Back in the saddle again

I’m back to work after a little hiatus took me south of the border for a little rest and relaxation.

Our staff’s working hard on our special prep football section, which will publish Thursday, Sept. 1. You’ll find previews of all our local teams plus a cover story about Friday Night’s Unsung Heroes. You will find the standard info about the top returners and top newcomers, but also items on each team’s Game Changer and Hardest Hitter. We’ll also name the 5 All-Time Greatest players from each school. We know that will stir up some debates.

While I was gone, we also finalized a parternership with West Sound TV to live stream our football game of the week this season. We’ll have more details on that as we get closer to the season opener.

Got back just in time for one of my favorite events, the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede, which begins Wednesday night at Thunderbird Stadium. Four nights of rodeo are followed by the Xtreme Bulls event on Sunday afternoon. Looking forward to seeing stock contractor John Growney, annnouncer Randy Corley and all of the other regulars. The rodeo clan’s a fun bunch; the athletes among the toughest in any sport, and they’ll give you some of the best interviews around. Here’s a quote, courtesy of the PRCA:

“You learn how to live broke. I’m living a nightmare, chasing a dream.” — Third-year PRCA saddle bronc rider John Redig of Gavotia, Calif., telling the East Oregonian about his life on the rodeo trail.

I’m hoping to catch up with three-time world bareback champion Bobby Mote of Bend, Ore., during the Stampede. His mentor and former traveling partner was Clint Corey, the former world champ from Silverdale. See ya at the rodeo. I will be  the one that’s not wearing a cowboy hat or boots.

Quick Hits

Congrats to Olympic College baseball coach Ryan Parker, who was named coach of the Kitsap BlueJackets while I was on vacation. If Parker can have some success in the West Coast League’s summer wood-bat circuit, that could turn into a major recruiting tool for the Rangers.

Good luck to the Kitsap Bears, who leave for Lake Tahoe later this week. The 13-1 Bears will be playing for a national minor league football championship on Saturday. The opponent is the Pacifica (Calif.) Islanders.

Washington vs. Eastern Washington on Sept. 3 at Husky Stadium. Interesting opener. I think it’s gonna be closer than most people think. The Huskies are coming off a 7-6 season, its first winning campaign since 2002. The Dawgs are heading in the right direction, but aren’t there yet. Defending FSC champion and preseason No. 1 Eastern returns 15 starters, including senior defensive lineman and preseason All-American Rinard Williams from South Kitsap.

Charlie Whitehurst doesn’t have the mobility of Tarvaris Jackson, but he’s mobile, accurate and playing with a lot of confidence. I might be wrong, but I think he should be the Seahawks starting quarterback. Yeah, I know he’s only played against the second-stringers so far in exhibitions, while Tarvaris Jackson’s been facing the opposition’s No. 1 defense. I think Pete Carroll erred when he annointed Jackson as the No. 1 QB. What happened to the “always compete” part of Carroll’s philosophy?

The NFL lockout is over. Now, can we please skip the final two preseason games and start the real season.

Here’s hoping Jason Hammels, the South Kitsap product, gets things figured out on the mound. The right-hander had two solid seasons in Colorado, but has struggled mightily the second half of the season and was recently demoted to the bullpen by the Rockies. And there’s talk he might be traded in the offseason.

And here’s hoping the oft-criticized Willie Bloomquist, another South Kitsap grad, gets an opportunity to make his postseason debut with the Arizoan Diamondbacks, who are clinging to first place in the NL West. The Diamondbacks have reportedly discussed trading for Edgar Renteria, but Bloomquist has been more than adequate at shortstop since losing starter Stephen Drew to injury.

I’m planning to show up at an Oldtimers Fastpitch Reunion on Sunday in Lacey. It’ll be just like the old days when we car-pooled on Tuesday and Thursday nights to play doubleheaders in the old Puget Sound League. Only this time, a bunch of grayhairs who used to play the greatest game around are going to show up and share some stories and barbeque some chicken and drink some beverages. I wonder how many (any?) of us will be crazy enough to pick up a glove and bat and slap a few balls around the field?

A side note on the fastpitch reunion:  I think I’m forgetting one, but here’s a list of the teams I played for in B-town: Pay ‘N Pak, Warehouse Freight Sales (we wore the ugliest uniforms ever in ’76, red, white and blue with stars and stripes in honor of the 200th anniversary), Gene Lobe, Lakeshore Inn, Retreats, Kash-N-Dash, Pop’s Inn, Perry Avenue Sports Pub. Thanks to all the sponsors, especially the late Red Brown and Don Krick, and to John Pederson, the guy who recruited me and countless others to the sport.

I wish I could fit the Boeing Classic into my schedule this week, but it’s not going to happen. Look for Fred Couples to win the Champions Tour event at the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. Here’s the entire field.

While golf’s the subject, the Husky Invitational returns to Gold Mountain on Sept. 25-27. Some of the best college players around, including Washington’s Chris Williams, will be on display. Williams will play for the U.S. in the Walker Cup competition in Scotland, Sept. 10-11.

I was lucky to be part of an exclusive club: The Chuck Semanick Fullback Club. So here’s a quick plug for the Semanick Bremerton Alumni Golf Tournament, Sept, 17, at Rolling Hills. Shotgun start at 8 a.m. Cost $80 or $300 for a foursome (includes cart). All proceeds go toward the Semancik Foundation, which provides scholarships for Bremerton High student athletes. The non-profit awarded 11 $2,000 scholarships in 2011.







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

Please enter the word MILK here: