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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Archive for August, 2008

Stark Truth: Waiver Wire Craziness

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

It’s possible Raul Ibanez and Jarrod Washburn have played their last games with the Mariners.
It’s hard to believe what to believe when it comes to this waiver wire business, because nobody really knows for sure. It’s mostly speculation.
Anyway, several newspapers and web sites reported that Ibanez and Washburn were claimed on waivers — Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on who you believe. Jeff Baker of the Seattle Times confirmed that both players said they’d been claimed. The M’s have until today to work out a deal with the clubs that claimed him.
As for Ibanez, it makes sense if Tampa Bay claimed him. The Rays need some offensive punch after losing left fielder Carl Crawford and third baseman Evan Longoria to injuries.
One thing we do know is that players pass through waivers in the reverse order of the standings. Teams in the same league get the first shot at a claim. To fall to the Rays, who own the American League’s second-best record, Ibanez would need to get through every AL club but the Angels.
So it wouldn’t be a surprise if Boston, or other AL contenders (maybe the Twins or White Sox) would block Ibanez from going to the Rays.
That said, the M’s still have to negotiate a deal with whatever club claims him. And they might not want to do that.
Ibanez is eligible for free agency next year, and only has about $1.5 million owed him from his current contract, so the M’s could wind up with two quality draft picks if the M’s offer arbitration, and Ibanez declines.
And why wouldn’t Raul decline? He’s 36 and why would he want to come back to Seattle to play for the rudderless Mariners, when he could probably get a two-year deal to play for a team with an opportunity to challenge for the postseason.
As for Washburn, if somebody claimed him as reported, you’d think the M’s would be happy to get rid of him. Washburn, 34, is owed the remainder of his $9.85 million salary this season and $10.35 million next year. Washburn (5-12, 4.58 ERA) pitched well in July, but he’s 0-3 with a 5.09 ERA in August.
Who would want Washburn? The Yankees showed interest, the Tigers are desperate for pitching and how about the Cardinals? Is it me, or doesn’t Washburn seem like the kind of pitcher that flourishes in St. Louis? Dave Duncan and Tony LaRussa could probably get a couple of back-to-back 15-win seasons out of the lefty that’s struggled in Seattle.


Stark Truth: Cunningham Promoted to Triple-A

Monday, August 11th, 2008

 

Former South Kitsap standout Aaron Cunningham continues to pound the baseball. The outfielder, obtained by Oakland in the off-season trade with Arizona for pitcher Dan Haren, is having another productive season and there’s a good chance he could wind up with the A’s for the last month of the regular season.

Cunningham, who broke his wrist in spring training, hit .317 with 12 homers and 52 RBI in 87 games at Double-A Midland of the Texas League – good enough to earn a promotion to Triple-A Sacramento. He was moved up Friday and went 5-for-10 with two doubles, a home run and five walks in three games at Las Vegas.

“He’s earned at least a month’s worth of Triple-A at-bats,” A’s assistant GM David Frost told the San Francisco Chronicle. “He hit in the middle of the order in Midland, he played all three outfielder positions, he really had quality at-bats.”

The 22-year-old Cunningham played at Everett CC, where he earned NWAACC North Division MVP honors and was a sixth-round draft pick of the White Sox in 2005.

If he is a September callup, Cunningham will have a chance to play in front of his family and hometown fans. The A’s close out the season at Seattle on Sept. 26-27-28.

Another South Kitsap grad, Tampa pitcher Jason Hammel, was in Seattle this weekend with the first-place Rays. The right-hander pitched the final inning of the Rays’ 11-3 win on Sunday. He wasn’t especially sharp, allowing a couple runs in mop-up duty, but he did throw an impressive off-speed curve that kept hitters off-balance.

Another SK grad, Jason Ellison, was called up by Texas last week. The former Mariners’ outfielder had two hits and drove in two runs in a win over the Orioles on Sunday. Ellison and the Rangers will be in Seattle on Sept. 9-10.

 


Stark Truth: Congrats to Erynne, Emily and Nathan

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

What a week for young Kitsap athletes.

Erynne Lee, who’s not old enough to drive, reached the semifinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur in Eugene, Ore., where she put up a gallant fight against top-seeded Amanda Blumenherst before bowing out. Watching the match unfold on The Golf Channel on Saturday, you had to be impressed with her poise and golf game. Clearly, this is just the beginning for the sophomore-to-be at Central Kitsap. This 15-year-old is headed for big things in the world of golf. Check out Jeff Graham’s column on Lee that he wrote this week.

And Emily Silver continues to demonstrate what kind of stuff she’s made of. Because of her broken hand, there was so much uncertainty surrounding the Bainbridge Islander’s bid to swim in the Olympics. I wrote about her journey in a story we printed Friday, but her performance in her race against the clock on Thursday and her swim in Saturday’s heat of the 400 freestyle relay capped a remarkable story about a determined athlete who had a lot of people pulling for her. Silver’s probably not going to swim in the finals (which will be televised Saturday night), but how cool would it be if the Americans, who qualified third, can pull out a win in the relay and Silver gets a gold medal? According to Donella Adrian, Nathan’s sister who has been blogging for us (check out The Blogstroke), there was still no official word on whether Nathan would swim a leg in the men’s heat of the 400 free relay. The qualifying heats and finals are scheduled for Sunday.

Adrian, at 19, is the youngest member of the U.S. men’s swimming team, and placed fourth at the Olympic Trials to earn his spot on the team. Like Silver, the Bremerton swimmer also had to produce a courageous performance to make the team. Adrian and Matt Grevers tied for ninth in the 100 freestyle at the trials. Only the top eight make the finals, but when Matt Lochte pulled out of the 100 to concentrate on other events, a swim-off was held for the eighth spot.

Adrian swam a lifetime best 48.46 seconds to win the swim-off – a time that would have been good enough for a bronze medal in Athens in 2004. The next night he placed fourth in the finals.

Everybody says Adrian’s time to shine on the world swimming stage will be in 2012, but he’s four years ahead of schedule.

Congratulation are in order for Erynne Lee, Emily Silver and Nathan Adrian. You’ve made those of us who live in Kitsap County – and beyond – proud.


Pat O’Day to MC Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame Banquet

Friday, August 8th, 2008

In Case You Missed It: The Godfather of Northwest Rock ‘n Roll, Pat O’Day (known as Paul Berg while growing up in Bremerton, where he was a 1953 West High grad) will be the master of ceremonies at the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame ceremony on Oct. 4 at Olympic College’s Bremer Student Center Gym.

Here’s a story that ran in our print editions in May. It details who’s being inducted. We’ll feature more of these athletes as we get closer to the event.

 

One of Bremerton’s biggest philanthropists, a man considered by many to be the father of wrestling in Kitsap County and the Fox brothers, who are synonymous with auto racing in this region, are among those who will be honored at the 2008 Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame.

The late Chuck Haselwood will receive the Red Brown Award during the Oct. 4 banquet at Olympic College’s Bremer Student Center Gym.

It’s an appropriate location as the founder of the Haselwood auto group was a major donator to the college. His efforts helped rebuild the library at the college. He was also a longtime supporter of the Kitsap County Bremerton Athletic Roundtable, which organizes the annual event.

Haselwood was a major backer of the Pendergast Regional sports facility and was responsible for getting the Bremerton Ice Skating Center built.

Joe Aiken, a longtime youth coach who has had a tremendous impact on the lives of many young wrestlers, will be among 20 individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Brothers Tom, Jim, Leon and Bob Fox are among the 20 going into the Hall. Between the four brothers, they were part of an Indy 500 victory (Tom), a Daytona 500 victory (Jim), owned and operated a NASCAR Busch racing team and a founding father of the Handlers Racing Club (Leon, who died of cancer in 2002 at age 64) and won a NASCAR West Coast sportsman series championship and had a reputation as one of the top drivers in this business (Bob).

A KCBAR committee also voted to induct South Kitsap’s 1950 state basketball team and Bremerton High’s 1953 state championship baseball team.

The only former professional athlete going into this year’s Hall of Fame is Mike O’Brien, a highly successful Bellevue-based auto executive who got his business start through Haselwood. The West High grad was an All-American defensive back at Olympic College, and went on to play at California and with the Seahawks and USFL’s Oakland Invaders.

Other individuals going into the Hall:

Orville Anderson: Former basketball coach at South Kitsap who has passed away.

Dick Baird: Former high school coach at Central Kitsap and Olympic High; football assistant and head coach Olympic College, assistant and recruiting coordinator at the University of Washington and currently a football analyst for Husky football.

Jack Dean: Former pro boxer and deputy sheriff who operated the Olympic Boxing Academy and was involved in amateur boxing for years.

Cal Gilbert: Founder and coach of the Olympic Boxing Academy, which later became known as the Cal Gilbert Olympic Boxing Academy. Gilbert’s passed away.

Darwin Gilchrist: Bremerton High grad an all-tournament guard on the 1949 Olympic College basketball team that placed fourth at the national tournament; went to Long Island University and later Puget Sound.

Melissa Korb: Former North Kitsap and Pacific Lutheran All-American softball pitcher who led Lutes to NCAA D-III championship.

Christina Marshall: A point guard in basketball who was instrumental in Bainbridge High winning back-to-back titles. Kitsap Sun’s 1989 Female Athlete of the Year later played at Boise State and St. Mary’s.

 

Darryl Monroe: A top-rated and well-respected basketball official who has worked state high-school title games and umpired a lot of baseball games early in his career.

 

Marty Osborn: Talented West High and Olympic College quarterback went on to play two years at Central Washington and has carved out a career as one of the top prep football coaches in the state. He’s currently at Kentridge.

Lloyd Pugh: Long-time track and field coach at South Kitsap and Bremerton High. Was a top distance runner at South and Seattle Pacific.

*Dwight Scheyer: Coached football and baseball at Bremerton High, guiding legendary 1947 Wildcats to an unbeaten season in football.

Art Sperber: One of the top horseshoe pitchers in the Northwest, owner of many state and regional titles.

Bill Walker: State baseball coaches Hall of Famer played for the Kitsap Outsiders and at Central Washington.

Jim Wiley: Bremerton High and University of Washington star running back. He played with Don Heinrich at BHS and later at the UW, where he won the Guy Flaherty Inspirational award in 1951.

 

 

 

 


Olympic Trivia: Part II

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

In a previous post, I posed a trivia question about Kitsap Olympians. Besides swimmers Tara and Dana Kirk (2004, Athens) and Nathan Adrian and Emily Silver (2008, Beijing), can you name any other Olympics from our neck of the woods?

I said there were two more: Kayaker Scott Shipley from Poulsbo (’92, ’96, ’00) and runner Brad Barquist from Bainbridge (’96, Atlanta).

I was wrong.

Good Ole George wrote back to tell me that Christian Welp, the former Olympic High and UW hoops star, played basketball for Germany. He’s right. Welp, who led Oly to state hoops title and went on to play in the NBA, played in the ’84 Olympics in Los Angeles for the Germans. George thinks Welp might be an assistant coach with the Dirk Nowitzki-led Germans in Beijing, but I couldn’t confirm it.

In addition to Welp, I remembered two more Kitapers who competed in the Olympics. How could I forget Sean Spencer, the former Mariners pitcher from South Kitsap? He was on Greece’s baseball team in the ’04 Games.

And how about Mike Stevenson? Gotcha don’t I. Stevenson’s a roller hockey star from Bremerton who played on the national team that competed in the ’92 Games in Barcelona. Roller hockey was an exhibition sport that year. He’s the same Mike Stevenson who became father of quintuplets in March of 2006.

Are there any other Olympians out there we’ve overlooked?


Stark Truth: Kitsap Olympic Trivia and More

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

OK, here’s a question for all of you Olympic Ringheads out there?

Has Kitsap County produced any other Olympians besides Bremerton’s Kirk sisters – Tara and Dana – and 2008 Olympic swimmers Emily Silver (Bainbridge) and Nathan Adrian (Bremerton)?

The answer is yes. Can you name the two other Olympians? At least, I think there’s only two.

Ding, ding ding. Time’s up.

If you said Scott Shipley, you’re right. Poulsbo’s Shipley is perhaps the best-known American whitewater kayaker of all time.  Shipley competed in three Olympics games (1992, ’96, ’00) and won four world titles, breaking the dominance European paddlers had on the sport. He’s now designing whitewater parks.

And the other Olympian? Hint: He competed in Atlanta in 1996.

Give up?

Brad Barquist. He ran the 10,000 meters at the 1996 games. Now living in Seattle and retired from international racing, Barquist is coaching runners.

Barquist, incidentally, was among the first to call Emily Silver after she qualified for the Olympics in Omaha. Emily and sister Helen, who lived around the corner from the Barquist family at the time, decorated his house after he qualified for the games. .”

“He said, ‘I’ll decorate your house or If there’s a parade I’ll carry the flag,’” said Emily’s mom, Mary Sue Silver. “He told her, ‘I know exactly how you feel.’”

Barquist’s parents, Shirley and Norman, still live on the island. They ran into Mary Sue at the market. “They’re so proud of Emily. They know how excited we were when Brad qualified, so that was pretty cool.”

If Helen Silver, Emily’s older sister, had opted to continue swimming following her graduation from Cal in 2006, we might be looking at more trivia. The Kirks were the first sisters to be on the same Olympic team in 2004 in Athens, and many think Helen would have had a good shot at making the ’08 team. Helen won the 200 backstroke at the NCAA Championships in 2006 and her best times that year would have put her in the finals this year.

USA swim coach Mark Schubert called Helen after she retired and told her, “We think you can win a gold medal.” That got Helen out of retirement for a while, but after getting up one morning at 5 a.m. for a workout, “she looked in the mirror and said she wasn’t doing this for the right reasons,” said her mom, Mary Sue. “My parents want me to swim, Mark Schubert wants me to swim, (Cal coach) Teri McKeever wants me to swim. I want to get on with my life.”

Helen, who has a degree in Art Practice from Cal, works at Tucker & Marks, an interior design firm in downtown San Francisco.

 

 


Stark Truth: Update on Olympic Swimmer Emily Silver

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Will Emily Silver swim in the 400-meter freestyle relay prelims in Beijing on Saturday?

You’d think a fifth-place finish in the 100m free at the U.S. Olympic Trials would guarantee her a spot on the team, but she has to prove to team coaches that she’s 100 percent after breaking her hand during the semifinals of the 50 freestyle at the trials in Omaha, Neb. Father Bob Silver reported on his blog - From Bainbridge to Beijing - that Emily has to swim a time trial on Thursday in Beijing. Talk about pressure.

 ”She’s a little nervous about it — she has to swim the time trial by herself and the coaches will evaluate her readiness based on her time,” wrote Bob. “Send some good thoughts her way for her swim.”

I talked to Emily following her surgery last month at Palo Alto, Calif., and despite missing a couple weeks of training, she seemed confident that she would be OK for the prelims.

“I’m in the best shape of my life,” she said. “I know I’m ready to go.”

This is the third time she broke her hand hitting the wall. The last time she did it, she bounced back to swim really fast legs at the World University Games in 2007, helping the U.S. win gold and silver medals in relays.

The 2004 Bainbridge High grad thrives in relays. 

“When you’re on relays you’re part of this group of women and you’re doing everything in your ability to be great for them,” she said. “You’re swimming not only for your country and yoru team watching on the side of the pool, but you want to be great for the teammates you’re swimming with. You know they’re going to give everything and you want to do the same. It’s really thrilling … there’s nothing like it.”

You can read more about Silver and Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian, who will swim a leg on the men’s 400 freestyle relay this weekend, in our print editions. The story on Adrian, by staff writer Annette Griffus, is scheduled to run Thursday. My Silver story will be in Friday’s editions.

And be sure to check out the photos our award-winning photographer, Larry Steagall, will be sending from Beijing. We’ve been fortunate to have a photographer like Larry on our staff. He’ll be shooting for the newspapers in the Scripps Howard organization of which the Kitsap Sun is part of.


Stark Truth: ESPN’s Stark Weighs in On M’s

Friday, August 1st, 2008

 

Here’s what Jayson Stark (no relation) of ESPN.com wrote about the M’s following Thursday’s trading deadline:

“If  ever there was a team that should have used this deadline to clear out as much money, dead weight and extraneous parts as it could export, wasn’t Seattle it?

 

So how could this deadline have come and gone with only Rhodes driving into the sunset? How could Ibanez still be there? How could Jarrod Washburn still be there? How could one-third of that roster not have been traded in the past couple of weeks?

 

“I’m cutting them a little slack,” one rival GM said. “They’re leader-less right now.”

 

True, they have an interim GM (the well-liked Lee Pelekoudas) and a confusing ownership arrangement and an uncertain chain of command. But they angered teams they spoke to with what were widely viewed as outrageous demands. And the bottom line is that this deadline represented a lost renovation opportunity in the middle of an already-lost season. And how many lost opportunities can clubs like this afford?

 

“I really don’t know how to describe that club right now,” one AL executive said. “It just seems to be a train wreck out there.”

Agree or not, the team that was supposed to challenge the Angels for the AL West title this season is now 28 games out of first place and on its way to a 100-loss season. They’ve become a laughingstock. They are a “train wreck.”

 


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