Sounds like it’s hotter back home than it is in Cabo, where I spent most of the day turning my brain to mush before putting down a little wager on King Felix and the Mariners. Hey, if the KC Royals can find their way to the top of the AL Central this late in the season, surely the Mariners can find a way to beat a Toronto team that is coming off a 19-inning marathon the day before.
Also found some time to do a little reading. Here’s some links to consider:
* Husky football coach Chris Petersen brings a unique philosophy to Washington. According to this SI.com story, it’s all about building team unity. Well, not ALL about team unity, but it’s a big part of what he believes in. It dates back to his playing days at UC Davis and the philosophy of Tao Te Ching.
A sample from the story:
When he arrived at Washington, Petersen set up the leadership groups made up of players from different classes, positions and backgrounds. The groups have swim nights at a lake, play paint ball and hold barbecues. During team meetings, Petersen will have a player stand up and quiz others about his high school, hometown and siblings. Players’ lockers and seating arrangements at meals are organized so players would be near guys they may not interact with normally.
“I’d say that the bonding has tripled since he got here,” Washington senior linebacker Washington senior linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha said. “I can tell it worked. There are guys that never held conversations, and now they’re hanging out together off the field.”
* I wrote about Seattle runner Joe McConaughy a couple weeks ago. He was in the middle of running the Pacific Coast Trail. He ending up covering 2,663 miles in a record time of 53 days, 6 hours and 37 seconds. “The Run for Colin” — a cousin who died of a rare form of cancer — raised $27,000.
“I immediately broke down,” McConaughy told NPR writer Tom Banse after finishing. “I was switching between laughing and crying — thinking of all these incredible tales and trips we’d had day in, day out and all the pain.”
* Shifting defenders to stop opposing hitters has become a trendy, and effective method of stopping some of baseball’s dead-pull hitters. Until hitters start taking the ball the other way, the shifts will be here to stay. I’m not here to debate the merit of the defensive strategy, but did you know that Ted Williams had to deal with The Boudreau Shift? Joe Posnanski writes about it in his blog.
The genius of the Boudreau Shift is that it LOOKS easy to beat. The fielders are ALL OVER THERE. All you have to do is hit the ball OVER THERE INSTEAD. I mean seriously, this is TED BLEEPIN’ WILLIAMS we are talking about here. You telling me he can’t just hit the ball to the left side anytime he wants?
Only, he could not — not with regularity, not with force, not with that beautiful swing he had honed since childhood. He crowded the plate, and he challenged pitchers, and he pulled mistakes with ferocity. This was how he hit. The fans fury poured down on him every time he beat a futile ground ball to the loaded right side, something he did with regularity. …
* It’s silly to call Rory McIlroy the next Tiger Woods, but right now the numbers say he’s a bigger threat to Jack Nicklaus’ record for most major victories (18) than Woods. McIlroy, 25, has won the last two majors and four of the 15 he’s entered.
Benjamin Morris of ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight website writes:
It may not look like much, but that four-major start by McIlroy is firmly in Woods and Nicklaus territory — they are the only players to have won four majors through age 25. Winning those four majors in a 15-tournament span is also a rare accomplishment. There have been a number of similarly meteoric rises in golf, but they usually come at a more mature age (see, for example: Nick Faldo, Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan). And some early starts aren’t so meteoric (Seve Ballesteros).