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 April, 2011

Wilson rides the pine again; video of Wilson’s great DP

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Seattle infielder Jack Wilson apparently hasn’t gained the trust back from manager Eric Wedge because he wasn’t in the lineup for the third straight day.

Wilson drew Wedge’s ire when he took himself out of Wednesday’s game at Texas after making two errors in the third inning that allowed three earned runs. It was a big issue on the M’s Opening Night on Friday. Here’s what I wrote about the controversy. And here’s what Wedge had to say the following day.

And in case you missed it, here’s one of the greatest defensive plays you’ve ever seen. Made by, of course, Jack Wilson. Announcer Dave Sims didn’t do this one justice.

<a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=13467867">http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=13467867</a>


Freddy ‘Boom Boom’ chasing history at the Masters

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Jack Nicklaus was 46 when he won the Masters 25 years ago. Can you imagine what they’ll be saying if Fred Couples can do it at age 51?

Seattle’s beloved Couples — is there anybody out there who doesn’t like the guy with that smooth, rythmic swing? – flirted with us a year ago when he finished sixth at Augusta.

Couples, who won the Masters in 1992, made another charge up the leaderboard on Friday. They player they used to call ”Boom Boom” shot a 4-under 68 and if he can throw down another low number on Saturday, the Masters is going to make for some must-see TV on Sunday.

Here’s some trivia for you: When Couples attended O’Dea High, he played in the Olympic League against Kitsap-area golfers for at least one season. I believe it was 1975, but I might be off a year. For a while, there was a story going around that Couples played some of those OL matches in his bare feet, but it turned out to be another urban myth.

If Couples can somehow find a way to be wearing the green jacket on Sunday night, his accomplishment would go down as the greatest story in golf history. Wouldn’t it? What else would rival it?


Looking for something to do?

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

If you’re looking for a sporting event to sink your chops into, you’ve got a lot of options.

THE MARINERS: Seattle opens a six-game homestand tonight at Safeco Field. Cleveland’s in town for three games, followed by Jose Bautista and the Toronto Blue Jays. Bautista’s out to prove he is worth tthe five-year, $65 million contract he signed with the Blue Jays during Spring Training.  I don’t think his 54-home run campaign in 2010 was a fluke and this is your chance to check him out. Wednesday’s game is a businessman’s special, starting at 12:40 p.m.

THE PREPS: There’s some interesting games on tap. Central Kitsap hosts Bellarmine on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. at Silverdale Stadium in a Narrows League soccer showdown. On Wednesday, rivals North Kitsap and Kingston tangle in baseball (in Kingston) and South Kitsap is at Central Kitsap in softball. Both start at 4 p.m. Remember, CK plays at Linder Field in downtown Silverdale. … On Saturday, you can stop by Port Orchard to watch the South Kitsap Tennis Invitational before heading over to Seattle to watch Olympic take on Foss in baseball at Safeco Field (12:30 p.m.) and South Kitsap plays Walla Wall in fastpitch at Husky Stadium (4 p.m.). And if high school track is your thing, head east for the Pasco Invitational, arguably the best meet in the state other than Star Track.

THE VILLOPOTO: Ryan Villopoto has homes in Florida and California but still considers Poulsbo home. He’ll be trying to defend his Supercross title in Seattle on Saturday at Qwest Field (7 p.m.).

THE RAINIERS: Tacoma plays its first game in its new digs. The name’s the same, but Cheney Stadium has undergone a $30 million re-model and has a new look and new feel. And it’s a chance to see prize prospect Dustin Ackley before he heads to the big team up the road in I-5.

THE SOUNDERS: If you can score a ticket, the Chicago Fire is in town for a 1 p.m. game on Saturday. Then walk over and pick up your Felix Bobblehead and watch the M’s take on Cleveland.

Coming soon: The Kitsap Pumas open another Premier Development League season on May 1 at Vancouver, B.C. First home game is May 8 vs. Vancouver at Memorial Stadium. … The Tim Higgins Memorial Golf Tournament for high schoolers is April 28 at Kitsap Golf & Country Club. … The Kitsap Bears open the semi-pro season on April 23 at Silverdale Stadium, the same day as the South Kitsap Invitational, the area’s top meet for high school track and field.

Music tip fo the week:


Links: On M’s, Jake, Jimmer, Butler’s Stevens, and UW’s McGruff

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

The Mariners are off to a 2-1 start after a season-opening series at Oakland (Mike Henderson of crosscut.com tries to put it in perspective), but they’re about to find out how good  they are. The next three games are in Texas against the Rangers, a team that is coming off a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox. Texas hit 11 home runs in three games and outscored the  Red Sox 26-11.

Erik Bedard will try to tame the defending AL West and AL champs tonight. Rookie Michael Pineda will be baptized into the majors on Tuesday and then King Felix, who make it look so easy during an Opening Day complete game, takes his shot at the Rangers in an early-season matchup that everybody will be watching. We’ll have a better idea of who these M’s are after this series. Art Thiel of sportspressnw.com says the M’s will aspire to averageness.

Ichiro, meanwhile, hinted that he wanted to play until he was 40 or beyond and do it wearing a Mariners’ uniform. This report is also from sportspressnw.com.

Here’s some more recommended reads:

Jim Trotter of SI.com says you shouldn’t read too much into Jake Locker’s impressive Pro Day workout. The UW quarterback has become this year’s most intriguing draft prospect.

Rick Reilly of SI.com stirred up the BYU Nation when he questioned whether Jimmer Fredette had the game to succeed at the next level. Reilly summed it up nicely: But you think this barely 6-2 kid with no speed and YMCA hops can be the next Maravich or Ainge or Westbrook? Fredette about it.

Brad Stevens is Gonzaga’s Mark Few on steroids. Butler’s the coach of the Butler Bulldogs, the major-level team that plays in a mid-major conference. But will Stevens, like Few, choose to move on to a higher profile, higher-paying  job? Read Dan Wetzel’s Yahoo! Sports column on the coach that looks more like a priest than he does a basketball coach.

Kevin McGruff is his name and he’s the new women’s basketball coach at the University of Washington. Comes from Xavier, which has been among the top women’s programs in the country during his tenure.


Quick Hits on a Final Four weekend: Bloomquist gets 3 hits in Diamondbacks’ opener

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

Port Orchard’s Willie Bloomquist got the start at shortstop on Opening Day because of an inury to Stephen Drew. He was 3 for 6, including a single to the right side that moved the eventual winning run to third base in the 11th inning of a 7-6 win at Colorado on Friday.

“Willie just saw the hole. He puts the bat on the ball. He’s been great all spring. He’s very scrappy. He takes what’s given to him. He’s a very smart ballplayer,” manager Kirk Gibson said.

Two pitches later, Bloomquist took off for second. Colorado’s Matt Lindstrom threw a low-inside fastball that the catcher could not handle and the winning run scored from third.

Bloomquist played mostly second base during the spring, but has played 150 games at shortstop over his eight-year career, including 38 in 2009 for the Royals.

“We’ll find out,” Bloomquist said before the game. “It’s one of those things where when you bounce around as much as I do, you really never get completely comfortable in one spot before you’re off to the next spot. So it’s just one of those things where you learn to deal with it and be comfortable being uncomfortable. I’m just going to go out and play as best I can.”

Of course, the Willie haters are already taking shots at him. Read this post.

Quick Hits

In case you missed it, outfielder Aaron Cunningham will start the season at Triple-A Tuscon. The South Kitsap grad was among the last player cut by the San Diego Padres. Tucson visits Tacoma May 2-5. … Bremerton’s Glenn Carden has reached the finals of the U.S. Handball Association’s Veteran Golden (55-over) singles tournament in Tucson, Ariz.  Carden, the No. 2 seed, will face No. 1 seed Vern Roberts in Sunday’s finals. Carden’s been destroying his competition, allowing just 29 points while steamrolling his first three opponents (21-5, 21-5; 21-4, 21-4; 21-4, 21-7). .. Western Washington softball pitcher Erika Quint, a senior from Central Kitsap and Olympic College, improved to 17-0 with two wins in a tournament in Turlock, Calif., on Friday. I’m currently working on a story on Quint. Look for in the next day or two. … It was only one game, but you had to like what you saw out of Felix Hernandez and the Mariners in their 6-2 win at Oakland on Friday. Felix was really on as he threw the first complete game on Opening Day in franchise history. Looked like he could hit any spot. I liked the way catcher Miguel Oliva handled him, too. He’s a major upgrade at that position. And now you know why Oakland lived with all of Jack Cust’s strikeouts. The guy walked three times and those walks are as good as a single.

Finally, the Final Four

As I wrote in an earlier post, I like Butler. Got to. I’ve got the Bulldogs in a poll. Do I think they’ll win it all? No.  I think Kentucky beats UConn and Butler holds off Virginia Commonwealth today. In Monday’s finals, the blue bloods make it look easy and Butler finishes second for the second straight year.


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