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Grip on Sports: There are dry spells and then there are droughts

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez throws against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 3, 2018, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez throws against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 3, 2018, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The long stretch run is upon us. We’re not really referring to the baseball season, but that too. It coincides with the unofficial end of summer – yesterday – and the long run until the holidays. The dry season. No extra days off for a while. Read on.


• Four-day workweeks are the best. In a life of trudging to the job five – or more – days a week, that extra day off on the weekend makes all the difference in the world. 

Stretches that crop up such as the next few weeks, in which holidays are rare, are the bane of our existence. Thank goodness, in this stretch at least, sports are there to help us get through the drought.

• There is baseball, though the Mariners need a lot of help to end their own drought. Is it really true we haven’t been able to watch the M’s play a postseason game since before your daughter, a high school junior, was born? Yes it is.

It was so long ago there were actually people in the Safeco stands watching the American League championship games not taking pictures with their phones. I know. That is a long time ago. 

To break that streak, Seattle not only needs to start hitting better, it needs either the Yankees, Astros or A’s to collapse a bit. That’s the hole the M’s have dug for themselves. Problem is, it doesn’t look as if either of those teams will help the Mariners out with a long losing streak. 

• There is football, college and pro. In the non-paid ranks, there is some hope in these parts for a lot of wins. And dread of the certain-to-happen losses. But the balance sheet around here should tip toward success.

Washington State seems to better than expected. Eastern is going to be good. Idaho is better than its first effort showed. Whitworth will win its normal amount of games.

But will something special happen? Will the Cougars be a breakout team? Can Eastern Washington make a deep run in the FCS playoffs? Will Idaho write a storybook tale in its first year back in the Big Sky? Can Whitworth break through and win the Northwest Conference title?

Discovering the answers to those questions will get us through the next 10 weeks or so.

• Speaking of questions, the Seahawks have more than their share. Some national prognosticators feel they will be among the NFL’s worst teams. Others are not so sure. The Hawk fans? They probably aren’t sure either, but the 12s always seem to tilt toward success until shown otherwise.

Though this season may test the devotion of many of them. It makes me wonder how many Seahawk jerseys will be sold this upcoming holiday season.


WSU: The Cougar players get Monday as their NCAA-mandated day off from football. But Mike Leach doesn’t take the day. One of his responsibilities is to meet with the media. From that encounter, Theo Lawson was able to put together a Labor Day-themed story on what was once Leach’s dream job: garbage man in Cody, Wyoming. … Theo also has a story on the odd formation Washington State ran against the Cowboys. … Looking ahead, Theo has his first look at Saturday night’s Martin Stadium visitor, San Jose State and the Spartans' quarterback woes. The designated starter at that position quit the team days ahead of the opener against UC Davis.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, it is obvious some people never learn. As a result, Mark Jones will not be working any Washington games for ESPN. He won’t be able to mention Trey Adams is out with an injury. … Oregon will be without its starting tight end, who broke his leg in the opener. … Oregon State may be without quarterback Jake Luton, who is dealing with a concussion. … California has yet to decide about the starting quarterback. … In the South, Colorado gets to renew an old rivalry this weekend. … Is the third-string quarterback Utah’s future? … UCLA also has a quarterback dealing with an injury. … USC has to get better quickly or Stanford’s running game could be hard to stop. … A linebacker returns this week for Arizona State. … Kevin Sumlin is preaching patience with Arizona’s offense.

Gonzaga: The men’s soccer team lost to Washington.

EWU: Around the Big Sky, Southern Utah is headed to Corvallis with a chance to earn a win against a Pac-12 school. … Montana plays a team that has yet to finish a game. … Montana State’s success starts with a new quarterback.

Indians: Spokane will open the Northwest League playoffs Wednesday in Everett. But the Indians and Vancouver had to finish the regular season first, with the Canadians having fun in their win. Dave Nichols has the story of one player’s big day. … Elsewhere in the Northwest League, Eugene, who will face Hillsboro in the South playoff, lost its final regular season game.

Preps: Former Reardan and Richland basketball coach Frank Teverbaugh died late last month. We can pass along his obituary.

Mariners: So what’s up with the offense? It’s been a struggle lately, though it didn’t hurt the M’s last night in a 2-1 win over the hapless Baltimore Orioles. Erasmo Ramirez played a large role in that.

Seahawks: A lot of news as the Hawks prepare to face Denver on the road. The roster is set, including the practice squad. No, Earl Thomas isn’t on it. … Brett Hundley feels lucky to be in Seattle. Pete Carroll always feels lucky. … Russell Wilson needs to be even better if the Hawks are going to be successful. 


• I just realized what Hell is going to be. I’m doomed to sit in front of a keyboard for eternity while autocorrect turns every witty tweet I write directed toward the Almighty into a dirty limerick, ensuring another decade with Cerberus nipping at my heels. Until later … 

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