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 December, 2012

So long and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 31st, 2012

This is my last official day, but as I wrote in this column, I might be retiring, but I’m not going away.

I will write a weekly column — first one is due Thursday — and some other stories for The Sun, including a monthly Q&A with a local sports personality. Willie Bloomquist, one of the many athletes I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a bit over the years, will be the subject of that first Q&A.

Jim Stevenson’s and his “golf buddies” wanted to know who the best local athlete I met over the years? Who was the best local athlete? What was my most uncomfortable interview? What’s the saddest story I had to write? What was the most heart-warming story I had to write? Was I ever suckered into writing a story about someone who might not have been credible? What was the sport I was most unfamiliar with that I had to write about?

Those are good questions. I’ll give them some thought and perhaps it’ll turn into a column or blog.

I’ve had some nice responses from a lot of people. On the other hand, I’m sure there’s a lot of people who are happy to see me go. If I didn’t return a phone call or email, I’m sorry. It wasn’t intentional. If I screwed up a story, I’m sorry. If it seemed like we favored one school or another when it came to high school coverage, I will not apologize. I don’t care if you counted the stories and pictures, or measured the number of inches, our staff is not guilty when it comes to favoring one school over another.

I’ve got one last box to load in my truck before riding off into the sunset.

Please stay in touch. If you’ve got story ideas, email me at chuckstark00@gmail.com.

And the good folks at The Sun are gonna let me keep this blog, so you can follow me here, too.

My twitter account’s going to change, but I haven’t gotten around to doing it just yet. When I do, I’ll let you know where you can find me in the twittersphere.

If you see me on the golf course,  at the YMCA knocking the handball around, at a local sporting event or out in the bay trying to catch a fish, stop by and say hello.

Best wishes and Happy New Year!

 

 


If this is Christmas …

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Why am I talking to Terry Mosher on Christmas about story ideas while waiting for our Texas designers to finish up the scoreboard page? Does Terry Mosher ever take a day off? Terry Mosher has spread a lot of good will in our pages over the years. I get asked all of the time how you subscribe to The Sports Paper Weekly that Mosher produces. OK, listen up: Call 360-792-9222 and say you want to subscribe. It’ll cost you $1.50 a week.

If this is Christmas, and it still is — at least for a couple more hours — why am I thinking about that two-week trip I’ve got planned to Arizona in mid-March?

And a couple of buddies tell me that it’s only 33 days until the Waste Management Phoenix Open. This PGA Tour event is golf’s version of the Georgia-Florida tailgate party. Sounds like fun, and you get to watch a little golf, too. It’s on the Bucket List. This year? I’m a definite maybe.

And if this is Christmas — and you know it is because the NBA’s the only game going on — then why didn’t I know that Nate Robinson was with the Chicago Bulls? And why doesn’t he play more. Nate scored 28 points in 27 minutes in a loss, and I just looked and saw where he bust loose for 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter last week while helping the Bulls beat the Boston Celtics. “I had to go back to my whole Peter Pan theory, man. You can’t fight without happy thoughts,” Nate said after that win.

And what’s holding up that scoreboard page, anyway? I can get home at a decent hour. I might have time to watch the ending of It’s a Wonderful Life. Fell asleep last night. What a wonderful movie. I asked my wife what it was about Jimmy Stewart that made him such a lady killer. “His charm,” she said. “He’s so charming.”

Saw that Washington might be losing another assistant coach from the offensive side of the ball. Joel Thomas, the former Port Angeles and Idaho star, took a job with Arkansas over the weekend. Good for Joel. Good guy and he must have done something right after working with Chris Polk for three seasons and Bishop Sankey this past year. The latest to go? Wide receiver coach Jimmie Dougherty is reportedly going to be the offensive coordinator at San Jose State. He was the OC at San Diego before coming to the UW and is getting back together with Ron Caragher, the former San Diego coach who is now at SJS.

It’s pretty quiet in The Sun newsroom tonight. Me and Herron Miller, who is putting the rest of the paper together. Reporter Amy Phan was in earlier. Other that that, it’s been eerily quiet. Which is a good thing because who wants to cover a big, breaking news story on Christmas Day.

There’s still plates full of cookies about 15 steps away, but somebody, please stick a fork in me. I’m done.

I think I heard the roar of the crowd at CenturyLink in Illahee Sunday night. I couldn’t make the game, but I wasn’t going to miss it. I jumped on the bandwagon after viewing the 58-0 demolition of the Cardinals. They followed it up with a 50-17 win over Buffalo, and tacked on a stunning 42-13 win over San Francisco that has put visions of Russell Wilson dancing in all of our heads. The only worry from here is did the-team-that-nobody-wants-to-play peak too soon? There’s still a week left in the regular season, then the Seahawks will have to stay hot for three more weeks to get to the Super Bowl. But if you ask me who I think will win the Super Bowl, right now I’d say the Seahawks. Nobody is playing better.

If this is Christmas, do you think Pete Carroll went Carrolling?

OK, that Clippers-Nuggets game has been over for a while. Jeez, 14 straight for the Clips? Who knew? Who cares? Let’s get it on the page and out the door before Christmas is over.

If this is Christmas, and even if it’s not, I’m giving Bree Schaaf a shout out. I haven’t talked to the Bremerton bobsledder since she had to pull out of the U.S. trials because her hip wasn’t 100 percent following surgery. Missing the current World Cup season has got to be killing the former Olympian. Schaaf, fifth at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, has had her heart set on competing in Sochi, Russia, in 2014. The odds seem longer now than they did a year ago, but don’t count her out. I won’t be surprised to see her back in a U.S. sled next year and competing in another Olympics the year after that. Get well, and give ‘em hell, Bree.

Here’s some good wishes for Kyler Talbot, too. The Silverdale excavator, who won a world’s offshore boat championship a couple years ago, is currently laid up after tearing a tricep muscle while in Florida. Get well, and give ‘em hell, Kyler.

Yes, I’m still waiting on that scoreboard page. Some of you probably didn’t know The Sun was designed in Texas. Yep, the business has changed. OK, I’m going to date myself, but when I started working here — I think it was ought 6 — I typed my stories on the same paper that I dried my hands off with in the bathroom. We had glue pots and pica poles and we pasted the pages together. Then somebody edited it before shoving it in a plastic folder and placing it in a conveyor belt that took it down to the print shop. Yes, we’ve come a long way, some of us not as far as others.

The cookies are starting to look pretty good again, and,well, it is still Christmas.

Wait! Stop the presses! A scoreboard proof just landed on my desk. It looks pretty clean to me. I’m gonna sign this puppy off and head home to enjoy the last hour of Christmas.

It’s a wonderful life, isn’t it.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, I hope your paper gets to your doorstep on time because they won’t be able to blame me. We beat deadline by an hour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Merry Christmas

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Wishing everybody the best Christmas ever, and for Seahawks’ fans, here’s a couple stories to tide you over while waiting for a ruling on Richard Sherman.

Art Thiel of Sportspressnw.com says the Hawks are the best in the NFC.

Did a Jim Harbaugh salute motivate the Seahawks? Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports writes about it.

And for M’s fans, hope you were wishing for a 40-year-0ld Raul Ibanez to show up in your stocking? As far as one-year deals go, that’s not a bad one. Now, if they can only petition the league to put four DHs in the batting order.


Adrian featured in Outside magazine

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Bremerton’s Olympic gold-medal winning swimmer Nathan Adrian is featured in an Outside magazine online interview.
Adrian was asked to name three things he’d like to cross off his bucket list during the expansive interview that appeared online Dec. 19.
He answered:
“Going to space with my medal — maybe I could chat with Richard Branson about that one.”
“Go bungee jumping.”
“Go canyoneering in a foreign country.”
To read the full story, go to outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/my-perfect-adventure/


Quick Hits: Congrats to Michael Krug, Seahawks’ links & more

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Port Orchard’s Michael Krug is one of four finalists for the US Youth Soccer’s national Competitive Coach of the Year award. Don’t know why the word competitive is included. Perhaps they have a rec coach of the year. Anyway, congrats are in order. The WestSound FC soccer coach — he guided South Kitsap to a Class 4A state title in his only year on the job at that level — is one of the best around.

More links

Seahawks ranked fourth in CBS’ power rankings.

Can Seahawks follow in the steps of George Halas and Sid Luckman?

Lots of newsy stuff in this seahawks.com blog by Clare Farnesworth. I especially like the quote from San Jose Mercury News columnist Mark Purdy: “Oh, I realize that the 49ers-New England matchup was supposed to be the most epic event in the history of the free world. But when you consider all the factors, beating Seattle is more paramount.”

Catching up with Isaiah Thomas, the former Washington star who is in some sort of sophomore funk with the Sacramento Kings. At least, that’s the tone of this story.

Not that we need to be reminded how much money today’s baseball stars are raking in, but check out this Joe Posnanski post on what some 30somethings are being paid.

Think Tim Tebow might be a good fullback for the Seahawks? He could learn from Michael Robinson and take over the position in a couple years. Meanwhile, Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports thinks the Canadian Football League could be Tebow’s salvation.


East-West Alumni games on Dec. 27

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Just wrote this brief for Wednesday’s paper. Here ya go:
There will be a dress rehearsal of sorts Wednesday night for the Dec. 27 East-West Alumni basketball game at Bremerton High.
Players from both squads, in addition to Bremerton basketball alums  from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, will be practicing at 6:30 p.m.
The cheer squads and drill team members will also be working on routines in preparation for the games. Any alums interested in participating should show up, said Rick Walker of Sport Beyond, the non-profit that sponsors the event.
Bremerton High alums will play at 6 p.m., followed by the East-West game at 7:30 p.m. Bremerton High split into East and West high schools in 1956 and merged back into Bremerton High in 1978.
There’s been reports that West has been holding more practices than usual as it goes for its first win in the alumni game.
“Our guys said if we practice we’ll get hurt and won’t be able to play in the game,” said Walker, a former East basketball great. “Several of our guys are out of town right now. We’ll see who shows up and we’ll have a fun time.”
Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for students, and kids under 13 are free. Money raised will go toward the Les Eathorne Scholarship, and to youth athletics in the area.
Walker said information about the proposed Youth Wellness Campus at the old East High school and a newly proposed Hall of Fame for Bremerton High will be presented at the game.


Blue Jays’ gambles look pretty good; M’s haven’t started rolling the dice

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Wish lists for Mariners’ fans, once again, have not been filled as Christmas approaches.
Catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli was available, but not for long. Gone to Boston (3 years, $39 million).
Catcher Russell Martin. Gone to Pittsburgh (2 years, $17 million).
Outfielder Josh Hamilton. Gone. Hamilton moves from the rival Rangers to the rival Angels (5 years, $125 million).
Outfielder Justin Upton. Thought to be available, Diamondbacks keep promising young player who seemed available for the right price early on in free agency.
So far, outfielder Jason Bay and utility infielder Robert Andino have been the only new additions for Seattle.

Excited about that? Didn’t think so.
Seattle’s believed to still be interested in outfielders Nick Swisher, who visited Cleveland Tuesday, and Michael Bourne, who was Atlanta’s starting center fielder last year.
Bourn, 29, is a speedy left-handed hitter. He’s stolen as many as 61 bases twice for Houston, and is a career .272 hitter. Swisher, 32, is a left-handed corner outfielder who brings power (207 homers in his last eight seasons with the A’s, White Sox and Yankees) to the table. Seattle’s bringing in the fences and is desperate for power, but the M’s don’t really have a burner and Bourn’s a legit leadoff guy.
The outfield needs an upgrade, unless you’re happy to go into the season with the five-headed monster of Jason Bay-Casper Well-Michael Saunders-Mike Carp-Franklin Gutierrez.
Would Bourn or Swisher make a difference?
How about this suggestion?
They say the Royals are still in the market for pitching. Package one of the pitching prospects (Taijuan Walker or Danny Hultzen) for Kansas City third baseman Alex Gordon (23 HR, 87 RBI, .303/.376 on-base percentage/.502 slugging percentage  in 2011; 14/72/.294/.368/.455 in 2012). Move Kyle Seager to second and Dustin Ackley moves to left field, or even center field.
***    ***
Fans in Toronto, meanwhile, have reason to be stuffing tickets to Blue Jays games in their friends Christmas socks.

The Red Sox and Yankees don’t seem so threatening any more, the Rays, despite a glut of talented players, haven’t broken through and no one will be surprised if  Baltimore pulls an Arizona by going from first to last.
The Blue Jays took a look at the lay of the land and seized the opportunity to make a serious run in the NL East. If you haven’t been paying attention, Toronto added a lot more than knuckleball sensation R.A. Dickey.
Toronto picked up pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, and shortstop Jose Reyes in a blockbuster deal with Miami. They’ve all got huge guaranteed contracts. They also added outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was in the midst of a career year with San Francisco before being busted for using performance-enhancing drugs.
Mix those newcomers with Edwin Encarcion and Jose Bautista, two legit 40-home run guys in the their prime, future star and third baseman Brett Lawrie, and pitchers Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero, and you’ve got championship ingredients.
The Jays payroll was at $83 million a year ago, and is expected to surpass $120 million this year.
Yeah, the Jays are taking a gamble. But it seems like it’s a gamble that makes sense.
*** ***
The Mariners and Blue Jays joined the American League as expansion teams in 1976. The Mariners are still looking to get to a World Series, and they haven’t done anything this offseason that makes you think they’ve closed the gap to getting there. Attendance is shrinking and how long can Felix Hernandez wait for the M’s to build a winner? Toronto has won two World Series titles. Granted, it’s been a while (1992 and ’93, but the Jays have remained competitive for the most part and are a heckuva lot closer to a third after some serious wheeling and dealing during the offseason.


Jays makes some bold moves; M’s, well, ah …

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Wish lists for Mariners’ fans, once again, have not been filled as Christmas approaches.
Catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli was available. Gone to Boston (3 years, $39 million).
Catcher Russell Martin was also believed to be on the radar. Gone to Pittsburgh (2 years, $17 million).
Outfielder Josh Hamilton. The M’s pitched a deal, but it wasn’t enough. Gone. Hamilton moves from the rival Rangers to the rival Angels (5 years, $125 million), where he’ll be just another potent bat in the lineup.
Outfielder Justin Upton. Thought to be available, Diamondbacks keep promising young player who seemed available for the right price early on in free agency.
So far, outfielder Jason Bay and utility infielder Robert Andino have been the only new additions for Seattle.

Excited about those moves? Didn’t think so.
Seattle could still have interest in outfielders Nick Swisher, who visited Cleveland Tuesday, and Michael Bourne, who was Atlanta’s starting center fielder last year.
Bourn, 29, is a speedy left-handed hitter. He’s stolen as many as 61 bases twice for Houston, and is a career .272 hitter. Swisher, 32, is a left-handed corner outfielder who brings power (207 homers in his last eight seasons with the A’s, White Sox and Yankees) to the table. Seattle’s bringing in the fences and is desperate for power, but the M’s don’t really have a burner and Bourn’s a legit leadoff guy.
The outfield needs an upgrade, unless you’re happy to go into the season with the five-headed monster of Jason Bay-Casper Wells-Michael Saunders-Mike Carp-Franklin Gutierrez.
Didn’t think so?
Bourn or Swisher?
Would either make a difference?

How about this suggestion?
Some say the Royals are still in the market for pitching. Package one of the pitching prospects (Taijuan Walker or Danny Hultzen) for Kansas City third baseman Alex Gordon (23 HR, 87 RBI, .303/.376 on-base percentage/.502 slugging percentage  in 2011; 14/72/.294/.368/.455 in 2012). Move Kyle Seager to second and Dustin Ackley moves to left field, or even center field.
***    ***
Baseball fans in Toronto, meanwhile, have reason to be buying tickets to Blue Jays games for Christmas presents. The Red Sox and Yankees don’t seem so threatening any more. The Rays, despite a glut of talented players, haven’t broken through and while Joe Madden’s as good as it gets when it comes to managers, there’s no reason to think they will? And no one will be surprised if  Baltimore pulls an Arizona by going from first to last.
The Blue Jays took a look at the lay of the land and seized the opportunity to make a serious run in the NL East. If you haven’t been paying attention, Toronto added a lot more than knuckleball sensation R.A. Dickey.
Toronto picked up pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, and shortstop Jose Reyes in a blockbuster deal with Miami. They’ve all got huge guaranteed contracts. They also added outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was in the midst of a career year with San Francisco before being busted for using performance-enhancing drugs.
Mix those newcomers with Edwin Encarcion and Jose Bautista, two legit 40-home run guys in the their prime, future star and third baseman Brett Lawrie, and pitchers Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero, and you’ve got championship ingredients.
The Jays payroll was at $83 million a year ago, and is expected to surpass $120 million this year.
Yeah, the Jays are taking a gamble. But it seems like it’s a gamble that makes sense.
*** ***
The Mariners and Blue Jays joined the American League as expansion teams in 1976. The Mariners are still looking to get to a World Series. Toronto has won two titles, and seems a heckuva lot closer to a third after some serious wheeling and dealing during the offseason.


Golf notes: Does Lepp win Big Break? Alexander honored; Kelly and wife expecting

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Ex-Husky golfer James Lepp, sponsor of the Kikkor Husky Invitational that plays out at Gold Mountain, kicked around Greenbrier, W. Va., as a contestant on the Golf Channel’s Big Break Greenbrier reality-based show last June.

It was a two-week competition and Lepp made it to the finals, which will be broadcast Tuesday night (at 6 p.m. and again at 9 p.m. on the Golf Channel).

During a farewell event for Gold Mountain’s outgoing director of golf Scott Alexander last Friday, I asked Husky coach Matt Thurmond if he knew about the outcome. Thurmond said he didn’t, but noted that Lepp, who won an NCAA title while at Washington, had invited him to watch the final episode with his family and friends in British Columbia on Tuesday. Would Lepp have invited Thurmond if he had lost?

Here’s the lowdown on Lepp and a Q&A he did with affable Brian Tom, the assistant director of athletic communication for the Huskies.

If Lepp wins, he wins $50,000 and an exemption into the PGA Tour’s 2013 Greenbrier Classic.  Lepp and Kikkor Golf, a clothing apparel company, are already planning to stage a Big Break-style contest in Canada.

Kelly update: The Greenbrier holds special meaning for another ex-Husky. Troy Kelly, the CK grad and former NCAA runner-up as a freshman at Washington, lost in a playoff at the Greenbrier and the second-place finish enabled him to keep his tour card. Kelly got a lot of TV time that weekend, and will be looking for more of it in 2013.

Kelly and his wife, Jen, are expecting a new  a baby boy in early January before Troy heads to Hawaii to play in the Sony Open in Honolulu. They’ve already got a name picked out: Mason Michael Kelly. Grandpa Bob probably has some new clubs picked out for Mason.

Alexander feted: As I mentioned, a farewell dinner for Scott Alexander was held at Gold Mountain on Friday, the 14th. Former Bremerton mayor Cary Bozeman, UW golf coach Matt Thurmond, new Washington State Golf Association president Frank Horton, the Bremertonian  who helped Alexander put on the USGA and NCAA tournaments that helped put Gold Mountain on the national map, spoke. So did Don Krieger, the former Oregon amateur champ who served as a father figure of sorts when Alexander was a senior in high school and decided to stay in Oregon instead of following his parents to Bremerton. Buddy Cleo Cragg put together a slide show that covered Alexander’s 28 years at Gold Mountain.

(Trivia: Who did Don Krieger lose to in the 1961 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach?)

Letters from Silverdale’s Erynne Lee,  now at UCLA, and from the USGA director of communications for championship events, Pete Kowalski, were were read. Erynne’s younger sister, Katie Lee, sat with teaching pro Tedd Naff, a long-time teaching pro who has worked out of Gold Mountain for years.

Alexander was presented with a plaque that will be mounted at the clubhouse, and a scholarship for a golfer at Bremerton High will be established in his name.

Daryl Matheny, who will move up from head pro to director of golf, said Columbia Hospitality, which will operate the 36-hole facility for the city, is going to hire Mark Knowles as head pro. Knowles, a former North Mason and Washington State golfer, has worked at Gold Mountain in the past and was also the pro at Trophy Lake Golf & Casting.

While Alexander’s leadership, vision and infectious energy will be missed, the Matheny-Knowles-Ed Faulk (longtime superintendent) trio should carry on the tradition of quality that Gold Mountain’s provided over the years.

Speaking of Ed Faulk. I didn’t recognize him. Must have been the sports jacket and slacks.

Trivia Answer: Jack Nicklaus beat Krieger 4 and 3 in the second round. (Krieger defeated Bill Stewart, Payne Stewart’s father, in the opening round 2 and 1.)


Gonzaga a good fit for the National Catholic Basketball Association?

Monday, December 17th, 2012

With news of seven catholic universities in the Big East pulling out to form its own conference, it’s time for speculation.

Some have already speculated that Gonzaga and St. Mary’s, catholic universities in the west, could be included in a conference that features two divisions. Someone in jest suggested calling it the National Catholic Basketball Assocation. The logo? A basketball with a rosary draped over it.

Of course, travel would seem to be a major obstacle and would Gonzaga’s other teams remain in the West Coast Conference?

It’s way to soon to know the answers, but it’s interesting.

DePaul,  Gerogetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova are the existing Big East schools pulling out.

It makes sense that St. Joseph’s and LaSalle from the Atlantic 10 would be interesting in aligning themselves with those schools.

Notre Dame’s headed to the ACC for football, and would fit right in with the Big East schools for basketball. Xavier, Dayton, Creighton, Butler and St. Louis also make sense.

Throw in Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, and maybe even Portland or San Francisco, and you’ve got a pretty juicy basketball conference.

It’ll be interesting to see how it shakes out.

The A-10 is reportedly interested in taking in the seven Big East school and forming a 21-team conference.

What do Zags’ fans think about joining a super conference for basketball?


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