Category Archives: Uncategorized

Charlie Pierce writes about the Deflatriots

Charlie Pierce might be my favorite writer.

He writes about politics and other issues for Esquire.com.

He also writes for Grantland.com, a popular sports and pop-culture blog.

I’m as tired as the next guy about this story about deflating footballs, but this story by Pierce is worth reading.

Here’s the ending:

And, as the sun went down on a long day’s journey into nonsense, I’m sorry, but if you can’t see the humor in this preposterous burlesque, then you’re having nowhere near enough fun in showbiz.

Some Super Bowl storylines

Coming to you live from Arizona (no, I’m not staying for the Super Bowl), where the locals seem pretty pumped up about XLIX.

This is Cardinals country, and a lot of Arizona football fans don’t like the Seattle Seahawks, but judging by the comments I heard on Monday and the tone of the reports I’m hearing on the local television stations, there seems to be a lot of respect for the Hawks.

That said here are a few storylines you’ll be reading and hearing about in the days leading up to the Feb. 1 game against New England at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale:

Tom Brady vs. Russell Wilson: The Patriots quarterback will play in a record sixth Super Bowl and will be going for his fourth ring. That’s Joe Montana (and Terry Bradshaw) territory. Wilson, meanwhile, is back for this second straight Super Bowl and has a shot to do something no quarterback has ever done: Win two Super Bowls in his first three seasons. It’s the classic drop back passer (Brady) against the elusive play-maker (Wilson) who can beat you with his arm and his legs. A story in USA Today bills it as old-school vs. new-age QBs.

Richard Sherman vs. Tom Brady: Sherman will get more than his share of news, and not all of it will revolve around the elbow injury he played with over the final minutes of Seattle’s OT win against Green Bay. Remember the “You Mad Bro” moment following Seattle’s regular-season upset victory over the Patriots in October of 2012 at CenturyLink? It was, more or less, Sherman’s coming out party as a big-time trash-talker who has shown that he can back up all of that talk.

Former Legion of Boom member Brandon Browner vs. his old team: Browner’s now a cornerback with the Patriot. He was a big part of the LOB, but had to sit out the big game a year ago because of violating the NFL’s substance abuse violation. After Sunday’s games, Browner said he felt all along that a New England-Seattle matchup in Arizona was inevitable. 

Pete Carroll vs. Bill Belichick: Carroll was fired by Patriots owner Robert Kraft in 1999 after an 8-8 record in his third season.  Kraft then hired Bill Belichick and we all know how that worked out: six Super Bowls in 14 seasons. Carroll went on to turn USC into a powerhouse and now has the Seahawks knocking on dynasty’s door. Carroll’s youthful appearance and emotional coaching style seems the opposite of the dour-looking Patriots’ boss. There’s a mutual respect between the two. “I like Pete. I like him a lot,” Belichick told ESPN.com.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski vs. Seattle safety Kam Chancellor: Everybody’s waiting for The Collision in the Desert between those two hombres. If it happens, you might feel it back in Seattle.

Finally, Marshawn Lynch vs. the media: Will he talk? You remember Lynch’s memorable Super Bowl Media Day interview with Deion Sanders a year ago in New Jersey? “I’m just about that actin boss?” Can he top that one? Here’ s what I wrote a year ago after listening to that exchange:

Marshawn Lynch lasted 6 minutes, 20 seconds at Super Bowl Media Day before escaping the big stage.

Deion “Prime Time” Sanders of NFL Network hunted Beast Mode down, and the interview with the Seattle Seahawks star was priceless. Here’s a portion of it.

“You look good,” Sanders told Lynch, who was wearing sunglasses and had the hood of his Seahawks’ jacket pulled up.

“(Bleep), so do you,” said Lynch, fingering Prime Time’s suit coat.

Sanders told Lynch it looked like he was ready to play.

Lynch: “Yep, that’s what time it is.”

Sanders then asked if Lynch was a little shy.

Lynch: “I’m just about that action boss. … I ain’t never seen no talk win ya nothing. Been like that since I was a little kid. I was raised like that.”

Asked if he was excited about the game, Lynch, wearing sunglasses, said, “Hell, yeah. … yeaaahh!”

Sanders then said some think the Seahawks will be in trouble if Lynch doesn’t get untracked.

Lynch: “They gonna have to stop all of us. I’m a beast, but we got some dogs.”

Sanders: You don’t like podiums do you? What is your thing?

Lynch: “Lay back, kick back, mind my business, stay in my own lane.”

Sanders: He told Lynch that NFL Network and former star back Marshall Faust loved him.

Lynch: “That’s huge. He’s a great.”

Sanders: “We all love you.”

Lynch then went third-person on us.

“That’s big time. Beast Mode love and appreciate that.”

 

 

Another No. 1 seed at stake for Seahawks & links

Will the road to the Super Bowl go through Seattle?

I think it will, and we’ll find out later today when the Seahawks play the Rams at CenturyLink. It’s hard to see Seattle having a letdown in this one. There’s too much at stake and they’re coming into the game on a roll, winning their last five games while giving up just 6.6 points a game.

If Seattle wins and the Green Bay-Detroit game doesn’t end in a tie, the defending Super Bowl champs will earn a bye and the home-field advantage. The home-field advantage definitely means more when you’re talking about Seattle or Green Bay. The crowd at CenturyLink makes a difference, and the Packers are a different team at Lambeau Field. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t thrown an interception at home this season.

Here’s a look at the NFL’s playoff scenarios heading into Week 17.

Some links and some thoughts

* Here’s a pretty convincing argument for why former Mariner DH Edgar Martinez should be in the Hall of Fame. 

* ICYMI, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune addressed a lot of questions concerning the Mariners in this story.

* Former Kentridge  High and Edmonds CC star Shaquielle McKissic has had a tougher journey than most college basketball played. McKissic’s now a senior at Arizona State.

* Olympic High has won six straight and looks like the Trojans are the team to beat in the Olympic League in boys basketball. Next game: Jan. 6 at Bremerton.

* New England’s the obvious favorite to win the AFC, but I wouldn’t sleep on the Pittsburgh Steelers, which has looked pretty good in winning their last three games. Ben Roethlisberger is getting protection, Le’Veon Bell is the best multi-purpose back in the league and the defense is starting to come together. The Steelers win the AFC North and a bye with a win over Cincinnati today. If the Steelers go into the playoffs with a four-game winning streak and a bye, watch out.

Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports is among those who’s convinced Kentucky will be 34-0 when the NCAA Tournament begins in March. The No. 1 Wildcats dispatched No. 4 Louisville 58-50 in a battle of unbeatens on Saturday, and Forde said it should be smooth sailing for Kentucky in the SEC.

Forde writes: Too long. Too versatile. Too deep. Too relentless. Too athletic.

Louisville coach Rick Pintino says: “I know one thing. They’re one of the great defensive teams I’ve seen in my 40 years. They can switch and not cause a mismatch, they can move their feet, they can block the shot.”

 

 

 

Hammel thrilled to be back in the Windy City; Dunn, Haas, Locker & more

In case you missed Jason Hammel’s press conference on Friday, the 2000 South Kitsap graduate is excited to be back with the Chicago Cubs.

The right-hander, who signed a two-year, $20 million deal, called his three months with the Cubs the best three months of his career.

Hammel will be reunited with Joe Maddon, his manager at Tampa, and Chris Bosio, the former Mariner who is the Cubs’ pitching coach.

Hammel was 4-1 with a 2.35 ERA at Wrigley Field last season before being traded to Oakland. Jon Lester, who was with Hammel in Oakland, will be a teammate in Chicago as well. Jake Arrieta had 10 wins and a 2.53 ERA.

“I can’t predict the future, but it’s going to be a very dominant rotation,” Hammel, 32, said. “And you win championships with pitching. Obviously, the offense helps. But all the teams that go (to the postseason), they all have dominant, consistent pitching.”

Also

* Congratulations are in order for Lauren Haas, Olympic High grad who will be inducted into the Southern Illinois Hall of Fame in 2015. Haas, an infielder, was a four-year standout in fastpitch for the Salukis, and  the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year in 2008.

* Speaking of Hall of Fames, the 2015 Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet will be held Jan. 24 at Kiana Lodge. Check out this link for a list of inductees. Tickets are $30 in advance; $35 at the door.

* North Kitsap grad Kasey Dunn joined the Oklahoma State coaching staff as receivers coach in February of 2011. Dunn and the Cowboys preparation for the Washington Huskies this week. OSU (6-6) and the UW (8-5) will play Jan. 2 in the Cactus Bowl in Tempe, Ariz. I talked to Dunn over the weekend. The well-traveled Dunn — he’s coached at nine colleges and had a two-year stint as running backs coach with the Seahawks — has been at OSU for four years, his second-longest tour of duty since getting into the business. He was at  Washington State for five years. The Huskies contacted him about a possible position when Rick Neuheisel took over from Keith Gilbertston, but the timing wasn’t right. Dunn  was happy at WSU, where Mike Price was the head coach.

* I always thought Jake Locker would have been an All-Pro safety if he’d played on the defensive side of the ball. He turned out to be a really good quarterback, but we’ll never know how good because of all the injuries he’s suffered. Locker dislocated his shoulder for the third time on Sunday, and his career with the Tennessee Titans is probably over.

* Jason Flora, senior form Bremerton, averages 13.0 points and 5.4 rebounds for the Seattle Redhawks (4-5), who play Northwest College on campus at Connolly Center Monday night. SU’s other home games are played at KeyArena.

* I won’t be surprised if Eastern Washington (8-2) wins the Big Sky Conference this year. I’m talking basketball, not football. The Eagles let one get away at No. 17 Washington on Sunday. They led the Huskies by 10 with 11:22 left but couldn’t hold on, losing 81-77. EWU’s not real deep, but they’ve got enough weapons to give anyone a tough time. Sophomore guard Travis Harvey (20.5 ppg) and Australian junior forward Jenky Vois (20.3 ppg) are for real. Harvey led the Big Sky in scoring a year ago. EWU beat Indiana in Bloomington earlier in the season. If the Eagles beat No. 19 California (9-1) in Berkeley on Dec. 19, they just might crack the top-25 polls.

* I still can’t get Robert Turbin’s 8-yard run out of my head. You know the one. It was 2nd-and-9 from the 12 and Turbo turned Beast Mode, running over the 49ers’ Antoine Bethea. Marshawn Lynch scored the go-ahead touchdown on the next play from the 4, and the Seahawks were in control.

 

 

Bill Simmons: Seahawks’ 12th Man MIA; Cardinals now have best home crowd

Bill Simmons of grantland.com isn’t sold on quarterback Russell Wilson, and he pretty much dissed the Seattle Seahawks crowd in this column. He might be right. What do you think?

Here’s his take on the 12th Man:

That’s right, Seattle. You know I love your city and you know I hate how OKC stole the Sonics from you. But save for opening night, your crowds have sucked this season. Peyton Manning went 80 yards in like three seconds to force OT on you. You lost to Dallas at home. You couldn’t blow out the lowly Raiders last week, for God’s sake. Are you suffering from Pink Hat Syndrome (a.k.a. too many bandwagon fans)? Are you taking this stuff for granted now? What’s up? You’re like the husband who marries his dream girl and immediately stops working out and puts on 25 pounds. Get back on the treadmill. “The 12th Man” used to mean something.

Oh, and by the way, Arizona took your “Best Crowd in the League” corner. The Cardinals fans just swooped right in and stole it from you. You’re Avon, they’re Marlo. That’s a fact. Do you care? Do you care at all? NOW GO OUT THERE ON SUNDAY AND BE THE CROWD I KNOW YOU CAN BE!

The column started with his take on quarterbacks who have won a Super Bowl in this century. This is what he had to say about Wilson:

It’s too early to have an opinion on Russell Wilson’s Super Bowl, but the “Luck or Wilson?” debate finished filming in October. (Spoiler alert: Luck won.) Is Wilson an infinitely more athletic Brad Johnson? Is his 2014 performance suffering because his offensive line collapsed and he doesn’t have enough weapons (and not because we overrated him)? Or, could you say he’s where Brady was in 2002 — one year away from jumping a level, and three years away from jumping two levels, and five years away from finishing the video game? To be continued.

Collegians: Flora back for senior year at Seattle U

BASKETBALL

Jarell Flora (sr., Bremerton) figures to play a key role for Seattle University, which was picked to finish third by the media in the Western Athletic Conference preseason poll. WAC coaches tabbed the Redhawks to finish second. Flora, a 6-3 guard, averaged 9.5 points and 3.2 assists a year ago, starting 25 of the 30 games he played in. The former Olympic League MVP and his teammates open the season Friday, Nov. 14, against Texas State at KeyArena. SU plays cross-town rival Washington on Nov. 21 at KeyArena.

Jalen Carpenter (jr., Bremerton) is a returning starter for Weber State. The 6-1 Carpenter averaged 8.7 points and 5.7 rebounds for the Big Sky Conference school a year ago and has started 43 games in two seasons.

Krista Stabler (jr., Central Kitsap), a 5-6 guard, will be a team captain for the Saints this season. She averaged 3.2 points a year ago with a high of 16.

Brittany Gray (sr., Bainbridge/Skagit Valley) and Sadee Jones (sr., North Mason) are returning starters at Evergreen State. Gray, a 5-9 forward, earned Cascade Collegiate Conference honorable mention all-league honors a year ago after averaging 13.5 points and 8.7 rebounds. Jones, a 5-8 forward, averaged 10.5 points and 6.5 rebounds for the Geoducks (14-12 in 2013-14).

Caulin Bakalarski (fr., South Kitsap) is a guard at Eastern Oregon. Bakalarski, a 6-3 wing, was an all-Narrows League pick a year ago.

Sophia Baetz (sr., Kingston/Skagit Valley) is a backup guard at Montana Tech in Butte, Montana. Baetz averaged 7.5 points as M-Tech won its first two games.

Kelsey Callaghan (sr., South Kitsap), a 5-3 guard, and 6-1 Breyenne Mosey (sr., King’s West) are back for their finals seasons at Western Montana in Dillon, Montana. Western Montana’s off to a 3-1 start. Callaghan and Mosey are both coming off the bench.

FOOTBALL

Kyle Lanoue (redshirt, so., Central Kitsap) is having a solid season for Eastern Oregon. The defensive tackle had tackles, two for a loss, and a sack in the Mountaineers 31-20 win over Montana Tech last week. Lanoue has 49 tackles, nine for losses, and is tied for the team lead with three sacks. Eastern Oregon (6-4, 5-3 Frontier) is No. 21 in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll and and hosts the College of Idaho on Nov. 8, and closes the regular season at Southern Oregon on Nov. 15. … Matt Stone (R-fr., Bainbridge) is a backup running back for the Mountaineers.

 BASEBALL

Jamestown University assistant coach Boya Quichocho, a South Kitsap grad, has established a pipeline of sorts to the NAIA school in Jamestown, North Dakota.

Quichocho, a standout infielder, played at Olympic College for two years and two more at Jamestown, where he earned honorable mention All-American honors and led the Jimmies in stolen bases both seasons.

Quichocho is in his ninth year as an assistant coach. Two former Olympic College pitchers — Chris Hackworth from Utay and Ferndale’s Kyle McKay — are also on the coaching staff.

Other current Wes Sounders on the 2015 roster: Adam Lemmon, freshman pitcher from North Kitsap; Tyler Ludlow, freshman first baseman from South Kitsap; Michael Nelson, junior first baseman/catcher from South Kitsap; Beau Rabideaux, freshman pitcher/infielder from Kingston; and Nick Torres, freshman pitcher/infielder from Bremerton.

SOFTBALL

Pitcher/outfielder Emma Keller (fr., North Kitsap) and infielder Kalea Chapman (jr., Douglas HS, Juneau, Alaska/Olympic College) are both playing at Jamestown University.

Kelsey Lucostic (jr., Big Sky HS, Missoula, Mont./Olympic College) is an infielder at the University of Montana, a first-year D1 program.

Greta Coleman (jr., Kingston/Shoreline College/Olympic College) is a utility player at Bloomfield College (New Jersey), an NCAA D2 school.

 

Linkage: Shaq, Maddon, Schilling, Couples, A-Rod & Bumgarner

Looking for some good stuff to read. Here’s a few links I’m passing along:

Washington Husky coach Chris Petersen says he’s never coached a player as good as Shaq Thompson. But this story at sportspressnw.com poses a legit question: Is Shaq a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate?

From afar, it’s real easy to like Joe Maddon, the new manager of the Chicago Cubs. This story by Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports gives you a little insight into the guy.

Never did get into dipping and chewing, but Curt Schilling did. Jackie MacMullan of ESPN.com writes the definitive story about Schilling’s addiction to the stuff and his battle with cancer.

Easy-going Fred Couples is the players choice to be the next Ryder Cup captain for the United States.

Alex Rodriguez reportedly paid off his cousin, to the tune of $900,000, to keep quiet about PEDs, according to this report in the New York Daily News.

Michael Powell of the New York Times spent some time in Madison Bumgarner’s hometown and his proud father’s home during the World Series.

Tough road ahead for Hawks, Dawgs & links

OK, maybe we let our heart get in the way our our brains last week.

I didn’t pick the Washington Huskies to beat Oregon, but I thought the Dawgs were ready to give the Ducks a game. Surely, they’d cover the spread (20.5 points).

Wrong.

I thought the Seattle Seahawks would regroup and handle the Rams in St. Louis.

Wrong.

They did regroup, but it was too late. The Rams rode some special teams tricky to a 28-26 victory and the Seahawks are suddenly 3-3.

Seattle’s defense isn’t nearly as dominating as it was a year ago, but the biggest problem remains the Hawks’ offensive line. They allowed three sacks and had three holding penalties and QB Russell Wilson was running for his life, especially in the first half when the Seahawks fell behind 21-3 at one point.

At the start of the season, I thought these Seahawks might be even better than last year’s Seahawks.

Wrong.

Even after last week’s loss to Dallas, I thought the Hawks were still the team to beat in the NFC.

Wrong.

Arizona (5-1) might be the best team, even better than Dallas (5-1) and Philadelphia (6-1) and don’t forget about the Packers (4-2) or 49ers (3-3). The Seahawks are still in the mix, but they’ve put themselves in a precarious position. At 3-3, they don’t have a lot of room for error and the schedule is far tougher than it was a year ago with road games left against Carolina (Oct. 26), Kansas City (Nov. 16) and Philadelphia (Dec. 7) and home-and-home games still to play with the Cardinals and 49ers.

We were reminded that the previous eight Super Bowl champions didn’t win a playoff game the following year. So the Seahawks didn’t have history on their side when the season started, but to suggest they might not make the playoffs seemed pretty far-fetched.

Now? Well, maybe not so much.

Pete Carroll, interviewed on 710 ESPN radio Monday morning, said, “The story is not written right now.”

What about those Huskies?

The Oregon-Washington game was a total mismatch. Oregon’s 45-20 victory, their 11th straight over the Huskies, was far more convincing than I figured it would be. Washington’s defense, so impressive the week before while holding Cal to seven points, couldn’t stop the run or the pass. And Washington’s offense didn’t look so hot either against an Oregon defense that has struggled at times.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota played like a Heisman Trophy winner and the Ducks didn’t look anything like the team that barely beat Washington State 38-31 and lost to Arizona 31-24.

If Oregon runs the table against Cal, Stanford, Utah, Colorado and Oregon State, they should wind up in college football’s four-team national playoff. But in college football’s most unpredictable season, who can say for sure what’s going to happen from week to week?

As for Washington, it’s back to the drawing board, as a disappointed coach Chris Petersen pointed out after the loss.  The Huskies were also beat up physically in Eugene. QB Cyler Miles left with a possible concussion, and if he’s not available, it appears redshirt  freshman Troy Williams will be the starter. He won the backup job over Jeff Lindquist and played most of the fourth quarter after Miles was injured.

The UW has six games left, including a tough home game against Arizona State on Oct. 26 (7:45 p.m., ESPN), and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Huskies went 4-2 or 1-5. At the start of the season, I predicted Washington would finish 10-3, tied for second in the Pac-12 North. Now my brain tells me they’re looking more like an 8-5 team that will find itself playing in the Cactus Bowl (Jan. 2 at Tempe, Ariz.) or Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 20).

Some links

The St. Louis Surprise. Mike Silver of NFL.com writes about Jeff Fisher’s call for a fake punt on fourth down, the play that sealed the Rams’ upset of the Seahawks on Sunday.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com writes about how the Percy Harvin trade hurts Seattle’s chances to repeat.

At 3-3, Seattle is not in desperation mode, but the Seahawks’ flaws are showing, writes Don Banks of SI.com.

Percy Harvin trade makes sense for Jets.

Art Thiel of Sportspressnw.com puts the latest Seahawks loss on coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider.

Remember Steve “Bye Bye” Balboni? Well, if you’re old as dirt, like me, you do. He was the slugging first baseman for the Kansas City Royals’ 1985 World Series champions. Now? He’s an advance scout for the San Francisco Giants. It’ll be a strange, trip for Balboni when he returns to KC this week for the start of the World Series.

Hard to believe but Tim Lincecum, only 30, is now a bit player with the Giants, the backup long relief pitcher as San Francisco heads to the World Series.

Links: NFL arrogance, ‘The Daily Show'; Sherman, Anthony Kim (remember him?) & more

What I’m reading and watching online:

MAYBE MAARK CUBAN  was right when he talked about the NFL being to arrogant and big for its own britches. Cuban’s comments were made six months ago. Don Banks of mmqb.si.com writes this:

A longtime and well-respected agent I know told me the NFL’s initial tone-deaf response to Rice’s domestic violence incident brought to mind the saying, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” In other words, people or leagues that hold too much power often succumb to arrogance, and arrogance leads them in a lot of directions, most of them bad. Imbued with the kind of endless big money that often taints everything it touches, they start to believe their judgments are always correct, their wisdom infallible; they become immune to the correcting forces of competition. They live and act as if they are unchallenged, and that never ends well.

***

JON STEWART of “The Daily Show” was in rare form Wednesday night, taking the NFL and Adrian Peterson to task.

On the committee of four women appointed to shape domestic abuse policies, Stewart said: “You know your business model is in rough shape when you need to appoint your own in-house Special Victims Unit.”

IN CASE YOU MISSED ITGregg Doyel of CBSSports.com took Richard Sherman to task for not talking to the media following Sunday’s loss in San Diego. Doyel writes:

“… he’s front and center when he wins, hides when he loses; case closed …”

Sherman denied that he ducked the media, and takes a shot at “two little Chargers,” who called him out.

***

WHATEVER HAPPENED to Anthony Kim? Kim, who showed off his immense talent during the 2006 US Public Links Amateur at Gold Mountain, has become a man of mystery. Sports Illustrated Allen Shipnuck has done some digging and it was suggested by one source that Kim would have to give up a lucrative disability settlement if he returns to the PGA Tour. It’s a fascinating story.

Shipnuck writes this about the guy who was once considered the face of U.S. golf:

No IMG staffer would comment for this story, but the party line is that Kim is still injured and expected to return to the Tour someday. This is refuted by a close friend of Kim’s in Dallas who watched him hit balls recently. (Kim declined numerous interview requests from SI, and his comrade would speak only anonymously, saying, “He’d be f—— livid if he knew I was talking to you.”) “AK’s not injured,” says the friend. “He can play, he can walk. His swing looks good, the strike sounds solid, his ball flight is good. His physical health is not the issue.”

***

SI.COM PUT TOGETHER  a list of the Top 100 players in the NBA. Tacoma native and former Washington star Isaiah Thomas checks in at No. 90 after averaging 20.3 points and 6.3 assists in his third NBA season with Sacramento. Thomas is now with the Phoenix Suns. Check out the complete list here. Nos. 20-11 will be released Thursday and Nos. 10-1 on Friday.

 

***

TONY STEWART’S CASE involving the tragic accident that took the life of a fellow sprint car driver is headed to a grand jury. Stewart faces the possibility of being indicted and charged in his role in the death of driver Kevin Ward Jr.

***

MLB.COM BREAKS down the postseason playoff picture. They do it daily, so if you want to stay posted on the latest standings and magic numbers, this is a good place to visit while you’re sipping on our morning Joe.