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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Links: NFL arrogance, ‘The Daily Show’; Sherman, Anthony Kim (remember him?) & more

September 18th, 2014 by cstark

What I’m reading and watching online:

MAYBE MAARK CUBAN  was right when he talked about the NFL being to arrogant and big for its own britches. Cuban’s comments were made six months ago. Don Banks of mmqb.si.com writes this:

A longtime and well-respected agent I know told me the NFL’s initial tone-deaf response to Rice’s domestic violence incident brought to mind the saying, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” In other words, people or leagues that hold too much power often succumb to arrogance, and arrogance leads them in a lot of directions, most of them bad. Imbued with the kind of endless big money that often taints everything it touches, they start to believe their judgments are always correct, their wisdom infallible; they become immune to the correcting forces of competition. They live and act as if they are unchallenged, and that never ends well.

***

JON STEWART of “The Daily Show” was in rare form Wednesday night, taking the NFL and Adrian Peterson to task.

On the committee of four women appointed to shape domestic abuse policies, Stewart said: “You know your business model is in rough shape when you need to appoint your own in-house Special Victims Unit.”

IN CASE YOU MISSED ITGregg Doyel of CBSSports.com took Richard Sherman to task for not talking to the media following Sunday’s loss in San Diego. Doyel writes:

“… he’s front and center when he wins, hides when he loses; case closed …”

Sherman denied that he ducked the media, and takes a shot at “two little Chargers,” who called him out.

***

WHATEVER HAPPENED to Anthony Kim? Kim, who showed off his immense talent during the 2006 US Public Links Amateur at Gold Mountain, has become a man of mystery. Sports Illustrated Allen Shipnuck has done some digging and it was suggested by one source that Kim would have to give up a lucrative disability settlement if he returns to the PGA Tour. It’s a fascinating story.

Shipnuck writes this about the guy who was once considered the face of U.S. golf:

No IMG staffer would comment for this story, but the party line is that Kim is still injured and expected to return to the Tour someday. This is refuted by a close friend of Kim’s in Dallas who watched him hit balls recently. (Kim declined numerous interview requests from SI, and his comrade would speak only anonymously, saying, “He’d be f—— livid if he knew I was talking to you.”) “AK’s not injured,” says the friend. “He can play, he can walk. His swing looks good, the strike sounds solid, his ball flight is good. His physical health is not the issue.”

***

SI.COM PUT TOGETHER  a list of the Top 100 players in the NBA. Tacoma native and former Washington star Isaiah Thomas checks in at No. 90 after averaging 20.3 points and 6.3 assists in his third NBA season with Sacramento. Thomas is now with the Phoenix Suns. Check out the complete list here. Nos. 20-11 will be released Thursday and Nos. 10-1 on Friday.

 

***

TONY STEWART’S CASE involving the tragic accident that took the life of a fellow sprint car driver is headed to a grand jury. Stewart faces the possibility of being indicted and charged in his role in the death of driver Kevin Ward Jr.

***

MLB.COM BREAKS down the postseason playoff picture. They do it daily, so if you want to stay posted on the latest standings and magic numbers, this is a good place to visit while you’re sipping on our morning Joe.


UW 2-0, but what does it mean?

September 6th, 2014 by cstark

Played in the Keith Carden Memorial Handball Tournament today at the Bremerton YMCA, so I missed the UW-EWU football game.

Between matches, I followed updates on Twitter and the outcome didn’t really surprise me that much. I figured Eastern was the most dangerous of Washington’s first four opponents — Hawaii, Eastern, Illinois and Georgia State (in that order). The Eagles’ offense might be the best Washington faces all season. And, yes, I’m including Oregon.

Still, the 59-52 victory raises questions, just as Washington’s 17-16 win over Hawaii did the previous week. For the second week in a row, we’re left wondering if this team is any good. As I type this, Oregon State is leading Hawaii 38-14 in the fourth quarter. (Update: Hawaii came back to make a game out of it, losing 38-30).

The Huskies have got some serious work to do on defense, which is where they were supposed to be strong. Linebacker Shaq Thompson, who didn’t make much of an impact in Hawaii, defensive lineman Danny Shelton and cornerback Marcus Peters were all preseason Pac-12 first-team selections. Defensive end Hau’li Kikaha joined that trio on the Bronco Nagurksi Award list, which goes to the nation’s top defender.

Peters was hit with a 15-yard penalty for taunting that led to an Eastern Washington touchdown and 45-44 lead for the Eagles in the second half. UW coach Chris Petersen benched Peters for the rest of the game.

“That was easy,” Petersen told the media after the game. “I’m not into stupid penalties. That wasn’t even a decision (to bench Peters).”

Ten wins (my prediction) doesn’t look good right now, but college football is a funny, unpredictable animal. By Week 7, when Washington travels to Eugene to play Oregon, the Huskies might be a different team. Thompson did have 14 tackles and a sack against Eastern. He also had a 57-yard rushing TD. Shelton had 12 tackles, including four sacks, and Kikaha had six tackles and a sack. The secondary remains a work in progress.

Give Eastern credit, though. Coach Beau Baldwin, the former Curtis HS/Central Washington QB who seems ready to parlay his offensive wizardry into a Division I head-coaching job, might be coaching one of the top quarterbacks in the country in Vernon Adams, Jr. Adams torched the Huskies for 475 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Oregon must be licking its chops in anticipating of their Oct. 18 game against Washington in Eugene.

Hell, Illinois and Georgia State are probably drooling, too.

Illinois sophomore QB Wes Lunt passed for 3 TDs and 456 yards in a 42-34 win over Western Kentucky on Saturday. He threw 4 TDs passes in a 28-17 win over Youngstown State the week before. Georgia State (1-1) lost to New Mexico State 34-31 after slipping past Abilene Christian 38-37 in a game where QB Nick Arbuckle passed for 4 TDs and 413 yards.

Sure, Washington put up 59 points and didn’t commit a turnover against Eastern. But Sam Houston State, which lost 56-0 to LSU on Saturday, scored 35 points against EWU the week before so you need to put things in perspective.

The Dawgs might be off to a 2-0 start, but even the biggest UW fan has to admit that it’s not the kind of start that gets you dreaming about big things down the road.

ALSO

Olympic High grad Larry Dixon got his senior year at Army off to a good start, carrying 20 times for a career-high 174 yards and 2 TDs in the Black Knight’s 47-39 win over Buffalo. Army is at Stanford next Saturday (2 p.m., Pac-12 Network).

Bremerton’s Jim Wainwright and Loren Schaller of  Gig Harbor beat Port Townsend’s Chris Cardinal and Bremerton’s Jane Erlandsen in the finals of the Carden Memorial Tournament. Yours truly and Gil Mendoza, the deputy superintendent of schools in our state, won the consolation bracket after getting out butts kicked by Wainwright and Schaller in the first round.

A foursome that included Connor Robbins and Scott Sargent (sorry I missed the other two guys) shot 19-under in a scramble format at Gold Mountain’s Cascade Course on Friday during the Yacht Club Broiler’s tournament. The round included three eagles.

“Percy Harvin is so fast it looks like he’s playing in a video games compared to the other guys on the field.” — Evan Somerheiser of the Bremerton rock band Power, and a huge Seahawks’ fan

 

 

 


Morning reading after a pretty impressive Week 1 Seahawks’ victory

September 5th, 2014 by cstark

Earl Thomas needs to call some fair catches.

If that’s the biggest criticism of the Seattle Seahawks following Thursday night’s 36-16 victory over Green Bay — and Peter King of mmqb.si.com writes that it is — then it’s safe to say that this is going to be another fun season for the 12s. He also writes about that read-option pass play where Russell Wilson pulled the ball out of Marshawn Lynch’s belly and instead of running it, he threw a quick pass to Ricardo Lockette for a 33-yard touchdown. The story details how the Seahawks came by the play, which was used by Auburn and other college programs. Look for it at the high-school level, too. When I talked to Bremerton coach Nate Gillam about his team a couple weeks ago, he said they were installing the same play. The Knights got it from UCLA.

Before I get to the links, Zach Miller gets my vote for most underrated Seahawk. He’s the perfect fit for their offense. Here’s another look at that catch he made against the Packers.

And here’s what Vic Ketchman, editor of Packer.com had to say about the Seahawks in a Q&A column with Green Bay fans:

” You can run any scheme you want if you have the talent to run it well. That’s a college offense: Bootlegs, spread-option fakes, jet sweeps. They made it work, though, didn’t they? On defense, the Seahawks were pure vanilla. The Seahawks are a breath of fresh air. That’s not a Madden team, that’s an old-fashioned, line up and knock your block off team.”

OK, here we go. Here’s what some others are saying about the Hawks:

Mike Silver of NFL.com wrote this about Marshawn Lynch:

The question I asked was this: After all the talk coming out of Seattle over the offseason, and particularly during his short-lived training camp holdout, that the Seahawks were preparing for life without the eighth-year runner, that he’d be splitting carries with young understudies Christine Michael and Robert Turbin, that he plays a position that simply isn’t that valuable, was Thursday night’s performance a de facto rebuttal?

“Well, you know … people say stuff,” Lynch said, shaking his head before offering up an abiding smile. “(Screw) ‘em.”

You’ve got to admit, the Beast looked really good. Maybe better than ever. He was hitting the hole fast, reading his blocks, cutting when he needed to and dragging people all over the field.

Speaking of offensive weapons, how about Percy Harvin? That “jet sweep” was pretty effective, huh? Here’s what Terry Blount of ESPN.com wrote about Harvin.

Art Thiel of Sportspress.nw.com writes: ” … No Golden Tate, No Breno Giacomini, no Red Bryant . . . nobody noticed.” No hangover for the Seahawks was the theme of his column.

The Packers didn’t test Richard Sherman. No once. They never threw at him. Kevin Petra of NFL.com addresses that angle.

Here’s another story that I came across later in the day. Andrew Sharp of Grantland.com writes about Marshawn and Percy and how they’re proving some skeptics wrong.

 


Elton Goodwin Foundation website up

August 29th, 2014 by cstark

The Elton Goodwin Memorial Foundation and Scholarship Fund website is now up and running.

Read the mission statement find information about the foundation and scholarships that recognizes the late, great South Kitsap baseball coach Elton Goodwin.

Find out how to make donations or buy merchandise.

The goals of the foundation, as stated on the website:

Goals

In a few short months we have accomplished several of our initial objectives that will help preserve Elton’s legacy. Retiring his #29 jersey, and having the baseball field renamed “Elton Goodwin Memorial Field” are wonderful tributes, however our work has just begun. In May we presented the first of two annual Elton Goodwin Scholarships; providing $2000.00 for deserving South Kitsap students, and athletes. With that milestone now in place, we turn attention towards the second goal of our Foundation; “providing safe access to quality sports facilities for the youth of our community”.

The baseball field at South Kitsap was Elton’s second home; and now that it bears his name, is in line for a facelift. Currently, we are working closely with the high school, and district school board to procure a new electronic scoreboard for the baseball field, and are hopeful to have it in place for next season. Pending school board approval, future plans also include a commemorative brick memorial celebrating the accomplishments of the nearly 100 year old South Kitsap Baseball program. Commemorative bricks will be available for purchase and engraving.

Although lofty, we feel that through close coordination with the school district, high school, and City of Port Orchard, these goals are attainable; and would be in accordance with Elton’s wishes. While some of these objectives will require longer term financing strategies, we remain confident in our ability to make a substantial and sustainable difference in our community.

Please stay tuned for more information on these, and other projects as we move towards the 2014/15 school year; but in the meantime we could always use your financial support. We have created multiple options by which you may contribute; all of which are a 100% tax deductible.


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.

 


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