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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 the ‘Seattle Mariners’ Category

If it comes down to pitching, M’s have a chance if they reach postseason

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Take a look at these starting rotations and tell me which one do you want for the postseason. And consider that it’s possible to get by with just three starters in a seven-game series. I’d put the staffs in this order. It’s no guarantee for success, but if the Mariners get to the postseason, I like their chances. In addition to those top three starters, Seattle’s bullpen has been baseball’s best.

OAKLAND A’S

Jon Lester 11-7, 2.59 ERA

Jeff Samardzija 4-8, 2.91 (2-7, 2.83 with Cubs; 2-1, 3.09 with A’s).

Scott Kazmir 12-4, 2.53

Sonny Gray 12-5, 2.87

Jason Hammel 9-9, 3.70 (8-5, 2.98 w/Cubs; 1-4, 7.15 w/A’s)

SEATTLE MARINERS

Felix Hernandez 12-3, 1.97

Ishashi Iwakuma 9-6, 2.94

Chris Young 10-6, 3.27

Roenis Elias 8-9, 4.19

James Paxton 2-0, 2.76 (5-0, 2.01 in seven career starts)

DETROIT TIGERS

Max Scherzer 13-4, 3.24

David Price 11-8, 3.11 (0-0, 3.24 in one start w/Tigers after being traded by Rays)

Justin Verlander 10-10, 4.74

Rick Porcello 13-6, 3.06

Anibal Sanchez 8-5, 3.37

LOS ANGELES ANGELS

Garrett Richards 12-4, 2.58

Jared Weaver 12-6, 3.59

C.J. Wilson 8-7, 4.74

Matt Shoemaker 9-4, 4.02

Tyler Skaggs 5-5, 4.30 or Hector Santiago 3-7, 3.84

 

And then there’s the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting rotation, the best in baseball and the reason why the Dodgers will be favored to win the World Series:

LA DODGERS

Clayton Kershaw 13-2, 1.82

Zach Grienke 12-7, 3.77

Hyun-Jim Ryu 12-5, 3.39

Dan Haren 9-9, 4.57

Josh Beckett 6-6, 2.88 (Beckett, brought in as the fifth starter,tossed a no-hitter in May)


Covering all bases: Katie Lee, Bill Carter, M’s attendance & more

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Congrats to Katie Lee for her strong showing at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championships at The Home Course in Dupont. Lee knocked off Annie Park, the 2013 NCAA champ from USC, 1 up in the round of 64 but lost the next day.

Park and Erynne Lee, Katie’s older sister, are good friends and were teammates on the U.S. Curtis Cup team. Erynne Lee’s taking summer classes prior to her senior year at UCLA. Katie Lee’s also going to UCLA, but will reportedly concentrate on her studies. She will also be the team manager of the women’s golf team. After this week, you wonder if she’ll have second thoughts about putting her clubs away. UCLA coaches are probably thinking the same thing.

… Bill Carter and the Blame are playing at Brother Don’s in Bremerton on July 31. Carter’s a Central Kitsap grad who once played in the Chymes of Freedom. He’s been based in Austin for years and will do a lecture at the Port Townsend Blues Festival and Workshop the day before. His song  “Anything Made of Paper,” was named one of the top 50 Songs of 2013 by American Songwriter Magazine.

… The crowds were pretty good for the Mariners’ three-game series against Oakland before the All-Star break: 32,971 on Friday, 39,204 on Saturday and 25,944 for Sunday’s finale. Almost 100,000 (98,119) for three games. But it’s nothing to get excited about. Despite putting a pretty good product on the field, the fans aren’t exactly flocking to the friendly confines of Safeco Field. Seattle ranks No. 24 in MLB, averaging 23,858 per game. Oakland, always trashed for its low attendance, is No. 23, pulling in 24,137 a game.

… I like the Oakland A’s. There, I said it (or at least wrote it). Maybe the A’s should be our hated rival, kind of like the 49ers are enemy No. 1 when it comes to the Seahawks. But I can’t dig up any hatred for Oakland. It’s a fun team to watch, and the A’s are not coached by Jim Harbaugh.

… Not very kind, but my buddy tells me the Mariners have their own Group of Death. It’s called Ackley, Smoak and  Miller. Ouch!

… Speaking of attendance, the Sounders pulled 64,207 for its game against rival Portland on July 13 and are averaging 42,771 fans a game at The Clink.

… Hard not to like Bjorn Bjorke, the Olympic College golf coach who works for the Ryan Moore Golf Club. Good golfer, good coach, good guy. Here’s a story I wrote about the 34-year-old South Kitsap grad.

… Didn’t watch it, but they tell me the Seattle Seahawks stole the show at the ESPYs.

… If you were the Mariners’ GM, would you pull the trigger on a trade with the Rays for lefty David Price and utility man Ben Zobrist? Who would you give up?

… The Cave Singers are putting in another appearance at the Hi-Fidelity Lounge in Bremerton on Friday, August July 18. Good band. Check ‘em out.

… While researching this story about Bremerton’s Marvin Williams, I was shocked to find out that Kevin Durant led the NBA in technical fouls with 20. Yeah, really. Look it up.

… An 0-for-19 slump has dropped Drew Vettleson’s batting average at Double-A Harrisburg to .200. The Central Kitsap grad had hit three home runs and driven in 11 runs for the Washington Nationals farm team.

… South Kitsap grad Brady Steiger, the former Lewis-Clark State star, is having trouble getting untracked at Class A Staten Island, a Yankees’ farm club. He’s hitting .168 overall and is just 4 for his last 32.

… Aaron Cunningham, another SK product, is hitting .253 at Triple-A Reno. He’s still looking for his first home run for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ affiliate.

… Ripken Reyes, the son of former standout Olympic High athlete Paul Reyes and Central Kitsap grad Heidi (Westhoff) Reyes, is playing in a baseball tournament in Seattle this weekend. Reyes, a middle infielder from Stockton, Calif., has already verbally committed to the University of California. He’ll be a senior next year. Ripken was one of 40 players invited to the Team USA U-17 national development camp, which takes place Aug. 4-8 in Cary, North Carolina.

… Young softball players, ages 8 to 18, are invited to an Olympic College softball skills clinic on Saturday (July 19), 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Pendergast Park in West Hills. Cost is $60. OC head coach Dan Haas, assistants Dick Thompson and yours truly, plus OC players will be hand on to provide instruction. Hope to see you there.

 

 


The Jet, Willie, Seahawks, Hammel, World Cup & more

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Here we go, in no particular order:

Dude can fly: James (The Jet) Jones is up to 14 steals (he’s been caught once) through Tuesday and considering he didn’t get his first one until May 1, that’s pretty impressive. Michael Saunders led the Seattle Mariners with 13 steals a year ago. Ichiro (438 steals during his time in Seattle), Jose Cruz (290) and Harold Reynolds (228) are Seattle’s all-time leaders in steals, but the M’s have never had a lot of speed guys. Willie Bloomquist (71) ranks No. 11 in steals in franchise history. Jones, if he’s as good as I think he might be, could pass Willie in the summer of 2015.

Speaking of Willie: The South Kitsap grad is hitting .278, and get this — the M’s are 18-7 when he starts (through Tuesday). That’s the stat that matters, right?

Sherm shuts up: Richard Sherman’s never been at a loss for worlds, but he reportedly isn’t speaking to the media, upset with the Seattle Times because the newspaper published the address of his new home. Got to side with Sherm on that one. Some things don’t need to be printed, and that’s one of ‘em.

Speaking of Seahawks: Sherman, Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson have all been nominated for ESPYs. 

World Cup fever: Portugal’s late goal in extra time against the U.S. in the World Cup was a punch to the gut, but it didn’t take long for me to get over the 2-2 tie. I’m really looking forward to see how Jurgen Klinsmann’s boys do against Germany on Thursday (9 a.m. ESPN). Klinsmann is a former German star, a legend in his country. He played on West Germany’s 1990 World Cup championship team and coached the 2006 German World Cup team. Germany is now coached by Joachim Lowe, a protege of Klinsmann. The U.S., which needs a tie to move on to the round of 16, has five players who grew up in Germany. This one promises to be emotional. I can’t wait.

Speaking of soccer: How ’bout those Pumas? Kitsap’s soccer club is 6-0-4 and has opened a seven-point lead in the Northwest Division of the PDL. Coach Andrew Chapman, the Olympic High grad who has turned Peninsula CC into an NWAACC power, seems to be making all of the right decisions. The Pumas are one of six unbeatens in the 64-team league. Kitsap won a national title in 2011, and it looks like the Pumas are going to make another serious run this summer.

BlueJackets bashing: Kitsap’s summer college baseball team, the BlueJackets, are off to a good start. Kitsap’s 8-5 and just a half-game back of Bellingham in the Western Division of the West Coast League (through Tuesday). They boast the No. 1 (Danny Woodruff, .453) and No. 3 (Alex Bush, .395, 2 HRs, 15 RBI) hitters. Woodruff’s an outfielder from Creighton who played in just seven games as a freshman. Bush is a 6-foot-6, 255-pound first baseman/DH who just graduated from high school in Turlock, California. He’s going to be a freshman at UC Santa Barbara. Kitsap’s second in hitting (.296 average) and eighth in pitching (5.46 ERA) in the 12-team wood-bat league.

Hammel report: Jason Hammel, the 2000 South Kitsap grad who is having a fine season (6-5, 2.99 ERA, 91 Ks, 20 BBs, 96.1 IP, 1.017 WHIP) for the Chicago Cubs, continues to be linked to the Mariners. This report says the Cubs and M’s have had serious talks, and that Chicago wants RHP Edwin Diaz, Seattle’s third-round pick in the 2012 draft, to be part of the package.

Minor league report: Brady Steiger (South Kitsap/WSU/Lewis-Clark St.) hit his first home run as a pro over the weekend. He plays for the Class A Staten Island Yankees. … Drew Vettlesen (Central Kitsap) wrapped up an eight-game rehab stint with the Auburn Doubledays. He was 4-for-4 on Friday and hit .318. The outfielder, who broke a bone in his hand when hit by a ball in April, is back with the Double-A Harrisburg (Pa.) Senators (Nationals) of the Eastern League. He was 2-for-3 with a stolen base on Tuesday. … Aaron Cunningham (South Kitsap/Everett CC) hitting .258 with no homers and 20 RBI for the Reno Aces (Diamondbacks) of the Pacific Coast League.

Back on the tee: Troy Kelly, the Central Kitsap grad whose 2013 golf season was derailed by a knee surgery after playing in just 10 PGA Tour events, is resuming his comeback. He played in four Web.com events earlier, but made just one cut and wasn’t satisfied with his game, so he returned to Tacoma to work on it. There might be some rust when he plays in this week’s Web.com tournament in Newburgh, Indiana. He’s using it as a tuneup for the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic the following week in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Kelly’s got fond memories of Greenbrier, where he shot 6-under 63 in the third round in 2012 to get into contention. He closed with a 66 and wound up losing a playoff on the third hole to Ted Potter. Kelly plans to play four straight weeks. He’ll head to Illinois for the John Deere Classic in Illinois after the Greenbrier Classic before returning to Boise, Idaho, for another Web.com stop. … Kelly’s brother Ryan, his caddie, finished second in the Tacoma City Amateur over the weekend.

Coming Friday: I’ll be writing about “The Legend” later this week. That would be 83-year-old Buzz Edmonds, a three-time winner of the Kitsap Amateur, nine-time club champ at Kitsap Golf & Country Club and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. I chatted with Buzz and some of his golfing buddies earlier this week. The story will publish Friday.

Nice sendoff: South Kitsap’s three-sport star Logan Knowles, who is headed to the Naval Academy to play baseball, wrapped up his high school career by going 2-for-4 with a home run, double and 4 RBI in the consolation game of the Washington State All-State Baseball Series in Yakima. His home run was the only one hit during the weekend.

Recommended reading: Charlie Pierce, who writes for Grantland,com, among other outlets, weighed in on the O’Bannon vs. NCAA trial that is going on. He writes:

” … If you are a college athlete, you must — willingly or unwillingly — help the NCAA and its member institutions keep faith with Coca-Cola. One of the ugly moral truths about all our sports is that athletes represent one of the categories of Americans who can be legally and publicly treated as commodities, and nowhere is that truth more obvious, and more ugly, than in college athletics, where the athletes are not only forbidden from profiting from their own commodification, but also required to help the institutions they represent to profit from it. Then they have to hear the people who profit most from the commodities who play ball for them tell a judge that they’re doing it only for the athlete’s own good. This trial is about the NCAA’s desire to maintain that arrangement forever. Unless you’re afflicted with a kind of moral myopia, this is no less than grotesque.”

 


And the Super Bowl champion Seahawks open the 2014 season against …

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Drumroll please ….

Wednesday night, ladies and gentleman, is the night many of you have been waiting for. We’re just a little over three hours away and I can feel the excitement building. The world might stop spinning for a few minutes.

I’m sure some of you have planned NFL Schedule Release parties. The NFL Network has a three-hour show planned, starting at 5 p.m. ESPN2 is also televising the announcements live. Can’t get enough of that NFL, you know. NBA TV ratings, no doubt, will take a hit. The Seattle Mariners are lucky they played a day game on Wednesday. Well, maybe it doesn’t matter when the Mariners play. Seattle and all of the surrounding towns are all about the Seahawks these days.

Tonight we find out who the Seahawks will open defense of their Super Bowl title against. It’ll be a Thursday night game on Sept. 4. Will it be the rival 49ers, or will the league give us a Seattle-Denver rematch? How about a You Mad Bro II — Tom Brady and the Patriots against Sherm and the Legion of Boom? Or maybe the  NFL will send the Green Bay Packers back to the Northwest?

We already know the opponents. Tonight, we find out the times and dates of their games.

Seattle’s home games will be against: Dallas, NY Giants, Denver, Oakland, Green Bay and the NFC West rivals Arizona, San Francisco and St. Louis.

Seattle road games: Philadelphia, Washington, Kansas City, San Diego, Carolina and NFC West rivals Arizona, San Francisco and St. Louis.

Will the Seattle Seahawks play on Thanksgiving? Will they end the season against the 49ers? Regardless of who and when they play, I’ve got a feeling it’ll seem like it’s prime time all the time for the Hawks. Will their long trips — at Philadelphia, at Washington and at Carolina — be spread out? Will the Seahawks get the Chargers in September when the sunny weather could make for a nice road trip? 

Once the schedules are announced, get ready for  the hype and analysis. If you’re an NFL fan, it’s one of the best days of the off-season. At least, it’ll give you something to talk about until the NFL Draft on May 8-10.

This schedule stuff is so big that news outlets are trying to be first when it comes to digging up information:

The New York Giants schedule has apparently leaked and shows them playing at Seattle on Nov. 9: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/giants/prime-time-players-giants-night-games-2014-schedule-blog-entry-1.1766624 …


Baseball, father-sons & other Thursday stuff

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Attended the Mariners’ home opener on Tuesday with my dad and son. Something about baseball and dads and sons that’s special. Mix in my best friend, who is like a brother to me, another son to my dad and another dad to my son and it was a really special day.

But back to that original thought about baseball and dads and sons. Baseball’s different than any other sport and it all starts, I think, with playing catch.  No words are necessary. There’s just something magical about it and the sound of the ball popping in the leather glove.

My dad, now 89, would probably have a tough time playing catch today, mostly because he blew out his arm while throwing so much batting practice pitches to me and my friends while growing up.

Some quick thoughts on the Mariners:

You can’t help but be impressed with the easy-going, relaxed way Robinson Cano plays the game. He oozes confidence and that’s going to rub off on some of his teammates. I think it already has.

It’s so early, but manager Lloyd McClendon seems to be making all of the right moves. We’ll see, but he seems to have a good eye for talent. I like that he settled on Abraham Almonte as his center fielder and leadoff hitter early on. I rolled my eyes at first when he handed the first base job to Justin Smoak, but it retrospect that was a good, confidence-building move. If guys don’t produce, I think McClendon has a deep enough bench and enough talent at Tacoma — Nick Franklin, Endy Chavez, Cole Gillespie — that he won’t hesitate to make a move. He’s already rotating Michael Saunders, Logan Morrison and Stefen Romero in right field.

I was the guy who predicted the M’s would win the AL West. That was mostly predicated on the rest of the division slipping back some, and the M’s strong starting pitching. If it stays healthy, I think Seattle stays in the race all the way. James Paxton’s visit to the DL for a strained lat doesn’t seem serious, but he’s a key element to the rotation. I think the big lefty is just as good as Taijuan Walker, who is working his way back from injury, as is Hisashi Iwakuma. If they stay healthy, I’m sticking to my pick.

Corey Hart gave us a glimpse of what he could do for the M’s on Tuesday. I wasn’t impressed with his first two swings as he fell in an 0-2 hole against Angels starter Hector Santiago. I turned to my son and said, “Is this guy going to be the next Richie Sexson?” A couple seconds later he Hart crushed a pitch for a three-run moonshot home run to left. He lined a ball over the dead center-field fence for a homer in his next at bat. It got out about thisquick. If he stays healthy, Hart could be a steal at $6 million plus incentives.

One more M’s thought: Felix Hernandez is among a lot of MLB players who wear their baseball hats a little crooked, but new closer Fernando Rodney takes that look to a new level. His hat is practically sideways. How does it stay on his head?

More stuff

South Kitsap grad and Chicago Cubs’ starter Jason Hammel got his second win and had a little fun with first baseman Anthony Rizzo after the game.

North Mason grad and Central Washington infielder Kasey Bielec is third in batting (.398) in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Bielec, a junior, has five home runs and 28 RBI for the Wildcats (18-13, 11-9 GNAC). He was 4-for-6 on Sunday in a split with Western Oregon.

North Kitsap grad and former Kitsap BlueJacket Dan Jewitt of the Omaha Mavericks was the Summit League Player of the Week last week. The junior outfielder hit .526 (10-for-19) with six RBI and two doubles. Jewitt’s hitting a team-high .400 for the Mavericks (14-12, 3-3 Summit), starting 15 of the 18 games he’s played.

Drew Vettleson’s still looking for his first hit at Double-A Harrisburg. The Senators outfielder is hitless in 16 at bats. The former Central Kitsap star  was traded to the Washington Nationals by the Tampa Bay Rays organization prior to the start of spring training.

Jason Day and Steve Stricker. If I was in a Masters’ pool, I wish I had one of those guys. Wonder how long Fred Couples will contend? You know he will. He’s always on the top of the leaderboard for a couple days, then he fades. Maybe this is the year he hangs tough?

Richard Sherman’s second annual celebrity softball game will be July 20 at Safeco Field. More information here.

Don’t forget, Willie Bloomquist and Bree Schaaf will be at Port Orchard’s McCormick Woods on Thursday night, helping the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable raise money for the Elton Goodwin scoreboard and Elton Goodwin Foundation. Starts at 6 p.m. Everyone’s welcome. Lots of silent auction items available: Robinson Cano signed jersey and bat, Felix Hernandez signed jersey and ball, Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners tickets etc…


Monday links: Cunningham, Hammel, Vettleson, Bloomquist

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Catching up with some of Kitsap’s baseball pros:

South Kitsap grad Aaron Cunningham, a non-roster invitee with the Chicago Cubs, is selling socks in his spare time. Yes, S-O-C-K-S. Read all about it right here. 

Central Kitsap grad Drew Vettleson is liking the advanced camp he’s participating in with the Washington Nationals. Freelancer David Driver writes about Vettleson for the Kitsap Sun.

Hammel, another South Kitsap grad, is in camp with the Chicago Cubs. He and Cunningham could be teammates, although Cunningham will need a big spring. Hammel pitched two innings in a spring training ‘B’ game on Monday and told reporters, “I like to prove people wrong.”

South Kitsap grad Willie Bloomquist flashed some leather at third base on Friday, making a couple of fine defensive plays and GM Jack Zduriencik said Bloomquist will be the Seattle Mariners’ utility guy. Brad Miller or Nick Franklin will win the starting shortstop position and the other, barring a trade, will wind up at Triple-A Tacoma. And in case you missed it, Bloomquist collected on a  Super Bowl bet with Cleveland’s David Aardsma.

Bloomquist will also be the headliner at an April 10 Kitsap Athletic Roundtable meeting at McCormick Woods Golf Course in Port Orchard. The event will raise money for a scoreboard that will be placed at Elton Goodwin Field at South Kitsap High School. The SK school board has agreed to name the field after the late, great high school coach. More info on the KAR meeting will be released later this month.

 


Super Bowl plans? Sherman rates NFL’s QBs & more

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Made plans this week to go to Las Vegas for Super Bowl weekend.

Now, if the Seahawks can only take care of business and make it to the big game. Here’s a guide to Super Bowl parties in Las Vegas. Got any recommendations on where I should I belly-up for the game? Where will you watch the game from?

SB prediction: My preseason prediction had the Seattle Seahawks beating the Houston Texans in East Rutherford, N.J. The Texans disintegrated after losing in overtime, 23-20, to the Seahawks in Week 4.

New Super Bowl prediction: Seahawks 27, Patriots 16.

Speaking of the Patriots, quarterback Tom Brady didn’t make Richard Sherman’s list of top-5 smartest quarterbacks in the NFL. In his MMQB column for SI.com, Sherman listed (in order): Peyton Manning, Drew Brews, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck.

More NFL predictions: If I was betting a three-team parlay this weekend in Vegas, I’d take the Chargers, Eagles and 49ers. If you wanted to make it a four-team parlay, throw in the Chiefs.

If I’m right, that also means that the Seahawks will face the 49ers on Saturday, Jan. 11, at CenturyLink. Seattle gets the lowest remaining seed and it’ll be the Packers (No. 4), 49ers (No. 5) or Saints (No. 6). A Niners-Seahawks rematch for the right to move on to the NFC Championship game could be better than the Super Bowl. These guys don’t like each other, and there’s a lot of similarities between the two NFC West rivals.

UPDATE: Of course, I meant to say I’d take the Chargers, Saints and 49ers for that three-team parley. And the Colts, not Chiefs, for the 4-teamer.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Seahawks favored by 8 points to beat the Saints. It was 5 1/2 the last time when Seattle won 34-7.

Some thoughts

Bainbridge’s Scott Orness keeps showing why he’s one of the best high school basketball coaches in the state. His Spartans, with just one senior, rebounded from a 16-1 deficit to give unbeaten and nationally-ranked Rainier Beach a pretty good battle on Friday.

I was surprised former Husky great Marques Tuiasosopo left Washington to become the tight ends coach at USC. He was offered the same position by new Husky coach Chris Petersen. It was later reported that Steve Sarkisian also gave Tuiasosopo the title of assistant head coach. Maybe there’s enough additional responsibility there to make it a no-brainer for Tui, but I think his decision caught a lot of Washington Husky fans off-guard. Getting Tui was a big get for Sark, and a loss for Petersen, who brought six assistants with him from Boise State and two more former Boise coaches who were at Florida.

The Kitsap Admirals are hosting the ABA All-Star game on Sunday (Jan. 5) at 3 p.m. at Olympic College. There will be a dunk contest and more. Could be a fun afternoon. Wonder if Dr. J,  George Gervin, David Thompson, and Artis Gilmore will show up?

I think the Seattle Mariners should sign Brady Sizemore to a minor-league contract. The Everett native has been out of baseball since 2011 because of a long list of injuries. But he’s only 31. He was arguably one of the top two or three center fielders in baseball from 2005-08, hitting .281 with 107 home runs and 115 stolen bases. Why not bring him in and let him compete against Michael Saunders, Dustin Ackley, Abraham Almonte and oft-injured Franklin Gutierrez? Corey Hart and  Logan Morrison are listed as infielders on the 40-man roster, and will likely play some OF, 1B and DH.

 


Kitna’s gift; Edgar for HOF? Tanaka a good fit for Mariners? Knights ranked No. 9

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Coolest story of the week: Lincoln High football coach and match teacher Jon Kitna, 41, signing with the Dallas Cowboys to be a backup quarterback. Wait, it gets better. It’s been reported that the Tacoma native is donating the $53,000 he earns this week to Lincoln High, his old school. His generosity probably doesn’t surprise those who know him. Kitna’s goal when he accepted the football job at Lincoln was to build “R.E.A.L. Men” who (R)eject passivity, (E)mpathize with others, (A)ccept responsibility and (L)ead courageously.

The case for and against Edgar Martinez when it comes to deciding if he’s a Hall of Famer or not. Since the DH has been part of the game for 30 years, it seems silly to me for voters to punish a player because he was a DH. And you can make a pretty good argument that Edgar’s the best DH in the history of the sport. What do you think?

Scott Weber of Looking Landing has some good thoughts on Masahiro Tanaka and why the Mariners would be better off spending big bucks to land the Japanese pitcher than on an outfielder like Nelson Cruz. You have to admit, a starting rotation of Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Tanaka, Taijuan Walker and Erasmo Ramirez or James Paxton looks pretty good on paper.

And Fangraphs.com has come up with some projections for the 2014 Seattle Mariners.

Recommended reading: Michael Bramberger of Sports Illustrated wrote a  pretty thought-provoking column about Tiger Woods in November. It all revovled around former Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee writing a piece where he questioned Tiger for being “a little cavalier with the rules.”

Tickets for the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet on Jan. 25 are on sale. They cost $30, not $35 as I wrote in a previous post. Sorry about that.

Bremerton High has cracked the Seattle Times’ Class 2A boys basketball top-10 rankings. The Knights (6-0) are No. 9 this week. I watched the Knights beat Port Angeles before Christmas (look for my story on senior Deonti Dixon on Friday) and this could be a special season if they keep improving. Fundamentally, they’ve got a ways to go on defense, but their quickness makes up for a lot of that.  Keep your eye on these guys. The Associated Press state rankings should be out after the first of the year.

Steve Sarkisian talks about why he left Washington and about winning a national championship at USC.

Don’t know how I missed this one, but I’ve got to share it. You’re a mean one, Marshawn Lynch. This is Dave Ross’ musical tribute to the Seahawks’ running back.

Are you having a tough time getting excited about the Washington Huskies and the Fight Hunger Bowl? Me too.  With the coaching change and the Tosh Lupoi situation and the UW losing out on prize recruit Budda Baker, the bowl game itself seems pretty meaningless. It’ll be interesting to see how Marques Tuiasosopo does as an interim head coach — you can’t help but pull for that guy — and the possibility of a nine-win season, I guess, is a big deal. But the opponent, BYU, doesn’t do it for me. The UW and Cougars, now an independent,  have never met in a bowl game, but they’ve played eight times, six since 1996 (the series is tied 4-4) with BYU winning the last three, including a 23-17 victory the last time the met in 2010.

 


Quick hits: OC volleyball advances to semis, Kitsap pros, Bree, Kellys, UW, Hawks & more

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Some links and Friday thoughts:

Moving on: Olympic College’s historic volleyball season continues. The Rangers (43-4) beat Tacoma 3-1 at the NWAACC Championships earlier Friday and takes on host Mount Hood Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the semifinals. The match will be streamed live here. Blue Mountain and Highline are in the other semifinal in the double-elimination tournament. OC lost its first set, but roared back to win the next three against Tacoma, a team it beat six straight times during the regular season. Winner’s bracket finals are Saturday at 1:30 p.m. with the championship match Sunday at 3 p.m. All tournament games are being live streamed.

Fantasy time: It’s that time of year when baseball fans can starting dreaming about signing free agents and making trades to help their teams. If you’re a Seattle Mariners fan, wouldn’t it be cool if they could figure out a way to start the 2014 season with Jacob Ellsbury in center field and Sin-Shoo Choo in left and have them hit 1-2 in the order.

Ah, the Huskies: Washington’s 6-4 and the thought of a another 7-6 season has Husky fans howling to the moon. There’s even an @fireSark twitter account out there. That’s a little harsh. Washington’s continuing road struggles and and inability to beat good teams is frustrating. The move to the hurry-up spread offense seemed like a good move at the time, and it still does, but maybe we should have realized that it wasn’t going to be an overnight success. Sark and his staff had been recruiting linemen to play power football for four years, and now they need quick, athletic guys up front to make it work.

And Washington’s lack of depth on the defensive side of the ball has been glaring. When you’re running the quick-strike offense, your defense is going to be on the field a lot, and this Husky defense, as promising as it looked early on, has been very average of late. They’ve not been able to recruit a true pass rusher, an NFL-type defensive end and that has been a problem.

That said, the biggest reason for Washington’s mediocrity is their lack of discipline. The Huskies are the most penalized team in the country and Sarkisian’s teams are among the most penalized in Husky history. Take a look at this report by Steve Rudman of sportspressnw.com. The numbers don’t lie.

As disappointing as this season has been to date, Washington could still finish 9-4 by winning out and 9-4 is pretty good. If that’s how it plays out — Washington beats Oregon State (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2) on the road, beats Washington State at home (Friday, Nov. 27, 12:30 p.m., FOX) and wins  a bowl game — everybody should be happy.

Seahawks-Saints: Everybody is looking forward to the Nov. 30 MNF showdown at the Clink. The Seahawks (9-1) have a bye this week and the Saints (8-2) are coming off of a rather ho-hum 17-13 win at Atlanta. Seattle won at Atlanta, 33-10, dominating the Falcons in every part of the game. Drew Brees will be a challenge, and the Saints defense is one of the league’s best, but Seattle has been playing at another level the past two weeks. I don’t see any kind of a letdown coming for this, not on a Monday night with the nation watching. I’m looking forward to the matchup between New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham and Seahawks’ safety Cam Chancellor.

Still sliding: Bremerton’s Bree Schaaf won a bronze medal at the North American Cup races in Calgary last weekend, and is competing at Park City, Utah, this weekend. Schaaf finished fifth at the 2010 Winter Olympics and after a year of rehabilitation following hip surgery, she   was fourth at the national selection races last month. Only the top three were picked to compete int he World Cup. The 2014 Olympic team will be announced on Jan. 19 and points collected in international competitions will play a role when the team is named.

“I of course planned on making the national team so it was a bit of a shock and a scramble to make self-funded North American Cup happen,” Schaaf said. “Despite the Games being a long shot now, I found support in a wonderful company out of Denver called Crescent Point. It was truly heartwarming that despite my candor regarding Olympic qualification chances that a company would still have faith and support me like this.”

Schaaf teamed with Tracey Stewart last week.

“This has been a North American Cup like no other,” Schaaf said. “We were fully staffed and felt fortunate to have such incredible coaches along with a team manager and sled tech. Special thanks to Tracey for pushing me and keeping the dream alive.”

Update: Schaaf finished fourth in today’s first race, behind two Americans (No. 1 Elana Meyers and No. 2 Jamie Gruebel but ahead of USA No. 3 driver Jazmine Fenalator, who was eighth). The second race is coming up and will be live streamed.

Kelly green scene: Congratulations are in order for Bob Kelly, father of pro golfer Troy Kelly. Bob recently beat his age, shooting a 66  at Meadowpark Golf Course in Tacoma. One of his other sons, Ryan, also had a hole-in-one at the West Richland Golf Course while winning his amateur division of the Tri-City Budweiser Open in Richland. As for Troy, he plans to play in five Web.com tournaments next year and he’s also exempt for 14 PGA Tour events. Kelly’s 2013 season was cut short because of knee surgery.

Baseball musings: Kansas City’s signing of Jason Vargas (4 years, $32 million) could be a good thing for free agent pitcher Jason Hammel. The Giants reportedly have interest in signing the 6-foot-6 right-hander, a South Kitsap grad. … Willie Bloomquist’s name has been thrown around as a possible utility infielder for the Reds, Red Sox and Dodgers. The free agent from Port Orchard would prefer to re-sign with Arizona, but sounds like that might he a long shot. Last time around the free agency trail, Bloomquist turned down more money from the Giants to sign with the Diamondbacks. … Bloomquist and Jason Ellison were among those attending the memorial service for their ex-high school coach, Elton Goodwin, last weekend. … In case you missed it, another former South Kitsap star, Aaron Cunningham, signed a minor-league deal with the Cubs. Did you know that Cunningham once sold his car to rapper Ice T? Yeah, for real. … Drew Vettleson, the former Central Kitsap star, is a No. 5 pick in this faketeams.com. fantasy draft. Check it out for their opinion about Vettleson’s upside. They project the left-handed hitting outfielder to be an above average player at the MLB level, hitting .280 with 20 home-run power during his peak years. Vettleson will likely start the 2014 season at Double-A. ... Brady Steiger, a South Kitsap grad and former Lewis-Clark State star who signed with the New York Yankees last summer, is available for private hitting lessons at the West Hills Vipers facility.

 

 

 


Mariners: Bremertonian designs ‘Game of Throws’ giveaway T-shirt

Monday, July 8th, 2013

The Game of Throws T-shirt designed by Bremerton’s Eric Wahlquist was voted the winner of a Mariners’ contest. The first 5,000 fans to Tuesday’s game against Boston receives one.

Seattle All-Star pitchers Felix Hernandez and Hiashi Iwakuma are featured on the T-shirt. Ten were for sale on Ebay ($14.99 each). Oops, only eight are left.

All Stars: Puig? Ibanez? Why not?

There’s been a lot of debating about whether Yasiel Puig, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ wonder kid, belongs in the All-Star game. The fans didn’t vote the outfielder in as a starter, and he didn’t make it as a sub either, but he’s on the list of five NL players competing in the “Final Vote” for the last berth on the team. He should easily win. Who doesn’t want to see this kid from Cuba who hit .436 with 44 hits and and a .713 slugging percentage in his first month? Dude’s 22. Send him to New York and give him an at-bat.

What’s Yasiel Puig have to do with the Mariners? Northing, except the M’s have a 41-year-old dude who has that little white baseball looking like a watermelon right now when he takes a swing at it. You might have heard of him. Raaauuuuuuuul Ibanez. You could argue that he was just as hot as Puig during the month of June. Ibanez had 10 HRs and 22 RBIs last month. Those are Barry Bonds-like numbers. OK, his average isn’t great (.257 through Sunday), but after hitting another home run on Monday, he’s up to 22 bombs (5th in the AL) and 51 RBIs. He’s had eight home runs in his last 12 games. He’s had at least one hit in all 12 of those games. Send Raul to New York and give him an at-bat, too. If Puig belongs, Raul certainly measures up.

Just the numbers

Prior to Monday’s game against Boston, Seattle ranked 6th in the majors in home runs with 104, but only 28th out of 30 teams in runs scored (325). Last time I looked, scoring runs is the stat that really matters. Miami (284) and the Chicago White Sox (314) rank No. 30 and No. 29 in runs scored.

St. Louis (22) and Arizona (28) are the only teams with fewer stolen bases than the Mariners (30).

Seattle was hitting .235, ahead of only Houston (.234), NY Mets (.234) and Miami (.231).

Kyle Seager leads the M’s with a .286 average, which ranks No. 52 in the league. Kendrys Morales ranks No. 65 and is hitting .272 (remember, this was through Sunday). Nick Franklin (.284) didn’t have enough at-bats yet to qualify.

What’s it all mean? The M’s are too dependent on the long ball, but they’ve been better over the last month. In the last 30 games, the M’s have four of the top-100 average hitters in baseball: No. 60 Ibanez (287, 11 homers), No. 75 Franklin (.277, 7 homers), No. 84 Endy Chavez (.275) and No. 90 Seager (.269, 5 homers). Not earth-shaking numbers, but at least the M’s aren’t relying on Seager and Morales and the incredibly-hot Ibanez to carry the load. And Justin Smoak’s starting to do his part, which shouldn’t be overlooked. Smoak’s production could be key going forward for this franchise.

With the arrival of Franklin, shortstop Brad Miller and catcher Mike Zunino, the product on the field is at least more entertaining than the one the club was running out there earlier. And now that they’ve won five of seven against the Rangers, Reds and the AL-best Red Sox, there might be reason to believe that the Mariners just might … ah, never mind. I’m not even going there.

 


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