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 May, 2010

Five Things

Friday, May 7th, 2010

1. Pat Gillick, former GM of the Mariners and architect of World Series championship teams in Toronto and Philadelphia, is at Heidelberg Park in Tacoma today, presumably watching Central Kitsap’s Drew Vettleson. Gillick, who broke into the business as a scout, is currently an advisor to Phillis’ GM Ruben Amaro. Vettleson, by the way, was pitching for the Cougs, who were leading Stadium 2-0 after four innings. Vettleson’s expected to go as high as the second or third round in the June MLB draft. The pros like him as an outfielder/hitter, not as a pitcher.

2. How do you shake up the M’s lethargic offense? Don’ t know if it would make any difference, but I’d switch Ichiro and Chone Figgins in the batting order. Figgins, when he does get on base, is a bigger threat to steal. Bat Figgins first, Ichiro second, Franklin Gutierrez No. 3. After that, you might as well pull names out of the hat.

3. It was pointed out to me by one angry reader that Ed Faulk, the easy-going, greens superintendent, deserves some props for all the awards the Olympic Course gets. He’s right. Faulk and his crew do a magnificent job at Gold Mountain. In case you missed it, Gold Mountain was ranked No. 9 on a list of the top municipal courses in the country by Golfweek. Here’s the story I wrote. (And for what it’s worth, I did put in a call to Faulk before I wrote the story, but we never connected).

4. Good news for the Pumas. Season tickets are up about 30 percent (executive director Ben Pecora said the team has sold about 300) and sponsors are up “five-fold,” said Pecora. It’ll be interesting to gauge the Pumas’ attendance in their second season. Ownership has done its part as far as putting out a solid product. Kitsap’s only pro franchise appears to be even better this year. Bremerton Memorial Stadium is a cozy, fan-friendly venue, but will fans fill it up?

5. Dates to put on your calendar: May 15 (the Pumas home opener), May 20-22 (the NCAA West Regionals men’s golf tournament will be held at Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course), May 28-29 (the high school championship weekend for spring sports with events scattered aorund the state), June 3 (the annual high school baseball and softball all-star games at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds, sponnsored by the Kitsap County Bremerton Athletic Roundtable), June 4 (the Kitsap BlueJackets WCL opener at home against Corvallis), and June 15 (the annual sports banquet, co-sponsored by The Sun and KCBAR, which honors the top high school and Olympic College athletes and coaches).


Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course Rated 9th-Best ‘Muni’ in the Nation

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

The Olympic Course at Gold Mountain Golf Complex finds itself rubbing shoulders with some renown courses in a list completed by Golfweek magazine. The publication rates the Olympic Course the ninth-best municipal course in the United States. Here’s my story.

The top-10 courses on Golfweek’s Best Municipal Courses is topped by Bethpage State Park (Black) in Farmingdale, N.Y. Chambers Bay, the public course in University Place that will host the 2015 U.S. Open, is No. 2.

The rest of the top 10: 3, Butterfield Trail, El Paso, Texas; 4, Pinon Hills, Farmington, N.M.; 5, Torrey Pines (South), San Diego; 6, TPC Scottsdale (Stadium), Scottsale, Ariz.; 7, Indian Wells Golf Resort (Players Course), Indian Wells, Calif.; 8, Memorial Park, Houston; 9, Olympic Course, Bremerton; 10, Harding Park, San Francisco.

Bethpage hosted the 2009 U.S. Open and Torrey Pines hosted the 2008 U.S. Open.

The list is 50-deep and includes Indian Canyon from Spokane at No. 22.

The courses will be featured in its Friday, May 7, issue.

Gold Mountain doesn’t have the length to host the men’s U.S. Open, but director of golf Scott Alexander recently told me that he’d be interested in hosting a U.S. Women’s Open or U.S. Women’s Amateur. The Bremerton city-owned course hosted the 2006 U.S. Amateur Public Links and is preparing to host the U.S. Boys Junior in 2011.

Golfweek has more than 550 evaluators who rate the courses. More than 2,200 courses were surveyed. Routing, conditioning, variety and memorability of holes were among the critera used to rate the courses. The full criteria for evaluating the courses can be found at Top100.Golfweek.com/GolfweeksBest.


What Do You Do With Milton Bradley?

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

UPDATE: Jeff Baker of the Seattle Times is reporting that Milton Bradley will be out a few days to deal with “some personal issues.”

By now, most of you have heard about the latest Milton Bradley story. After looking at a third strike in the sixth inning with the bases loaded on Tuesday night at Safeco Field, the Seattle player reportedly threw his bat and helmet in the hallway behind the dugout. When the M’s took the field in the seventh inning, Bradley had been replaced in left field. Bradley popped out in his first at bat and looked at another third strike in his second at bat.

Speculation ran rampant. Manager Don Wakamatsu didn’t elaborate after the game, only saying it was time to get him out of the game. Bradley was no where to be found after the game. It turns out he left the ball park before the game ended.

But today, Bradley showed up at a scheduled event at a Seattle elementary school where he talked about what motivated him as a kid.

The latest Bradley incident — he flipped off a fan at Texas earlier this year and has had a number of other incidents in a career where he played with seven other clubs before the M’s traded for him — has been all over talk radio today. It now sounds like Bradley was frustrated with himself, not with Wak. Former Phillie John Kruk, now with ESPN, thought Bradley should be suspended for five games.

What do you think? Suspend him? Fine fine? Cut him loose? Start him tonight?

Bradley’s hitting .214 with two home runs. The player the M’s gave up to get him, pitcher Carlos Silva, is 2-0 with a 2.90 ERA for the Cubs.


Wednesday Morning Links

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Things to read and ponder on a Wednesday morning:

Peter King of Sports Illustrated writes about Charlie Whitehurst, who sounds confident in his ability to play in the NFL. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll likes what he’s seen so far.

The Mariners’ Milton Bradley was yanked from Tuesday’s game after looking at his second stright called third strike by manager Don Wakamatsu. There was reportedly a bat and helmet-throwing episode shortly after, though none of the beat writers were able to track down the full story.  Anyway, Bradley,the self-described “Kanye West of baseball”  is scheduled to appear at an elementary school this afternoon along with Ken Griffey Jr., Ichiro Suzuki, Mike Sweeney and Wakamatsu. Wonder if Bradley will be there? Wonder if he’ll be in the lineup tonight? Wonder if he’ll be with the team by the end of the month? Wonder if Griffey or Sweeney will be wearing M’s uniforms by the end of the month?

SI.com’s Joe Sheehan writes about the one-two punch of Seattle’s Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee, who pitches tonight. As good as they are, they won’t be winning many games. ”If the Mariners insist on playing without a catcher, left fielder and DH, while committed to defense-first players at first base and shortstop, their great rotation tandem will serve little purpose other than getting their fans home in plenty of time to catch the late local news.”

Here’s some video and reporting from David Falk of the Seattle Examiner on the Pumas’ season-opening 4-0 win at Yakima. 

The Pac-10 meetings will be held in Phoenix this week and Jon Wilner says he doesn’t expect any announcements about expansion. When it does happen — and it will — I think Utah and Colorado, or possibly Brigham Young, will be the additions.

The NCAA West Regionals are returning to Gold Mountain Golf Complex, May 20-22. The field will be announced on May 10. The host Huskies are as strong as they’ve ever been. Golfweek.com has the Huskies ranked No. 4 in its Golfweek/Sagarin College Ratings and senior Nick Taylor is ranked No. 3 individually. Golfstat.com has five Pac-10 schools in the top-10. Oregon is No. 1, Stanford No. 2 and Washington No. 5. Seems a little strange since the Huskies won the Pac-10 last week, but it’s all computerized based on season numbers. UCLA is No. 6, ASU No. 8 and USC No. 9. It’ll be interesting to see how many Pac-10 schools are sent to Gold Mountain.

Scott Alexander, the Gold Mountain director of golf and UW assistant, said the course has put in a bid for the 2012 or 2013 NCAA Championships. Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles is also bidding for the ’12 tournament and Alexander admitted that the renowned course is the likely favorite. Alexander’s hoping the NCAA will be willing to come back to  the West Coast for two straight years, something it’s never done.


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