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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 May, 2009

An Almost-Monthly Planner

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Can you believe it’s June already?

Looking for something to do? There’s plenty of things going in our own backyard. Here’s a few:

The Kitsap BlueJackets: The college summer team is back for its fifth season. The Jackets have scheduled some non-league games that serve as fundraisers for Little Leaguers in the region. The first one is Tuesday in Lacey against the Tacoma Cardinals. The Jackets play the Olympia A’s on Wednesday in Ollala and Thursday at Snider Park in Poulsbo. Kitsap opens the West Coast League season Friday at Bellingham. First home league series is June 12-14 against the Bend Elks. Here’s a link to their schedule. We’ll have more coverage of the BlueJackets online and in our print editions this week. The West Coast League site is here.

High Schools: The Kitsap Senior Baseball Showcase and Kitsap All-Star Fastpitch Showcase takes place on Thursday at Gene Lobe Fields at the Kitsap Fairgrounds. Both doubleheaders get going at 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for seniors and students. … The Kitsap Sports Banquet, which honors top athletes and coaches from area high schools and Olympic College, is June 20 at the Kitsap Pavilion.

The Kitsap Pumas: The local soccer club has gotten off to a great start (4-0-1 in USL PDL play) and has a couple home games coming up — June 6 against the Portland Timbers U23s, and then a U.S. Open Cup match on June 9 at Bremerton Memorial Stadium against the USL D1 Portland Timbers. If the Pumas can win two matches in this tournament – which is patterned after the FA Cup in England — they could very well wind up playing the MLS Seattle Sounders in the Round of 16. Check out the Pumas Web site here. And here’s the U.S. Open Cup site.

Golf: The golf season’s definitely here. The Kitsap Ladies Invitational (June 4-5 at Kitsap G&CC) and the Bremerton City Amateur (June 6-7) are this week. … The UW Coaches Tour rolls into McCormick Woods for its annual outing on June 8 at McCormick Woods Golf Course in Port Orchard. New Husky football coach Steve Sarkisian and some of his assistants and basketball coaches Lorenzo Romar and Tia Jackson should be there. … The Detlef Schrempf Classic, another fixture at McCormick Woods, will be held June 15. … And the first Les Eathorne Golf Tournament will be held June 19 at Gold Mountain. Proceeds will go to developing area youth basketball players.

Semi-pro Football: You don’t have to wait for the Seahawks and Huskies to get your football fix. The Kitsap Bears host the Washington Cavaliers on Saturday at 7 p.m. at North Kitsap Stadium. Da Bears (4-0) were unbeaten heading into Saturday’s game against the Renton Ravens. We’re still trying to track down the results of that game. Check out the Bears’ online Web page here.

Murder Mystery: Not actually a sports event, but you don’t want to miss the June 17 East Bremerton Rotary meeting. Yours truly and John Wallingford will be talking about the unsolved murder of Fred Cohen, a prominent attorney in Bremerton who was shot on his porch while returning home from work on Jan. 19, 1970. John and I have been digging into this case, off and on, for years. We’ve gotten more serious since a lot of the people were interviewed the first time around are starting to die.

That’ll get you through the first 20 days of the month. Let me know what else is going on?


Five Things: From Preps to College Softball to The King

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

1) Congrats to all of the area high school teams and athletes who advanced to the state tournament. It was a banner spring for Kitsap athletes. South Kitsap soccer and Bainbridge softball won team titles, along with Klahowya’s girls tennis team, which shared the 2A title. Central Kitsap’s boy track and Bainbridge’s baseball team placed second, and SK’s girls tennis team tied for second. CKs Shane Moskowitz put together two impressive performances while winning the 1,600 and 3,200 at Star Track. Bainbridge’s Anna Kaminski was second in the discus and Irene Moore of King’s West had a pair of seconds at the 2B meet in Cheney. It was a heckuva spring. Oh, and CK’s Drew Vettleson was named the state’s Gatorade baseball player of the year. Pretty cool stuff.

2) I’ve been watching as much of the Women’s College World Series as I can. Fastpitch softball might be the best game going. Of course, I’m prejudiced because I played it for 20-plus years. But as good as the game is, ESPN needs to do something about its broadcast coverage. Is is just me, or does Michelle Smith, the former Olympian, drive you crazy with her commentary? She acts like nobody understands the game but her. One more thing about the college game: I think it’s time to move the fences back. And it’s not because there’s too many home runs. It’s because there’s not enough doubles and hardly any triples. Those are exciting plays and the current dimensions, in my opinion, need to be re-worked a little.

Naturally, a Georgia player hit a triple against Washington seconds after I typed this. Go figure.

3) OK, one more beef. This pertains to baseball and softball and relates directly to the men and women in blue. I’ve never seen so many batters get hit by pitches and not be allowed to take first because the umpire thinks the batter didn’t make an attempt to get out of the way. That’s ridiculous. On a rare occasion, somebody might actually try to get hit, but 99 percent of the time, it’s simply because they can’t get out of the way. It’s easy for a batter to freeze after getting fooled by a pitch, particularly an off-speed pitch. Anybody who has played knows what I’m talking about. And I think the reason so many umpires blow that call is because they’ve never played. OK, I feel better know. That’s something that’s bothered me for a while.

4) The King is dead: Rafael Nadal finally tasted defeat on the red clay at Roland Garros. He’d won four straight French Open titles and 31 straight matches. He’d never been extended to five sets. He lost in four. It doesn’t matter who you are or what sport you’re in. It’s tough to stay on top. Nadal’s still one of my favorite athletes to watch. The Federer-Nadal matches remind me of the old Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg days.

5) The King is dead II. In this case, I’m talking about LeBron James. His Cavaliers won 66 regular season and eight straight playoff games before running into the Orlando Magic. It turned out that James’ supporting cast wasn’t good enough to get him to the NBA Finals, let alone win an NBA championship. He keeps saying all the right things about wanting to stay in Cleveland, but I don’t think the 24-year-old from Akron will sign a contract extension with the Cavs. He’s already proven that he can be the next Michael Jordan, but he wants to be the next Warren Buffett. He wants to be the first athlete to become a billionaire. Look for LeBron to be wearing a New York Knicks uniform, or perhaps a Lakers uniform, by the start of the 2011 season.


U.S. Open Cup: What It is, Qualifiers and Other Information

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

The Kitsap Pumas in the  U.S. Open Cup. You want to know more about about the tournament? Here’s a link that will answer a lot of your questions.

In case you missed it, here’s The Sun’s story on the Pumas’ 3-0 victory over the Cascade Surge on Saturday. And here’s David Falk’s take in the Seattle Examiner  (along with photos and video) of the Pumas’ U.S. Open Cup-qualifying victory.


Pumas Closing in on U.S. Open Cup Berth

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

The Kitsap Pumas lead the Cascade Surge 2-0 at halftime. The Surge are down to nine players after two red cards so it looks like the Pumas chances of holding on are good.

If they do, the Pumas will be guaranteed a berth in the U.S. Open Cup — the 64-team tourney that includes all levels of soccer throughout the country. The Pumas will be one of eight USL Professional Development League franchises to qualify. The top team in each of the PDL’s eight divisions (after four weeks) earn spots.


Big Unit’s Not the Only Ex-Mariner Still Out There

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

There’s been a lot of attention on Randy Johnson, the former Mariners’ ace who’s now chasing victory No. 300 while wearing a San Francisco Giants uniform.

Johnson will be pitching against Ken Griffey Jr. and the Mariners tonight at Safeco Field as he goes for No. 299. His numbers (3-4, 6.86 ERA) aren’t great, but the big lefty would certainly fit in on the current M’s roster. There’s a lot of ex-Mariners out there. Some are having outstanding season, and some are struggling. Here’s an all-ex-Seattle team to chew on. Am I missing anybody? (They’ve got to be  active players in the majors).

Starting Rotation

Randy Johnson: we’ve already mentioned the Big Unit, who was 130-74 with a 3.72 ERA during his stay in Seattle. He won the Cy Young in 1995

Joel Pineiro, Cardinals: Pienero’s 5-3 with a 3.48 ERA in 54 1/3 innings.

Gil Meche, Royals: He’s sturggled a bit lately and is 2-4 with a 4.42 ERA in 53 innings.

Jamie Moyer, Phillies: Like Johnson, he’s still going. Not very good at the moment (34-,  7,.62), but he’s going.

Ryan Franklin, Cardinals. Yeah, I know he’s now a closer (1-0, 1.53 ERA with 11 saves in 18 appearances) — one of the best in baseball this year — but we’re short on starting pitching so he’s moving back in the rotation. We’ve got plenty of relievers to round out the staff.

Relief Pitching

Rafael Soriano, Indians: Rememeber him? He’s been nails for the Braves (0-0, 1.50 ERA in 18 games) while sharing set-up and closer (3 saves) roles. He’s got 24 strikeouts in 18 minutes.

Brian Fuentes, Angels: His stay in Seattle didn’t last long, but we know him now. The lefty (0-2, 4.30) saved two games against the M’s this week and has 11 saves this season.

JJ Putz, Mets: Not exactly blowing people away (1-3, 3.91 in 23 inning) but not horrible either. Whatever happened to that nasty splitter?

Sean Green, Mets: Came off outstanding year in Seattle, but  middle reliever (0-2, 7.50, 19 appearances) has been getting knocked around in the National League.

Here’s five more you could fit into the bullpen: George Sherrill, Orioles (0-1, 3.24, 7 saves),  Arthur Rhodes, Reds (0.64 ERA in 18 games; he’s allowed just eight hits and one run); Matt Thornton, White Sox (1-1, 2.30,15 2/3 innings). R.A. Dickey, Twins (1-0, 3.63, 11 games, 22 1/3 innings) and Eddie Guardado, Rangers (0-1, 6.23). On second thought, scratch Eddie.

Catcher

Jason Veritek, Red Sox: .237, 7 homers, 18 RBI. Still calls a great game and he’s showing some pop at the plate.

1B

Raul Ibanez, Phillies: Because of an overload of outfielders and a lack of ex-M’s who played first (where are you Richie Sexson?), Raul gets the call. Have you checked out his numbers? Raouuulllll’s hot! .349, 15 HR, 40 RBI.

2B

Willie Bloomquist, Royals: Mr. Versatility gets the nod here. He’s playing everywhere for the Royals and he could the same for any team in baseball. Oh, yeah, Willie Ball Game’s hitting .320 with a homer and 6 RBI and 8 stolen bases.

SS

Omar Vizquel, Rangers: Yeah, yeah, yeah. He’s the backup in Texas, serving as mentot to Elvis Andrews, but Little O can still play when he gets the chance. He’s hitting .368 (14-38) in 15 games. Only other option is Carlos Guillen, Tigers, and he’s not playing short anymore, plus he’s hitting .200 with no homers.

3B

A-Rod, Yankees: He’s hitting .171, but has five homers and 10 RBI since his return. Besides, who else you gonna put there? Greg Dobbs, Phillies (.143).

Outfielders

Adam Jones, Orioles: Boy, the M’s got fleeced in that Bedard trade. Jones’ numbers .364, 9 HR, 27 RBI don’t lie.

Mike Cameron, Brewers: .287, 8 HR, 21 RBI. What ex-Mariner center fielder who you have gone after in the offseason? Cammy or Griffey?

Jose Guillen, Royals: .299, 3 HR, 19 RBI and a dangerous arm in right field.

 

DH

Shin-Soo Choo, Indians: If only the M’s had been patient. Shin-Soo’s hitting .300 with 5 HR and 26 RBI

Bench

OF: Randy Winn, Giants, .282, 2 HR, 19 RBI

OF/1B: Jeremy Reed, Mets, 333, 2 HR, 14 RBI in limited playing time.

3B/Pinch hitter: Greg Dobbs, Phillis, .143

C: Yorvit Torrealba, Rockies: .256, 2 HR, 5 RBI

Utl: Rich Aurilia, Giants, .196

Utl: Carlos Guillen, Tigers, .200, 0 HRs, 6 RBI

OF: Scott Podsednik, White Sox, .267


Pumas Home Opener Friday; U.S. Open Cup a Possibility

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

The unbeaten Kitsap Pumas, 2-0 in league play and 4-0 overall, will play their home United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League opener on Friday at Bremerton Memorial Stadium. It promises to be a fun night. The new video board will be fired up and the end zone seats will be in place, creating a soccer-friendly environment at the stadium.

I’m profiling owner Robin Waite for Friday’s print and online editions. Hopefully, you’ll learn something about the man who’s brought professonal soccer to the region. Writer Jeff Graham will be writing about defender Kyle Johnson, a Bremerton High grad who played his college soccer at the University of Puget Sound.

Friday’s opponent, the Tacoma Tide, opens its season Wednesday against the Seattle Wolves. Here’s a story that appeared in the Tacoma News Tribune about the Tide. The Pumas and Tide are playing for the Narrows Bridge Bell this season.

The Pumas (2-0-0) have put themselves in a position to earn a spot in the U.S. Open Cup — the same tournament the Seattle Sounders are one win away from qualifying for. The top teams in the PDL’s eight divisions after four regular-season matches will earn a spot in the Open Cup. So there’s a lot on the line for the Pumas as they try to nab that berth intheir inaugural season. Here’s how they determine who gets in the 64-team field of what is a true national championship competition. It’s open to all pro and amateur soccer clubs in the United States and is patterned after domestic cup tournaments played in countries around the world.

Here’s the current PDL standings.

Pumas tickets are available at www.kitsapsoccerclub.com, www.brownpapertickets.com and at the Kitsap Soccer Club office at (360) 377-6008. of course, you can also buy tickets at the gate. Pumas’ gear was scheduled to be available this week, too.


How to Score 2010 Winter Olympic Tickets; Bree Update

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Looking to take in some of the Olympic events in Vancouver and Whistler  next February? Need tickets? Ron Judd of the Seattle Times can explain how to get them better than I can. Check out his blog here.  A good chunk of tickets will be available online, starting Thursday.

FYI: I talked to Bree Schaff, Bremerton’s bobsled hopeful recently, and she’s excited about her chances of making the team. The U.S. team will be determined at team trials. After that, the top two American bobsled teams during the World Cup (and possibly three,  if the U.S. is among the top two countries overall) will represent the U.S. in Canada. Bree’s currently trainining in Huntington Beach, Calif., working out daily. “You can’t waste a day,” she said.


First-Teamers on the All-Mom Squad

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, especially to my mom and my wife.

We’ll be celebrating at the ball park, like usual. They don’t stop playing baseball because it’s Mother’s Day, and we’ll head over to Seattle to take in an Olympic College-Shoreline doubleheader at Green Lake. Nobody’s twisting their arms. They want to go to the games. My son’s an assistant coach at OC, and my mom and my wife are among the Rangers’ biggest fans.

I’ll never be able to repay my mom and wife for all the support they’ve given me over the years. I know my son feels the same way. He knows what a fun and cool mom’s he’s got. His grandma, who can rattle those pots and pans, will give him a lunch before the games at Green Lake. And she’ll probably toss in extra cookies for the team.

I still remember playing catch in the backyard with her as a Little Leaguer in Texas. She was always there for me – and my friends. Still is. And so is my wife. They’re both unanimous first-team selections on the All-Mom Team.

 

 


A Full Day of Soccer

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

David Falk , a Port Orchard resident who writes about soccer for the Seattle Examiner, recently took in the South Kitsap-Bellarmine Prep and Kitsap Pumas-Seattle Pacific soccer matches before heading over to watch the Sounders — all on the same day. Here’s how he did it. I blogged about it earlier, but had a bad link.


Happy Cinco De Mayo

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Besides swine flu, what do you think of when you think of sports and Mexico? Off the top of my head, here’s what comes to my mind:

 

Angel Macias: He was the guy who could pitch with both hands. He led Monterrey, Mexico to the 1957 Little League World Series. I was 5 years old at the time, but I remember reading a story about him six or seven years later. His story always captivated me, probably because I was born in Monterrey, Calif.

 

The 1968 Olympics: I can still see Bob Beamon shattering the world long jump record – a record (29 feet, 2 1/2 inches) that stood for nearly 23 years. And, and even more vivid is the memory of watching African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos, raise their black-gloved fists as a symbol of “Black Power” when the national anthem was played after receiving the gold and bronze medals for the 400 meters. They were banned from the Olympics Games for life.

 

Fernando Valenzuela: The portly left-hander was one of the craftiest and smartest pitchers of his era. He pitched for six different teams, but it was his 11 years with the Dodgers that defined him. His screwball was one of the nastiest pitches of all-time.

 

Lorena Ochoa: The record of the Mexican golfer speaks for itself. She’s got a chance to be regarded as one of the all-time best before she retires.

 

Jai Alai: Billed as the fastest sport in the world, it’s played on a court with three walls and I remember sitting mesmerized one day in Tjuania, watching it and betting on it for about three hours. Players whip a hard ball (called a “pelota” I believe) with a wicked-basket glove off the front wall. I found it fascinating.


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