Monthly Archives: June 2010

Willie Bloomquist on Red Sox Radar?

Port Orchard’s Willie Bloomquist is scheduled to return to Safeco Field with the Kansas City Royals next week. The three-game series starts Monday, July 5.
Bloomquist, a former Mariner, has also been linked to trade rumors. The Boston Red Sox lost second baseman Dustin Pedroia for six weeks with a broken leg, and Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star wrote that the Sox might be interested in Bloomquist or Mike Aviles, a Kansas City infielder.

Boston acquired Eric Patterson from Oakland earlier this week, so I don’t know if Bloomquist makes sense. Patterson’s expected to share time with Bill Hall and Angel Sanchez as the Red Sox try to make do without Pedroia.

Boston did show a lot of interest in signing Bloomquist when he was a free agent following the 2008 season, his last in Seattle.  The veteran  infielder/outfielder, by the way, is good friends with Pedroia. Both played at Arizona State and have spent time together in Hawaii during the offseason.

If Boston doesn’t like what it’s getting out of the Patterson-Hall-Sanchez threesome, maybe they will cast their eyes toward Kansas City and try to deal for Bloomquist.

Bloomquist is hitting .236 and went 5-for-8 in the last two games in started — June 27-28.

The Blue Bus, May It Rest In Peace — 1992-2010

caption id=”attachment_1712″ align=”alignleft” width=”300″ caption=”Kitsap players load up for the trip home after playing in Bend in 2007.”][/caption]
The “Blue Prison,” one of the many names given to the Kitsap BlueJackets’ bus, finally gave out on a road trip earlier this month.
The 1992 Blue Bird, originally a school bus,  blew an engine on the way back from Kelowna, B.C., about 15 minutes from the U.S. border.
“We were making good time,” said Kitsap assistant Ryan Parker, the head coach at Olympic College, “and then we heard a bunch of weird noises in the engine area.”
Bus driver Kay Smith, sister of Kitsap owner Rick Smith, pulled it over on the side of the road immediately, said Parker.
As soon as she turned the ignition off, black smoke engulfed the bus that hauled the players around the Northwest.
I’ve been told, but haven’t been able to confirm, that Kitsap owners have bought, or are in the process of buying, a used charter bus for their summer college team.
Kitsap’s currently in Moses Lake. They arrived in Moses Lakes’ bus. The new ride is supposed to arrive on Thursday and haul them to Bellingham for Friday’s West Coast League game before getting them back to Bremerton for Saturday’s non-league game against Lacey.
The “Blue Bus,” will be remembered fondly by this writer, who took a trip to Bend with the team in July of 2007. Photographer Larry Steagall tagged along.

Some of the players, at the time, suggested writing to “Pimp My Ride” — the MTV show where rapper Xzibit and his team of car customization specialists turn clunkers into street-dream masterpieces.

“TVs in the back of every head rest,” deadpanned catcher Lawson Hipps. “A stripper pole in the back.”

The Blue Bus never got the makeover, but the Jackets got a lot of miles out of it. If that Blue Bus could talk, I bet it would have some stories to tell.

Here’ a link to that 2007 story, which gives you some insight into what it’s like on the road for these college players. I apologize for a couple of typos that weren’t caught when the story was originally published.

Entertaining Stuff From Across the Atlantic

If you’re following the World Cup, or even if you’re not, check out this column in the Daily Telegraph on  England’s demise. It’s hilarious. Don’t want to steal all of its thunder, but here’s the last paragraph:
We are England, beacon of preternatural footballing cluelessness to the world, and to that right now there seems nothing useful to add.

And here’s another opinion piece. A sample:

The usual suspects are lined up, ready for the millions of eyewitnesses to the crime to identify, try and judge them. The court of public opinion is in full session.
The manager, of course, standing there with his Gucci glasses, his granite gaze and his £6 million, iron-clad contract, is first among them. Guilty. Then the players, these princes among men who turned out, four times, to be nothing more than kings of wishful thinking. Guilty.
And the FA, the “amateur” organisation who have failed to address the root causes of England’s consistent, predictable failure. Guilty. Let them all hang.

Those blokes are pretty serious about this soccer stuff, huh?

Here’s some more British tabloid reviews, as reported by the Associated Press:

British newspapers criticized England’s World Cup squad and called on coach Fabio Capello to quit after the elimination by Germany.
Sunday’s loss in Bloemfontein was marked by a refereeing mistake that denied England’s Frank Lampard a goal, sparking fresh calls for goal line technology or video replays.
But the papers’ anger was mainly directed at the players and Capello.
The Sun summed up the mood, devoting its front page to a banner headline: “You let your country down.”
The back page of the mass-circulation tabloid read “Time’s up Fab,” and printed a photo of the players alongside the statement, “Go — and take these losers with you!”
A Daily Mail columnist echoed the view shared by other papers with the headline: “A man of honor would resign, Capello.”
The Daily Mirror headlined “FabiGo” on its back page, adding: “England are humiliated but coach calls it a good performance … sorry Capello, you should quit in shame.”
The paper was no kinder on its inside pages, sneering at Capello’s salary. It led with “6 million pounds a year … but not worth a penny. Arrogant Capello has blown it.”
Having dealt with Capello, the Mirror then turned its fire on the players with a two-word headline across two pages: “Bloody shambles,” saying “Forget the goal that should have been given, forget heroic failure … this was simply pathetic.”
There was no respite for Capello and his men. The Daily Telegraph headline read: “Capello got it wrong and now must go.”
Its report began with “Time to go, grazie and arrivederci. Why? Not just because of 4-1 but because of 4-4-2. Even when stepping over the stiffening corpse of England’s World Cup campaign, Fabio Capello refused to acknowledge that his system was to blame.
“As Capello will not change his system, England must change the manager.”
For The Guardian, “England are outfought and outdated in falling to worst World Cup defeat.” It added: “England leave the World Cup and should take up immediate residence in a museum of football history. The tactics creaked as painfully as the veterans.”
Despite the outcome, England’s match against Germany drew a peak audience of 17.5 million people.

Washington’s Locker Gets Full-Meal Deal at ESPN

Some of you might have caught some of Jake Locker’s interviews on ESPN today. He was all over the network. The UW’s website covers Locker’s busy day.

It’s all part of Locker’s Heisman Trophy tour as Washington athletic officials show off the Husky quarterback. The UW entourage visited New York on Sunday.

While on the subject, here’s an interesting read at CBSSports.com. Christian Ponder of Florida State evidently graded out the same as Locker by NFL scouts. Locker’s considered by most to be the consensus No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft.

Meanwhile, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports that the Huskies might be in line to get a commitment from a prep quarterback in Hawaii.

Pumas: Year 2 As Good As Year 1?

The jury’s still out on the Kitsap Pumas.

Personally, I think they’re putting out a pretty entertaining product. And the atmosphere at Bremerton Memorial Stadium is pretty cool. (Hey, Lance, can I get you to come over and get my lawn in shape?)

I sat down on the field for the U.S. Open Cup game against Portland, a 4-1 loss, and felt like I was practically in the game. Portland’s Bright Dike (Dee-Kay) looked like Jim Brown the way he was bullying his way past Kitsap defenders. I was entranced by his strength and athleticism.

Will the Pumas ever pack the place? I’m starting to have my doubts. I figured the youth soccer kids would come to games in droves, along with their parents. But so far, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

I’m not paying the bills (or the players in the Pumas’ case), but  maybe it’s OK to average 700 or 800 fans? Maybe it was a pipe dream to think the Pumas would put 3,000 fans in the stands? We are, by and large, a pretty apathetic bunch when it comes to supporting things in Kitsap County. Me? I’d rather watch the Pumas than the Sounders, or go to a BlueJackets game than ride the ferry to watch the Mariners. But I know I’m in the minority when it comes to that.

David Falk of the Seattle Examiner addressed some of the Pumas’ issues in this blog post, one that the Pumas apparently took down on their Facebook site. Some of the comments aren’t so complimentary, but that’s OK. If I was in the Pumas’ front office, I’d take it as a compliment that people are showing so much passion. At least they care, and that’s a good thing.

Terrel Hansen One of Brightest Suns in Jacksonville History

The Jacksonville News recently named Bremerton’s Terrel Hansen to its all-time Jacksonville Suns baseball team. The Suns, a Double-A team in the Southern League, have been arund 40 years, and Hansen is the only player in franchise history to hit 20 or more home runs in three different seasons.
Hansen, now coaching the West Sound Blaze U17 team, played four seasons (1990, 94-96) in Jacksonville and is the club’s career leader in home runs with 90. Hansen spent 13 years in the minors, six at Triple-A, and two days in the majors with the Mets. Bremerton’s original “Crash Davis” never got a big-league at bat.
–This is what Tampa Rays’ scouting director R.J. Harrison had to say about Drew Vettleson, the Central Kitsap senior the Rays used the 42nd overall pick in baseball’s amateur draft on. “(He’s) a kid we scouted pretty good the last year and just one of those kids that at every event we saw him, you walk away and go, ‘Boy that guy can really hit.’”
–Paul Kirsch, who scouts the state for the Rays, is the same guy who had a hand in drafting Jason Hammel, the South Kitsap grad who’s become a mainstay in the Colorado Rockies’ organization. A few years back, Kirsch was also the signing scout for Port Angeles pitcher Jeff Ridgway.
–If the Kitsap Pumas get past the Bay Area Ambassadors (Tuesday at Bremerton Memorial Stadium) and Portland Timbers in U.S. Open Cup, they could possibly face the Seattle Sounders in the quarterfinals.
–The USA National Roller Hockey Championships will be held July 11-16 at Skateland in Bremerton, which is one of the sport’s meccas. The host Bremerton Hurricanes have won over 100 nationals titles. As many as 50-60 teams are expected to roll into town, said Hurricanes’ coach Frankie Lee. Lee, who turns 50 in October, will also be playing in the men’s premier division.

College Expansion: Change, Change, Change

Having trouble getting your head around all of this talk about Pac-10 expansion and super conferences? Here’s a some stories that might help you understand what’s going on:
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports! writes that the Big 12 is on the verge of collapse and that expansion is going to forever alter college athletics as we now know it.

Bruce Feldman of ESPN The Magazine talks about the Pac-10′s power play in this video. 

Is Baylor the deal-breaker in the Pac-10′s plans?

What’s going on with Boise State? What does all this expansion talk mean to the Broncos? Read this ESPN.com blog.

Here’s a report in newjerseynewsroom.com that says former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue has stepped in to help the Big East  plot its future.

Golf Dawgs Are Done; Troy Kelly Update

Washington’s hopes for a national championship were detrailed, for the second straight year, in the quarterfinals of match play.
Oregon beat the Huskies 3-and-2 earlier today on The Honors Course at Chattanooga, Tenn.
It came down to the 18th hole with the final pairing. Oregon sophomore Eugene Wong won 1 up over Nick Taylor, who missed an 18-foot birdie try that would have sent the match to extra holes.
Washington was coming off wins in the Pac-10 tournament and NCAA West Regionals, which were held at Gold Mountain.
Kelly Fires 67: Troy Kelly finished with five straight birdies today to shoot a 4-under 67 at the Melwood Prince George’s County Open, a Nationwide Tour event on the University of Maryland Golf Course. He’s at 2-under 140 for the tournament and tied for 53rd, which is on the cut line right now.
Kelly Update: He’s now tied for 63rd and it looks like he’ll miss the cut by a stroke.

Bobsled Coach Weighs in On Bloomquist’s Olympic Dream

Hold on Willie, Brian Shimer, coach of the Olympic men’s bobsled team, says making the transition from baseball to bobsledding might be more difficult than you think. Read this blog in the Kansas City Star.

In case you missed it, Port Orchard’s Willie Bloomquist and Kansas City Royals’ teammate Jason Kendall both expressed a desire to be bobsledders once their baseball careers come to an end. Here’s the original story by Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.

Wonder what Bremerton’s Bree Schaaf, a member of hte women’s Olympic bobsled team, thinks about this? I’ve got a call into Bree and will let you know when I catch up with her.

Following the Huskies at the NCAA Golf Championships

Washington, a runaway winner at the NCAA West Regionals at Gold Mountain earlier this month, is currently tied for fifth with a few holes left during the first round at the NCAA Championships, which got under way earlier today at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tenn. The UW needs to be among the top 8 teams after 54 holes of stroke play in order to advance to the match-play portion of the event. Match play runs Friday through Sunday.
Best place to follow the Huskies is at their own web site. SID Brian Tom is doing a nice job of blogging and posting updates. Live scoring is available at golfstat.com.
You can also follow Husky coach Matt Thurmond on twitter.