The Stark Truth

Former Kitsap Sun sports editor Chuck Stark shares insight, laughter, news, views and analysis of Kitsap sports and beyond.
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Keith Jackson, Tom Sneva, Throwin’ Samoan to be inducted into state HOF Thursday at WSU game

August 24th, 2014 by cstark

Marc Blau, the executive director of the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame, sent out this press release on Sunday.

Three new members of the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame will be inducted during the Rutgers-WSU Cougars football game on Thursday, Aug. 28.

The inductees are longtime ABC-TV sportscaster Keith Jackson, Indy 500 winner Tom Sneva and WSU quarterback Jack Thompson.

Four additional inductees – the late softball barnstormer Eddie Feigner, basketball star Detlef Schrempf, hydroplance racer Chip Hanauer and “Mr. Mariner” Alvin Davis, were honored earlier this month with their induction prior to a Mariners game at Safeco Field.

(NOTE: Check out this story at Sportspressnw.com about the late Feigner. He was an original. Feigner and crew barnstormed into Bremerton in the early 1990s, taking on Pop’s Inn’s men’s fastpitch team in a game on a makeshift diamond at Thunderbird Stadium. Feigner was up in years but still magical. The show continued into the wee hours at the old tavern that sat next to the rodeo arena. The King and His Court played just as hard off the field as they did on it.)

With this year’s inductees, the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame grows to a total of 189 members. Plaques of the inductees are on display in the Shanahan Sports Museum in the Tacoma Dome. The hall of fame was founded in1960 by Tacoma broadcaster Clay Huntington.

Georgia-born Jackson got his start in broadcasting at Washington State University and worked for KOMO radio and then KOMO-TV from 1954-64. Jackson is best known for his more than 50 years of football telecasts. The phrase “Whoa, Nellie!” was his signature phrase. He is also credited with creating and popularizing the description of the Rose Bowl as “The Granddaddy of Them All”. Often forgotten is that Jackson was the first play-by-play announcer on Monday Night Football and covered major-league baseball, PGA golf, the NBA, major auto races, boxing matches and the Olympics during his career.

Sneva won the 1983 Indianapolis 500. He won season Indy car championships in 1977 and 1978. In 1977 he became the first driver to qualify for the Indy 500 at a speed of more than 200 mph. Sneva is a graduate of Lewis & Clark High School in Spokane and after graduating from Eastern Washington University was a school teacher and junior-high principal before becoming a full-time racer.

Thompson may have the best nickname in state history. The “Throwin’ Samoan” was nicknamed by late Spokane Spokesman-Review columnist Harry Missildine. Thompson was the most prolific passer in NCAA history with 7,818 yards when he concluded his Washington State career. He is only one of two players to have his WSU number (14) retired. He was the third player taken overall in the 1979 NFL draft (by Cincinnati) and played six seasons in the league. He starred at Evergreen High School in White Center.

 


Hawks’ Wilson still proving doubters wrong; Is there a ’95 run in these M’s?

August 24th, 2014 by cstark

Back from Cabo and my mind’s still a little mushy, but these thoughts have been rattling around my brain:

Russell Wilson: The Seattle Seahawks’ QB hasn’t won everybody over. Ron Jaworski at ESPN ranks Wilson the ninth-best QB in the NFL. This Buck Stanton guy at cover32.com., wrote last month that Wilson is the most overrated player in the NFL. Here’s what he had to say:

Yep, he’s 24-8 during his first two NFL seasons. And there’s no taking away his Super Bowl ring. All of that makes Wilson’s résumé look great. But in reality, there are a ton of quarterbacks – many of whom are much-maligned – who could have won a title with the Seahawks last year. For now, he’s a modern-day Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer. He can’t carry a team.

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless of ESPN’s First Take aren’t sold on Wilson either. Here’s what they had to say the day after Seattle’s Super Bowl victory.

Me? I’m sold. He’s not the prototypical QB like Andrew Luck, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t an elite quarterback. He’s got a ring and his numbers do not lie. As Warren Moon put it, maybe the game is evolving in a new direction? Maybe Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger — traditional pocket passers — will fade away. Maybe mobile, athletic guys like Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III will become the prototypical quarterbacks of the future.

Refuse to lose: I’ve been thinking a lot about the Seattle Mariners’ run in 1995 when they came from waaaaay back to win the AL West. They were 11.5 games behind the Angels on Aug. 23. When I looked Saturday, they were seven back. The Angels just lost their best starting pitcher, Garrett Anderson, for the season, and the Oakland A’s are scuffling. Seattle entered Sunday with a 1-game lead over Detroit in the race of race for the AL’s No. 2 wild-card spot. Yeah, I was the guy who picked the M’s to win the AL West at the start of the season. People thought I was crazy. Well, I still think they have a chance. They’re playing with a lot of confidence, and that’s huge. Here’s what a few of those players on the 1995 Mariners said about their magical late-season surge:

LEE ELIA, BATTING COACH: “We get hot, they (Angels) get cold, and all of a sudden, we cut the gap pretty good. I can remember walking out when the other team was taking BP, and I came back into the coaches’ room and said, ‘Is this a special night, bat night or something?’ They said, ‘Why.’ I said, ‘There’s 35,000 people out there.’ The juice the people brought to the park, that kicked us. That got us going.”

MIKE BLOWERS: “Junior missed a ton of time, and when he came back, we were playing real good baseball. One of his first games back, he ended up hitting a home run off John Wetteland, upper deck, to win a game. We all looked around. If this guy is healthy and ready to go, we had a chance to do something special. His injury had been so serious, we didn’t know what we’d get. He comes right back and turns a 96-mph fastball right around. We all smiled and said, ‘Here we go.’ ”

JAY BUHNER, RIGHT FIELDER: “I think that’s when everyone kind of said, ‘Hey, something really special is happening.’ We got on a roll, and we had an unbelievable amount of confidence. We had the mentality we could beat anyone. Anyone could be the hero. People were contributing in every way, from top to bottom. The few games we did lose, we thought we just ran out of outs.”

Yankee numbers: I was a big-time Yankee fan growing up, then went through a period where I fell off the bandwagon. Then, I jumped back on, mostly because of Joe Torre. Liked him as a player, and he always struck me as a classy guy when he became the manager of the Yanks. And then I had the opportunity to cover the 2000 Subway World Series when I was working for CBS Sportsline, and I learned to respect Torre even more. The Yankees were an easy team to pull for. Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Paul O’Neill, Don Zimmer, Torre.

Anyway, I think it’s pretty cool that the Yankees are going to retire Torre’s No. 6. When Jeter’s No. 2 is retired, and they might as well do it on the final home game of the season instead of delaying the inevitable, every Yankees number form 1 to 10 will be retired. Thurman Munson (No. 15) and White Ford (No. 16) also had their jerseys retired.

No. 1 Billy Martin

No. 2 Derek Jeter

No. 3 Babe Ruth

No. 4 Lou Gehrig

No. 5 Joe DiMaggio

No. 6: Joe Torre

No. 7: Mickey Mantle

No. 8: Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey

No. 9: Roger Maris

No. 10: Phil Rizzuto

Fantasy football: My league drafts tomorrow. Let the trash talkin’ begin.


Kitsapers in the Pros & More

August 18th, 2014 by cstark

KITSAPERS IN THE PROS:

Jason Hammel, a 2000 South Kitsap grad, has struggle since being traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Oakland Athletics. Hammel is 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA with Oakland. He gave up three home runs in three-plus innings in a loss against Atlanta on Friday. He was 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA with the Cubs.

South Kitsap grad Willie Bloomquist is done for the year after undergoing micro fracture surgery on his right knee. The Mariners utility player hit .278 in 47 games, playing seven different positions.

Drew Vettleson is hitting .230 with seven HRs and 23 RBI for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators, an affiliate of the Washington Nationals. Vettleson, 23, an outfielder from Central Kitsap, has hit two HRs in his last six games but is only hitting .204 in his last 10 games. The left-handed hitting Vettleson is hitting .280 vs. lefties and .198 vs. righties. All seven of his HRs have come against right-handers.

South Kitsap grad Aaron Cunningham, an outfielder, is hitting .255 with 0 HRs and 31 RBIs for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A club of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Cunningham, 28, has hit .323 (10-for-31) with 5 RBI in his last 10 games.

Brady Steiger, a first baseman/third baseman, is hitting .167 for the Staten Island Yankees, a short Class A club in the New York-Penn League. The former South Kitsap and Lewis-Clark State star just returned from injury and has played in just two games since July 21.

SAYING ALL OF THE RIGHT THINGS:

Rhode Island Little League coach Dave Belisle, following an elimination loss at the World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, puts things in perspective for a bunch of kids. Great speech.

SPEAKING OF LITTLE LEAGUE:

How can you not pull for Mo’ne Davis? She’s the talk of the Little League World Series.

CONGRATULATIONS:

To the Bellingham Bells, who won the West Coast League championship on Monday night, winning the deciding game of the best-of-three series against the Corvallis Knights. Good buddy Jim Clem is the pitching coach of the Bells and we had the pleasure of hosting the team twice this summer on trips to Bremerton to play the Kitsap BlueJackets. Classy bunch.es

NOT SO CLASSY:

Johnny (Finger) Manziel threw as many obscene gestures as he did touchdown passes in Monday night’s exhibition game. Not a good sign for the Browns.

READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL:

Aug. 23: FCS No. 1 Eastern Washington vs. No. 17 Sam Houston State in college football’s season opener in Cheney. Kickoff 12:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Aug. 28: Washington State Cougars vs. Rutgers, in Seattle (CenturyLink), 7 p.m., FOX Sports. Thursday game is intriguing. Cougs looking to get off to a good start against Scarlet Knights, now a member of the Big Ten.

Aug. 30: Washington Huskies vs. Hawaii in Honolulu, 7:30 p.m., CBS. Chris Petersen era begins.

Sept. 4: Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers. Thursday night game on NBC (5:30 p.m.) kicks off NFL season. Doesn’t get much better, does it?

Sept. 5: Friday Night Lights has a delicious opener. South Kitsap vs. Central Kitsap at Silverdale Stadium, 7 p.m. Biggest game in the county.

Sept. 5: WSU at Nevada, 7:30 p.m., ESPN. Nevada not what it used to be.

Sept. 6: Washington’s first home game under Chris Petersen vs. Eastern Washington at Husky Stadium, 1 p.m. Washington barely pulled one out, 30-27 over EWU in 2011 at Husky Stadium.

 

GOLF JOKE:

Mike, an avid golfer, was teeing up for a very difficult shot.

At that moment a funeral procession went by.

Mike stopped, stood still with his hat over his heart, and bowed his head.

His golfing partner looked at him and said, “Mike, that was kind and decent of you to show such respect for the dead.”

Mike replied, “Yes, we would have been married twenty-six years come tomorrow.”


Hot links: Husky togetherness; Joe’s record run; The Boudreau Shift; Rory chasing Jack

August 11th, 2014 by cstark

Sounds like it’s hotter back home than it is in Cabo, where I spent most of the day turning my brain to mush before putting down a little wager on King Felix and the Mariners. Hey, if the KC Royals can find their way to the top of the AL Central this late in the season, surely the Mariners can find a way to beat a Toronto team that is coming off a 19-inning marathon the day before.

Also found some time to do a little reading. Here’s some links to consider:

* Husky football coach Chris Petersen brings a unique philosophy to Washington. According to this SI.com story, it’s all about building team unity. Well, not ALL about team unity, but it’s a big part of what he believes in. It dates back to his playing days at UC Davis and the philosophy of Tao Te Ching.

A sample from the story:

When he arrived at Washington, Petersen set up the leadership groups made up of players from different classes, positions and backgrounds. The groups have swim nights at a lake, play paint ball and hold barbecues. During team meetings, Petersen will have a player stand up and quiz others about his high school, hometown and siblings. Players’ lockers and seating arrangements at meals are organized so players would be near guys they may not interact with normally.

“I’d say that the bonding has tripled since he got here,” Washington senior linebacker Washington senior linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha said. “I can tell it worked. There are guys that never held conversations, and now they’re hanging out together off the field.”

* I wrote about Seattle runner Joe McConaughy a couple weeks ago. He was in the middle of running the Pacific Coast Trail. He ending up covering 2,663 miles in a record time of 53 days, 6 hours and 37 seconds. “The Run for Colin” — a cousin who died of a rare form of cancer — raised $27,000.

“I immediately broke down,” McConaughy told NPR writer Tom Banse after finishing. “I was switching between laughing and crying — thinking of all these incredible tales and trips we’d had day in, day out and all the pain.”

* Shifting defenders to stop opposing hitters has become a trendy, and effective method of stopping some of baseball’s dead-pull hitters. Until hitters start taking the ball the other way, the shifts will be here to stay. I’m not here to debate the merit of the defensive strategy, but did you know that Ted Williams had to deal with The Boudreau Shift? Joe Posnanski writes about it in his blog.

Posnanski writes:

The genius of the Boudreau Shift is that it LOOKS easy to beat. The fielders are ALL OVER THERE. All you have to do is hit the ball OVER THERE INSTEAD. I mean seriously, this is TED BLEEPIN’ WILLIAMS we are talking about here. You telling me he can’t just hit the ball to the left side anytime he wants?

Only, he could not — not with regularity, not with force, not with that beautiful swing he had honed since childhood. He crowded the plate, and he challenged pitchers, and he pulled mistakes with ferocity. This was how he hit. The fans fury poured down on him every time he beat a futile ground ball to the loaded right side, something he did with regularity. …

* It’s silly to call Rory McIlroy the next Tiger Woods, but right now the numbers say he’s a bigger threat to Jack Nicklaus’ record for most major victories (18) than Woods. McIlroy, 25, has won the last two majors and four of the 15 he’s entered.

Benjamin Morris of ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight website writes:

It may not look like much, but that four-major start by McIlroy is firmly in Woods and Nicklaus territory — they are the only players to have won four majors through age 25. Winning those four majors in a 15-tournament span is also a rare accomplishment. There have been a number of similarly meteoric rises in golf, but they usually come at a more mature age (see, for example: Nick Faldo, Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan). And some early starts aren’t so meteoric (Seve Ballesteros).


If it comes down to pitching, M’s have a chance if they reach postseason

August 7th, 2014 by cstark

Take a look at these starting rotations and tell me which one do you want for the postseason. And consider that it’s possible to get by with just three starters in a seven-game series. I’d put the staffs in this order. It’s no guarantee for success, but if the Mariners get to the postseason, I like their chances. In addition to those top three starters, Seattle’s bullpen has been baseball’s best.

OAKLAND A’S

Jon Lester 11-7, 2.59 ERA

Jeff Samardzija 4-8, 2.91 (2-7, 2.83 with Cubs; 2-1, 3.09 with A’s).

Scott Kazmir 12-4, 2.53

Sonny Gray 12-5, 2.87

Jason Hammel 9-9, 3.70 (8-5, 2.98 w/Cubs; 1-4, 7.15 w/A’s)

SEATTLE MARINERS

Felix Hernandez 12-3, 1.97

Ishashi Iwakuma 9-6, 2.94

Chris Young 10-6, 3.27

Roenis Elias 8-9, 4.19

James Paxton 2-0, 2.76 (5-0, 2.01 in seven career starts)

DETROIT TIGERS

Max Scherzer 13-4, 3.24

David Price 11-8, 3.11 (0-0, 3.24 in one start w/Tigers after being traded by Rays)

Justin Verlander 10-10, 4.74

Rick Porcello 13-6, 3.06

Anibal Sanchez 8-5, 3.37

LOS ANGELES ANGELS

Garrett Richards 12-4, 2.58

Jared Weaver 12-6, 3.59

C.J. Wilson 8-7, 4.74

Matt Shoemaker 9-4, 4.02

Tyler Skaggs 5-5, 4.30 or Hector Santiago 3-7, 3.84

 

And then there’s the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting rotation, the best in baseball and the reason why the Dodgers will be favored to win the World Series:

LA DODGERS

Clayton Kershaw 13-2, 1.82

Zach Grienke 12-7, 3.77

Hyun-Jim Ryu 12-5, 3.39

Dan Haren 9-9, 4.57

Josh Beckett 6-6, 2.88 (Beckett, brought in as the fifth starter,tossed a no-hitter in May)


1979 NHRA Top Fuel championship car not just a story anymore — it exists

July 29th, 2014 by cstark

Silverdale’s Rob Bruins and Bremerton’s Chris Horn are returning to the drag strip at Pacific Raceways (formerly Seattle International Raceway) in Kent this weekend along with the Top Fuel dragster that they helped to an NHRA championship in 1979.

Bruins drove the Gaines Markley-owned dragster and Horn, then 19, was the full-time mechanic for a team that shocked that drag racing world by winning a world championship without winning a national event.

Horn, now a Kitsap-based real estate broker, came across the car by accident on a motorcycle trip to Nevada in 1996. He bought it, later chased down the original Keith Black aluminum engine block and other parts. He sold it to the World Speed Museum in December of 2013, and the car is now restored and will be at the track this weekend.

Thirty-five years ago, I covered the Northwest Nationals and wrote a story about these guys. They lost in the first round that day, but that was not the norm. The car won every divisional race it entered, and reached the semis or finals in all of the other national events to secure the championship.

I don’t pretend to be a motorsports expert, but this is a cool story about a couple of local racers who did big things in the world of motorsports.

Rob Bruins, Dave Villwock, Ryan Villopoto. That’s some serious motorsports history that’s come out of Kitsap County.

Here’s the story about Bruins, Horn and the innovative car that changed the drag-racing landscape.

 


Covering all bases: Katie Lee, Bill Carter, M’s attendance & more

July 17th, 2014 by cstark

Congrats to Katie Lee for her strong showing at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championships at The Home Course in Dupont. Lee knocked off Annie Park, the 2013 NCAA champ from USC, 1 up in the round of 64 but lost the next day.

Park and Erynne Lee, Katie’s older sister, are good friends and were teammates on the U.S. Curtis Cup team. Erynne Lee’s taking summer classes prior to her senior year at UCLA. Katie Lee’s also going to UCLA, but will reportedly concentrate on her studies. She will also be the team manager of the women’s golf team. After this week, you wonder if she’ll have second thoughts about putting her clubs away. UCLA coaches are probably thinking the same thing.

… Bill Carter and the Blame are playing at Brother Don’s in Bremerton on July 31. Carter’s a Central Kitsap grad who once played in the Chymes of Freedom. He’s been based in Austin for years and will do a lecture at the Port Townsend Blues Festival and Workshop the day before. His song  “Anything Made of Paper,” was named one of the top 50 Songs of 2013 by American Songwriter Magazine.

… The crowds were pretty good for the Mariners’ three-game series against Oakland before the All-Star break: 32,971 on Friday, 39,204 on Saturday and 25,944 for Sunday’s finale. Almost 100,000 (98,119) for three games. But it’s nothing to get excited about. Despite putting a pretty good product on the field, the fans aren’t exactly flocking to the friendly confines of Safeco Field. Seattle ranks No. 24 in MLB, averaging 23,858 per game. Oakland, always trashed for its low attendance, is No. 23, pulling in 24,137 a game.

… I like the Oakland A’s. There, I said it (or at least wrote it). Maybe the A’s should be our hated rival, kind of like the 49ers are enemy No. 1 when it comes to the Seahawks. But I can’t dig up any hatred for Oakland. It’s a fun team to watch, and the A’s are not coached by Jim Harbaugh.

… Not very kind, but my buddy tells me the Mariners have their own Group of Death. It’s called Ackley, Smoak and  Miller. Ouch!

… Speaking of attendance, the Sounders pulled 64,207 for its game against rival Portland on July 13 and are averaging 42,771 fans a game at The Clink.

… Hard not to like Bjorn Bjorke, the Olympic College golf coach who works for the Ryan Moore Golf Club. Good golfer, good coach, good guy. Here’s a story I wrote about the 34-year-old South Kitsap grad.

… Didn’t watch it, but they tell me the Seattle Seahawks stole the show at the ESPYs.

… If you were the Mariners’ GM, would you pull the trigger on a trade with the Rays for lefty David Price and utility man Ben Zobrist? Who would you give up?

… The Cave Singers are putting in another appearance at the Hi-Fidelity Lounge in Bremerton on Friday, August July 18. Good band. Check ‘em out.

… While researching this story about Bremerton’s Marvin Williams, I was shocked to find out that Kevin Durant led the NBA in technical fouls with 20. Yeah, really. Look it up.

… An 0-for-19 slump has dropped Drew Vettleson’s batting average at Double-A Harrisburg to .200. The Central Kitsap grad had hit three home runs and driven in 11 runs for the Washington Nationals farm team.

… South Kitsap grad Brady Steiger, the former Lewis-Clark State star, is having trouble getting untracked at Class A Staten Island, a Yankees’ farm club. He’s hitting .168 overall and is just 4 for his last 32.

… Aaron Cunningham, another SK product, is hitting .253 at Triple-A Reno. He’s still looking for his first home run for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ affiliate.

… Ripken Reyes, the son of former standout Olympic High athlete Paul Reyes and Central Kitsap grad Heidi (Westhoff) Reyes, is playing in a baseball tournament in Seattle this weekend. Reyes, a middle infielder from Stockton, Calif., has already verbally committed to the University of California. He’ll be a senior next year. Ripken was one of 40 players invited to the Team USA U-17 national development camp, which takes place Aug. 4-8 in Cary, North Carolina.

… Young softball players, ages 8 to 18, are invited to an Olympic College softball skills clinic on Saturday (July 19), 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Pendergast Park in West Hills. Cost is $60. OC head coach Dan Haas, assistants Dick Thompson and yours truly, plus OC players will be hand on to provide instruction. Hope to see you there.

 

 


Where’s Marvin Williams going to land? Charlotte? San Antone? Utah?

July 9th, 2014 by cstark

Bremerton’s Marvin Williams, 28, appears to have some options as the free-agent forward heads into his 10th NBA season.

Williams, who played his first seven seasons in Atlanta and the last two with Utah, has reportedly been targeted by the Charlotte Hornets.

In an earlier report, Williams was linked as a possible fit for the San Antonio Spurs.

Adrian Worjanowski of Yahoo! Sports, who broke the story about Charlotte’s interest in Williams, also writes that the Utah Jazz are still interested in keeping Williams.

The former Bremerton High star, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft, averaged 9.1 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Utah Jazz last year. He shot 36 percent from 3-point range.

His career numbers are 10.1 points and 5.8 rebounds. There are not a lot of power forwards available and the 6-fo0t-9 Williams is valuable because of his ability to shoot the three and teammates and coaches in Utah raved about this leadership the past two seasons.

If it comes down to Charlotte and San Antonio, that would be a tough decision. He made $7.5 million a year ago and would likely make around $2.5 million if he joins the NBA champion Spurs. The Hornets are in a position to pay a lot more. Plus, Charlotte needs a starting power forward after losing Josh McRoberts to Miami.

 


Tuesday links: World Cup, Raul, Sherm and The Jet

July 1st, 2014 by cstark

Here’s some reading material before you settle in for the U.S.-Belgium World Cup match (1 p.m., ESPN):

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports upset the Belgians with this column about why the U.S. can’t lose to Belgium.

He writes:

Belgium has just 11 million people, which is like, what, a Dakota and a half? (Not certain since I was too lazy and distracted to look it up. You want worker productivity? Go hire a Belgian.)

These guys are Canada-Lite, one of these perfect, nice, polite, pretty countries that take pride in the fact they all ride bikes and recycle and don’t unilaterally invade other sovereign nations.

There is no place for someone like this on the global stage of the World Cup, where each match is life and death … literally in some places if you blow a critical assignment.

Jason Whitlock of ESPN.com writes about World Cup fever and the lessons our pro leagues can learn from it.

He writes:

Again, the point of a season-end revival is to showcase a sport as the best. The World Cup, the Super Bowl and the Final Four are primarily gigantic marketing events. They entice fans and media to come and worship for a month, a week and three days, respectively. These events are impossible to ignore. They help grow and maintain soccer, football and college basketball congregations.

It’s puzzling, and counterproductive, that the NBA and MLB haven’t constructed a season-end revival. Eight years ago it was still fashionable to laugh at and ridicule soccer in this country. And now the World Cup is drawing NFL-size television ratings and a lifelong football groupie is analogizing Cristiano Ronaldo to Joe Montana.

 

Joe Posnanski writes about Raul Ibanez, who is back in Kansas City with the Royals.

Posnanski writes this about the 42-year-old ex-Mariner:

There are a million Ibañez numbers I could throw at you to blow your mind — here’s just one: He hit 276 of his 303 career home runs after age 30. That’s 91% of his home runs. That is BY FAR the highest percentage among the 137 players in baseball history who hit 300 home runs.

He hit as many home runs after age 30 as Harmon Killebrew, more (at this moment) than David Ortiz, more than Yaz or Frank Thomas or (how about this one?) A-Rod.

Or this stat: Ibañez is one of only 15 players in baseball history to have more than 1,000 RBIs after age 30. With one more RBI for Kansas City, he will tie a pretty good player named Willie Mays with 1,091 RBIs after 30.

Or this stat: Ibañez has scored almost as many runs after age 30 (945) as Derek Jeter (977).

Or this stat: Ibañez has hit more doubles after age 30 than Stan Musial did. Or George Brett. Or Wade Boggs. Or Barry Bonds.

And just because y’all can’t get enough of Richard Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks, here’s where you can check out Sherman columns for Sport Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback (mmqb.si.com).

In his love letter to coach Pete Carroll, Sherm wrote:

I can’t imagine what life in the NFL would be like for me if he hadn’t used a third-day pick on a still-raw cornerback. I get texts from guys across the league which remind me how good we’ve got it in Seattle. They ask, “Is he really as cool as he seems?” and “I hear you guys have fun at practice?” Yes and yes. All he asks is that we be ourselves and protect the team’s reputation by not saying anything controversial.

In case you missed it, here’s Todd Dybas’ story on Mariners’ rookie James (The Jet) Jones. Don’t know if the nickname’s catching on, but don’t you think it should? Jones is now up to 17 steals after pilfering three on Monday night in Houston, when he went 4-for-5 at the plate.


The Jet, Willie, Seahawks, Hammel, World Cup & more

June 25th, 2014 by cstark

Here we go, in no particular order:

Dude can fly: James (The Jet) Jones is up to 14 steals (he’s been caught once) through Tuesday and considering he didn’t get his first one until May 1, that’s pretty impressive. Michael Saunders led the Seattle Mariners with 13 steals a year ago. Ichiro (438 steals during his time in Seattle), Jose Cruz (290) and Harold Reynolds (228) are Seattle’s all-time leaders in steals, but the M’s have never had a lot of speed guys. Willie Bloomquist (71) ranks No. 11 in steals in franchise history. Jones, if he’s as good as I think he might be, could pass Willie in the summer of 2015.

Speaking of Willie: The South Kitsap grad is hitting .278, and get this — the M’s are 18-7 when he starts (through Tuesday). That’s the stat that matters, right?

Sherm shuts up: Richard Sherman’s never been at a loss for worlds, but he reportedly isn’t speaking to the media, upset with the Seattle Times because the newspaper published the address of his new home. Got to side with Sherm on that one. Some things don’t need to be printed, and that’s one of ‘em.

Speaking of Seahawks: Sherman, Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson have all been nominated for ESPYs. 

World Cup fever: Portugal’s late goal in extra time against the U.S. in the World Cup was a punch to the gut, but it didn’t take long for me to get over the 2-2 tie. I’m really looking forward to see how Jurgen Klinsmann’s boys do against Germany on Thursday (9 a.m. ESPN). Klinsmann is a former German star, a legend in his country. He played on West Germany’s 1990 World Cup championship team and coached the 2006 German World Cup team. Germany is now coached by Joachim Lowe, a protege of Klinsmann. The U.S., which needs a tie to move on to the round of 16, has five players who grew up in Germany. This one promises to be emotional. I can’t wait.

Speaking of soccer: How ’bout those Pumas? Kitsap’s soccer club is 6-0-4 and has opened a seven-point lead in the Northwest Division of the PDL. Coach Andrew Chapman, the Olympic High grad who has turned Peninsula CC into an NWAACC power, seems to be making all of the right decisions. The Pumas are one of six unbeatens in the 64-team league. Kitsap won a national title in 2011, and it looks like the Pumas are going to make another serious run this summer.

BlueJackets bashing: Kitsap’s summer college baseball team, the BlueJackets, are off to a good start. Kitsap’s 8-5 and just a half-game back of Bellingham in the Western Division of the West Coast League (through Tuesday). They boast the No. 1 (Danny Woodruff, .453) and No. 3 (Alex Bush, .395, 2 HRs, 15 RBI) hitters. Woodruff’s an outfielder from Creighton who played in just seven games as a freshman. Bush is a 6-foot-6, 255-pound first baseman/DH who just graduated from high school in Turlock, California. He’s going to be a freshman at UC Santa Barbara. Kitsap’s second in hitting (.296 average) and eighth in pitching (5.46 ERA) in the 12-team wood-bat league.

Hammel report: Jason Hammel, the 2000 South Kitsap grad who is having a fine season (6-5, 2.99 ERA, 91 Ks, 20 BBs, 96.1 IP, 1.017 WHIP) for the Chicago Cubs, continues to be linked to the Mariners. This report says the Cubs and M’s have had serious talks, and that Chicago wants RHP Edwin Diaz, Seattle’s third-round pick in the 2012 draft, to be part of the package.

Minor league report: Brady Steiger (South Kitsap/WSU/Lewis-Clark St.) hit his first home run as a pro over the weekend. He plays for the Class A Staten Island Yankees. … Drew Vettlesen (Central Kitsap) wrapped up an eight-game rehab stint with the Auburn Doubledays. He was 4-for-4 on Friday and hit .318. The outfielder, who broke a bone in his hand when hit by a ball in April, is back with the Double-A Harrisburg (Pa.) Senators (Nationals) of the Eastern League. He was 2-for-3 with a stolen base on Tuesday. … Aaron Cunningham (South Kitsap/Everett CC) hitting .258 with no homers and 20 RBI for the Reno Aces (Diamondbacks) of the Pacific Coast League.

Back on the tee: Troy Kelly, the Central Kitsap grad whose 2013 golf season was derailed by a knee surgery after playing in just 10 PGA Tour events, is resuming his comeback. He played in four Web.com events earlier, but made just one cut and wasn’t satisfied with his game, so he returned to Tacoma to work on it. There might be some rust when he plays in this week’s Web.com tournament in Newburgh, Indiana. He’s using it as a tuneup for the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic the following week in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Kelly’s got fond memories of Greenbrier, where he shot 6-under 63 in the third round in 2012 to get into contention. He closed with a 66 and wound up losing a playoff on the third hole to Ted Potter. Kelly plans to play four straight weeks. He’ll head to Illinois for the John Deere Classic in Illinois after the Greenbrier Classic before returning to Boise, Idaho, for another Web.com stop. … Kelly’s brother Ryan, his caddie, finished second in the Tacoma City Amateur over the weekend.

Coming Friday: I’ll be writing about “The Legend” later this week. That would be 83-year-old Buzz Edmonds, a three-time winner of the Kitsap Amateur, nine-time club champ at Kitsap Golf & Country Club and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. I chatted with Buzz and some of his golfing buddies earlier this week. The story will publish Friday.

Nice sendoff: South Kitsap’s three-sport star Logan Knowles, who is headed to the Naval Academy to play baseball, wrapped up his high school career by going 2-for-4 with a home run, double and 4 RBI in the consolation game of the Washington State All-State Baseball Series in Yakima. His home run was the only one hit during the weekend.

Recommended reading: Charlie Pierce, who writes for Grantland,com, among other outlets, weighed in on the O’Bannon vs. NCAA trial that is going on. He writes:

” … If you are a college athlete, you must — willingly or unwillingly — help the NCAA and its member institutions keep faith with Coca-Cola. One of the ugly moral truths about all our sports is that athletes represent one of the categories of Americans who can be legally and publicly treated as commodities, and nowhere is that truth more obvious, and more ugly, than in college athletics, where the athletes are not only forbidden from profiting from their own commodification, but also required to help the institutions they represent to profit from it. Then they have to hear the people who profit most from the commodities who play ball for them tell a judge that they’re doing it only for the athlete’s own good. This trial is about the NCAA’s desire to maintain that arrangement forever. Unless you’re afflicted with a kind of moral myopia, this is no less than grotesque.”

 


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