The Stark Truth

Former Kitsap Sun sports editor Chuck Stark shares insight, laughter, news, views and analysis of Kitsap sports and beyond.
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CJ Allen Pac-12 champ, Seahawks’ links, Villopoto, recommended reading & quick hits

May 18th, 2014 by cstark

CJ Allen, a freshman from North Mason, didn’t take long to make a name for himself at the college level. The Washington State hurdler won the 400-meter intermediate hurdles at the Pac-12 meet on Sunday in Pullman. He won it in a lifetime-best 51.14 seconds. Ruby Roberts, a senior from Kingston, was seventh in the 1,500 and 21st in the 5,000. Here’s a story on the meet, courtesy Washington State athletics

Seahawks stuff

A couple videos from NFL.com about two of the elite players from 2013. And yes, they are Seattle Seahawks. Check out the best of Richard Sherman and the best of Russell Wilson. And did you know that Marshawn Lynch is making a movie … about himself growing up in Oakland? It’s called “Family First,” and is scheduled for release at the end of the year. Coach Pete Carroll likes what he sees from this year’s rookie class. Here’s his analysis of some, courtesy ESPN.com. Finally, some insight on Sherman’s contract, according to Peter King of SI.com (scroll to the bottom of the page; it’s the 10th item).

Villopoto out for outdoor season

Poulsbo’s Ryan Villopoto, 25, will not defend his outdoor AMA motocross season, opting for surgery to repair a lingering injury on his left knee. Villopoto won his fourth straight Supercross championship this season. Jeremy McGrath is the only other rider to win four straight supercross titles. Villopoto had surgery last week. Motocross is off-road motorcycle racing; the stadium version of motocross is supercross. Villopoto won seven supercross races this season, including the last four. He led the last 80 laps of the season, only fueling the feeling that he’s already one of the greatest riders in motorcycle history.

Recommended reading

“Sometimes the New Breed Stat Guys aren’t so good about accepting the vagaries of a very complex game.” That’s a pretty good line from Bob Ryan, the veteran Boston Globe scribe. He wonders if baseball fans care about the new breed of stats, and I’m right there with him on this one.

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes about Washinton State football coach Mike Leach, who writes about Geronimo. Legendary hoops coach Don Meyer dies. Meyer spent his career working at small colleges.

California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid could come up short by a nose. The burning question: Nasal strip or no nasal strip? Will New York horse-racing officials allow one?

Finally, some quick hits

Central Kitsap grad and Tacoma resident Troy Kelly will get 14 starts to make $563,133 or earn 354 FedExCup points to retain his PGA Tour card. Kelly had surgery on his right knee almost a year ago, and played in five Web.com Tour events earlier. He’s been working with nationally-recognized coach Brian Mogg, who was born in Bremerton and grew up in Lakewood. Dick Mogg, Brian’s dad, played basketball and baseball at Bremerton High and went on to captain the Seattle Pacific College basketball team.

Central Kitsap grad Drew Vettleson, Washington Natoinals outfield prospect from Central Kitsap, remains on the disabled list. Vettleson started the season at Double-A Harrisburg Senators. Vettleson, who was acquired from Tampa Bay, suffered a broken hand on April 13 when he was hit by a pitch.

Aaron Cunningham will be at Cheney Stadium this week, playing for the Reno Aces, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Triple-A club. The Aces play a four-game series against the Tacoma Rainiers. Game times Monday and Tuesday are 6:05 p.m. with an 11:35 a.m. start Wednesday and a 7:05 p.m. start on Thursday. The South Kitsap grad hit .195 in April but has got his average up to .269. The 28-year-old outfielder had a walk-off game-winning walk in the 10th inning on Saturday and has collected at least one hit in eight of his last nine games.

Erynne Lee and the UCLA Bruins will compete in the NCAA Women’s golf Championship, May 20-23, at the Tulsa Country Club in Oklahoma. Lee’s a junior and three-time first-team all-Pac-12 golfer from Central Kitsap. Central Washington’s Kasey Bielec, a junior from North Mason, was named to the Daktronics NCAA Division II West Region second team. Bielec, a third baseman-designated hitter, batted .339 with team-leading totals of seven homers and 39 RBI.

Daniel Jewett, a junior from North Kitsap, helped Omaha win the Summit League regular-season championship, but the Mavericks (30-20 overall, 14-9 league) are not eligible for the 2014 Summit League Tournament due to its status as a reclassifying Division I program. Jewett, an outfielder who played for the Kitsap BlueJackets last season, was second in hitting (.333) and fourth in RBI (29) for Omaha. He played at Truman State (an NCAA Division II program) for two years before transferring to Omaha.

Cheyenne Barger, a sophomore softball player at Treasure Valley (Ontario, Ore.) is worth mentioning. She put up some amazing numbers this season. The big right-fielder/first baseman hit .600 with 22 home runs and 80 RBI heading into the NWAACC tournament. She struck out just twice. Boise State’s among the schools recruiting her. The Chukars were one of four teams left in the tournament, which was rained on Sunday. The top three seeds — Mt. Hood, Clackamas and Wenatchee Valley, in that order — were also alive going into Monday’s action. Olympic College lost 6-3 to Wenatchee Valley and 8-6 to Douglas, B.C., the fourth seed. They mixed in a wild 17-11 victory over Pierce between those losses.


Grading the Seahawks’ draft

May 11th, 2014 by cstark

ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. gives the Seattle Seahawks a C-plus for their drafting prowess this year. SI.com gave the Hawks a B-minus. They got a B-plus from CBSsports.com. What do you think?

Here’s Kiper’s thoughts:

Seattle Seahawks: C+

Top needs: WR, DL, OL, TE

Needs: B
Value: D+

Summary: There simply isn’t a better player development program in the NFL right now than Seattle’s. The players the Seahawks draft — the players I’ve spent many hours evaluating and making calls on — are often players that evolve, improve and become something new after Seattle drafts them. While they’ve had some notable misses in Round 1, both in value and development, they’ve been awesome thereafter. So when Seattle moved down to No. 45 overall and still had the chance to take either Stephon Tuitt or Marqise Lee, both players that would have been nice fits at pick No. 32, you almost had to laugh because you knew the Seahawks would go in another direction. Paul Richardson was the pick, and he hits a big need, though his lean frame is a concern. The key will be that he maintains his explosiveness as he adds some needed strength. The presence of him and a healthy Percy Harvin, will keep safeties on high alert. I also thought O-line was a necessity, and Justin Britt adds depth, but he was my 21st-ranked offensive tackle, and struggles to create any movement in the run game. I saw him as a likelier fit in the third or fourth round. Again: They trust their development, and they showed it again when they took what I’d kindly refer to as a deep sleeper in Jimmy Staten, a D-tackle I had at No. 44 at the position in my rankings. The Seahawks know what they are doing, but it’s fair to say they had a couple value questions again today. I look forward to seeing what becomes of these players.

2014 draft picks
Rd Pk Pos Player College
(2) 45 WR Paul Richardson Colorado
(2) 64 T Justin Britt Missouri
(4) 108 DE Cassius Marsh UCLA
(4) 123 WR Kevin Norwood Alabama
(4) 132 OLB Kevin Pierre-Louis Boston College
(5) 172 DT Jimmy Staten Middle Tenn. State
(6) 199 T Garrett Scott Marshall
(6) 208 S Eric Pinkins San Diego State
(7) 227 RB Kiero Small Arkansas

Here’s what SI.com (Chris Burke and Doug Farrar) had to say:

As usual, the Seahawks drafted unconventially, ignoring need at times in favor of players with specific athletic skills. The lack of a dominant guard could come back to bite them later, and I’m not totally sold on the prospects of second-round offensive tackle Justin Britt. However, getting Colorado speed receiver Paul Richardson, also in the second round, could be a major steal.

Alabama’s Kevin Norwood, a bigger target for the end zone and the red zone, adds a key component to Seattle’s offense. UCLA defensive lineman Cassius Marsh, who committed to Pete Carroll back in the USC days before changing his mind, reunites in an end/tackle role. Watch out for Marshall offensive tackle Garrett Scott as the possible sleeper pick — he has a lot of the qualities you’d like to see in a top-flight pass-blocker.

I have to knock Seattle down for passing on the two best guards in this class — Xavier Su’a-Filo and David Yankey — because it is a position of enormous need that wasn’t sewn up in free agency, either.

Grade: B-minus

Pete Prisco of CBSports.com gave the Hawks a B-plus.

The Seahawks traded out of the first round to add picks and added a lot of good players. Second-round receiver Paul Richardson can fly and I love fourth-round picks Cassius Marsh and Kevin Norwood. Grade: B-plus

Here’s how NFL.com wrapped up the Seahawks’ draft: 

Another draft in which Pete Carroll gets the guys he wants where he wants. There were perhaps some reaches in there, but you have to really like adding Richardson and the underrated Norwood on offense. Marsh can be very versatile in the Seahawks’ scheme.

Bleacher Report gave the Hawks a B:

Upgrading at wide receiver was important for Seattle and without many other holes, the team’s draft was solid.

 


Catching up with some Kitsapers in college: Box MVP; Jonson, Lee earn 1st-team honors

May 5th, 2014 by cstark

SOFTBALL

Western Oregon’s Bridjet Box (sr., South Kitsap/Olympic College) was 3-for-3 with three home runs and five RBI in a 20-9 win over Central Washington in the GNAC Championship game on Saturday. Box was named the MVP of the tournament after  hitting .750. For the season, she hit .379 with seven homers and 41 RBI for the Wolves (33-21), who advance to the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Western Washington’s Haylee Baker (sr., Bainbridge/Bellevue CC) hit .354 with eight HRs and 46 RBI for the Vikings (30-14), who finished second to Western Oregon in the GNAC regular season.

Erin Kinney (fr., Bainbridge) is hitting .405 for Linfield (33-7), which won the Northwest Conference and opens play in the NCAA D3 regional playoffs next. Kinney, who has been used at designated hitter most of the time, has four homers and 21 RBI in 29 starts. She’s played in 39 games.

GOLF

UNLV’s Carl Jonson (jr., Bainbridge) was named to the first-team All-Mountain West Men’s Golf Team. Jonson is second on the Rebels in scoring (72.64) and 10th in the conference. He has three top-10 finishes in 10 events this season with a fourth-place showing at the Jackrabbit Invitational. He has shot in 60s three times with a low of 67. The Rebels will compete in the NCAA regionals on May 15-17 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.

UCLA’s Erynne Lee (jr., Central Kitsap) was named to the first-team All-Pac-12 Women’s Golf Team for the third straight year. Lee posted her third college win in September at the Mason Rudolph Classic and has seven top-10 finishes this season with an average score of 71.7. Lee and teammate, Alison Lee, the consensus No. 1 player in women’s college golf, were named to the 2014 U.S. Curtis Cup team in march.

 

TRACK & FIELD

Ruby Roberts (jr., Kingston) wasn’t supposed to run the 3,000 meters, but she did and her third-place finish was the difference as she helped Washington State beat Washington 82-81 in a Pac-12 dual in Pullman on Saturday. Roberts ran 9:35.38. She was also second in the 1500 (4:30.13). Cameron Brink (so., Bainbridge) won the discus (154-11) and CJ Allen (fr., North Mason) was second with a PR in the 400 hurdles (48.14) for the WSU men, who lost 84-79 to the Huskies.

Western Washington’s John Hoskin (so., Bainbridge) won the javelin (181-2) at the St. Martin’s Invitational on Saturday. WWU competes in the GNAC Championships on May 9-10 at Monmouth, Ore.

BASEBALL

Tyler Baumgartner (sr., Central Kitsap/Bellevue CC) is hitting .309 for the Oregon Ducks (34-13, 13-8 Pac-12). Baumgartner has started all 47 games in the outfield and has one home run and a team-high 37 RBI.

Kasey Bielec (jr., North Mason) is hitting .340 with seven homers and 38 RBI for Central Washington (28-18, 17-14 GNAC). Pitcher Kurtis Pitcher (sr., Klahowya/Western Oregon/Olympic) is 2-2 with a 4.07 ERA for Central. The lefty has started nine games and pitched 42.1 innings. Central opens GNAC tournament play on May 8 against St. Martin’s at Western Oregon.

Outfielder Daniel Jewett (jr., North Kitsap/Truman State (Mo.)/Omaha University) is hitting .324 for the Mavericks (23-19, 8-8 Summit Conference) with a home run and 22 RBI.

Josh Sontag (so., Central Kitsap) helped St. Martin’s (18-28, 14-17 GNAC), reach the conference tournament as the No. 3 seed. Sontag, who is hitting .122 with a home run in 29 at bats, developed into a starting pitcher and was 2-5 with a 5.52 ERA in 60.1 inning. The 6-foot-2 right-hander got a no decision, but pitched 5.2 strong innings in an 11-6 win over beating Central Washington in a key game on Saturday. Sontag’s started 10 games.

Linfield’s Joe Stevick (jr., Olympic) has appeared in 13 games, pitching 20.2 innings of relief for the Wildcats (33-7), who won the Northwest Conference and will play in the NCAA D3 playoffs. Stevick a 6-6 right-hander, is 0-2 with a 3.48 ERA. He has struck out 11, walked two and allowed 17 hits.

A.J. Milyard (fr., North Kitsap) appeared in two games as a relief pitcher for Whitworth (13-22).

Two former Olympic College Rangers and Kitsap BlueJackets — pitchers Devin Smith (jr., West Seattle) and catcher Dustin Dhanani (jr., Blaine) — are playing at NCAA Division I Alabama A&M (20-29, 12-9) of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Smith is 4-6 with a 4.31 ERA, and is the workhorse of the staff with 79.1 innings pitched in 15 appearances (11 starts). Dhanani is hitting .234 and has started 30 games.

Daniel Orr (jr., Kingston/Everett CC) led Corban University (29-26) in virtually ever major hitting statistic. The first baseman batted .374 with 23 doubles, four triples, three HRs and drove in 48 runs.

Catcher Curtis Wildung (jr., North Kitsap) is hitting .224 for Pacific Lutheran (25-14, 16-8 Northwest Conference) with four home runs and 14 RBI. He has started 33 games.

NWAACC Baseball

Everett CC: Ben Tamm (fr., North Kitsap) is 2-1 with a save and 0.54 ERA in 33.1 innings in 10 relief appearances. He has 30 strikeouts, 15 walks and allowed just 15 hits. … Michael Wood (fr., South Kitsap) is 3-5 with a 1.57 ERA in eight starts. He’s pitched 57 innings, allowed 47 hits, fanned 41 and walk d21.

Tacoma CC: Quinn Eldridge (so., Chimacum) is 5-0 with a 1.12 ERA for the Titans, who are 32-2 and ranked No. 1 in the NWAACC poll. Eldrige has appeared in nine games, four as a starter. He’s pitched 32 innings, struckout 24, walked nine and allowed 24 hits and five runs. … Cory Main (fr., South Kitsap) is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA as a reliever. He’s pitched  18.2 innings and has allowed 11 hits, fanned 12 and walked three.

Here’s Olympic College’s hitting statistics.

Here’s Olympic College’s pitching statistics.

NWAACC Softball

Here’s Olympic College’s hitting statistics. 

Here’s Olympic College’s pitching statistics.

Go to nwaacc.org for complete NWAACC stats. Note: Cheyenne Barger of Treasure Valley is on pace to win the triple crown. She’s hitting .603 with 21 home runs and 79 RBI.

 

 


State HOF class includes Jackson, Schrempf, Hanauer, Thompson, Feigner, Davis, Sneva

April 27th, 2014 by cstark

Keith Jackson, Chip Hanauer, Eddie Feigner, Detlef Schrempf, Jack Thompson, Alvin Davis and Tom Sneva comprise the Washington State Sports Hall of Fame class for 2014.

A statewide panel of voters elected the seven, raising the number of inductees to 189.

“This is a bigger class than usual,” said Marc Blau, Executive Director of the Hall of Fame. “The voting by our statewide panel was so close that we decided a larger class was justified. There also was a feeling among many voters that every one of the 2014 inductees absolutely deserved to be voted inane the sooner the better.”

Georgia-born Jackson, the retired sportscaster, got his start in broadcasting at Washington State University and worked for KOMO radio and then KOMO-TV from 1954-64. He is best known for his enthusiastic ABC telecasts of college football and his “Whoa! Nellie!” call.

Davis played eight of his nine major-league seasons in Seattle and was American League rookie of the year in 1984 and also was an all-star that season.  He was the first inductee into the M’s Hall of Fame. He was a lifetime .280 hitter and hit at least 20 home runs in three seasons. He’s known as “Mr. Mariner.”

Thompson may have the best nickname in state history. The “Throwin’ Samoan” was nicknamed by late Spokane Spokesman-Review columnist Harry Missildine. Thompson was the most prolific passer in NCAA history with 7,818 yards when he concluded his Washington State career. He is only one of two players to have his WSU number (14) retired. He was the third player taken overall in the 1979 NFL draft (by Cincinnati) and played six seasons in the league. He starred at Evergreen High School in White Center.

Feigner traveled the world with The King and His Court and dazzled softball audiences starting in 1946. Feigner, who grew up in Walla Walla, was the king and his court consisted of a catcher, shortstop and first baseman. They performed for more than 20 million fans in 104 countries.

Sneva won the 1983 Indianapolis 500. He won season Indy car championships in 1977 and 1978. In 1977 he became the first driver to qualify for the Indy 500 at a speed of more than 200 mph. Sneva is a graduate of Lewis & Clark High School in Spokane and after graduating from Eastern Washington University was a school teacher and junior-high principal before becoming a full-time racer.

Hanauer, a graduate of Newport High School in Bellevue who attended WSU, drove to 61 hydroplane victories including a record 11 Gold Cups. He entered the Motorsport Hall of Fame in 1995 at age 40, the youngest active racer ever inducted.

Detlef Schrempf was a foreign exchange student when he led Centralia High School to the 3A (then AA) state title in 1981. He was All-Pac-10 at the University of Washington then played in the NBA from 1985-2001 with Dallas, Indiana, Seattle and Portland. He made three NBA all-star teams and played in two Olympics, one for West Germany and the other in 1992 for united Germany.

Sneva, Thompson, Hanauer and Jackson will be honored Aug. 28 in Seattle when Washington State plays Rutgers in the WSU season-opener.

Davis, Feigner, Schrempf and Gary Payton will be honored at a yet-undetermined Mariners’ game. Retired Sonic great Payton was voted into the Hall of Fame last year but schedule conflicts prevented him from being publicly introduced as an inductee.

The Hall of Fame was started by late sportscaster Clay Huntington in Tacoma in 1960 and is located in the Tacoma Dome. The Web site is www.washingtonsportshof.com

 

 


It’s Sherman’s world and he’s getting the respect he deserves

April 24th, 2014 by cstark

Guess who is back in the news?

Yep, Richard Sherman of your Seattle Seahawks.

Time Magazine named the brash Seahawks’ cornerback one of the 100 most influential people.

“Sherman’s rant solidified his reputation as one of the brashest and most candid players in the buttoned-up NFL,” writes Time’s Sean Gregory. “More important, it sparked a national conversation about race, stereotyping and sportsmanship. When critics labeled the dreadlocked defensive star a ‘thug,’ Sherman, a Compton, Calif.–raised Stanford graduate, engaged the debate, asking if the term was today’s way of calling him the N word? In a heartbeat, Sherman altered the discourse and emerged as the smartest voice in the room.”

On Wednesday, Sherman and NFL players Larry Fitzgerald and Arian Foster discussed race during a couple of standing-room only sessions at Harvard. SI.com was there to cover the story.

Three months after Sherman was called a “thug” after his animated on-field interview with Fox’s Erin Andrews following the NFC Championship game, he’s being praised for getting the conversation started with regards to race.

“The lashing we’ve taken isn’t that crazy,” Sherman said in that SI.com story. “You see us still walking, talking, moving, grooving. I think the fear of the backlash and the media perception and the judgment and the criticism is starting to get tempered. How much bad can you talk about a person? How much negativity can you bring a person? … The criticism eventually stops. It eventually turns around and turns positive.”

In related news, Sherman’s expected to become the highest paid cornerback in the NFL before the season starts.

He’s been an All-Pro two of his first three years in the league, the fifth-round draft pick from Stanford will reportedly receive a long-term contract extension from the Seahawks.

“Whatever they feel I am due, I will take it as respect,” Sherman told NFL Media’s Albert Breer on Wednesday. “It’s all about respect in this game, and the only way people respect is the dollars.”

Art Thiel of Sportspress Northwest was right on with this tweet:

“Apparently, it’s #Seahawks Richard Sherman’s world, and we’re just renting”

By the way, Sherman’s world includes 916 thousand followers on his Twitter account: @RSherman_25

 


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

April 23rd, 2014 by cstark

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 …


My Oh My: M’s starting pitching could be so good, but right now it’s not

April 18th, 2014 by cstark

It was April 2 and what was I thinking?

I predicted the Mariners were going to win the AL West.

I think I might have gone off my meds that day.

I said the M’s were pitching rich.

Well, 15 games into the season, we now know that’s not true. Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker have yet to throw a pitch, and James Paxton has joined those two on the disabled list.

If — and I hate to use that word because, well, you know why — those guys can get healthy, I still think the Mariners have a shot at winning the AL West. A rotation of Felix Hernandez, Iwakuma, Walker, Paxton and Roenis Elias, the Cuban left-hander who continues to show that belongs in the show, matches up with any in baseball.

When I made that April 2 prediction, I said we’d know a lot about this team after the first 16 games — all of them against AL West rivals. Well, one game was rained out, and the Mariners came out of gate 7-8. Seattle’s lost thee straight and is three games behind first-place Oakland, which won four of six against the M’s mostly because Seattle’s bats went quiet.

So what do we know?

Oakland’s clearly the team to beat. Texas and Anaheim don’t look like playoff teams to me. The A’s have the best pitching in the division … but I think Seattle’s starting rotation could be even better.

I’m not talking about Hernandez, Roenis, Erasmo Ramirez, Chris Young and whomever their fifth starter is at the moment. Ramirez should be erased from the rotation and sent to Tacoma, but I don’t know if the Mariners have anybody better right now.

Seattle’s gone from pitching rich to pitching poor in a hurry, but I’m sticking to my guns. If Iwakuma, Walker and Paxton ever get healthy — sooner, rather than later — I still believe the M’s have a chance to win the AL West.

UPDATE: The M’s announced Brandon Mauer would start on Sunday against Miami. Excited? Didn’t think so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Spieth Show: From Gold Mountain to the Masters

April 13th, 2014 by cstark

Jordan Spieth’ s tied for the lead going into the final round of the Masters, and nobody’s surprised.

You could see the talent when he won the Junior Amateur at Bremerton’s Gold Mountain in July of 2011. He’s my story after the final match on that day.

Did you know that Tacoma’s Mike Greller, who caddied for Spieth at Gold Mountain, is still looping for the young Texan.

Todd Milles of the Tacoma News Tribune filed this story following the third round at the Masters.

Here’s a fun Masters story that’s pretty interesting. An amateur from the club was paired with Rory McIlroy and the club member won. Read it here.

Why not Ricky Fowler? He’s in position to make a run at a green jacket after a third-round 67. Fowler says it’s about time he stepped up in a major. Once again, why not Ricky Fowler?


Baseball, father-sons & other Thursday stuff

April 10th, 2014 by cstark

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

April 9th, 2014 by cstark

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.


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