Five Things: From Preps to College Softball to The King

1) Congrats to all of the area high school teams and athletes who advanced to the state tournament. It was a banner spring for Kitsap athletes. South Kitsap soccer and Bainbridge softball won team titles, along with Klahowya’s girls tennis team, which shared the 2A title. Central Kitsap’s boy track and Bainbridge’s baseball team placed second, and SK’s girls tennis team tied for second. CKs Shane Moskowitz put together two impressive performances while winning the 1,600 and 3,200 at Star Track. Bainbridge’s Anna Kaminski was second in the discus and Irene Moore of King’s West had a pair of seconds at the 2B meet in Cheney. It was a heckuva spring. Oh, and CK’s Drew Vettleson was named the state’s Gatorade baseball player of the year. Pretty cool stuff.

2) I’ve been watching as much of the Women’s College World Series as I can. Fastpitch softball might be the best game going. Of course, I’m prejudiced because I played it for 20-plus years. But as good as the game is, ESPN needs to do something about its broadcast coverage. Is is just me, or does Michelle Smith, the former Olympian, drive you crazy with her commentary? She acts like nobody understands the game but her. One more thing about the college game: I think it’s time to move the fences back. And it’s not because there’s too many home runs. It’s because there’s not enough doubles and hardly any triples. Those are exciting plays and the current dimensions, in my opinion, need to be re-worked a little.

Naturally, a Georgia player hit a triple against Washington seconds after I typed this. Go figure.

3) OK, one more beef. This pertains to baseball and softball and relates directly to the men and women in blue. I’ve never seen so many batters get hit by pitches and not be allowed to take first because the umpire thinks the batter didn’t make an attempt to get out of the way. That’s ridiculous. On a rare occasion, somebody might actually try to get hit, but 99 percent of the time, it’s simply because they can’t get out of the way. It’s easy for a batter to freeze after getting fooled by a pitch, particularly an off-speed pitch. Anybody who has played knows what I’m talking about. And I think the reason so many umpires blow that call is because they’ve never played. OK, I feel better know. That’s something that’s bothered me for a while.

4) The King is dead: Rafael Nadal finally tasted defeat on the red clay at Roland Garros. He’d won four straight French Open titles and 31 straight matches. He’d never been extended to five sets. He lost in four. It doesn’t matter who you are or what sport you’re in. It’s tough to stay on top. Nadal’s still one of my favorite athletes to watch. The Federer-Nadal matches remind me of the old Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg days.

5) The King is dead II. In this case, I’m talking about LeBron James. His Cavaliers won 66 regular season and eight straight playoff games before running into the Orlando Magic. It turned out that James’ supporting cast wasn’t good enough to get him to the NBA Finals, let alone win an NBA championship. He keeps saying all the right things about wanting to stay in Cleveland, but I don’t think the 24-year-old from Akron will sign a contract extension with the Cavs. He’s already proven that he can be the next Michael Jordan, but he wants to be the next Warren Buffett. He wants to be the first athlete to become a billionaire. Look for LeBron to be wearing a New York Knicks uniform, or perhaps a Lakers uniform, by the start of the 2011 season.

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