A GRIP ON SPORTS • Wet weather? What the heck? It’s May. Time to get outdoors and enjoy what the Inland Northwest has to offer. This weekend? That’s showers. But nature’s schedule just might be perfect.
• If you really want to do something outside, Sunday seems to be the day. It may be cloudy and cool, but it’s expected to be dry. That’s good, right?
And there is something good on TV tonight and Saturday when the rain is scheduled to hit. Lots of good, actually.
Except the Mariners. Unless you have Apple TV+.
Tonight’s game against the Rays isn’t on Root. It isn’t even on the MLB channel. Nope. It’s only available on Apple TV+. It’s part of the company’s foray into sports broadcasting. And it’s just the beginning. The computer giant Steve Jobs built out of his garage is going all-in with sports. Before we know it, we could be pulling out our phones to watch the Apple Cup. Or the Stanley Cup.
We exaggerate for effect, in a way. But change is the one constant in sports broadcasting. Whomever has the big bucks, and the big desire, gets the big events. Right now it is Amazon, with the NFL, and Apple, with baseball. It will be others.
Don’t fret. At least not this evening. If you have an Apple ID, you can watch tonight’s game for free. Though nothing is ever without cost with such companies. The price might be 7.2 million advertising emails but there is a price.
That, of course, isn’t all that’s on. Not even tonight. If you are extremely bored, there is always UC Santa Barbara playing baseball at UC Irvine. The battle of the Grippi family – Tyler attended UCSB, his parents UCI – is on ESPNU at 7 PDT. Root for the Anteaters please.
Saturday’s rain showers should allow you to stay inside and watch the most important day in horse racing. Yep, the Kentucky Derby is on NBC. The network will spend the day at Churchill Downs – the coverage begins at 11 a.m. – but the race itself has a post time of 3:57 p.m. in our part of the country.
There are also baseball games – the M’s are back on Root on Saturday night – and the usual weekend standbys, golf, tennis and auto racing.
Plus, this time of year the best hockey of the season is being played. The Stanley Cup playoffs are in full swing. We’re most interested in the Tampa/Toronto series but each holds excitement in their own way.
And then there is the NBA playoffs. Today’s question: Which key Golden State player will Memphis try to take out this weekend?
• Want to know what’s odd? The commissioners of the Pac-12 and the SEC, George Kliavkoff and Greg Sankey, were in Washington D.C. yesterday to lobby Congress.
Some new academic legislation? Stop laughing. It was meant to be sarcastic. The commissioners are leading the charge to get the Federal government to save themselves from their boosters. Or themselves. Your pick. The talks were about NIL and how boosters were gaming a system meant to reward athletic accomplishment after the fact, not before.
The NCAA is impotent these days. So are, basically, the individual conferences and schools, unwilling to find out what limits courts will allow. The want Congress to save them.
Good luck with that.
WSU: Mr. Kliavkoff’s trip to Washington is the biggest news of the week, a week highlighted by meetings in Arizona among all the major conferences. We wonder what is going on behind closed doors but trust we will discover soon enough. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and college football, spring football may have made next season’s top 25 a bit clearer. … Washington has six positions it may look to strengthen through the portal. … Doug Brenner’s suit didn’t end Thursday but he did settle with Oregon and drop parts of it. The NCAA is still a defendant, however. … The Ducks lost another player to the portal. … Oregon State’s schedule includes some interesting contracts. … One Colorado edge rusher is in a hurry to improve. … Utah is the favorite and part of that is its receivers. … Arizona State actually has some good transfer news. … In basketball news, Utah’s coach thinks his team will be better for a lot of reasons. … UCLA is looking to extend its defense next season. … Oregon is rebuilding its roster.
Gonzaga: Courtney Vandersloot’s career, like all great women’s players, has a bit of dual personality. There is the WNBA part, which garners the American headlines. And there is the overseas part, which brings in a lot of their income. Jim Allen talked with the Gonzaga alum about where she is at with both right now. Don’t miss the story. … There will be a celebration of life for assistant baseball coach Danny Evans, who died April 23. It will be held Thursday at GU’s baseball field. Justin Reed has more in this story.
EWU and Idaho: Around the Big Sky, Montana State’s basketball coaching staff is changing.
Preps: Mead’s Taylor Mularski had great examples of success in golf and school to learn from. And, as Jim Meehan tells us, she has learned. … Lexie Hull has done nothing but win in her basketball career. Now that she is in the WNBA, show doesn’t expect that to change. Jim Allen talked with her and has this story about the Central Valley High alum. … The playoffs are underway in soccer and baseball. Dave Nichols covers the games from Thursday in this roundup.
Indians: The rains washed out Spokane’s game with Tri-City early in the day. The two will try to play the regular game tonight and a doubleheader on Saturday. Dave has this story.
Mariners: Not only did the M’s lose the opener of the homestand to Tampa, it was former Mariner Mike Zunino who delivered the big blow in the 4-3 loss. … Matt Brash had a couple good starts. Then it began to unravel. He’ll try to stitch it back together in Tacoma. As a reliever.
Sounders: There was a cloud inside the silver lining of Wednesday night’s win. Joao Paulo tore his ACL and will be out for the rest of the season. … The win lifted Seattle to new heights. And it lifted the MLS as well, which is appropriate.
Storm: Can Seattle win the title again? There are three keys.
• It may be raining at home but where we are is pretty nice. There is nothing to compare to a foggy night on the beach. We may or may not return to Spokane later this month – depending on the weather. Tyler and Junior, our doberdane, might just inherit a nice home. Until later …