1) Cliff McCrath. Also known as Uncle Nubber, the former Seattle
Pacific University soccer coach will speak at the Kitsap Country
Bremerton Athletic Rountable meeting on Wednesday at Gold Mountain
Golf Club. You don’t have to like soccer to enjoy McCrath, one of
the best speakers you’ll ever hear. He’ll regale you with stories
about the past and about how he was unceremoniously dumped by SPU
officials last year after pulling within 10 victories of being the
all-time winningest soccer coach in college history.
Here’s a story I wrote about McCrath after he visited Kitsap County
for a soccer camp in April.
2) The Mariners. To me, the most disappointing season part of
Seattle’s disappointing season has been its defense. The Mariners
have lacked focus on defense and made way too many errors for the
talent that’s out there. That said, they turned in three gems on
Monday against the Red Sox in what turned out to be a pretty fun
game to watch with a pro-Red Sox crowd (It seemed like more than 50
percent of the fans were pulling for Boston).
Yunieski Betancourt started it off by catching a diving blooper in
the first inning, Ichiro Suzuki made the catch of his career,
crashing into the wall to make an over-the-shoulder catch in the
fifth and third baseman Adrian Beltre diving stop that started a
double play in the ninth was a jaw-dropper.
Betancourt, Beltre, Ichiro are Seattle’s best defenders. It’s about
time they started playing like it. Defense, like hitting, can be
contagious, and defense has been as much of an Achilles heel to
this team as its hitting and pitching. Only two AL teams (Twins and
Tigers) have made more errors (36) than the M’s. This is a team
that’s been going through the motions. Monday, they looked ready to
play. They had a little more bounce to their step when they were in
Win or lose, it was worth the price of admission (and yes, I paid
my way in; contrary to what many think, we don’t get freebies to
ALL the games).
3) Artificial Turf. The Bremerton School District has formed a
committee to look into raising funds for artificial turf at
Memorial Stadium. I hope they don’t stop there. While they’re at
it, Bremerton should consider turfing the infield at Legion Field,
the baseball stadium that sits behind Albertson’s in East
Bremerton. It’s a community field that gets a ton of play, and
maintenance is a problem. Turf it.
If the opportunity ever arises, Kitsap County should turf the
fields at the Fairgrounds, too. South Kitsap? It’s time to turf Joe
Knowles Stadium and avoid the annual bog bowls in October and
Yeah, it costs money, but it’s a good reason for a joint project
between community groups and school districts. Everybody
Former Bremerton High basketball star Miah Davis is now playing
professionally in the Bundesliga — the top league in Germany. The
guard recently scored the game-winning basket for the No. 7 seed
Telekom Baskets Bonn against the No. 2 seed Artland Dragons in Game
3 of the best-of-five series. It put Bonn up 2-1 and they won Game
4 to finish off the upset and advance to the semifinals, where it’s
awaiting the winner of the Frankfurt-Leverkusen playoff.
Davis led Bremerton High to a fifth-place finish at the Class 3A
state championship in 1999 and later played at the University of
Pacific, where he earned MVP honors in the Big West Conference.
He’s played in the NBA Development League and had a couple NBA
tryouts. Prior to this season, he played professionally in Poland
for a couple seasons.
Check out this video of Davis’ game-winning shot. He can still take
it to the hole. It’ll bring back a lot of memories for BHS fans.
He’s No. 7 in the red uniforms. Make sure you watch the celebration
dance after the shot.
OK, I didn’t blog from Gold Mountain during the NCAA West
Regionals. I had good intentions, but ran into a couple technical
problems, and … well, it was a lot more enjoyable walking the
course and enjoying the sunshine than it would have been sitting
inside, providing updates Those of you who really cared were
probably at the course or glued to the live scoring that was
available through golfstats.com.
That said, here’s my final thoughts on the tournament: It was
pretty cool that the host Huskies were able to pull off a fourth
place finish to get back to the NCAA Championships. And as far as
I’m concerned, Oregon’s Joey Benedetti is the reigning King of the
Olympic Course after back-to-back-to-back 69s. Nine-under par in
those conditions without a three-putt. Ridiculous.
The players were as good as advertised. Sure, you saw a few bad
swings and bad decisions, but you also saw a lot of limber golfers
simply crushing the ball. They take the golf club back nice and
slow, and then generate so much power with their downswings.
Granted the wind was at their back, but a handful of the guys were
able to reach the green in two on the 617-yard, No. 9 hole on
Saturday. Jamie Lovemark of USC hit a “soft driver,” on the
324-yard, No. 18 hole the first day, dropping the ball on the green
as if it came down from heaven to make an eagle. Lovemark also hit
the cart path off the first tee and the ball carried within 71
yards of the 466-yard hole.
The galleries weren’t huge over the weekend — there were probably
about 500 fans spread throughout the course on Friday for round two
— but were large compared to most college events of this kind. At
least, that’s what I was told.
The course only enhanced its reputation of being one of the best
around. The players and coaches will spread the word, which is why
the course chooses to hold these events in the first place. You
can’t buy that kind of advertising.
I’d be interested to hear any thoughts about the tournament from
people in the community, from those who showed up for some of the
tourney and from those who didn’t go. Is it a good idea for Gold
Mountain, the Bremerton-city owned course, to shut down for a week
to host events of this magnitude? The 2011 U.S. Junior Boys will be
the next national-scale event and I think it’ll be a mild upset if
the NCAA doesn’t award Gold Mountain the 2011 or 2012 NCAA
Me? I think it’s great, especially when the weather cooperates like
it did last week.
This past weekend was probably the busiest of the year for the
staff in the toy department of this newspaper. We had state soccer
and baseball, district fastpitch, track and field and tennis, along
with the state lacrosse championships.
Olympic College’s softball team was competing in the NWAACC
Championships in addition to the NCAA West Regional golf tournament
at Gold Mountain, hydroplane races at Kitsap Lake and a weekend of
drag racing at Bremerton Raceway. We tried to get things covered
the best we could.
If you’re still aching to see some local high school athletes in
action, this weekend is your last chance: Central Kitsap (4A,
Tacoma), Bainbridge (3A, Tacoma), North Mason (2A, Selah) and
Chimacum (1A, Spokane)) will all be competing in state fastpitch
tournaments, and we’ll have a fairly large contingent of kids
competing at the state track and field meets (4A/3A in Pasco, 2A/1A
in Tacoma and 2B in Spokane) that are spread out across the state.
Central Kitsap is sending a pair of doubles team to the 4A state
tennis tournament in Vancouver. Visit our Prep Beat blog for
updates on our locals teams and athletes next weekend.
If you’re still looking for something to do this coming weekend,
you can also check out the annual Viking Cup soccer tournament in
Poulsbo or stop by Legion Field in Bremerton to take in some of the
Memorial Day American Legion baseball tournament.
1) As much as I like what Willie Bloomquist brings to the table
to for the Mariners, it was a bit of a headscratcher watching him
stroll to the plate as a pinch-hitter for a middle-of-the-order
hitter (DH Jeff Clement) with one out in the bottom of the ninth
inning on Wednesday. The M’s had a runner on first and trailed 2-0.
With Richie Sexson (family reasons) and Jose Vidro (back spasms)
unavailable, it only shows how weak the M’s bench is. The M’s need
a valuable utility player like Willie – but the Port Orchard native
is not the guy you want to turn to in that situation.
2) I wonder if our Navy community will get out and support the
Naval Academy in next week’s NCAA West Regional Golf Tournament at
Gold Mountain Golf Club. The Mids, the Patriot League champs,
earned an automatic berth and will be one of 27 teams
participating. It’d be kind of cool to see a bunch of men and women
in uniform following the Navy golfers around the course.
3) Is it just me, or is anyone else grossed out by the single
sanican that fans have to use when they go to ballgames at
Bremerton’s Legion Field? Isn’t it time for somebody to spearhead a
drive to build a long-overdue concession stand/restroom facility
for the Bremerton School District-owned park?
4) The Shaun Alexander Tour has begun. The free-agent
runningback visted the Bengals on Sunday and Saints on Wednesday.
The Broncos are also reportedly interested in talking with the
former league MVP, who was released by the Seahawks last month. I
don’t really understand why anybody would be interested in a
31-year-old coming off his two worst seasons. On top of that, he
battled wrist and knee and ankle problems. If he’s healthy, maybe
he returns to form? But at his age, that’s a big IF.
5) Reading about Betty Hyde’s impending retirement as
superintendent of the Bremerton School District rekindled an old
idea. I’m sure there’s a lot of reasons why this isn’t a good idea,
but on the surface, it seems to me that the Central Kitsap and
Bremerton schools should be combined into one school district. They
do it in Vancouver, Tacoma, Seattle and other cities.
We can cut back some of the bureaucracy, and save the taxpayers
some money. It would be interesting to know many kids with
Bremerton addresses attend CK schools. We’d have four high schools
– Bremerton, Central Kitsap, Olympic, Klahowya – and an opportunity
to share facilities and other resources for citizens throughout the
Bremerton/CK region. Just a thought. Anybody think it might be
worth looking into?
If you think Wladimir Balentien and Jeff Clement are going to
save the Mariners, then I’ve got some swampland in Illahee to sell
Like most of you, I like the moves. They should help the
offensively challenged Mariners. But there’s still something
missing from the team that’ supposed to challenge for the AL West
title. It’s hard to put a finger on IT, but it’s like the team
doesn’t really get after it. They hustle, but it’s like they go
through the motions at times. That’s probably unfair, and it’s
difficult to explain, but it’s what I see.
Oakland came into Safeco, young and energetic, and just looked
hungier. Same thing with Baltimore, a team that wasn’t expected to
anything. They have a new manager and a new attitude. There play
loose and seem to be having fun. The M’s don’t have that same
The M’s have been running the same position players out on the
field day after day and the results are predictable day after day.
This is a team in dire need of a Jay Buhner-like personality.
Maybe the M’s will strike gold with Balentien. It likely won’t
happen this year, but he could be a .300/30HR/100RBI/Gold Glove
kind of outfielder down the road. Other than Richie Sexson, nobody
on the current team will come close to hitting 30 home runs.
Clement’s left-handed stroke is made for Safeco Field. They say
he’s not a very good receiver behind the plate, but that was also
the knock on Mike Piazza and he had a pretty decent career.
What do you think? Should they move Raul Ibanez from left field to
first base? if so, who do they put in left?
Glad you asked. Jeremy Reed. Yeah, the forgotten man. He’s hitting
.375 at Tacoma and was playing better than Balentien. He’s only 27.
It’s time to give him another shot. When I talked to him this
spring in Arizona, he was frustrated because he knew he wasn’t
given a shot to make the big club, not with the team commiting to
justt-released Brad Wilkerson.
At the same time, Reed said he’s ready to be an everyday player
again. He said he was playing the best baseball of his career, and
he’s carried it over to the start of the Triple-A season. This is a
guy who’s not afraid to get dirty. It’s time the M’s went with
Reed, Ichiro and Balentien in the outfield.
Ibanez becomes your starting first baseman and part-time DH. Sorry
Jose Vidro. As much as I like you — ask my collegues, I always go
to bat for you — it’ s time to go in a different direction.
And Richie Sexson? His average isn’t what it should be, but he’s
playing a lot better. Maybe he splits time at first base with Raul,
does a little DHing and pinch-hitting. Maybe you simply say,
‘Sayonara Richie, it’s been good to know ya.’
There are other questions to ponder?
Do you think rewarding catcher Kenji Johjima with a $24 million
contract was smart, especially when yo consider that he was (and
still is) mired in a Jeff Cirillo-like hitting slump? Some think
Japanese ownership mandated that move.
Did GM Bill Bavasi give up too much for pitcher Erik Bedard? It’s
still too early to say, but Adam Jones could be the AL rookie of
the year and lefty George Sherrill is having an All-Star season to
date for the Orioles?
Face it, this team has more questions than answers right now.
Balentien and Clement might help fix some of the offensive
problems. Calling Reed up should be the next move.
There’s an old line we used to use on umpires: “Hey, shake your
head, your eyes are stuck.”
The M’s need to shake things up, too, because they’re stuck in a
rut and going nowhere.