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 December, 2009

M’s Hot Stove Stuff: Edgar Deserves Spot in the Hall of Fame

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Here’s a pretty good argument from David Schoenfeld of ESPN.com on why Edgar Martinez deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Here’s the latest player news. The M’s signed catcher Brad Bard and relief pitcher Chad Codero.

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes on his blog that GM Jack Zduriencik is trying to put together a team that can contend now. Most people felt it the M’s would be in a rebuilding mode for at least two or three years, but with pitchers Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee under contract for just one season, Zduriencik has moved his timetable up.


East-West Event Will Be Live Streamed; Plus the East-West Rosters

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Jim Portune, executive director of the Bremerton Student & Alumni Association, told me earlier today that he only had 240 tickets left for tonight’s (Monday, Dec. 28) East-West Alumni Basketball game at Bremerton High. The game, by the way, will be live streamed by the Kitsap Sun at kitsapsun.com/2009/high-school-basketball.

Just the past two days I’ve had e-mails from Arizona, Florida and Massachusetts from alums, wondering if we were going to video the game. And I just got off the phone with Oza Langston, a former East High player now living outside of Denver. He wanted to make sure I told the East guys that they better not lose.

It should be a fun night. If you can’t make it, you can watch in live at kitsapsun.com, and it’ll also be available on a delayed basis.

For more background on the event, here’s my column that was published on Dec. 27.

The Bremerton School Board recently approved a measure to rename the gym after Les Eathorne and the court after Ken Wills. Eathorne, the longtime East High and Bremerton High coach, will be honored at halftime of the alumni game along with Wills, his former coach at Bremerton High. Here’s an earlier story and a column on the district’s decision to honor the two beloved coaches.

Some of you have wondered who’s playing in the basketball game. Here’s the rosters given to me (of course, they are always subject to change):

East High Knights

Mark Bergsma (class of ’78), Mark Eathorne (’74), Greg Farrar (’76), Bruce Welling (’67), Terry Welling (’69), Henri Campbell (’75), Ian Gilyeat (’77), Kevin Backlund (’77), Rick Torseth (’74), Tom Deichert (’77), Jon Hussey (’73), Richard Arena (’73), Leonard Barnes (’75), Dave Hegland (’71), Dave Bean (’72), Steve Boyce (’71), Bryan Garinger (’74), Rick Walker (’74).

Non-playing roster: Lowell Mahugh (’58), Jim Trostad (’71), Roy Campbell (’64), Gary Hussey (’69), Steve Shaw (’78), David Garinger (’75), Kevin Olson (’75), Dwight Slate.

Honored Player: Ray Hackett (’74).

Head coach: Les Eathorne.

Assistant: Dick Danubio.

West High Wildcats

A few Bremerton High grads somehow snuck on the Wildcats roster but here ya go: Bob Winters (’77), John Sitton (’68), Jim Derrig (’73), Rick Ormistron (’70), Mike Braun (’74), Mike Mantzke (’80), Jeff Mitchell (’77), Bill Baxter (’80), Dn Lay (’71), Rick Herdman (’68), Ron Burley (’64), Mike Anderson (’72), Tom Hamre (’78), Cal Ormiston (’72), Dave Pemberton (’68), Brett Fein (’81), Jeff Mantzke (’81), Dave Joiner (’78), Dick Wolf (’68), Bill Nylund (’77), Larry Thatcher (’65), Russ Kissinger (’67).

Non-playing roster: Rolly Dicks (’77), Doug Frohart (’77), Walt Harrell (’65), Bill Hobaugh (’77), Paul Ingman (’65), Ron Smith (’78).

Head coach: John Sitton (’68).

Honorary coach: Norm Dicks (’59).

Manager: Dan Kirk (’79).


Tracking the Cliff Lee Story

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Cliff Lee? On his way to the Mariners?

Ryan (The Whirling) Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune has been tracking the twittering and tweeting and various online reports about the three-way deal that seems to be the real thing. Here’s how it would go down: Pitcher Roy Halladay goes to the Phillies, who ship lefty Lee to the Mariners. The Mariners would give up Phillipe Aumont and possibly some other Canadian minor leaguers (Michael Saunders and Tyson Gillies). You can read Divish’s report here. If you comment on his blog, ask him if he can throw a riseball or hit a changeup?

Here’s the link to Jim Street’s report on the M’s online page.


Montlake Jake Has a Chance To Be Revered Forever in Husky Football Lore

Monday, December 14th, 2009

The sports information department at the University of Washington, no doubt, is already working on Jake Locker’s Heisman Trophy campaign.

Locker announced earlier Monday that he’s coming back for his senior year.

This is a guy who had been projected earlier Monday by Todd McShay of ESPN.com to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft and Mel Kiper had him as the No. 5 pick in the first round. Locker turned his back on that to return to Montlake.

With all but two offensive starters returning, expectations are going to be sky-high next season for the Huskies. Locker’s only going to get better with another year under of learning under head coach Steve Sarkisian and quarterback coach Doug Nussmeier.

“This is the first time in history I’ve ever signed a 10-star recruit,” Sarkisian told the Seattle Times. “Forget four- or five-star recruits. We got a 10-star recruit today.”

This decision screams volumes about the character of Jake Locker.

Montlake Jake had already turned his back on millions to play pro baseball and as good as he is, he understands he’s not all that, that he’s still a raw talent in a lot of ways. How refreshing is that? Here’s an athlete who’s not pounding his chest, proclaiming he’s the greatest. He’s not all about the Benjamins.

Don’t worry about injuries? That’s what insurance is for, right?

Here’s an athlete who, more than anything, wants to help put Washington football back in the spotlight. The Huskies haven’t had a winning season since 2002 and as promising as this year’s 5-7 campaign was, this is a program that’s just two years removed from that awful 0-12 season.

Locker doesn’t need to take the Huskies to the national championship game in 2010, but if the Huskies contend for a Pac-10 title, then he’ll be able to walk away from Montlake a happy man.

If he does that, a lot of fans will think Lockers’ capable of walking on the water at Montlake. A lot of them already do.

There’s no doubt Locker’s now got a chance to go down in the modern era of Husky football as the most beloved, if not greatest, Husky to ever wear purple and gold. If Don James is the Dawgfather, then Jake Locker’s got a chance to be the Dawg.


Apologies to East High Hoopers and More on Eathorne/Wills

Friday, December 11th, 2009

East High’s championship years were wrong in a column I wrote Thursday about the Bremerton School District passing a proposal to honor former coaches Les Eathorne and Ken Wills by naming the high school gym after Eathorne and court after Wills. I apologize for that. Those were special teams and special years and even though I’m a West High guy, I should have them branded in my brain by know. For the record, the Knights finished second in 1972 and won state titles in 1973 and ’74. East lost to Ellensburg in the’72 championship game. The Knights beat Enumclaw for the ’73 title and Foster in the ’74 title game (after beating mighty Cleveland in the semifinals). East was 51-2 during its two-year title run. Here’s a link to my column. And here’s a a cool link to the East High Knights, which is dedicated to Coach Eathorne and its basketball history. Eathorne was the only coach the school ever had. People are probably wondering when the gym/court-naming ceremony will take place. There’s still a lot of details to be worked out, but there are plans to do something at the Dec. 28 East-West Alumni basketball game. Momentum’s picking up for that event. I hear both teams are holding practices and former cheerleaders and band members are being recruited. Some of the former East High players who have been involved in the gym/court-naming project have an idea of what they’d like to do to honor Eathorne and Wills. Eathorne’s name would be painted on the outside of the gym wall, visible as you enter the facility. Plaques honoring both coaches would be placed near the entrance. “Wills Court” would be painted at both ends of the basketball court, which is scheduled to be re-finished during the summer. All of the money would be raised via a fund-raising effort involving Sports Beyond — an organization headed by former East High player Rick Walker with assistance from other ex-Knights. The district won’t have to pay a penny, said Bryan Garinger, a member of the two title teams who has been instrumental in getting this project completed. Current Bremerton High coach Casey Lindberg, who happens to be Eathorne’s stepson, plans to bring back the Ken Wills Award to the program. It went to the most dedicated at the season-ending awards dinner for years. No question, bringing back this tradition — and educating young athletes about the past — can be the start of something good for Bremerton High. Rick Torseth, among the former East High members who was at Thursday’s school board meeting, said, “When I was a kid all I wanted to do was wear black and white and play for East Bremerton. Somehow by the time we got there, we knew what that meant. We knew what it meant to be on the team and how hard you had to work. If there’s a way of bringing some of that back, it’s going to help kids progress on the court, but mostly off the court.” Torseth looked around at his former teammates who were at the board meeting. “We’re all still together, doing all that stuff because that’s what (Eathorne) taught us,” he said. “Look, we’re still a team. If you’re going to go far, you have to go together.” And if you’re going to go far, you can’t be afraid of hard work.”

That’s what Wills taught Eathorne, who was one of many players he sent on to play major-college basketball. “What Wills showed me was that if you wanted to be good, there was no easy way to do it,” he said. “If you wanted to be a shooter, then go out there and shoot. You can’t dream it. Nowadays, I see so many players out there who are dreamers.”


Sele: ‘I Was Boring’

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Tacoma News Tribune reporter Larry Larue talked to Aaron Sele, now a roving minor league pitching instructor for the Dodgers, at baseball’s winter meetings. Here’s the report on the former North Kitsap star who was inducted into the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame this summer:

Catching up with Sele: Aaron Sele is now a roving minor league pitching coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and happy to be in the game after a career that took him through a handful of teams – including Seattle.

“I was never a bad quote, I never misled anyone with an answer that wasn’t true,” Sele said, “but I was boring. In a clubhouse you need a few guys who’ll fill your notebook up – and a bunch of guys who won’t. I was one of those guys who didn’t.”

In retrospect, Sele said, he was a better pitcher than he believed at the time.

“Looking back now,” the former North Kitsap High and Washington State star said, “every pitch I ever threw was a strike.”

Here’s a story I wrote on Sele, the quiet competitor who is one of Kitsap’s all-time greats, in October prior to his induction into the local sports hall. I don’t think he was boring. He was just one of those guys who didn’t seek the limelight.


OC Basketball Featured on OPSN

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Scott Capestany and the Olympic Peninsula Sports Network previewed the Olympic College men’s basketball team. Scott’s show airs every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. on Channels 3 and 12. Here’s a link to the most recent show. It’s 9-plus minutes of interviews.


‘Watch Out for the Mariners’

Monday, December 7th, 2009

The M’s are making headlines in the offseason. Check out the following links:

SI.com: Seattle swiped Chone Figgins from the Angels. Is John Lackey next?

ESPN.com: M’s don’t deny interest in outfielder Jason Bay.

SI.com: Report says Felix Hernandez wants to become baseball’s next $100 million man. Plus, Adrian Beltre will reportedly decline the M’s offer of arbitration.

Seattle Times: Signing Chone Figgins only the start for the M’s.

Tacoma News Tribune: Ms’ on verge of signing everybody.


If M’s Sign Figgins, Who’s the Leadoff Hitter?

Friday, December 4th, 2009

By now, most of you have heard that the Mariners are reportedly close to signing free-agent third baseman Chone Figgins to a long-term deal.

If that happens, it means two things:

1) Adrian Beltre is gone. He wants a long-term deal and the M’s aren’t willing to give him one, which is why Seattle offered arbitration.

2) Manager Don Wakamatsu will have an interesting decision to make when it comes to making out his lineup card. Who do you hit at the top of the order — Figgins or Ichiro?

Figgins hit .298 with a .395 on-base percentage for the Angels last season. He also stole 42 bases, hti five home runs and drove in 54 runs.

Ichiro has been Seattle’s leadoff hitter for the past nine seasons. He hit .352 with a .386 on-base percentage. Ichiro hit 11 home runs, stole 26 bases and drove in 46 runs.

I would imagine they would hit 1-2, although if you go by the old adage that your best hitter should bat No. 3, then Ichiro would be the man.

Figgins isn’t as good as Beltre on defense — I’m not sure there’s a better defensive third baseman in baseball — but he’s close. Figgins is cat-like and has much stronger arm than one would expect from a player his size.

The Los Angeles Times, by the way, is reporting that the Angels haven’t been told that Figgins won’t re-sign with them. The Angels offered a three-year, $24 million deal, while the M’s have reportedly offered a four-year, $36 million deal.


Corley Cashes In at Vegas

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Silverdale’s Randy Corley — or Ran–deeeee Corrley, as his local pals like to announce when he walks into the room — was bypassed once again when the PRCA handed out is Announcer of the Year Award on Wednesday night in Las Vegas. It went ot Boyd Polhamus.

Corley’s won the award 10 times and just being nominated is enough, he once told me. Corley evidently finished second in the balloting and being No. 2 in this case isn’t all bad — he won $4,000. That’s nice money, especially if you’re in Las Vegas for two weeks.

Polhamus, Corley and Bob Tallman — the Big Three when it comes to announcing rodeo — will share the microphones  at the Dec. 3-12 National Finals Rodeo at Thomas & Mack Center.  It’s the 11th time Corley’s worked the Super Bowl of his sport. If you haven’t been to Vegas for the NFR, you’re missing one of the best shows around. Corley hosts the after-rodeo awards show at the South Point Casino. Corley shins in that atmosphere.


And congratulations to Haley Schneeberger, who was named the Rodeo Secretary of the Year for the second straight year. Anybody who’s dealt with Schneeberger, who works the Kitsap Stampede, can understand why those her industry consider her the best at what she does.

Looking for the TV schedule for the finals? Click here. You’ll also find the contestants and can keep track of results at PRCA.com. Many of the same cowboys that competed at the Kitsap Stampede and Xtreme Bulls event are in Las Vegas, chasing rodeo glory and gold buckles.

Following former world champion bareback rider Clint Corey — a Central Kitsap grad — in the 1990s turned me into a rodeo fan. I can’t think of better athletes to deal with. Sometimes the stories just write themselves, the people and the animals are that colorful.



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