Monthly Archives: February 2009

World Baseball Classic Rosters

There’s not room in our paper to print all of these, and I know there’s baseball fans out there looking for the roster of the teams that will be playing in next month’s World Baseball Classic.

This is a tournament that really hooked me the last time around. Watching Japan take to the U.S. and the rest of the world was enlightening. Defense, pitching, speed and fundamentals. That’s what they emphasized and they were clearly the best team.

With Mariners Ichiro Suzuki and Kenji Johjima playing for Japan, they’ll have a lot of Northwest fans pulling for them.

Anyway, thanks to the Sporting News, here’s a link where you can find all of the rosters.

A-Rod is playing for the Dominican Republic, and Adrian Beltre of the M’s is on the roster, but hasn’t made a final decision just yet. He wants to play, but the M’s are trying to talk him out of it.  J.J. Putz and Everett native Grady Sizemore are on the U.S. roster, which you’ll find below.

UNITED STATES

PITCHERS: Jonathan Broxton, Brian Fuentes, Jeremy Guthrie, J.P. Howell, Ted Lilly, Matt Lindstrom, Joe Nathan, Roy Oswalt, Jake Peavy, J.J. Putz, B.J. Ryan, Scot Shields, Matt Thornton, Brad Ziegler.
CATCHERS: Chris Iannetta, Brian McCann.
INFIELDERS: Mark DeRosa, Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, Dustin Pedroia, Jimmy Rollins, David Wright, Kevin Youkilis.
OUTFIELDERS: Ryan Braun, Curtis Granderson, Brad Hawpe, Grady Sizemore.
MANAGER: Davey Johnson.

Performance Enhancing Drugs Aren’t Anything New

If all this stuff about PEDs grabs your attention, then I highly recommend you read this piece by ESPN’s Peter Gammons. In it, he details a story written 40 years ago by Bill Gilbert in Sports Illustrated. He credits John Perricone, who writes a blog “Only Baseball Matters,” for bringing the story to our attention. Once again, if you find the subject intriguing, you’ll want to read Perricone’s blog, too.

OC Men Down to Final 2 Regular Season Games

Olympic College’s men’s basketball team has clinched a trip to next week’s NWAACC Championships in Kennewick, but the Rangers would like to go in as the No. 2 seed out of the North Division. Bellevue has already clinched the North Division title. Olympic (18-5 overall, 10-4 North)) can finish No. 2 if it wins on the road Wednesday at Seattle CC and at home on Saturday against Skagit Valley, which currently leads the Rangers by a half-game. Fourth-place Whatcom is just a game back of Olympic. The top four advance to the 16-team NWAACC Championships, but a higher seed theoretically is beneficial because you’d play a lower-seeded team from another division in the opening round.

Here’s something to consider, however. If OC is the No. 2 seed, it opens at 10 p.m. on Thursday, March 5. If it’s the No. 3 seed, it opens at 8 a.m. Pick your poison, huh?

Click here for complete NWAACC men’s basketball standings.

OC, which got off to a 15-1 start and was ranked as high as No. 2 in the NWAACC earlier, has lost four of its last seven games. The Rangers will be without guard L.T. Neloms (shoulder) tonight and forward Glenn Perkins (shoulder) is questionable.

The last time OC played in the NWAACC tournament was the 1999-2000 season when a team coached by Barry Janusch, now the Rangers’ athletic director, placed fourth. Casey Reynolds, former North Mason star, was on that club along with James Clark, B.J. Letcher and Sam Moore. That team placed fourth.

Here’s a look at OC’s seasons statistics.

Here’s the current North Division standings:

NWAACC POLL

1. Clackamas  23-2 (80 points, 8 first place ballots)

2. Tacoma 23-2 (64)

3. Bellevue 21-4  (45)

4. Highline  16-7  (37)

5. Yakima Valley 20-5  (34)

6. Spokane 17-5   (23)

7. Mt. Hood  18-5  (14)

8. Olympic 18-4  (13)

Nate Robinson Flying High — Even on the Letterman Show

If you were going to make a list of the best athletes to ever come out of the state of Washington 5-foot-9 Nate Robinson would certainly be on the list. Maybe at the top of it. To borrow a phrase from this generation, ‘Dude’s a Freak.’

The former Rainier Beach and University of Washington star and current NBA guard with the N.Y. Knicks has been on a roll since just before the All-Star break. The 5-foot-9 (that’s what he’s listed at) dynamo still holds the state record in the 110 high hurdles, he started at cornerback on the Husky football team and likely could have been an NFL defensive back/kick returner. And now the rest of the country is starting to see what kind of an electrying basketball player he is.

His Superman-like leap over 7-foot Dwight Howard in the slam dunk contest was the talk of the NBA’s All-Star weekend which earned him an appearance on the David Letterman. Wearing the same leprechaun green uniform — and new Nike shoes made special for him — Robinson leaped over stage manager Biff Henderson. Letterman also got in a few good lines. Here’s the video.

Robinson’s also elevated his play on the basketball court. He came off the bench on Monday night to score a season-high 41 points, 32 in the second half of a 123-119 win over Indianapolis. He also had eight rebounds. Over his last six games he’s averaging 30 points, 7.0 assists and 6.5 rebounds.

The Natural Returns

Everybody’s weighing in on Ken Griffey Jr.’s decision to come back to Seattle. Here’s my two-cents worth.

His return to Seattle is great for Junior, wonderful for the fans, but baseball, in this time of steroids abuse, is the biggest benefactor. Ken Griffey Jr. is the anti-Barry Bonds, the anti-A-Rod. He’s a smiling, fun-loving, graceful-swinging, backward hat-wearing, natural slugger that the game sorely needs.

Now Seattle’s got him back.

Enjoy every swing he takes, every home run he hits, every runner he might throw out. Enjoy the game. At least, you know there’s no need to by cyncial when No. 24 takes the field. He’s not a freak, all-hulked up on steroids. He’s just … Junior, and right now, his legacy has never been bigger.

And the Oscar for Best Picture Goes to …. “The Wrestler”

Probably not, but three sports flicks have won the Oscar for best picture in the last 35 years. Can you name them? Didn’t think so. Check out this story about sports movies and the Academy Awards.

I haven’t seen “The Wrestler,” yet, but it’s on my list of things to do. You’ve got to be pulling for a guy like Mickey Rourke, right? I know he’s made share of enemies, but the guy’s so darned interesting. He boxed for a while when his acting career went south, and now he’s back on top. I wouldn’t mind hanging with him for a while. Not for long, but you know the stories would be good.

Here’s a quote from the actor, who admits he wasn’t always on his best behavior in his younger years:

“I was out of control and did not think the party was going to end. I could stay in any hotel, buy anything I wanted (he once bought six Cadillacs for cash and then gave them all away) and take out all my entourage to dinner. My mansion in Beverly Hills was like something from Halloween III – Elvis on acid. My brother and I had six motorcycles each, and we flew the Confederate flag and a Jolly Roger over the garage. The neighbours were moving in and out almost monthly.”

How Many HRs Would Griffey Have If He Would Have Been Healthy? I Say 760

As I wrote in the print editions earlier this week, I think this Ken Griffey Jr. story has a chance to have a real sad ending. If the M’s get off to a bad start, and Griffey gets off to a bad start, this honeymoon will be over in a hurry.

But Griffey, the best player I’ve ever seen when he was in his prime, could have one of those magical years. If anybody deserves one, he does. Since leaving Seattle, he’s missed an average of 60 games a season because of injuries. If he’d have stayed healthy and Barry Bonds didn’t use banned substances steroids, Griffey would be baseball’s all-time career home-run leader.

Follow me on this. I don’t pretend to be an Einstein and math was never my favorite subject, but these numbers make sense to me.

Bonds hit 762 homers, Hank Aaron 757, Babe Ruth 714 and Willie Mays 660. Griffey’s fifth on the list with 611 — 328 in his previous 11 seasons with the Mariners. I’d suggest that he would have hit at least 40 the next four seasons in Cincinnati (he hit 81 in 379 games during what should have beent he peak years of his career; he was 30, 31, 32, and 33). If you’re playing along with this line of thinking, I predict he would have averaged 30 bombs a year the next five years. He averaged 26.2.

Add it all up and I think Griffey would be sitting at 760 right now.

More about Griffey:

Gregg Doyle of CBSSports.com has an interesting take on Junior. In his quest to be liked, Doyle writes that Griffey has done some bizarre things, and his decision to pick Seattle over Atlanta might be the most bizzare thing he’s done yet.

Like a lot of you, Jim Caple, a Seattle native who writes for ESPN.com, is a big Ken Griffey Jr. fan. Read his piece here.

Check out what they’re saying in Atlanta.

In the end, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron helped Ken Griffey Jr. makes his decision to return to the Mariners.

All About A-Rod

“At this point you want Alex Rodriguez to find a cousin, any cousin, who will inject him with truth serum.”

That was the lead to a column written by Mike Lupica that published in the New York Daily News on Wednesday. It gets my vote for best lead of the day.

A-Rod, the one-time Mariner, didn’t get very good reviews following his press conference on Tuesday where he talked about being injected with “Boli” – another name for the steroid Primobolan — by a cousin two times a month for three years (2001-03).

His excuse? He was “young and stupid.”

He called it “amateur hour,” when it came to using those drugs. He said he didn’t even know if he was taking them the proper way. He admitted to feeling an energy boost, but little else.

As much as I don’t want to, I tend to believe what A-Rod was saying on Tuesday. I find in plausible that he was looking for an edge, wanted to keep it secret and didn’t really investigate what he was taking or consider the implications of what he was doing.

OK, he wasn’t that young (he was just under 26 when he started injecting and just over 28 when he quit), but he was stupid. (Hey, this is the same guy who left his wife for a fling with Maddona). I’ll buy the argument for now. A-Rod, for his wealth of talent on the field, isn’t a very good communicator so I’m taking that into consideration. But if it turns out that A-Rod was lying again and that more evidence surfaces to turn this into even more of a circus, then throw him to the Lions. Literally.

 

Three more things about A-Rod:

* I can’t wait to read the book by Sport Illustrated’s Selena Roberts, who broke the A-Rod story on Feb. 7. The book, due out in April, will be called: “A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez.”

 

 

* During Rodriguez’s press conference, he admitted taking Ripped Fuel while with the Mariners. I found that very interesting, because if A-Rod was taking it, you know a lot of other players in the same clubhouse were doing it. Ripped Fuel contained ephedra, which was later banned by baseball. I remember seeing a bottle of it in a certain players locker during spring training in Peoria – and this was a couple years after A-Rod had left for Texas. It was a sold over the counter as a weight-loss aid and energy booster – the same stuff that contributed to the death of 23-year-old pitcher Steve Belcher of the Baltimore Orioles in 2003.

* Former Mariner Raul Ibanez admitted he was floored when he heard that A-Rod, an ex-teammate and fellow Miami resident, had admitted to taking banned substances.