Monthly Archives: June 2008

Stark Truth: Raising Red Flag About Possible Lions Park Changes

It’s no secret that the city of Bremerton is strongly considering getting rid of the two adult softball fields at Lions Park, which sits along the waterfront in East Bremerton off of Lebo Boulevard.
Parks director Wyn Birkenthal said the city would be interested in replacing those fields with two 300-foot diamonds with lights at school district property where the former East High/Bremerton Junior High sits. The Bremerton School District, city of Bremerton, Olympic College, Public Facilities District and other groups have been represented at meetings discussing the possibility of building a sports complex on that site while keeping the gym, auxiliary gym and perhaps a few classrooms.
It’s a joint-project that makes sense, but does removing two fields at Lions Park make sense? Those fields also double as youth baseball fields.
What do the citizens of Bremerton gain by getting rid of the softball fields? More picnic areas? The shoreline facility already has several picnic benches and park benches, a walking trail that’s used throughout the day, a boat launch and large waterfront dick, two restrooms area and 150 parking spaces? OK, part of the asphalt parking lot is on some prime waterfront property, but that’s not all bad. You can’t build condos down there? Well, I’m sure somebody would love to try, but that would never fly.
Will more people use Lions Park if they get rid of the softball fields? I think that is the question that needs to be addressed.
It’s a useage issue. What can you add to that existing 15-acre park that would make it more popular than it currently is?

Stark Truth: Ex-Wolf Peterson Also on EWU’s ‘100 for 100′ List

Oooooops!
Had to tweak the original post.
South Kitsap grad Kevin Peterson was inadvertently omitted from a list of football players with Kitsap connections who were named to Eastern Washington’s “100 for 100″ All-Time Football Team.
Peterson, a ’73 SK grad, started 43 straight games for Eastern from 1994-97 and earned first-team All-American honors in ’97.
Peterson’s now coaching at Heritage High in Vancouver, Wa.
Offensive tackle Kevin Sargent from Bremerton, linebacker Derek Strey from South Kitsap and former South Kitsap coach Ed Fisher, a cornerback and punter, were also on the list of 100 of the top football players in school history as Eastern prepares for its 100th season of football.
Eastern’s had a legacy on outstanding linemen over the years, and Sargent was among the best. The 1987 Bremerton High grad played four seasons at Eastern (1988-91), earning first-team All-America honors in ’90 and ’91. He played seven NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was inducted in the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame a year ago.
Strey, a 1993 SK grad, played played middle linebacker for EWU from 1993-97 and did it well enough that he earned NCAA Division 1-AA All-America honors three times in his four-year career, He finished No. 2 on EWU’s all-time tackles list with 319. He once had 18 tackles in a game. He once returned an interception 95 yards for a touchdown. He played two pro seasons, including a year with Frankfurt in NFL Europe.
Fisher, a legendary Hall of Fame high school coach who South Kitsap on the map during his time at the school, was a graduate of Shadle Park in Spokane. He was a cornerback and punter at Eastern from 1967-70 and earned all-Evergreen Conference honors his last two seasons.
Gig Harbor’s Matt Alfred, a two-time first-team All-American offensive guard from Gig Harbor, also made the list. He played from 2003-07.
For more informaion on the Eastern’s Top 100, go to goeasg.cstv.com/hallfame/ewas-100for100.html.

Stark Truth: Bavasi Shows True Feelings About Bedard

The Mariners finally pulled the trigger on GM Bill Bavasi. They moved Ichiro Suzuki back to right field, demoted Wlad Balentein and recalled Jeff Clement. Those won’t be the last moves.
I wonder if they’ve already started shopping pitcher Erik Bedard? He’s going to be a free agent in another year, and I might be wrong, but I bet he’s even alienated his teammates and coaches after asking out of his last two starts after throwing just under 100 pitches and going only five and six innings. Bedard, who went on the disabled list after two starts with a hip injury, clearly got under Bavasi’s skin.

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times wrote about this exchange in his blog during Bavasi’s going away party with the media on Monday.
On why Bedard can’t go longer, Bavasi says it’s a good question, but one that has to be put to Bedard.
“He’ll have a stupid answer for you, you can count on it,” Bavasi said. “He’ll have some dumbass answer.”

It makes you wonder what kind of research Bavasi and his staff do prior to completing that trade with Baltimore? It’s become common knowledge that the quirky lefty doesn’t talk to the media or his teammates. And, now, it’s becoming clear that he’s not made of the kind of stuff that you’d like to see your top-of-the-line pitchers made of: guts and mental toughness. When the going gets tough, he asks out.
Again, how could Bavasi could pull off a deal of that magnitude if he knew that he was getting a six inning pitcher who asks out because he’s out of fuel. And if Bavasi didn’t know it, he simply didn’t do his homework.
There are a multitude of reasons for the M’s ineptitude this season — and I might be wrong here — but it seems to me that Bavasi’s decision to pull the trigger on the Bedard trade was the straw that stirred up this mess.

Stark Truth: Celebrating Father’s Day …. Parking Tickets (Agghgg!!!!)

Sorry, I’ve got to get this off my chest. It has nothing to do with sports, unless you consider dodging the parking gendarmes a sport.
My wife and I got to my folks’ house – where I grew up — around noon on Sunday to spend some time with my old man on Father’s Day. My parents live in Bremerton near PSNS, where parking is limited. They keep their car in the garage and have a visitor’s permit for another car to park in front of the house. The closest paid parking lot is about five blocks away, off of Burwell near the cop shop.
But it’s Sunday. Father’s Day for gawdsakes. Who’s thinking about paid parking and visitor’s permits? Anyway, my son and his girl friend parked in the spot in front of the old homestead. I pulled next to the curb on the same side of the street, just on the other side of the alley. It’s legal, or so I thought. I’ve done it a hundred times.
After brunch, my son and his girl friend are standing in front of the house when the parking Nazi from Diamond Parking stops to slap a ticket on the windshield of his car. He’d just finished putting a citation on my car.
Made aware of this, I go outside and tell the guy, “Hey, we haven’t been here for two hours.” Curbside parking downtown, at least by The Sun, is limited to two hours, and I figured it must be the same in my old hood.
He holds up a finger, indicating it’s one hour parking.
I was tempted to hold up a finger, too, but could only muster a cynical “Happy Father’s Day,” as he drove off.
You can celebrate traditional family values in the city of Bremerton, but you can’t park in front of your father’s house without the risk of getting a $25 ticket.
It’s a sure sign that the Bremerton renaissance is in full swing when the town’s so busy you can’t park in front of your parents place on Father’s Day without courting the wrath of Diamond Parking.
Gotta keep those spots open for the out-of-town visitors flooding into the city and dropping tons of cash in Bremerton. God knows there’s no end of places to spend your money on a Bremerton Sunday.
One hour parking, 24 hours a day, seven days a week: Good to be reminded that Bremerton’s got its priorities straight as it heads deep into the 21st century.
Dad, it was nice to see you, but I don’t think we’ll make it next year unless you can provide more ample parking.

Stark Truth: Scanning the News and a Few Views, Too

The Presidential Race
I’ve tuned in to CNN a lot more than I have ESPN lately. We’ve got a presidential race that’s big enough to overshadow even the biggest sports stories of the day. And whether you admit it or not, that’s not always been the case. I imagine there’s a lot of you who would be satisfied to just have more gas in your tank, but I hope you want more than that.
I’d like to think that the “my-vote-doesn’t-count” attitude is a thing of the past. This is the most important presidential race of my life, and maybe my parents’ life, too.
And it’s not because a black man is running for president. It’s a big deal because of the tough times we’re currently experiencing. War, the economy, health care. There’s so many important issues. I don’t know where you stand, and while I’ve made up my mind, I’m not about to tell you whether Barack Obama or John McCain is the best man to get us out our current mess.
I’d like to, but this isn’t the forum. I’ve got a few thoughts on some other issues in the world of sports, though. Here’s five:

1: Big Brown Turned Out to Be a Big Bust
I stopped by the A&C Tavern on Saturday – our local satellite wagering site – and bought a $2 winning ticket on Big Brown. Figured I’d put in a box somewhere and pass it on to the next generation. There’s only been 11 Triple Crown winners in the history of horse racing, and Big Brown was going to be the 12th after smoking the field in the Belmont Stakes.
At least, that’s what we’d been led to believe. No way the horse was going to lose. But as post time approached, I found myself rooting against Big Brown. I liked the horse, but the trainer, Rick Dutrow, was simply too easy to root against. He’d been spouting off at every opportunity, not showing even a hint of class while doing it.
“These horses just cannot run with Big Brown,” Dutrow said before the race. He said it was “a foregone conclusion,” that his horse would win the Belmont Stakes. “…I just don’t see no dogfight in this race.”
Big Brown, for whatever reason, turned out to be the only dog in the field. He finished last. I tossed my souvenir $2 Triple Crown ticket in the trash.
But I did cash a $3 win ticket on 38-1 longshot Da’ Tara. That made be feel doubly good. Dutrow got what he deserved, and, heck, I finally made a little money at the track.

2: Rafael Nadal
Nobody was surprised when Nadal beat Roger Federer in Sunday’s French Open finals, but I don’t think anybody expected such a dominating performance. Nadal broke Federer’s serve in the first game and won 6-1, 6-3, 6-0. That’s ridiculous. Not that long ago people were debating who was the most dominant athlete in sports: Federer or Tiger Woods. Federer’s game has slipped a bit this year, but the guy’s still got game. To win only four games in three sets? Nadal’s win might have been the most dominating in Grand Slam history.

3: M’s Fire Hitting Coach
Jeff Pentland took the first bullet, and as usual, Seattle management misfired. The hitting coach is not the problem. Starting pitchers Miguel Batista, Carlos Silva and Jerrod Washburn aren’t getting the job done either. Should the M’s fire pitching coach Mel Stottlemyer? Of course not.
Pentland’s not telling Seattle hitters to swing at bad pitches. He’s not the one looking at third strikes with runners on base. He’s not the guy who signed Richie Sexson to that multi-million contract. He’s not the guy who decided Jose Vidro was the answer at designated hitter. He’s not the guy who brought in Brad Wilkerson to be the everyday right fielder. Is it Pentland’s fault Ichiro Suzuki isn’t playing like an All-Star? Was he the reason Raul Ibanez hit .218 in May?
Good hitters make adjustments when things go bad, or they’ll seek out help from the hitting coach. Hitting coaches make a few tweaks and suggestion, and they look for flaws in players’ swings, but ultimately, it’s up to the guys swinging the bats. Pentland’s not telling Adrian Beltre, Yuniesky Betancourt and Kenji Johjima to hack at pitches up in their eyes or outside of the zone.
I do think it’s time the Mariners go in a different direction, but it’s time to clean out the front office, not the coaches from the M’s dugout. CEO Howard Lincoln, president Chuck Armstrong and GM Bill Bavasi have been given ample time to turn the team around. Just when you think it can’t get worse, it does. It’s time for somebody else to chart a new course for the Mariners’ sinking ship.

4: Watching Soccer
Greg Stensrud, a local fan who can’t get enough soccer news, shared this with me after reading a story in the Sports Business Journal. As Greg pointed out, it’s an interesting perspective.
SBJ founding editor Steve Bilafer writes:
“I went to my first MLS game two weeks ago. In fact, it was the first time I had ever attended a soccer match played by anyone over 10 years old. It was a fun evening all around, and all the families in our youth soccer group went home happy. Here’s my one beef: I missed both goals. In fact, it seemed every time I looked away, something exciting happened. Is this a reason why soccer struggles with the American audience? It’s not the sport’s fault. We just don’t know how to watch it. There are no whistles or predictable stoppages in play so you can do the things you’re used to doing at a sporting event, like talking, texting, reading the program, checking out the crowd … and don’t even think of getting up for a beverage. Don’t get me wrong. I’d go again. But when I do, I’m just not going to take my eyes off the field until halftime.”

5: NBA Finals
I’ve yet to see a single minute of The Finals between the Celtics and Lakers, so I’m going to defer to another source for his opinion. He shall go unnamed, but he’s a die-hard Boston fan who grew up in Massachusetts. He likes the Celtics almost as much as he detests Celtics coach Doc Rivers. He’s a Kobe hater, too. Go to unsportsmanlikeconduct.com. for all of his rants. Here’s a sample:
“As a longtime Celtics fan who waited so long for them to become relevant again, never mind so stocked with talent that anyone but Dick Vitale could coach them to a title, imagine my agony watching Doc Rivers screw up this amazing team game after game.”
That was before they got to the Finals. Here’s what he wrote after sunday’s Game 2:
“After the Celtics survived to win 108-102, Rivers opened the post-game press conference by saying his players lost the lead by trying to attempt difficult shots. Although he’s paid to know the game, Rivers apparently didn’t notice that his tired players were getting beaten on passes and loose balls and rebounds. Somehow Rivers didn’t see that Kobe Bryant was getting into the paint on drives that had been denied to him the first 7 quarters of the Finals by a team that no longer had the legs to stay with him.
“The sad part is that this is nothing knew. Ever since the playoffs began, Rivers has inexplicably abandoned the bench that helped the Celtics to a league-best 66 wins. Leon Powe, who powered the win with 21 points, surely wouldn’t have played serious minutes if Perkins hadn’t been injured and picked up early fouls to boot. After all, Leon — who turned in lots of games like this given the chance during the season — had seen more DNPs than Ps throughout the first three rounds as the Celtics struggled against the Hawks, Cavaliers and Pistons. Don’t expect to see much more of Leon unless someone gets injured or in foul trouble, even though he’s Boston’s best inside player. Or unless Rivers gets hit by a bus and someone with half a brain takes over as coach.”

Stark Truth: My, Oh Miah! Big Day for Bremerton Grad

Now that we’ve discovered where Bremerton’s Miah Davis is playing hoops, we’ve been tracking the former University of Pacific star during Germany’s professional basketball playoffs.
Davis is a guard for the Telecom Baskets Bonn, which snuck into the playoffs as the eighth-seed. Davis hit the game-winning shot in a win during the first-round and came up big again on an especially memorable day during a win that advanced Bonn to the Bundesliga Finals.
Here’s a report from eurobasket.com:
Telekom Baskets Bonn 75 Deutsche Bank Skyliners 74 (Bonn Wins Series 3-2)
Telekom Baskets Bonn overcame their losses and had one meaningful addition in a special day for their team on and off the floor Thursday night. Facing a decisive Game 5 on the road in Frankfurt, Telekom Baskets Bonn were without key big men John Bowler and Ronnie Burrell, two central figures in the teams success throughout the season. While Head coach Michael Koch counted on a team effort on the court, Bonn PG Miah Davis and family celebrated the birth of a child just 3hrs before the game. Rushed to the Ballsporthalle, Davis was the driving force with a team best 18pt performance in Bonn’s thrilling 75-74 Game 5 road win over Deutsche Bank Skyliners to claim their Bundesliga Semifinal Series 3 games to 2.
Don’t know if if was a boy or a girl, but congrats to Davis and his family.
If you want to follow Davis and the Telebaskets during the Bundesliga Finals, go to eurobasket.com. Bonn takes on ALBA Berlin in the finals, which tip off on Sunday at MaxSchmellinghalle in Berlin.

Stark Truth: What Else Is There to Say?

Mariners manager John McLaren had a one-man bleepfest after the team’s latest loss.
Read on:
“We’re playing our (bleep) off every day and got nothing to show for it. I’m tired of (bleeping) losing, I’m tired of getting my (bleep) beat, and so have those guys. We gotta change this (bleeping bleep) around and get after it. And only we can do it. The fans are (bleeped) off, and I’m (bleeped) off, and the players are (bleeped) off. And that’s the way it is. There’s no (bleeping) easy way out of this, can’t feel sorry for ourself, we gotta (bleeping) buckle it up and get after it. I’m tired of (bleep) losing this, (bleeping) every night we bust our (bleep). It’s gotta be a total team (bleeping) effort to turn this thing around, and that’s it.”

Stark Truth: 5 Thoughts on the Marineros

The forecast is for cold, drizzle and more M’s losses.
Seattle showed some signs of getting out of its funk during the Boston series, but the Mariners have reverted to their old ways.
For those of you counting, they’re now 17 games under .500 and on a pace to lose 104 games.
I don’t pretend to have the answers, but here’s five thoughts on the Marineros:
1: Jose Lopez is one of the few players getting it done offensively, but he’s not getting it done on defense. Another ground ball got by him Tuesday night that led to an early run for the Angels. His mobility is a liability at that position. It’s time for position change. Why not turn Lopez into a first baseman (the M’s have no prospects at that position) and go with Miguel Cairo or Willie Bloomquist at second?
2: This relates to No. 1 because if you move Lopez to first, then what do you do with Richie Sexson. Sexson’s hitting .199 with 55 strikeouts in 161 at bats in 46 games. That’s the highest strikeout ratio of his career. He whiffed 100 times in 464 at bats a year ago when he hit a whopping .205. So, it’s a no brainer. You release him.
3: Is there a duo on a big-league team that flails at more bad pitches than Adrian Beltre and Yuniesy Betancourt? It must drive M’s hitting coach Jeff Pentland crazy, but they are two of the M’s best hitters. Imagine how good they would be if they showed more discipline at the plate and swung at pitches that were in the strike zone.
4: Call me a homer if you want, but South Kitsap grad Willie Bloomquist can be a catalyst with his all-out hustle. He had 13 at bats in May and hasn’t played in a game since May 23. What’s up with that Johnny Mac? He was the guy who said he was going to use everybody this season, giving regulars regular days off. I think a few guys in could use a day off. Who? Raul’s not exactly lighting it up. He’s currently in an ugly 5-for-52 funk and he got three of those hits on Sunday. Beltre hit .189 in May and admitted over the weekend that he stinks right now. Why’s Wlad Balentein still in a big-league uniform? His audition has lasted long enough. Even if Willie doesn’t hit, you know he’s going to be an improvement defensively over what you’re putting out there on the field.
5: It’s draft week, so I leave you with this thought. The M’s used the fifth pick in the first round of baseball’s 2006 amateur draft to take pitcher Brandon Morrow. They could have taken hometown product Tim Lincecum from the University of Washington, who went to the Giants with the 10th pick. Morrow’s flashed signs of brilliance lately coming out of the bullpen, hitting 100 mph on some of his deliveries. He’s posted a 1.04 ERA in 8 2/3 innings, striking out 15, walking five and allowing just seven hits. Lincecum, after going 7-5 as a starter in his rookie season, has become the ace of the Giants staff. The Issaquah native is 7-1 with a 2.23 ERA. He’s made 12 starts, pitching 77 2/3 innings with 78 strikeouts and 32 walks while allowing 65 hits. This is a tough call, but did the M’s make the pick? I’m not so sure.

Stark Truth: Kelly Update

Troy Kelly wound up tied for third at 1-under 143 after shooting a 72 in the second round of Monday’s U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier. The top two finishers — Nick Taylor (138) and Rob Rashell (140) — earned spots to the U.S. Open, June 12-15 at Torrey Pines in San Diego.

EARLIER UPDATE
Troy Kelly carded a 1-under 71 and was tied for sixth after the first round of the U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier at Emerald Valley Golf Club in Creswell, Ore.
Rob Rashell was the leader after the opening round of the 36-hole qualifer with a 69. Washington Husky Nick Taylor, coming off a second place finish at the NCAA Championships, was in a four-way tie for second after shooting a 70. Kelly, by the way, also tied for second at the NCAA Championships when he was at Washington.
I previously reported that one golfer advances to the U.S. Open, June 12-15, at Torrey Pines in San Diego, but two from this sectional will get a chance to rub shoulders with Tiger Woods and the rest of the world’s elite golfers later this month. There’s also two alternates.
Go the Oregon Golf Association web site for updated scoring: www.oga.org/Club/Scripts/Home/home.asp
In other golf news, Silverdale’s talented Erynne Lee won the 2008 Pacific Northwest Junior PGA Championship on Sunday at Tumwater Valley GC. Lee, who’s already won a spot to the U.S. Women’s Open sectional qualifier, qualified for the 33rd Junior PGA Championship, Aug. 13-16,at TPC River’s Bend in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Lee had a final-round 69 for a two-day total of 137 and a six stroke
victory over Seo Hee Moon of Mukilteo. Lee’s younger sister, Katie, was 15th with a 168 total.
Reporter Jeff Graham will write more about Erynne Lee, the Central Kitsap Junior High ninth grader, on Friday as The Sun kicks off its Friday golf page with a feature on the young phenom.