power play goal in the second period as well, and they put the game away with a 6-on-4 shorthanded empty-net goal. The Rockets outshot the Silvertips 27-26. Mike Wall stopped 23 for Everett.

Vancouver and Kamloops skated to a 3-3 overtime tie. I've only got a boxscore for this one right now, and it looks like the Giants blew this one. All three of their goals came in the second period, and they went into the final period with a 3-1 lead, which later went up in smoke, with the hreatbreaker being Nathan Grochmal's goal with 26 seconds remaining in regulation to get the Blazers the single point for sure. Paul Albers tied the game at 1-1 for the Giants in the second period, and Mitch Bartley scored twice to stake Vancouver out to its lead. Vancouver outshot Kamloops 27-26, and Marek Schwarz stopped 23 for the Giants.

Tomorrow: Kamloops at Seattle, Portland at Everett, Tri-City at Vancouver, Manitoba at Utah, Spokane at Puget Sound
Saturday: Everett at Seattle, Tri-City at Portland, Kelowna at Vancouver, Manitoba at Utah, Spokane at Puget Sound
Sunday: Everett at Tri-City
Monday: Grand Rapids at Manitoba
Tuesday: Grand Rapids at Manitoba

Have a great Thursday, everyone.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Here's what I have for tonight's game. Postgame notes will follow the in-game stuff. After tonight, half the regular season will have passed, and what a surprise of a half-season it's been.

(final content posted ~9:20p)

1st qtr
9:58 Ridnour stuffs Lopez. 9:20 Ridnour from top of key SEA 4-2. 8:17 Harpring stuffed by James. 8:03 high running banker Ridnour SEA 6-5. 7:12 Lewis wide-open three off broken play SEA 9-5, answered by Giricek three. 6:06 2nd 24-second violation by the Sonics. 4:01 Allen three left side UTA 14-12. 2:46 Evans pushes off, 5 Sonic turnovers. 2:04 the Sonics can't stop Carols Boozer. 1:43 Daniels penetrates, stops, finds Collison for dunk UTA 20-14. 0:29.2 Collison hook low after getting tough pass from Allen UTA 22-18.

After one quarter -- Utah 21, Seattle 18

The Jazz shot too well, and the Sonics turned the ball over six times. The turnovers had a lot to do with the Sonics not being able to get much offense together.

2nd qtr
10:35 Sonics shooting 35%. 9:43 Daniels exploding drive to basket fingerroll and one UTA 28-23, Kirilenko in. 8:20 Ridnour high banking layup and foul UTA 30-28. 7:48 Daniels three UTA 32-31. 7:12 Ridnour drives and fouled again, hits both SEA 33-32. 6:02 Daniels off a screen fed by Ridnour easy layup UTA 38-36., answered by Okur. 4:05 Fortson shoulder on offense, 8th Sonic turnover. 3:47 Lewis hits two free throws, SEA 42-40. 3:06 Daniels three SEA 45-42. 1:54 Potapenko in on Lewis free throws, SEA 49-43. 0:55.2 Collison rebounds missed Daniels three, lays in SEA 51-43.

At halftime -- Seattle 51, Utah 47

In the foul count, Seattle was called for 13 personal fouls. Utah was called for 15 personals. That's 28 personal fouls called so far in the game.

The Sonics' shooting picked up, and Utah's early dead-on shooting cooled off a bit. The Sonics' early turnovers were a bit of a bugaboo once again, but it turns out that Utah turned the ball over more.

But in a game where a bunch of fouls are being called, the Sonics have hit all 16 of their free throws so far, thanks in part to finding themselves in the bonus with ample time remaining in the second quarter.

Reggie Evans is his usual rebounding self, leading the team with 6 at the half. Definitely not to be forgotten is Nick Collison's 6 points and 5 boards at the half. I'm liking the maturation of Nick Collison as an NBA player.

Of course, the big spark was Antonio Daniels and his 15 points off the bench.

So I guess the things I can see that aren't too nice for the Sonics are the turnovers, which are never good, and that the assist numbers are way down (Daniels and Ridnour have totalled 3). Of course, this is probably a wash since both are scoring in double figures at the half (Ridnour has 10).

3rd qtr
9:30 Allen baseline on Giricek layup SEA 53-48. 8:46 Ridnour from 18 SEA 55-52. 6:59 Allen three SEA 60-58. 6:06 Allen turnaround fadeaway tough shot SEA 62-60. 5:35 Lewis transition three SEA 65-60. 4:45 Allen with some moves and a layup...my goodness, fouled (12 3rd qtr pts) SEA 68-63. 4:03 Allen three off the inbound SEA 71-66 (he on fire). 2:32 Daniels baseline after selling a fake SEA 73-70. 1:45 Radmanovic blocks Bell, eventual 24-second violation. 1:25 Daniels drives, finds Collison open underneath, easy layup SEA 75-70. 0:15.1 Ridnour high baker again TIE 77-77.

After three quarters -- Utah 79, Seattle 77

Well, the Sonics' defense wasn't overly good or overly horrible in the first half, but they never gave up 30 points like they did in the third quarter. The Sonics' offense wasn't really achieving any sort of flow or coherence either, as Ray Allen was the only offense (though a good course) for a good part of the third quarter of play. He was forcing up a ton of shots and being a one-man show, but he was hitting a lot of the shots when no one else was really nailing anything.

What isn't good? The Sonics are being outrebounded 27-18, and Utah has 12 offensive boards.

4th qtr
9:25 Collison putback off a miss UTA 84-79. 6:20 Daniels quick midrange UTA 90-83, answered by Bell. 3:59 Allen baking three UTA 98-88. 3:28 Daniels strips Lopez ALL BALL, but whistled. 1:34 Ridnour three UTA 106-96. 0:00.6 Allen fouled, hits one UTA 109-100.

Final -- Utah 109, Seattle 100

What a mediocre January this is turning out to be. The Sonics are 7-6* this month.

[Edit Fri ~2:38a -- I originally listed this as 6-6. My bad.]

I guess what really ticks me off about this one isn't that the Sonics got beat by Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko, or even Mehmet Okur (they didn't). They got beat by Raul f&%#ing Lopez. Come on, people. That circus shot he made while he was falling down in the fourth quarter was just salt on the wound.

If there's only one thing you need to know about the Sonics' fate tonight, it's this: Vladimir Radmanovic was held scoreless.

That pretty much does it, though it wasn't the whole story.

Let's just put it this way. Everyone that was doing well on offense for the Sonics last night ended up royally sucking tonight (except Ray Allen, on second glance, whose field goal percentage was much better than I thought). Somehow, the Sonics were able to hang close until they punted the game away in the first few minutes of the fourth quarter. Also contributing factors were turnovers, bad defense (including too many Jazz offensive boards), and a new added wrinkle of Ray Allen finding himself in a bit of foul trouble.

Another thing flying south for tonight was the assists. Though Antonio Daniels and Luke Ridnour were scoring fairly well tonight (Daniels especially), the assists weren't being doled out very much tonight (certainly nowhere close to what Utah was doing). The Sonics weren't getting too many good looks tonight, and the low number of assists indicates that. When Ray Allen was the only offense for a stretch in the third quarter, he was forcing up a bunch of shots, though maybe he wasn't confident in actually being set up for a quality shot (who knows?).

Anyway, a season sweep of the Jazz would have just been too good, I guess. It didn't have to be that way, though.

Ray Allen 27 pts/3 reb/3 ast (10-22 FG, 4-9 3pt, 3-5 free throws), Luke Ridnour 17 pts/3 reb/4 ast (6-14 FG, 1-5 3pt, 4-5 free throws), Rashard Lewis 15 pts/3 reb (4-15 FG, 3-7 3pt, 4-4 free throws), Reggie Evans 0 pts/7 reb/2 ast

Antonio Daniels 25 pts/3 ast (7-10 FG, 2-4 3pt, 9-9 free throws, 21 min), Nick Collison 12 pts/8 reb (5-5 FG, 2-2 free throws, 19 min), Danny Fortson 4 pts/4 reb (0-1 FG, 4-4 free throws, 18 min), Vladimir Radmanovic 0 pts/2 reb/0 ast (0-8 FG, 0-4 3pt, 29 min), Vitaly Potapenko 0 pts/0 reb (no shots, 3 min)

Jerome James Watch
0 pts/2 reb/2 blk (two fouls, no shots, 14 min)

shot 32-for-77 (41.6%) from the field (Utah shot 50%), shot 10-for-29 (34.5%) from downtown (Utah shot 46.2%), shot 26-for-29 (89.7%) from the line (Utah shot 87.1%), were outrebounded 38-32, grabbed 11 offensive rebounds (Utah had 14), dished out 13 assists (Utah had 26), turned the ball over 17 times, bench was outscored by Utah's bench 48-41 (and outrebounded 15-14)

Nick Collison had a really nice game, I thought, after he blew a couple of easy baskets down low and a dunk last night. Antonio Daniels, coming off last night's 1-for-6 outing, was driving to the rack a lot and getting fouled, and that's what I like to see. I also like to see more than three assists next to his name though. Same with Ridnour and his four dimes.

Vladimir Radmanovic was horrible tonight just as much as he was good the night before. This we know. It's bad enough taking one weapon out of your offense, but when Rashard's having an off-night too, there's not really much you can do. Still, even with the Jazz shooting 50% from the field, the Sonics still had this one within reach going into the fourth quarter, but it didn't take long before it slipped away.

You know, it turns out I did find something positive tonight. Chocolate milk is a lot better if you make it with Hershey's chocolate syrup rather than NesQuik (fka Quik) mix. It goes down a lot smoother, and there aren't any chocolate powder clusters that sometimes make the NesQuik chocolate experience a tiny bit cumbersome.

If you really want Andrei Kirilenko's line tonight, it was 12 pts/2 reb/3 ast/2 stl/5 blk. He shot 4-for-9 from the field and hit 4 of 6 from the line in 20 minutes off the bench. I seem to remember a couple of those blocks coming in the 4th quarter.

I guess the one thing I'm worried after tonight is this -- dude, where's our defense? I'm thinking Coach McMillan has got to be ticked because aside from the game last night, the Sonics lately haven't been able to put together a solid defensive effort for 48 minutes. They might toss in a quarter here and there where they allow 23 points or something sane, but then the floodgates rip loose and they allow 28 (sometimes more) in the quarters surrounding it. I hope McMillan gets defense back into his players' heads soon because they need to string together a few games where they play more consistent defense. Sure, Utah hit 50% of their shots tonight, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're good shooters. It could mean that either they're getting really good looks, or the Sonics aren't doing everything necessary to prevent them from getting those good looks.

I asked Jinkies why the hell the Jazz kept their nickname after moving to Utah from New Orleans. His reply: "Prrrrrrrrrrski. Prrrrrrrrrrrski. Prrrrrrrrrrrrrrski. Prrrrrrrrrrrrrski."

Serbian cats purr differently. See? You learn something new every day.

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"See this money? This was Carlos Delgado's money, but they gave it to my man instead!"

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If there's ever a team that doesn't get any respect whatsoever, it's the New England Patriots.

When the Patriots entered the playoffs, it was all but a forgone conclusion that Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts would finally beat the Patriots in Foxboro. You all know what happened with that. Oh, and how about the proclamation that the Pittsburgh Steelers with rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger were going to knock off the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game? We also know what happened with that.

My point is, the New England Patriots are the most disrespected championship-caliber team in NFL history. I've had this conversation with a few people at my school and I'm sure some of you may have had this conversation once or twice with fellow football fans as well. Why are people dismissing the Patriots?

"There are no superstars on the Patriots, Jeremy"

Tom Brady isn't a superstar? I'd consider him a superstar. Any quarterback that goes 33-4 in the last two seasons combined (2003 and 2004) is a superstar. I've heard the argument of how Brady doesn't deserve to be considered as a good quarterback just because he plays in New England. I guarantee you that Rick Mirer wouldn't have the same type of success in New England with this same team.

Corey Dillon isn't a superstar? He's ran for over 1,000 yards 7 out of his 8 seasons in the NFL. To this day, I'm still floored at how the Cincinnati Bengals just gave away Dillon. Granted, Dillon wasn't happy in Cincinnati. But anybody who says that Rudi Johnson is a better running back than Corey Dillon doesn't know football.

I can go on. Richard Seymour isn't a superstar? Tedy Bruschi?

"But the Patriots have been lucky, Jeremy"

No, I would say that the Patriots have been good enough to win as many ballgames as they have over the past few seasons. Case in point, the Oct. 17 game against the Seahawks. The Patriots cause two Seahawks turnovers early in the game and go up 17-0 before the Seahawks knew what hit them. The Patriots will make teams pay for their mistakes. See last Sunday's AFC Championship Game. The key to beating the Patriots?

Don't turn the football over.

"The NFL is weaker, Jeremy"

The NFL is designed for every team to finish 8-8, because of the salary cap. But the Patriots are a great organization, on and off the field. It begins at the top with owner Robert Kraft. Scott Pioli is regarded as the top executive in football today and Bill Belichick is one of the smartest men to ever coach in the NFL. These aren't your Victor Kiam Patriots, folks.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

To get a better look into the New England Patriots, I'd suggest reading "Patriot Reign" by Michael Holley. I picked it up earlier today at my local library and while I've only read one chapter so far, I'm giddy with anticipation to read the rest of it. The real reason for me to read "Patriot Reign" is so I can understand how the Patriots work as an organization. It's one of the more fascinating sports stories I can remember in a long time. Who knows, I may just start up the Sports and Bremertonians Book Club and have monthly book reviews, starting with "Patriot Reign". We'll see though.

Point being, I'm impressed by the Patriots. I wish my team could be in their position right now. The Seahawks have just as much talent as the Patriots. However, there's one thing the Patriots have and the Seahawks don't...

A killer instinct.

If you disagree with me on that, then by all means take a look back at the first St. Louis game from October 10.

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Welcome to Wednesday. I was stumbling around on the ol' Internet, as I often do, and I was surprised to see that the Explod-O-Pop popcorn from the Letterman show might actually be real. Whether it's real or not, that logo with the mushroom cloud of the popped popcorn kernel is just priceless.

And with that completely random and probably useless piece of information, I bring you the rest of the post...which is probably filled with even more random and useless pieces of information, except with a little more structure (that's deception).

On TV tonight -- SuperSonics at Jazz (6p, FSNNW)

We're about 21 days from pitchers and catchers reporting. Yes, that smell in the air around Valentine's Day isn't just love. It's baseball, dammit.

photo on left from win-football.de; photo on right from nwcn.com
Yesterday, one of the above Chris Warrens pleaded guilty to the feds for failing to pay child support. Which one was it?

If you chose the Seahawks' career rushing leader on the left instead of the NorthWest Cable News weather anchor on the right, then pat yourself on the back.

Former Seahawk running back Chris Warren pleaded guilty and will be recommended instead to have five years of probation and pay restitution. Chris Warren of NorthWest Cable News has rushed for considerably less yards then the former Seahawk running back, but the weatherman hasn't lost in the court of public opinion.

The Marvin Williams Watch
Marvin Williams and the Tar Heels play at Virginia on Saturday (9a, ESPN).

The Huskies have a Steve Scheffler, and his name is Zane Potter. Zane Potter -- because it has to be somebody. Still, even if you're just a walk-on riding pine the whole season, it'll still be something to tell the kids that you sat courtside for some bitchin' Husky basketball teams. In another note, it's weird to think that Robert Swift of the Sonics is actually younger than this guy.

Also, Blaine Newnham takes a look at Lorenzo Romar's master plan with recruiting. It looks like some good players could be coming down the pipe.

As we know, Dick Bennett flipped the bird to the student section at Hec Ed. Oregon coach Ernie Kent reacted, saying that something should be done about having the Husky student section sitting behind the visitors' bench. But I guess the weirdest thing out of this is that having the Husky student section behind the opposing bench was Bob Bender's idea -- he was trying to recreate some of the Cameron Crazies' magic.

The Huskies play at Arizona tomorrow (5:30p, FSNNW) and at Arizona State on Sunday (12:45p, CBS).

The Zags are home against the Portland Pilots on Saturday (8p, ESPN2).

For my take on last night's game, scroll down a post or click here if the page you're looking at only shows this post.

You know all that stuff that Vladimir Radmanovic pulled off last night? The 26 points? The 8 three-pointers? He did it all with a sore throat and some massive head congestion. Radmanovic hit 8 of his first 10 three-point shots and was within one more of tying the franchise record set by Dale Ellis in 1990. He had four more tries in the closing minutes, but bricked all of them, possibly because he didn't have his legs under him, and probably because he was under the weather coming into the game.

The Sonics shot their share of three-pointers last night. Sure, sometimes the Sonics should be taking the ball to the hole more, but as Ray Allen says, "[a] couple of my shots, I was wide open. I hesitated a little bit thinking, 'Damn, I don't want to shoot this, but I'm wide open.' " Needless to say, you aren't going to get a better look at the basket than when you're wide open.

Damien Wilkins and Mateen Cleaves will finish the season with the Sonics and collect the entirety of their $385277 contracts. We may not see them on the floor all that often, but they put in their work. Also, I find it both hilarious and cool that Cleaves is the Sonics' player rep.

David Locke lets us into some numbers concerning the Sonics, namely the statistic of trips up the floor and how that figures into offensive efficiency. Basically, Nate McMillan preaches scoring early or scoring late. In other words, if the first look isn't a good one, then get into the halfcourt set and move the ball (or set screens and picks) until you find the best shot. Like Locke says, if the Sonics keep this up, it could be very playoff friendly. I remember a couple of the Sonic teams of the Kemp and Payton era being mission-in-transition teams, but when they got into the playoffs, everyone (fans) would be afraid because they just weren't anywhere near as good in the halfcourt offense as they were in transition. But this team we're watching right now can run plays in the halfcourt, and they can grab the offensive boards, which can all go a long way.

Also referenced in that article was site reader and SuperSonics.com writer Kevin Pelton, who I noticed did an article (part one of a series) on the Sonics' performance analysis doings. To all you statheads out there, Marginal Wins are involved. Part two of the series will be posted tomorrow, according to the blurb at the bottom of the article.

Tonight at Utah (6p, FSNNW)
Friday at Golden State (7:30p, FSNNW)
Monday vs. San Antonio (7p, FSNNW)
Tuesday at Sacramento (7p, FSNNW)

Seattle beat Spokane 4-2. The Thunderbirds got their first two goals seven seconds apart in the first period, and both were unassisted. Matt Hansen fired one that went off Spokane goalie Jim Watt's glove and into the net. Seven seconds later, Spokane won the ensuing faceoff, but Mitch Fadden stole the puck away from a Spokane defender and beat Watt with a slap shot. Still, just the two goals wouldn't be enough as Spokane managed to tie the game at 2-2 in the second period, one of their goals being shorthanded. Aaron Gagnon's 24th goal of the year to lead Seattle held up as the game-winner 5:31 into the third period. Mitch Fadden tallied another just past the halfway point in the final period. Seattle badly outshot the Chiefs 40-21. Gavin McHale stopped 19 in the Seattle net to raise his record to 7-2. Fadden, Ryan Gibbons, and Zack FitzGerald were plus-2 skaters for the T-Birds.

Seattle captain Tyler Metcalfe was a minus-1 and served a two-minute hooking penalty in the second period of the aforementioned game, but before that, he sat down with Matt Gaschk.

Also, injuries have hit the Everett Silvertips bigtime, and the Portland Winter Hawks are nipping at their heels in the WHL's US Division. The light at the end of the tunnel, however, is that Everett has eight home games in February. That's some friendly schedule-making. Of course, the tough stretch they're in right now isn't so nice, but the eight home games next month is still good.

Tonight: Everett at Kelowna, Vancouver at Kamloops, Tri-City at Seattle
Friday: Kamloops at Seattle, Portland at Everett, Tri-City at Vancouver, Manitoba at Utah, Spokane at Puget Sound
Saturday: Everett at Seattle, Tri-City at Portland, Kelowna at Vancouver, Manitoba at Utah, Spokane at Puget Sound
Sunday: Everett at Tri-City
Monday: Grand Rapids at Manitoba
Tuesday: Grand Rapids at Manitoba

Have a wicked Wednesday, folks.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2005


SuperSonics 104, Lakers 93

(final content posted ~10:56p)

Here's what I've got for tonight's tilt. Of course, this tilt is better than that ESPN series. Postgame thoughts are below the in-game stuff, as per usual.

1st qtr
10:43 Ray Allen off a screen for first Sonic basket LAK 5-2. 8:23 Seattle timeout, LAK 9-2...nothing at all offensively; Sonics open up 1-for-8 from the field. 7:10 Lewis baby hook in lane low LAK 11-4. 6:25 fastbreak Ridnour to Lewis alleyoop LAK 11-6. 5:23 Radmanovic three LAK 13-9, answered by Odom drive foul and one on Radmanovic. 4:39 Allen transition three LAK 16-12, answered by Atkins three. 3:10 Daniels long alleyoop layup (pass from halfcourt) LAK 19-16, Lakers timeout. 1:39 turnaround fallaway Allen LAK 21-18.

After one quarter -- Lakers 28, SuperSonics 20

It was a quarter of absolutely stagnant offense for the Sonics as they started out 1-for-10. Other than the short span where they got within three (a couple of fast-break baskets), they couldn't get anything going. They couldn't seem to find any sort of flow while in the halfcourt sets. Meanwhile, Craig Ehlo keeps pointing out that the Lakers are terrible at defending the pick-and-roll (David Locke is probably saying the same thing right now on the radio side), so the Sonics should be running that play more often. As for rebounding, the Sonics are behind 16-13 after one, and they've been burned by a couple of very disturbing Laker tip-jams. The Sonics shot 7-for-24 from the field (29%) and 2-for-11 from three (18%).

2nd qtr
11:12 Collison nice turn and shoot LAK 28-24 top of key. 10:33 Allen across baseline to Fortson down low LAK 30-26. 9:30 Nice ball movement, Collison found down low and fouled, hits two LAK 30-28. 8:56 Radmanovic three LAK 33-31. 7:11 Radmanovic driving layup TIE 35-35 (second tie), answered by Walton down low. 6:40 Radmanovic three SEA 38-37. 5:10 Fortson cleans up Lewis miss to beat shot clock SEA 40-39, answered by Grant getting his own miss. 3:42 Lewis hook low again SEA 42-41. 3:02 Radmanovic three again after great ball movement SEA 45-44, answered by Jones three. 2:10 Ridnour splitting defenders, hitting driving layup SEA 48-47. 1:49 Daniels coast-to-coast SEA 50-47. 0:05.9 Allen finds Lewis low off a pick, slam SEA 53-51. 0:00.7 Allen three after Sonics force a walk SEA 57-51.

After one half -- SuperSonics 57, Lakers 51.

The Sonics went on a 6-0 run in the final minute of the half, and closed the half on a 12-4 run. They definitely found some rhythm, and had some great ball movement. Once the Sonics managed to tie the game for the first time, the lead changed hands six times. How did the Sonics hang with the Lakers and eventually get a decent lead? Just the usual -- rebounding the Lakers' misses, forcing a couple turnovers on the Lakers, and then moving the ball some, running their offense, and sinking more of their shots than the Lakers did. The Sonics shot 29% in the first quarter and 58% in the second quarter.

Ray Allen leads the Sonics with 15 at the half. Vladimir Radmanovic has 14, Rashard Lewis has 12. Luke Ridnour, Antonio Daniels, Danny Fortson, and Nick Collison each have 4 points. Fortson saw 9 minutes of play in the half, and looked like he hasn't lost much after riding a good deal of pine over the last couple games.

On the rebounding front, the Sonics are outrebounding the Lakers at half by one, 22-21. Eight of the Sonics' rebounds are on the offensive end.

3rd qtr
10:06 Lewis three after Collison misses dunk SEA 62-54. 9:23 Ridnour fastbreak running one-hander SEA 64-56. 8:46 Ridnour right the Cousy-style runner SEA 66-58. 8:11 Collison grabs the Allen miss and lays in SEA 68-60. 5:53 Lewis driving layin off Evans offensive board (crowd groaned after Evans board) SEA 70-62. 3:24 Radmanovic over Grant three SEA 75-63. 1:28 Allen three with a shooter's roll SEA 80-65. 0:38.3 Radmanovic three (6-for-8 from downtown) again SEA 83-68.

After three quarters -- SuperSonics 83, Lakers 68

That was a great quarter of Sonic basketball. Sure, they scored 37 in the second quarter and scored 26 in the third, but what made the third quarter great was how well the Sonics did on the defensive end as they held the Lakers to 17 points. They got Lamar Odom ticked off, and he didn't have a single rebound in the third quarter after grabbing 11 in the first half.

In a related story, Vladimir Radmanovic is out of his freakin' mind tonight. He's a mere 6-for-8 from beyond the arc after three quarters of play.

The other key to the third quarter was Reggie Evans getting roughly one billion rebounds on the offensive glass. This resulted him in getting a ton of minutes. He has 10 rebounds after three quarters.

4th qtr
10:48 Vlade three SEA 86-72. 10:16 Vlade off the inbound three SEA 89-72. 9:41 Fortson offensive rebound, lays in SEA 91-72. 8:02 Lewis running righty SEA 93-75. 6:46 Ridnour running layup again SEA 95-78. 3:41 Allen wears down the shot clock, pops three SEA 98-82. 1:27 Kutluay in, it's officially garbage time.

Final -- SuperSonics 104, Lakers 93

Vladimir Radmanovic was one three-pointer away from tying the Sonics' franchise record for threes in a game, which was set by Dale Ellis on April 20th of 1990 against the Clippers. The dude was absolutely nuts tonight. He also chased down his share of loose balls as well.

What I'm most jazzed about is the Sonics' defense in the third quarter, and most of the fourth quarter (the Lakers got a few more baskets after the Sonics were busy trying to get Radmanovic that last three). The Sonics hadn't held an opponent to under 100 points since the Cleveland game nine days ago (four games ago). Lamar Odom had 11 boards in the first half and only got one rebound in the second half. That in itself says a lot.

It was also an incredible day on the boards, spearheaded by Reggie Evans grabbing a gazillion offensive boards, and by Fortson having his presence felt for the first time in a few games. It was good to have him back.

The Sonics found Nick Collison a few times down low, and he easily would have broken double figures tonight if he would have been able to finish a couple more of his shots. I remember him bricking a dunk and blowing an easy layup down low. I'm not getting on his case, I'm just saying his totals would have been better tonight if he would have put away the easy shots.

Completely unrelated, but I'm becoming a big fan of Luke Ridnour's smooth running layups.

Oh yeah, Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen did their thing, scoring over 20 points like they normally do.

Ray Allen 25 pts/4 reb/4 ast/2 stl (8-18 FG, 4-9 3pt, 5-5 free throws, 35 min), Rashard Lewis 21 pts/5 reb (9-23 FG, 1-6 3pt, 2-2 free throws), Luke Ridnour 10 pts/3 reb/7 ast (5-13 FG), Reggie Evans 0 pts/3 ast/13 reb (23 min)

Vladimir Radmanovic 26 pts/5 reb/2 stl (9-17 FG, 8-14 3pt), Danny Fortson 10 pts/9 reb (3-5 FG, 4-4 free throws, 19 min), Nick Collison 8 pts/5 reb (3-7 FG, 19 min), Antonio Daniels 4 pts/2 reb/5 ast/2 stl (1-6 FG, 27 min)

Jerome James Watch
0 pts/2 reb (0-2 FG, 3 fouls, 1 turnover, 6 min)

shot 38-for-93 (40.9%) from the field, shot 13-for-33 (39.4%) from downtown, shot 15-for-15 (100%) from the free-throw line, outrebounded the Lakers 48-36 (Sonics had 20 offensive boards), turned the ball over only 9 times, bench outscored Laker bench 48-32 (outrebounded them 21-7), point guards dish out 12 assists and only 2 turnovers

The Sonics really didn't shoot in a blistering fashion in this game or anything. Fifteen combined offensive rebounds from Evans, Fortson, and Collison (20 for the whole team) sure help the cause of getting more shots, however.

After the Sonics went 1-for-10 to start the game, it looked a bit bleak, but then they eventually found their shot, and Vladimir started hitting a couple of threes here and there. Then the Sonics threw the hammer down on defense in the third quarter, and that pretty much sealed the game. The 28-point first quarter for the Lakers was abysmal. The 23-point second quarter reflected better on the Sonic defense, but it was pure brilliance when the Sonics held the Lakers to 17 in the third quarter. Calabro and Ehlo both pointed out that one reason the Sonics were able to corral Lamar Odom in the second half was thanks to some zone defense. Odom had 9 points and 11 boards in the first half. Though he did manage to score 10 more points in the second half, he was able to grab only three more rebounds.

Though they didn't shoot overly well, the only truly off-night for any Sonic shooter tonight was Antonio Daniels with his 1-for-6. The rest of the team more than picked up for this. Of course, eight three-pointers from Radmanovic helps make the Sonics' 40.9% shooting night look a little better.

I won't harp on the Sonics' only getting 15 free throws tonight, in part because they did go to the rack on occasion, in part because they were getting so many offensive rebounds that they were going to eventually set up the right shot and hit it, and in part because they didn't miss on any of the 15 tries. This of course coincides with Reggie Evans not getting to the line once.

I asked Jinkies how the Sonics should prepare themselves for the altitude (well, 4222 feet) and the tough task of going into Utah on the back end of a back-to-back set. His reply: "Do you kiss your mother and father with that filth-covered mouth?"

I didn't think Jinkies had that in him. I surely thought he was out of unique replies. Alas, he is not. There was unbridled joy at Casa de David.

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The Philadelphia Eagles have signed veteran tight end Jeff Thomason to replace Chad Lewis, who hurt his foot in the NFC Championship Game Sunday. Thomason was Lewis' teammate from 2000 to 2002 in Philadelphia. Lewis recommended to the Eagles that they should consider Thomason.

Since leaving the NFL after the 2002 season, Thomason has been an assistant project manager for the Toll Brothers Construction company in New Jersey. Remember the awful Disney film "The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon" starring Tony Danza? Let's just be glad that in this case, Thomason actually has had football experience.

In related news, thank god that the Patriots haven't been portrayed horribly in a Disney movie. Don't worry, I'll have some Patriots hype soon enough. Such as, "Tedy Bruschi was recently seen shooting his own Mastercard commercial"




---Holding the world's greatest quarterback to 3 points...


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(NOTE: The normal daily post is below this rant that turned out to be really huge.)

Any readers from last baseball season may remember me bitching about the TV situation in Ellensburg. Occasionally, the Mariners TV network (i.e., the local affiliates) picks up some of the games that don't go to FSNNW (in the Puget Sound area, you see these games on KSTW-11 UPN). A couple of those games fell on Sundays. Charter Communications does the cable TV affairs in Ellensburg, and their Fox station of choice is KCYU 68 of Yakima. Unfortunately, the Mariners' Yakima local affiliate of choice also was KCYU 68. What happened? I got a couple Sundays of NASCAR on television instead of the Mariners. Also note that KONG wasn't carried on Charter, so we weren't getting the Sonics on TV over there for at least the past four years (all of which I was attending school there). Add to this the occasional winter preemption of the Sonics' radio broadcasts by Central Wildcats basketball. With all due respect to my alma mater, I'm still stewing over that one.

So I'm chatting with a former teammate (former teammate of Jeremy's too) who is attending classes there in Ellensburg, and he's got cable in his place. He's complaining about not getting the Huskies on cable. I'm trying to figure this all out. He's saying he's only getting maybe one or two Husky games this year, and the same with the Sonics. I'm like, huh? I thought the Sonics signed the cable deal just to tick me off because it coincided with me leaving, and that the Wildcat students would get to watch the Sonics 70-plus times a year. According to Jer, apparently not. He's called Charter in Ellensburg, and apparently they've switched over to just FSN, and I'm not sure how generic that is. They apparently still get FSN Live with the northwest crew, but all of the rest of it just sounds like a travesty. I can understand not showing the Sonic telecasts if you have a competing NBA market nearby (i.e., FSNNW not showing the Blazers last year), but there's no Spokane or Yakima NBA team, so I see no reason to not show the Sonics in Ellensburg. Ditto that for the Huskies, because I'm sure Central Washington U isn't overriding FSNNW to show Wildcat basketball. That's what community access KCWU 2 is for. I can't even believe this is a problem over there. Charter can relay KOMO, KING, and KIRO onto their lineup over there, but they've managed to find a difference between Fox Sports Network and Fox Sports Net Northwest (and it's a big difference, apparently). I'm not even over there anymore and I'm ticked about this. This is the worst thing they've done at Charter Ellensburg since they switched Channel 54 from ESPNEWS to MSNBC. Channel lineup before switching to MSNBC -- 52 ESPN, 53 ESPN2, 54 ESPNEWS, 55 FSNNW. It just made too much sense before.

I have called Charter before, and it was on a Sunday, I believe. The local offices weren't open. They were relaying UPN-11 over onto the Charter lineup (they probably still do). So it was a Sunday early in the season, and the Seahawks and Mariners were playing on the same day. I was able to see the Seahawks on the Fox affiliate, but the Mariners were broadcasting over their network of local affiliates that day (the Yakima Fox station had the football game overriding their Mariner broadcast). Thinking that maybe I'd still get to see the game on the relay of UPN-11, I switched over to Channel 11. Nope. It's TV Land. The problem? TV Land is normally on one of the other channels. Yes, that's right. TWO CHANNELS were showing TV Land (the same exact thing, too, by the way), and NONE were showing the Mariners. Anyway, I called some national office, and they said they couldn't do anything. That's exactly what I thought I'd get from them.

I forgot to mention that on the same day, News Talk 1240 KXLE of Ellensburg was carrying Brian Davis and Steve Raible on the Seahawks radio network. The same station also handles the Mariners, Sonics, and Wildcats. Translation: no Mariners on radio OR television for me that day.

Now that my late-night spiel about the travesty of an existence that Charter Communications leads in Ellensburg is currently over...

On TV tonight -- SuperSonics at Lakers (7:30p, FSNNW)

Larry Stone has his piece on baseball this offseason, as well as the scorecard. This of course brings me to the question, how much would the Mariners have had to give Richie Sexson if Arizona hadn't unloaded the coffers for Troy Glaus? In an unrelated note, I can also hear the Beane backers out there screaming at Stone for saying Sabean had a better offseason than Beane, though Stone does concede that Beane's moves probably won't fully play out this year.

In winter ball, it appears that Matt Thornton found his control, and Felix Hernandez rested. Also, Jose Lopez made a good deal of errors. I'm not sure if he's committing errors at a Michael Garciaparra clip, but the errors came in droves. There's also some other tidbits about some other Mariners in winter ball. Of course, that's hardly enough, so go to Mariner Minors, where there's a ton more. I can't say I knew that Rich Garces led the league in saves down there until I went to Mariner Minors and saw that it was so.

Here's the Jim Moore perspective on Jeremy Reed. Hard-nosed, dirty uniform, all that stuff. Slides head-first into every base? Not so good. It might be must-see television if Ron Fairly ever sees Jeremy Reed sliding head-first into first base. Even more so if Reed decides to slide head-first into home plate with the catcher blocking or about to block. It better be an evasive slide. Heads and shoulders don't usually win in a battle with shin guards and a chest protector backed by about 200 or so stationary pounds. That's a lesson that doesn't have to be learned by experience in baseball. Another such lesson was learned by a catcher on my Babe Ruth team when I was 15. The lesson? It's probably wise to wear a cup when you're the catcher. I wish I was lying about this. Sheesh, even at that young age I wore a cup when I pitched, let alone caught, so you could imagine what I was thinking when Josias Manzanillo got nailed in the nethers without adequate shielding.

Art Thiel pondered Sunday morning how far the Seahawks seemed from even being in the same universe with the four teams taking the field that day (especially on defense). The piece is worth it for that Randy Cross quote. Luckily, Bob Whitsitt is gone, so we hopefully won't have to worry about what Cross is referring to anymore. Thiel also reminds us that Bob Kraft didn't get it right the first time in New England either.

Also, Marcus Trufant had shoulder surgery, and Seahawk college scouting director Scot McCloughan has been rumored for a job with the 49ers and also for the Seahawks' VP of football operations post. McCloughan has put together the draft board every year since his May 2000 hire. Trufant led the Seahawks with 96 tackles, 86 of them of the solo variety. Apparently he was the second cornerback in NFL history to lead his team in tackles. If that's not something that screams for drafting some linebackers or some better pass rushers, I don't know what is.

The Marvin Williams Watch
Marvin Williams and the Tar Heels play at Virginia on Saturday (9a, ESPN).

Well, here's the most I've read in one sitting about Lorenzo Romar. It's a good and worthwhile piece. Though Romar was raised in Compton, he unfortunately wasn't born there, so I couldn't rattle off that DJ Quik reference (possibly not work-safe) that I've been wanting to use all this time.

Also, Dick Bennett apologized for flipping the bird at Hec Ed on Sunday. In what I read as classic Husky-vs.-Cougarism, Wazzu's AD Jim Sterk said, "we need to work harder to provide an atmosphere of sportsmanship so class gentlemen like Dick Bennett are not pushed to the point of reaction." The raucous Husky fans done drove Bennett to using the ol' finger.

The Huskies go to Arizona on Thursday (5:30p, FSNNW) and Arizona State on Sunday (12:45p, CBS)

The Zags are home against the Portland Pilots on Saturday (8p, ESPN2)

It turns out Ray Allen's 10-shot night against the Jazz might not be an aberration after all. Ray Allen might still be putting up 22 or so points a night, but it's not so good when he's missing a bunch of shots in the process (and taking a whole bunch of them). The solution? Kick it out more, and force less shots into the teeth of the defense. Apparently it's Operation:Rhythm for the offense, and it's all about ball movement and finding the best shot. Sounds like a good policy, no?

Also, the bomb threat on Sunday was a hoax.

Steve Kelley pens a piece after the passing of Don Poier. There are quotes from Chuck Nelson, Kevin Calabro, and former Grizzly Antonio Daniels. Though not mentioned in the article, you may remember him as the voice of quite a few of EA Sports NBA Live games, the last one with Poier's voice on it being the 2003 version (Marv Albert was signed on afterward).

Tonight at Lakers (7:30p, FSNNW)
Tomorrow at Utah (6p, FSNNW)
Friday at Golden State (7:30p, FSNNW)

I can imagine how this (scheduled for tomorrow) is going to go...

Owners: Here's our final proposal. Take it or leave it.
Players: Does it have a salary cap?
Owners: It has something that guarantees cost certainty.
Players: Sounds like a salary cap...
Owners: Okay, it is. But look at all these other concessions we've made and these other things we've done!!
Players: Screw you, we're through.

I'm hoping for the NHL's return hopefully next fall. This sucks. However, in EA Sports NHL 2005, I've got the Canucks off to an 8-2 start.

Tonight: Seattle at Spokane
Tomorrow: Everett at Kelowna, Vancouver at Kamloops, Tri-City at Seattle
Friday: Kamloops at Seattle, Portland at Everett, Tri-City at Vancouver, Manitoba at Utah, Spokane at Puget Sound
Saturday: Everett at Seattle, Tri-City at Portland, Kelowna at Vancouver, Manitoba at Utah, Spokane at Puget Sound
Sunday: Everett at Tri-City

Have a decent Thursday, everyone.

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