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 July, 2012

UW opens Pac-12 basketball season vs. WSU

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Washington will open the Pac-12 basketball season on the road …. at Washington State (Jan. 5). The Huskies player their first three conference games on the road. Here’s the Huskies’ complete 2012-13 schedule and here’s the school’s press release:

SEATTLE — The Pac-12 Conference released the men’s basketball schedule for the 2012-13 season and Washington will open with three games on the road.
The 2012 Pac-12 champions start the conference slate with a rivalry battle at Washington State (Jan. 5). They continue their road swing with stops at California (Jan. 9) and Stanford (Jan. 12). The three-game road trip for Washington will come on the heels of a cross-country game vs. Connecticut (Dec. 29) to wrap up the non-conference portion of its schedule.

The Huskies first home series will come on Jan. 16 and Jan. 19 when they will host Colorado and Utah for the first time in Pac-12 action. Last season, the Buffaloes and Utes did not travel to Alaska Airlines Arena.

Washington hits the road again for a trip to the Willamette Valley, facing Oregon State on Jan. 23 and Oregon on Jan. 26. They return home to wrap up the first half of the conference schedule by hosting Arizona (Jan. 31) and Arizona State (Feb. 2) — a series that will mark the only Thursday-Saturday meetings for UW during the Pac-12 schedule.

Its back on the road for the Dawgs to start the second half of the Pac-12 schedule when the Huskies play at UCLA and USC on Feb. 7 and Feb. 10, respectively. They will return home after that and play five of their final seven games in the friendly confines of Alaska Airlines Arena.

Oregon (Feb. 13) and Oregon State (Feb. 16) visit Seattle before the Huskies wrap up the road portion of their schedule at Arizona (Feb. 20) and at Arizona State (Feb. 23).

Washington ushers in March with home contests against Washington State (March 3) and USC (March 6) before saying goodbye at home to its seniors on March 9 against UCLA.

In all, Washington will play six conference games on Wednesday, twice on Thursday, eight times on Saturday and twice on Sunday. The Pac-12 will announce game times and TV broadcasts in late August.

Washington will not play at Colorado or Utah this year and will not host California or Stanford.

The Huskies will embark on a European and Senegal summer tour starting Aug. 25.


Wilson, Johnson and rest of M’s all-time bests

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

The best pitcher (Randy Johnson) and best catcher (Dan Wilson) were inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Seems appropriate to come up with the Mariners’ all-time best team (along with my personal all-time favorite M’s team). It’s probably a lot like yours:

C: Dan Wilson (all-time best); Wilson (my personal favorite)

1B: John Olerud (all-time best); Olerud (my personal favorite)

2B: Brett Boone (all-time best); Harold Reynolds (my personal favorite)

SS: Alex Rodriguez (all-time best); Omar Vizquel (personal favorite)

3B: Adrian Beltre (all-time best); Belte (personal favorite)

LF: Phil Bradley (all-time best); Raul Ibanez (personal favorite)

CF: Ken Griffey Jr. (all-time best); Griffey (personal favorite)

RF: Ichiro Suzuki (all-time best); Jay Buhner (personal favorite)

DH: Edgar Martinez (all-time best); Martinez (personal favorite)

Starting pitchers: Randy Johnson, Felix Hernandez, Mark Langston, Freddy Garcia, Jamie Moyer (all-time best); Johnson, Hernandez, Garcia, Chris Bosio, Aaron Sele (personal favorites)

Relief pitchers: Arthur Rhodes, Jeff Nelson, Jamie Putz, Norm Charlton, Kazuhiro Kawasaki, George Sherrill (all-time best); Rhodes, Charlton, Billy Swift, Bill Caudill, Ryan Franklin, Mike  Schooler

Manager: Lou Piniella (all-time best); Piniella (personal favorite)


Linden re-writing record books at Triple-A Fresno and more links, updates on Kitsap athletes

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Todd Linden said guys might “rag” on him for spending so much time in Triple-A baseball, but he’s OK with it after setting another franchise record with the Fresno Grizzlies of the Pacific Coast League.

The Central Kitsap grad broke the triples record on Wednesday and now holds nine club records — including home runs, most hits and most games played. He’s hitting .282 for Fresno.

“Everything I’ve got is from the game of baseball,” he told the Fresno Bee, “and a lot of my best memories have come from playing in this uniform.”

Here’s the complete story.

Another Central Kitsap grad, Drew Vettleson, had a three-hit game, raising his average to .294 for the Bowling Green Hot Rods, the Tampa Bay Rays’ Class A team in the Midwest League. It’ll be interesting to see if the Rays promote him to the Charlotte Stone Crabs of the higher Class A Florida State League or Double-A Montgomery Biscuits of the Southern League. Tampa Bay’s Triple-A team is the Durham (N.C.) Bulls.

Linden was the No. 41 overall pick in the 2002 MLB draft buy the San Francisco Giants, and was resigned by the Giants’ organization in the offseason. Vettleson was the No. 41 overall pick in 2010. The only local player drafted higher? Poulsbo’s Aaron Sele, who went to the Red Sox 23rd in the first round of the 1991 draft.

Aaron Cunningham, meanwhile, has designed for assignment by the Cleveland Indians and is waiting to see if anyone claims him. If the South Kitsap grad passes through waives he’ll be assigned to Triple-A Columbus.

Willie Bloomquist got his average up to .307 earlier this week, but the Diamondbacks infielder is at .299 going into the weekend. The South Kitsap grad is now back in more of utility role with the D’backs since shortstop Stephen Drew returned to the lineup and third baseman Ryan Roberts was traded. Willie’s seeing time at both spots, filling in for Drew and splitting time at third with Cody Ransom, who was just called up from Reno.

North Kitsap grad Jared Prince continues to struggle at Double-A Frisco of the Texas League. The right fielder is 4-for-36 in his last 10 games and is hitting .213 overall.

More Kitsapers

Chad Reed is making a run at signing Ryan Villopoto, the top supercoss rider in the world, to a new contract. Villopoto will be in the final year of his deal with Kawasaki and Reed wants the Poulsbo rider to be part of his Two Two Motorsports team. FYI: Villopoto recently threw out the first pitch at a Los Angeles Angels game.

Congrats to ex-Bainbridge/Chimacum star Steven Gray, who has been invited to the Washington Wizards training camp.

PGA golfer Troy Kelly has the week off, but will be teeing it up in next week’s Reno-Tahoe Open, which uses a Stableford format. Kelly is ranked 167th in the world.

 


Check out our Olympics page

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

You can find updates on Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian and stories about the 2012 London Olympics at this page. Wire updates and features from London have been routed to go to this page, so it’s good place to find out what’s going on.


Ichiro links

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Some  linkage to ponder following another Seattle Mariners loss, this time 4-1 to Ichiro and the Bronx Bombers:

Here’s some MLB.com video from Monday’s game at Safeco Field. Ichiro high-gives the Ichimeter Lady before the game.

Ichiro made life a whole lot easier for the Mariners’ organization, writes Art Thiel of sportspressnw.com.

Ichiro Suzuki’s a fading star, but the iconic outfielder will fit right in with the Yankees. That’s what Tyler Kepner of the New York Times writes.

The trade caused shock waves in two nations, writes Erik Boland of Newsday, which calls it a 2 1/2 year month rental of a possible future Hall of Famer.

Sportspressnw.com takes a look at Ichiro’s glory years. Only Ken Griffy Jr. had more impact than Ichiro for a franchise that has never played in a World Series.

Analysis and twitter reaction to the deal that caught everybody by surprise.

We contract with the Tacoma News Tribune for our coverage of the Mariners. Here’s links to their stories, most of which were printed in Tuesday’s Sun:

Ichiro divorce has a good ending, writes columnist John McGrath.

Ichiro gets his wish, a trade to a contender. This is Todd Milles’ trade story.

Milles also visited the M’s clubhouse after Tuesday’s 4-1 New York victory to get reaction from the players.

A couple of fans from Bremerton were quoted in the fan reaction story. This one got squeezed off our printed pages.

Here’s a game story with a video of Ichiro’s single from ESPN.com. Sayonora Seattle, Hello New York.

On a night when everyone was saying good-bye to Ichiro, they were also saying good-bye to first baseman Justin Smoak, who was optioned to Tacoma. Smoak is hitless in his last 19 at bats (he’s 4-for-43 since the All-Star break) and his average has dropped to .189. Mike Carp will re-join the Mariners.

 


Ichiro’s a quote machine

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

You don’t think of Ichiro as a good quote. But the dude who will batting No. 9 and playing left field for the New York Yankees Monday night at Safeco Field, has had his moments.

Vince Dice, the assistant local news editor at The Sun and a former sports designer, has compiled a list of some of the things that Ichiro has said over the years.

I think you’ll enjoy some of these quotes:

“If there is a problem, we need to notice what creates the problem. The problem usually isn’t just on the cover. You need to look much deeper. For example, if we’re talking about a tree and the tree has a problem, you need to look at the root. But you cannot see the root. The mistake is to keep watering the fruit. That’s not going to solve anything.”
— On … well, we’re not sure what, in 2006

“Tiger is a great golfer, but … when you say athlete, I think of Carl Lewis. When you talk about (golfers or race-car drivers), I don’t want to see them run. It’s the same if you were to meet a beautiful girl and go bowling. If she’s an ugly bowler, you are going to be disappointed.”
— In a 2007 USA Today article, on what constitutes an athlete

“If I’m in a slump, I ask myself for advice.”
— On how to break a slump

“The ball became the same color as the sky. So, I wasn’t able to see it … I was sending mental signals for the ball not to come my way, because during that time of day it’s impossible for me to see the ball so I lacked mental signals. I lacked in that area. Usually, I don’t send mental signals. So, because this is the first time, I thought, please don’t come my way.”
— On missing a fly ball in 2007

“I hope he arouses the fire that’s dormant in the innermost recesses of my soul. I plan to face him with the zeal of a challenger.”
— about his first time facing Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2007

“To tell the truth, I’m not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to. If I ever saw myself saying I’m excited going to Cleveland, I’d punch myself in the face, because I’m lying.”
— About returning to Cleveland to make up a snowed-out game in 2007

“If I had spiritual powers and knew the ball was going to be landing there, then I would have. But I don’t have spiritual power.”
— about missing a fly ball in Yankee Stadium in May 2008

“Playing on this team and seeing what is happening around me, I feel that something is beginning to fall apart. But, if I was not in this situation, and I was objectively watching what just happened this week, I would probably be drinking a lot of beers and booing.”
— About a long M’s losing streak in 2008

“Usually I enjoy Japanese beer, but given the situation, if I was objectively watching the game, I wouldn’t care if it was Japanese beer, American beer or beer from Papua New Guinea.”
— When asked what sort of beer he’d be drinking

“I don’t know if it’s a good memory or a bad one. But when I first came over to play in the United States, I had a few teammates from the U.S. who had played on my team in Japan. So I had somewhat of an idea of what American players would be like.
“But when I met him, he was kind of a human being that you would never meet in Japan. So, whenever I was around him, I almost felt like I was witnessing a creature, not a human being. It was fun for me to watch him.”
About former teammate Bret Boone, 2008

“I was worried that there might not be any food after the game today. I was worried that if we won today, maybe they would continue the streak of not serving the food. … I felt it was kind of cute, actually. It’s something a parent would do to a young kid and that’s basically my emotion.”
On the day he drove in two runs in an 8-0 win over the Red Sox, which snapped a four-game M’s losing streak. The previous day (also the day manager John McLaren went on his infamous “Get After It” rant), GM Bill Bavasi had withheld postgame food and towels to punish the underachieving team. June 2008
“I feel so good it’s annoying.”
— clamoring to return to the lineup after missing seven games with a bleeding ulcer, April 2009

“There is a destiny. It’s like a girl you said goodbye to, and then you bump into the same girl again on the street so many times, because there’s a destiny to meet again. Maybe better, might as well get married if we are going to meet this frequently.”
On the possibility of playing South Korea a fourth time at the 2009 World Baseball Classic, March 18, 2009

“Chicks who dig home runs aren’t the ones who appeal to me. I think there’s sexiness in infield hits because they require technique. I’d rather impress the chicks with my technique than with my brute strength. Then, every now and then, just to show I can do that, too, I might flirt a little by hitting one out.”
Ichiro Suzuki, to the New York Times, August 2009

“There should be no reason for me to answer that question. I’m not here to play soccer.”
Responding to a question about whether he was frustrated to have been held out with a calf injury

“You can’t forget about him (Ken Griffey Jr.). I believe that even in this winter, in my sleep, he will appear in my dreams. To play together with that hero of mine, in the same uniform — and on top of that, in Seattle — that time we got, even now, seems like a dream. I believe that time with him will continue.”
About Ken Griffey Jr. in October 2009


Kitsapers in the Pros: Updates on Hammel, Bloomquist, Cunningham, Linden, Prince and Vettleson

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Here’s another installment of how our local major leaguers and minor leaguers are doing:

Jason Hammel

Position: P

Team: Baltimore Orioles

High School: South Kitsap

College: Treasure Valley (Ore.) Community College

Drafted: Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 10th round, 2002

Birth date: Sept. 2, 1982

Update: In the midst of his best big-league season, Hammel had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Monday, July 16, and is expected to be out at least a month. The knee has bothered him since May. Hammel was 8-2 at one point, and received All-Star consideration as he was one of five nominated to be voted on to the team by fans. Hammel’s currently 8-6 with a 3.54 ERA in 109.1 innings. He’s allowed 97 hits with 106 strikeouts and 39 walks. If he comes back and pitches well, the big right-hander should be rewarded with a handsome multi-year contract.

 

Willie Bloomquist

Position: OF/IF

Team: Arizona Diamondbacks

High School: South Kitsap

College: Arizona State

Drafted: Seattle Mariners, third round, 1999

Birth date: Nov. 27, 1977

Update: The return of Stephen Drew at shortstop has cut into Bloomquist’s playing time a bit, although the Diamondbacks are now using him at third base and also at shortstop. Drew’s struggled and there’s rumors that Arizona is trying to trade him. I also saw one report where Bloomquist could be traded. The 34-year-old’s stock has never been higher. After a solid 2011 in which he helped the D’backs win the  NL West, Bloomquist is having an even better year. He’s had four straight multiple-hit games, raising his average to .304. He was 3-for-4 with 3 RBIs in his last start on Saturday and is hitting .356 over his last 10 games. His on-base percentage is up to .330. He hasn’t hit any home runs this season after hitting four a year ago. He’s still aggressive on the bases, but he hasn’t been as effective as past years. He’s got seven steals, but has been caught stealing 10 times. He had 20 steals a year ago.

Aaron Cunningham

Position: OF

Team: Cleveland Indians

High School: South Kitsap

College: Everett Community College

Drafted: Chicago White Sox, sixth round, 2005

Birth date: April 24, 1986

Update: Used primarily as a defensive replacement in late innings, Cunningham’s played in 70 games and has just 96 at-bats. He’s finding out how difficult it is to hit when you’re at-bats are few and hard to get. He’s hitting .177 (1-for-12 in his last 10 appearances, which included two starts).

MINOR LEAGUERS

Todd Linden

Organization: San Francisco

Position: OF/IB/DH

Team: Fresno Giants, Class AAA Pacific Coast League

High School: Central Kitsap

Colleges: Washington, Louisiana State

Drafted: San Francisco Giants, first round (supplemental), 2001

Birth date: June 30, 1980

Update: It’s been a record-breaking year for the former major leaguer in Fresno. He broke the franchise record of most games played earlier this season. Linden set the franchise’s career home run record Thursday when he hit a second-inning homer in the Grizzlies’ 10-9 loss to Las Vegas. Linden’s eighth home run of the season was No. 80 for his career, passing Damon Minor’s 79. Linden tied Tony Torcato’s career hits record (530) on Saturday. After playing Independent League baseball in Canada a year ago, Linden’s return to Triple-A has been productive. He’s hitting .282 with 8 homers, 19 doubles, 4 triples and 47 RBI. He’s 11-36 (.306) over his last 10 games. He’s got a .370 on-base percentage and .449 slugging average. Linden’s been used at DH, first base and in the outfield.

Jared Prince

Organization: Texas Rangers

Position: OF

Team: Frisco RoughRiders, Class AA Texas League

High School: North Kitsap

College: Washington State

Drafted: Rangers, 34th round, 2009

Birth date: May 26, 1986

Update: It’s been a rough year at the plate of the Roughrider. Prince is 4-for-37 (.108) over his last 10 games, dropping his average to .219. He has shown more pop than in past seasons, hitting 9 home runs in 77 games.

Drew Vettleson

Organization: Tampa Bay Rays

Position: OF

Team: Bowling Green (Ky.) Hot Rods, Class A Midwest League

High School: Central Kitsap

College: None

Drafted: Tampa Bay Rays, first round (supplemental), 2010

Birth date: July 19, 1991

Update: Vettleson, who just turned 21, is looking more and more like the real deal. Check out his report.  The former switch-pitcher — he pitched with both arms through high school —  was 3-for-5 with a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning in a 10-9 loss to Clinton on Sunday. He had four RBIs in the game. He’s batting .310 (13-for-42) in his last 10 games and is at .290 for year with 9 HRs, 49 RBI and 16 steals. He leads the Hot Rods in hits (103) and runs (59) and is second in all of professional baseball in outfield assists with 16 (he had 10 in April, and Midwest League runners probably aren’t testing his arm much anymore).

 

Read more: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2012/jun/20/kitsapers-in-the-pros-hammel-having-career-year/?partner=RSS#ixzz21TlRY4bl


British Open: Kelly misses cut after 76

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Troy Kelly shot 6-over 76 in the second round of the British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club in England on Friday.

He was 8-over-par after 36 holes and didn’t make the cut.

Kelly was 1 over through seven holes, but took a triple bogey 7 on No. 7 and never got it going after that. I was told Kelly got a little TV time, but I didn’t see it. The cameras evidently caught him hitting out of one of those steep bunkers and he wound up in some deep rough. I’m guessing it was probably No. 7.

A couple weeks ago, after his second-place finish at the Greenbrier Classic, Kelly said he would likely skip next week’s Canadian Open. He’s played five straight weeks and six of the last seven. Kelly’s next tournament will be the Reno-Tahoe Open, which is Aug. 2-5 at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Montreux Golf & Country Club. The modified Stableford format will used in the PGA Tour event.

Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley (70-69—139) is currently tied for 15th. He tied for 44th in the Open Championship a year ago, which is his best finish in a major.

Stanley missed the cut at the U.S. Open in 2008, was 53rd at the U.S. Open in 2009 and missed the cut at the Masters and U.S. Open earlier this season. The former Clemson golfer was second at the Farmer’s Insurance Open in San Diego, losing in a playoff after leading by five strokes with nine holes to play. He came back the following week from eight strokes back on the final day to win the Phoenix Open, an unbelievable turnaround.

Kelly’s second-place finish at the Greenbrier was a similar feel-good story. The former Washington Husky All-American who grew up in Kitsap County was fighting hard to make enough dough to keep his card when he finally broke through during that memorable weekend in West Virginia.

 


KAR planning a comeback of sorts; Have you ever gone over the Tweet limit?

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

It’s too early to announce the details, but the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable is alive and, ah, well planning a comeback.

The local non-profit (originally the Bremerton Athletic Roundtable) has been in the business of supporting youth and amateur athletics in Kitsap County since 1967. Like a lot of service clubs, it’s had trouble rounding up new blood to help run things and the club hasn’t been as active as it once way. It still holds the annual Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame Banquet and puts together the annual high school all star games for baseball and softball, but monthly meetings have been hit and miss. Mostly miss.

That’s going to change.

The club is currently planning a 2012-13 kickoff meeting, hopefully for late August. It’ll be a joint UW/WSU football gathering with speakers from both universities. We (yeah, I’ve been part of the organization for years) think it’ll be a fun night. Look for more details in your favorite daily newspaper that’s located in downtown Bremerton. Or keep reading this space and you’ll find updates. The KAR hopes to raise some money to give back to the community.

Past corporate sponsors can expect a phone call or letter seeking your support.

A community like ours needs an organization like this. It’s not a good ole boys club. Females are welcome. And it’s not a Bremerton club. It serves the entire county and Belfair, too.

Like I said, more info will be forthcoming. Memberships are $25 and it all goes back to athletes in our area.

If you want more information, email me at cstark@kitsapsun.com.

***

Just read Ryan Divish’s account of the Tacoma Rainiers’ 18-inning game on Wednesday. Twitter shut the Twitter-mad Divish down after reaching the 1,000-Tweet limit. Read it all right here.

***

It hasn’t been announced yet, but Dick Baird is going to be honored as the Husky Legend at Washington’s first home football game, Sept. 1 at Century Link Field against San Diego State. The former Husky assistant/recruiting coordinator and current broadcast analyst for KJR, played at Washington State, where he was the team captain. Congrats to Dick, a Seattle native who remains indebted to our community for coming to his rescue when his house burned down while coaching at Olympic College. Dick and and his wife Kim live on Erickson Lake in Mason County, a short drive from Gold Mountain on the north side of the Hood Canal.
Baird was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Football Hall of Fame earlier this year.

***

Looking for a fun non-sports event. I can’t recommend the upcoming Sept. 18 show at Seattle’s Neptune Theater enough. Two of my favorites — James McMurtry and The Gourds, both from Austin — are playing. See ya there.

And closer to home, Chris Smither is coming to the Treehouse Cafe on Bainbridge Island on Nov. 15. That’s another show to put on your calendar.

 

 

 

 

 

 


British Open: Kelly cards 72, tied for 80th

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Troy Kelly finished with a 2-over 72 and is tied for 80th after the first round of the British Open. Here’s his scoreboard from Royal Lytham and St. Annes.

He tees off 2:48 a.m. Friday (Pacific) so his round will be over when most of us are drinking our morning coffee. The early tee times enjoyed better weather on Thursday and the scores reflected it.

10:20 a.m (Pacific, 6:20 p.m. in England): Troy Kelly birdies No. 7 and No. 9 and is 1-0ver, tied for 59th after nine holes at the British Open.

Kelly was in the second to last group off the tee. The golfers who went off in the morning played in ideal conditions and the scores reflected it. It’s starting to rain a bit and the wind’s blowing a little more now. The key is staying out of the rough. The greens are relatively flat and the players are making a lot of putts.

Ted Potter Jr., who beat Kelly in a playoff at the Greenbrier Classic two weeks ago, is also 1 over. He’s playing in the group ahead of Kelly.

I think making the cut for Kelly would be huge. To get four rounds under his belt in a major championship would be another step in the right direction for the former Central Kitsap and University of Washington player.

Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley shot even 70 and is currently tied for 37th.

Adam Scott’s the leader at -6 (64) at Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club.

Trivia: Fourteen of the 156 players in the field are from South Africa, ESPN just reported.


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