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Monthly Archives: June 2010

This blog is a Kitsap Sun reader blog. The Kitsap Sun neither edits nor previews reader blog posts. Their content is the sole creation and responsibility of the readers who produce them. Reader bloggers are asked to adhere to our reader blog agreement. If you have a concern or would like to start a reader blog of your own, please contact sunnews@kitsapsun.com.

Your First Game

Do you remember your first sports games? My daughter Kelli and I were listening to a radio show when this question was raised. Gave me pause for thought and reminiscence with her. Unless you were really young, you always remember those first games…

Husky Football – September, 1974 vs. Oregon, 9 years old. Our neighbor was a season ticket holder and starting in 1973, he started giving my dad and me tickets for a game a year. This team featured Robin Earl and Scotty Phillips and we beat those dastardly Ducks.

Sonics Basketball – February, 1976 vs. Los Angeles Lakers, 11 years old. It was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s first year with the Lakers. That Sonics team featured Downtown Freddy Brown, Slick Watts, and Tommy Burleson. I won a free Diners Club card when the number in my program was called. I got to go down to the scorer’s table and claim the prize. I had no idea what a Diner’s Club card was, but it sounded like it involved food. The good guys won the game.

Seahawks Football – August, 1976 vs. San Diego Chargers, 11 years old. The Seahawks were an expansion team and Dad and I got tickets with our family friend Stormy Knight to go sit in the 300 level. It was a pre-season game and ended up being the Seahawks first ever victory (pre-season so it wasn’t official).  Jim Zorn threw a TD pass to the old Seattle U basketball star Ron Howard; and Don Bitterlich tacked on the extra point for a 17-16 win.

Mariners Baseball – April, 1977 vs. Toronto Blue Jays, 12 years old. I went with my two buddies and sat in the 2nd level loge in the Kingdome, just on the 1st Base side of home plate. My friend’s mom took us. The M’s beat their fellow expansion team giving me a 4-0 start for “first games.” That was the closest I’ve ever come to a foul ball. The ball was hit near us and bounced our direction and one of my friends sitting next to me got it. I thought this would be easy. In 33 years of going to games, sitting every possible place, including spring training, I’ve never again come close!

Do you remember your first games? If you are willing to share, I’d love to see them!

P.S. The photo up top is my last Sonics game – courtside against the Detroit Pistons. The Sonics lost but it was a great game and you can never go wrong courtside!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Big Russ is Back for Mariners

It may not be Adrian Gonzalez at first, but Russ Branyan certainly is an upgrade!

Last year’s first baseman was brought back in a trade yesterday. He’s only played part of the year, yet he has more home runs than any Mariner.If he can duplicate his power production from 2009, the Mariners may just pull out a few more games.

Is it too late to catch the Rangers? Probably. Is it too late to decide to keep Cliff Lee? No. He’s not going to sign a long-term deal before the season. I’m not impressed with what I hear he could be traded for. Let’s make a run to respectability and see what kind of sales job we can do after the season.

A few long balls from Big Russ wouldn’t hurt about now!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Last week I went to the Mariners game with my good friend, Vic Ulsh. Vic woks at Bradley Scoot and lives in Bremerton. He recounted a story about a trip he and John Wallen (also a Kitsap guy) took to Spring Training a few years back. The episode was so unusual, I asked him to write it down so I could share it on my blog…

Hey Dan:
Thanks again for the great evening at Safeco last Wednesday.  I mentioned the Spring Training oddity from a few years back.  Here’s the story.  In March 2007 I joined John Wallen on his annual Spring Training trip to the Phoenix area.  John puts together a great trip which always includes visits to various ball parks.  One day we were at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa to see the Chicago Cubs host the San Francisco Giants.  That year the Giants had two guys from Kitsap area high schools.  Both Todd Linden of Central Kitsap High and Jason Ellison of South Kitsap High played outfield for the San Francisco organization.  Coincidentally, they happened to bat back-to-back in that game.  Our gang was sitting along the first base line just beyond first base.  I had walked up to watch from the concourse which wraps around the stadium in the top of the 7th inning as Jason Ellison came to bat.  Ellison fouled a ball down the first base line.  I watched as John Wallen grabbed it.  On the very next pitch Ellison fouls another pitch down the first base line.  This one gets a little deeper into the stands.  It rattled thru the overhead lattice, dropped, and rolled right to me.  What are the chances?  On consecutive pitches in an MLB spring game in Mesa, Arizona a kid from Kitsap County hits consecutive foul balls to two different long time Kitsap residents.
SIDENOTE:  John Wallen promptly gave his ball to the granddaughter of a WWII veteran who were both sitting next to him.  I still have my ball.  John has always been known for taking the high road.  I guess I’m still looking for the on-ramp.  Oh well.  One of these days I’d like to visit with Jason Ellison and have him sign the ball.

Feel free to use any of this.

You just can’t make this stuff up!

Thanks, VIC!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

World Cup Token Post

I admit I was watching the World Cup this morning.

I was on the elliptical machine and three of the televisions had it on and the others were on infomercials. So I was stuck. Korea was playing someone and at least there were a few shots on goal. I admit, never having played or followed the sport, I can’t get into it. I appreciate greatly the athleticism of the players and the passion of the fans. That’s what makes it a terrific event. I just don’t have interest. I will admit I will probably tune in for a little while to watch the good old USA and see if they are “Ghana win.”

Sorry…I couldn’t resist.

My pal from the gym, Pete tells me that Uruguay is unscored upon in the World Cup. That is a tremendous feet. Too bad we can’t transfer that over to the Mariners pitching and defense (no disrespect for the pitchers who have been very good). Then we might be a .500 team.

Good luck to the Yanks today (not New York, but Americans). I will probably peek in and see if I can get enough “stuff” to blog on it again.

NFL Training Camp is 5 weeks away…

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Keep Cliff Lee?

I know this sounds crazy, but…

What if we kept Cliff Lee for the season and put on a full court press (I have no equivalent baseball term) to sign him in the off-season?

We aren’t going to catch Texas. Even though we’ve now won 5 games in a row, we still can’t score runs consistently. Texas has won 9 in a row and has a 13 game lead. We have three teams to jump over and the wild card will come from the East. However, we can definitely improve and show promise for the future and try to entice Lee to stay.

Here are a few reasons we keep him:

1 – The fans. This guy is one of the top 3 or 4 pitchers in the major leagues. It’s a joy to go watch him pitch (I’m going tonight). We don’t see this talent come along very often.

2 – Our rotation stays one of the best in the league. With quality pitching, we can build offense from here on in. Everyone is young.

3 – Crazier things have happened. Remember 1995 when we had a huge offense and Randy Johnson every fifth day? We were 13 behind in August and won the division. Texas always wilts in the summer swelter. They have money problems and won’t be adding.

4 – We have no guarantee that the minor league prospects we get will ever pan out.

I know it sounds crazy. You would say we should be getting something back for him instead of letting him walk. I know that’s the logical thing. But this is baseball. Think with your heart. How would you like to enjoy the brilliance of Cliff Lee for the full year and see if this little streak continues through summer?

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Observations from the United States Open

Since 1965, the United States Golf Association has been holding the U.S. Open on Father’s Day weekend. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been watching the entire Sunday round with my daughters, Mindy and Kelli. If you think they dread this, you are wrong. They actually love it and look forward to watching every year. In fact, we are planning on being at the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, WA 945 minutes away from home) in 2015 regardless of where we all live. But, I digress…

The U.S. Open always holds great drama. Here are my observations on what I witnessed from yesterday’s final round:

  1. Graeme McDowell became the first European since Tony Jacklin in 1940 to win this event. He did it by being the only player amongst the leaders to stay focused on task, even in the face of adversity. He played his game, never forced the action, and made the right decisions at the right time. The prime example came as he stood on the 18th fairway as he watched his nearest competitor, Gregory Havret from France, miss his birdie putt that would have tied them. McDowell now knew that all he had to do was par the hole. Instead of going for the Par-5 in two (a daring risk-reward play), he made the “smart” play by laying up, hitting the green in regulation, and giving himself a pretty simple two-putt to win. Had he dared to go all out, his chances to error increase and he could have thrown away the title. He knew his position and made the right call at the right time.
  2. The 54-hole leader, Dustin Johnson, gave up his 4-stroke lead within the first three holes. His round turned disastrous with a triple-bogey on #2; a double-bogey on #3; and a bogey on #4. He never recovered. This is a highly skilled and talented young man who basically cracked under immense pressure. Talent is important, but it can’t make up for having nerves of steel and confidence to bounce back when adversity strikes. Had he recovered right after his triple-bogey, he would still have had an excellent chance to win based on where his competitors finished.
  3. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Ernie Els choked. These three golfers own 21 major championships between them and you would have thought that any one of them would have taken advantage of the leaders backing up. Instead, they forced the action on a brutally difficult course and paid the price. Instead of playing their game, they tried too hard and it cost them dearly. The young Frenchman, Havret, is ranked 391st in the world and only made the field because he made a 50-foot putt in England the week before to get him in a playoff. Experience doesn’t always trump youth. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.
  4. Graciousness in adversity. There is a stark difference between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson behind a microphone after a heart-breaking loss. Tiger is surly, curt, and uninviting. Phil is gracious, speaks at length, and offers a positive demeanor regardless of the outcome. Mickelson has that quality of great leadership. He hates to lose as much as Tiger, yet he won’t carry that through to the media or fans. 

Congratulations to a deserving new champion, Graeme McDowell. I’m sure a few pints of Guiness were poured in Northern Ireland last night. Whether you are a golfer or not, I hope you can take a few lessons I observed from this great game yesterday. Golf is a microcosm of society and business. We need to learn from each other.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

U.S. Open

Looks like I was WAY off on Anthony Kim, bit not n the fact that th champ might be a first-time major winner. Two first-timers are in first and second with Tiger Woods prowling after a 66 on moving day – Saturday. Tiger’s 5 back and he would need another 66. I’m giving Dustin Johnson the edge at this point. Watch for updates on Sunday as I watch the round for Father’s Day!

© 2o10 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

U.S. Open at Pebble Beach

This is a tough one…

I don’t think it’s going to be Tiger. Can Phil go back to back majors? Will we see another first time Major winner?

I guess it’s teed off so I need to make a pick. Okay, I go with a young gun – Anthony Kim. I think his game suits Pebble Beach and this will be his year.

It will be fun to watch…stay tuned!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

The United States Open and Being a Dad

I love this weekend. This is what fathers look forward to every year. Our day!

We have a family tradition of watching the U.S. Open’s 4th round together on Sunday (sans my wife…I’m not her father). My kids really enjoy it…really. This year they are both working through part of it, but that’s okay. We already have our commitment for 2015. That’s the year Chambers Bay in University Park will be hosting the event. No matter where my girls are – they will be in their mid-20’s – we will attend all 4 rounds of the Open.  At least I’ve got that going for me!  Look out Chambers Bay, the Weedins are coming in 5 years…

As far as this Open in Pebble Beach, I expect an upset. I think this is another opportunity for a first-time major winner to prevail. Maybe a guy like Justin Rose or Anthony Kim. My official prediction will come prior to tomorrow’s opening round. Stay tuned.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved