The Stark Truth

Former Kitsap Sun sports editor Chuck Stark shares insight, laughter, news, views and analysis of Kitsap sports and beyond.
Subscribe to RSS
Back to The Stark Truth

Archive for the ‘Willie Bloomquist’ Category

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…


KAR auctioning off signed Cano, Hernandez jerseys for Goodwin fundraiser on Thursday

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

UPDATE: There will also be signed Robinson Cano, Willie Bloomquist and Abraham Almonte bats to bid on. The signed Cano jersey and bat will be part of a package. We’ll also raffle off some items. Everyone gets tickets at the door.

Went to the Mariners’ opener on Tuesday and there sure were a lot of No. 22 jerseys in the crowd?

Want a chance to own your own signed Robinson Cano No. 22 jersey? How about a Felix Hernandez signed No. 34 jersey or signed Hernandez baseball? Want a chance to bid on Seahawks and Mariners tickets? How about Mariners tickets with field access prior to a game? Want to bid on a foursome of golf with carts at Gold Mountain, Kitsap Golf & Country Club and McCormick Woods? How about a $300 gift card to Clearwater Casino?

Want to hear Port Orchard’s Willie Bloomquist talk about his Major League Baseball career, or ask him some questions about the current Mariners?

Would you be interested in learning how Bremerton’s Bree Schaaf transitioned from Olympic bobsledder to Olympic broadcaster? Want to ask her some questions?

All of this is possible if you stop by Port Orchard’s McCormick Woods Golf Course for Thursday’s Kitsap Athletic Roundtable meeting. Things get going with a 6 p.m. social hour. The program starts at 7. There’s no dinner, but there will be a no-host bar.

Tickets are $30 ($25 for KAR members) and $10 for students 18 and under and they will be available at the door.

Proceeds will help build a scoreboard at the South Kitsap High School baseball field that will be named in honor of former coach Elton Goodwin and to the Elton Goodwin Foundation, which will provide scholarship money to South Kitsap students. Bloomquist’s among there the hundreds and hundreds of players Goodwin touched over the years.

A lot of people are donating items for the silent auction. The signed Cano and Hernandez jerseys and trip to a Mariners game with field access will be auctioned off live.

Hope to see you there.


Bloomquist, Schaaf headline KAR’s Goodwin fund-raiser

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

If Willie Bloomquist was a Winter Olympic athlete, he said he’d try to be a bobsledder. The event fascinates the South Kitsap grad.

Bree Schaaf, an Olympic High grad,  is a former Olympic bobsled who worked as a broadcaster for NBC at the Sochi Olympics.

Willie, a utility player for the Seattle Marners, will be able to pick Schaaf’s brain about the sport during an April 10 Kitsap Athletic Roundtable event at McCormick Woods Golf Course. The two are going to be the headline speakers.

Proceeds from the event will go toward the purchase of a new scoreboard for the baseball field at South Kitsap High. That field will be named after Elton Goodwin, the Hall of Fame coach who died of a heart attack at 63 after having hip replacement surgery. Man, that’s tough to type. My eyes still get all watery every time I think that Elton’s not around anymore.

Bloomquist played for Goodwin and is one of five of his former players to reach the majors. Jason Ellison, Jason Hammel, Sean Spencer and Aaron Cunningham are the others. Hundreds of others went on to play college baseball.

So here’s the details of the event.

Date: April 10, a Thursday.

When: social hour 6-7 p.m. with the program to follow.

Where: McCormick Woods Golf Course.

Cost: $30 ($25 for KAR members).

There will be several auction items, so bring your wallet.

It should be a fun night, and a chance to listen to two of the most driven and successful athletes to come out of the area.

Tickets are being printed and will be available in advance. We’ll let you know where you can get them as soon as they are distributed.

If you can’t make it and and want to make a donation, you can contact me at chuckstark00@gmail.com, or call Cully Ecklund at 360-470-0747. C’mon, let’s raise some money in Elton’s honor.

 


Monday musings and notes …

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Let’s get to it …

Good news for the Seahawks and their fans: Defensive lineman Michael Bennett reportedly turned down more money to  sign a four-year deal with the Seahawks. That’s a big signing as the versatile Bennett was a big part of the NFL’s best defense. He was Seattle’s best pass rusher. What’s the next priority, wide receiver Golden Tate or defensive linemen Clinton McDaniel or Tony McDonald? Tate’s such a good fit, at receiver and as a punter returner, and I still don’t think we’ve seen the best out of him. If he’s willing to take a lesser deal to stay, why not?

34-0: Haven’t paid much attention to NCAA hoops this season, but it’s hard not to pull for unbeaten Wichita State.  They got to the Final Four as a No. 9 seed a year ago. They should be a No. 1 seed this year. If the Shockers run the table, they would be 40-0.  Talk about March Madness.

Willie Bloomquist update: Willie was 3-for-3 on Sunday and seemingly fitting in with the Mariners like a glove. The veteran utility player from South Kitsap is going to be a McCormick Woods Golf Course on April 10 to help raise money for a new scoreboard at the South Kitsap baseball field, which will be re-named for the late, great coach Elton Goodwin. The Kitsap Athletic Roundtable is hosting the event. More details — time, cost, etc. — later this week. Meanwhile, Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer wrote about Bloomquist on Sunday.

More Mariners: I know it’s only spring training, but lots of young Mariners are having solid camps in Peoria. Cole Gillespie has caught my eye. Former Oregon State outfielder is hitting .533 (7-for-15) with a double, triple and 7 RBI. He can play left or right. Hit .300 and .308 at Triple-A Reno in 2011 and 2012 with brief MLB duty with Arizona. He spent parts of 2013 with Giants and Cubs. If Corey Hart isn’t ready to go full-time at the start of the season, or if Michael Saunders doesn’t produce, could there be room for a solid, all-around guy like Gillespie? He’s 29. Maybe it’s his time?

Hot, hot hot: Olympic College’s Greta Coleman, sophomore from Kingston, is 9-for-13 in her last three games, all OC victories. She has had four doubles and seven RBI in that stretch, including a game-winning hit in the bottom of the seventh against Southwest Oregon on Sunday when she ripped a line shot to RCF on an 0-2 count. Coleman and Alexa Eckonomakis are transfers from Shoreline, which dropped its program for a year after going through coaching changes.

Nice RAC: Olympic College’s softball had an opportunity to play at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey on Sunday. Four fields with turf infields and grass outfields. (There’s also six regulation soccer/football/rugby fields). Best complex around. Wonder if the Kitsap rec departments or school districts will ever get one  turfed field for baseball or softball. We’re so far behind you wonder if we can ever catch up.

Troy Kelly birdied three of his final four holes on Sunday to tied for 23rd in the PGA Tour’s Chile Classic in Santiago, Chile. Nice effort after being out of competition for a year. Kelly plays three more Web.com Tour events — in Brazil, Panama and Louisiana — before returning to the PGA Tour at the Houston Open.

Black and red and winning: Did you see who broke out his red shirt and black pants on Sunday while winning a PGA Tour event? Yeah, Patrick Reed, the latest young gun. This Reed guy might be the real thing. He’s 23 and he’s already won three tour events. And he’s pretty confident, too. Pretty confident? Hell, he’s Larry Bird/Muhammad Ali/Richard Sherman on grass. Read this New York Daily News story to get a flavor.

More golf news: UNLV’s Carl Jonson, a junior from Bainbridge, tied for eighth and helped the Rebels win the Collegiate Masters at South Highland Golf Course in Las Vegas.  Jonson shot 4-over 70-78-72—220 and tied for eighth individually in a tournament that featured the toughest field of the season.

The Fat Drug: Nothing to do with sports, but this New York Times story is pretty enlightening.

MLB at-bat: Central Kitsap grad Drew Vettleson got into a spring training game with the Washington Nationals on Saturday. He was 0-for-1 at the plate.

Interview on deck: Scheduled to talk to Central Kitsap grad and Oregon Duck outfielder Tyler Baumgartner on Tuesday. Baumgartner’s off to a great start. Hope we don’t jinx him.

 


Wet stuff drives you crazy & links on Hammel, Willie B., T. Kelly & RV2

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Spent about nine hours on the road and at the ballpark today, and what did we have to show for it?

Nothing. Such is life if you’re part of a softball or baseball team that’s trying to get in some games in the Northwest. Mother Nature comes out on top a lot and it prevailed once again.

After warming up in the rain for 90 minutes at Lacey’s Regional Athletic Complex (known as The RAC), games were cancelled and the Olympic College softball team headed to a nearby restaurant for dinner, then a drive home in the driving rain. In case you’re wondering, I’m a volunteer assistant.

It’s now closing in on 9:30 p.m. I’m home. It’s still raining and I’m watching Washington State school UCLA in basketball, and wondering if it would be better to just go to bed. We lose an hour of sleep tonight, and the vans leave at 8:30 a.m. for another trip to Lacey, where the artificial turf could be playable. Or maybe not.

In the meantime, here’s some links:

Jason Hammel pitches three shutout innings for  the Cubs in his first official spring game of the season. The South Kitsap grad walked three batters in the first inning, but got out of the jam. Afterwards, he said he might have been a bit nervous.

Willie Bloomquist, who delivered an RBI single on Saturday,  says he’s happy to be a Mariner. ”Who gets to put a uniform on twice and play in your hometown?” he told Greg Johns of MLB.com.

Troy Kelly had an eagle on the par-5 14th hole and shot 2-under 70 in the third round of the Chile Classic at Santiago, Chile. The 35-year-old Central Kitsap grad is 7-under for the tournament and tied for 25th heading into Sunday’s final round of the Web-com Tour stop. He’s six strokes off the lead. Tacoma’s Andrew Putman is tied for seventh after a 4-under 68. He’s at 206 for three rounds. Putman was second in the Web.com’s season opener at Puerto Rico. His bother, Michael Putnam, was the Web.com’s Player of the Year in 2013. Ex-Husky and Canadian Nick Taylor is tied for 50th after carding a 70 on Saturday.

Supercross champ Ryan Villopoto ended his five-race winless streak with a wire-to-wire win at Daytona. The Poulsbo rider with the RV2 moniker grabbed the lead at the start and won by over 12 seconds despite a fall. “So pumped to get the win tonight! This one felt good!” he tweeted.

 


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.

 


Quick Hits: Kelly, Seahawks, Hammel & more

Friday, February 7th, 2014

QUICK HITS AND THOUGHTS

Wonder if the PGA tour will ever get around to correcting the info on Troy Kelly’s bio? It still says he’s a graduate of West Sound Academy in Poulsbo, where he was a first-team all-league guard. Kelly was a first-team all-league guard … at Central Kitsap. Kelly, coming off knee surgery after playing in just 10 PGA events a year ago, gets his 2014 season started next week at the Web.com Tour’s Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship in Bogota, Columbia. Kelly gets five Web.com Tour tuneups, and will have 14 more PGA Tour tournaments to earn $577,828 to keep his full-time playing privilege.

I’m looking forward to listening to Bremerton’s Bree Schaaf, who will be covering the skeleton competion at the Sochi Olympics for NBC. Follow her on Twitter @BreeSchaaf. Skeleton will be held over four days, Feb. 13-16. Schaaf was a bobsledder in the last Olympics, placing fifth at Vancouver.

In case you missed it, as I did while playing in Vegas last weekend, South Kitsap grad Jason Hammel several national media outlets reported that he had signed a one-year deal for a reported $6 million with the Chicago Cubs. The right-hander, who spent last season with the Baltimore Orioles, could earn an extra $1 million in incentives, according to the Chicago Sun Times. The Cubs have not confirmed the report, pending Hammel passing a physical. Hammel, 31, was 7-8 (4.97 ERA) in 23 starts and three relief appearances last season. He missed time with soreness in his right elbow.

I still can’t get that first play of the Super Bowl out of my head. Might have been the earliest turning point in the history of big sporting events. Denver’s mistimed snap ended up as a safety for the Seahawks. It was only 2-0, but you had a feeling, at least I did, that it was going to be Seattle’s day.

My buddy, Don Lay, and I chatted with one of Richard Sherman’s proud cousins at the Palace Station sports book on Super Bowl Sunday in Vegas. Yoseph (didn’t catch his last name) grew up in Compton and works for the schools in Las Vegas. He sported a braided pony tail (says long hair is a family trait) and was decked out in Seahawks’ gear. Asked if he thought Sherman would ever be a national figure, Yoseph shook his head. “I thought he might make the NFL, but as a wide receiver,” he said. “That’s what he played in high school.” Yoseph’s phone was full of photos Sherman was sending to family members and friends, some on the day of the game.

How amazing would it be if Hawks’ owner Paul Allen could become a two-time world champion this year? His Portland Trail Blazers have a legit shot.

Anybody looking forward to seeing what Percy Harvin can do for a full season if he’s healthy?

The first recruiting class of Husky football coach Chris Petersen wasn’t highly rated but the coach landed six in-state recruits, including the two best in Bellevue’s Budda Baker and 6-8, 285-pound lineman Kaleb McGary from Fife. That’s huge. Baker, a defensive back, will likely return punts and kickoffs and don’t be surprised to see him on offense, too. I’d envision the Huskies using him on fly sweeps and in other situations where they can take advantage of his electrifying talents.

Willie Bloomquist wore No. 16 the first time around with the Mariners. It wasn’t his choice. The South Kitsap grad was assigned the number when he was brought up at the end of the 2002 season. He wore No. 18 in Arizona, but that number was already taken by Hisashi Iwakuma, so he settled on No. 8 for his second tour of duty.

Speaking of Iwakuma, let’s not go to sleep on this guy. Based on last year, you could make the argument that he could be Seattle’s best pitcher. Yes, even better than Felix Hernandez. Iwakuma was 14-6 in 219.2 innings with a 2.66 ERA and 1.01 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched). Hernandez was 11-10 in 204.1 innings with a 3.04 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.

The Alex Rodriguez circus won’t be doing business this year. A-Rod dropped his lawsuits against MLB and the players’ union. It’s pretty much an admittance of guilt. Now the only question is: Will he come back to play in 2015? He’s got to sit out 211 games, so he would be eligible to join the Yankees sometime in May of ’15. He’ll be 39, but there will be plenty of incentive. Rodriguez is scheduled to earn $61 million for the 2015-2017 seasons. 

Congratulations to the Bremerton Knights for winning a Class 2A state bowling title, and good luck to the rest of the local prep athletes and teams as they head into the postseason.

I jumped the gun on that last one. Bremerton leads the state bowling tournament after the first day. Good luck Knights! Same for the rest of our teams and athletes who will be starting the postseason in the near future.

 

 


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.

 


Dawgs, Cougs both headed in right direction

Friday, November 29th, 2013

The Apple Cup is in the books, the Civil War is over and the 2-year-old granddaughter is finally in the rack after watching the Disney-movie Ratatouille.

It’s been an exhausting day. Here’s some quick thoughts and links:

Apple Cup: Seven is the ugliest number when it comes to the Huskies during the Steve Sarkisian era, and Washington’s win over Washington State means they can put that number to rest. The possibility of four straight 7-6 seasons has been avoided. The Huskies will take an 8-4 record into whatever bowl game they wind up in. Some are speculating the Dawgs could face BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 27. If you’d have told serious Husky fans at the start of the season that their team was going to wind up in the Fight Hunger Bowl, they wouldn’t have been pleased. The expectations were higher than that, but losses to Stanford, Oregon, Arizona State and UCLA brought the program back to earth. But a win in a bowl game and a 9-4 record will might make a lot of those fans forget about those lofty preseason expectations.

Washington State’s 6-6, and likely headed to a bowl (although there’s no guarantee). The Cougars probably exceeded most expectations, if not in the number of victories, certainly in how the program is now perceived. In two years, Mike Leach has the Cougar faithful believing because he’s got his players believing. WSU went to Auburn for its season opener and nearly beat the team that is ranked No. 4 in the country. The Cougs won three Pac-12 games on the road, and for a half, they out-played the Huskies. This year’s Apple Cup was decided by three or four plays.

Compared to the bad times that these programs have been through in the last 10 years or so, I suppose we should feel pretty good that the Huskies and Cougars are headed in the right direction. At least the programs matter. There were times when you couldn’t say that.

Civil War: Oregon State’s Victor Bolden scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 25-yard run with 1:38 left. They scored too fast. I knew it, you knew it, we all knew it. Oregon marched down the field and scored with 29 seconds left for a 36-35 victory. Bolden should have fallen down at the 10 and the Beavs could have run a couple plays up the gut and kicked a game-winning field goal. Of course, that’s easy to say and hard to do.

Marvin update: It’s taken a while, but it looks like Marvin Williams is finally going to be an option at the offensive end. Primarily an unselfish role player through the first eight years of his NBA career, the Bremerton High grad is getting more looks this year with the Utah Jazz. He had 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting from the field in a Friday loss to Phoenix, had 17 points on 7 of 14 shooting in a win over Phoenix earlier in the week and had a 19-point game on 7 of 13 shooting in a loss against Dallas last week. He’s making 42.1 percent of his three-point attempts. The 27-year-old Jazzman missed the first five games after having Achilles surgery in the summer and missed another game after breaking his nose on Nov. 15.

Also

This story about former NBA player Bison Dele, formerly known as Brian Williams, is one of the best I’ve read. And the design is incredible. I never imagined you could that kind of work on the internet. If you’ve never read any of the stories at SI.com/longstory, check ‘em out. It’s some of the best writing out there.

South Kitsap grad and current MLB  free agent Willie Bloomquist partnered with an NRA group at a hog hunt in Texas to raise money for his Abe and Max Fund, which purchases electronics for patients at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Black Friday? What about the black days. Joe Posnanski takes a look at Black Monday, Black Tuesday, Black Wednesday, etc.

Lots of connections between the Saints and Seahawks.

I know you take the games one at a time, but I think the Cardinals, who visit the Clink on Dec. 22,  could pose more of a threat to beat the Seahawks than the Saints on Monday night. Arizona’s rolling. And if Seattle’s got the NFC West title wrapped up by its regular-season finale on Dec. 29, the Rams could steal one, too. The closing schedule is tough. Saints this week, and at the 49ers and Giants the following two weeks. That’s no picnic. And don’t sleep on the Cardinals or Rams, who outplayed Seattle but didn’t get the win earlier.

In case you missed Ken Rosenthal of msn.foxsports.com writes that two sources used the word “desperate” to describe the state of the Mariners, who likely considering all free-agent options.

 


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.

 

 

 


Available on Kindle