Tuesday, July 14, 2015

With the MLB All-Star Game tonight, here is your all-time, all-Pacific Northwest all-star squad

Posted By on Tue, Jul 14, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Ryne Sandberg, Spokane's own.
  • Ryne Sandberg, Spokane's own.

Baseball’s greatest players square off today at the All-Star Game in Cincinnati. The American and National League squads are loaded with talent, but one could argue that neither team would be able to handle an all-time all-star team of Pacific Northwest natives.

Five Hall of Famers grew up in the Northwest, including Spokane’s Ryne Sandberg. Northwest natives have led leagues in various hitting, pitching and field categories. They’ve also won league awards for Most Valuable Player, Cy Young (pitching), Gold Glove (defense) and Silver Slugger (hitting).

Position by position, we’ve put together an all-star team consisting of Washington, Oregon and Idaho natives. Our roster includes ex-Washington State Cougars like Ron Cey (a former Spokane Indians star) and John Olerud as well as Gonzaga University/Gonzaga Prep product Mike Redmond. was the primary source for some players’ high schools; debate exists over the alma maters of a few old-timers. Cities are listed if a player’s high school and city are different.


Mickey Lolich (Lincoln, Portland): The portly southpaw led the American League with 25 victories in 1971, but that may have been the least impressive of his league-leading numbers. Lolich also ranked first with 376 innings pitched, 308 strikeouts, 45 starts and 29 complete games. By comparison, last year’s major league leaders recorded 21 wins, 248 1-3 innings, 271 strikeouts, 34 starts and six complete games. Lolich compiled a 217-191 record in 16 seasons. That doesn’t count his 3-0 record in the 1968 World Series, when he was named Series MVP after leading Detroit past St. Louis. BACKUP: Mel Stottlemyre (Mabton). Stottlemyre had the misfortune of playing for the New York Yankees during a down period, but few active pitchers will approach his 40 shutouts or 152 complete games. The right-hander from tiny Mabton in south-central Washington compiled a 164-139 record (with three 20-win seasons) and 2.97 earned run average from 1964-74 before an arm injury ended his career. Stottlemyre, a former Seattle Mariners pitching coach, played junior college ball at Yakima (Wash.) Valley under Bobo Brayton before the latter began his legendary coaching career at Washington State.

John Olerud (Interlake, Bellevue). The former Mariners and WSU star won three Gold Gloves and played in two All-Star Games. In 17 seasons, Olerud hit .295 with 255 home runs and 500 doubles. Olerud keyed world champion Toronto in 1993 by leading the AL in batting (.363). BACKUP: Jack Fournier (Aberdeen). Hit .313 with 136 homers in 15 seasons. A notoriously poor fielder, Fournier led the National League with 27 homers for the 1934 Brooklyn (now Los Angeles) Dodgers.

Ryne Sandberg (North Central, Spokane). The Hall of Famer, who recently quit his post as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, hit .285 with 282 home runs and 344 stolen bases in 16 seasons. Sandberg won nine consecutive Gold Gloves and played in 10 straight All-Star Games for the Chicago Cubs. The 1984 National League MVP won seven Silver Slugger awards, and led the league at least once in home runs, triples, runs, fielding percentage, assists and double plays. BACKUP: Joe Gordon (Jefferson, Portland). Another Hall of Famer, Gordon hit .268 with 253 home runs in 11 seasons with the Yankees and Cleveland. He claimed American League MVP honors in 1942. Gordon was selected to play in nine consecutive All-Star Games, excluding three years of military duty during World War II.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

VIDEO: Hoopfest 2015 — Images from an Inlander intern, and player

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 2:35 PM

When I looked up the weather and saw that the temperatures for both Saturday and Sunday of Hoopfest were going to be in the 100s, I immediately thought about forfeiting my games and spending the weekend at a lake instead of in downtown Spokane. Sadly, this couldn't be the case because my teammates didn't like the idea of wasting the entry fee money.

So, on Saturday morning I loaded up a cooler full of water and Gatorade and made my way to the patch of smoldering asphalt known as my court — as did all of the other people attending Hoopfest.

Despite the heat, Hoopfest ended up having a great turnout. Even ESPN got in on the action and broadcasted live right from downtown. I couldn't let ESPN or our local TV stations do all of the video reporting that weekend, so I grabbed my portable camera and in between games took shots of what was going on around me. If you missed Hoopfest or want to relive the memories, watch this quick video and see glimpses of the action that happened at this year's 3-on-3 tournament.

(And in case you were wondering, my team was not able to go home with a "Champion" t-shirt. Or any t-shirt besides the one you earn for participating.) 

Take a look: 

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

IRONMAN CdA changes date for next year and adds another race

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 5:00 PM

  • Matt Weigand
Ironman officials announced today that they are moving their Ironman Coeur d’Alene triathlon to late August next year. At first you may think the move is to avoid things like the ridiculous heat participants will face this year (which forced them to bump up the race times), but it turns out there are other reasons. They aren’t, in fact, running away from June weather because they are introducing an entirely new triathlon, Ironman 70.3, in the regular time slot.

Ironman 70.3 will take place on June 26, 2016. This race gives a wider audience a chance to participate because it’s only one loop of each discipline instead of two like the original Ironman race — meaning the new triathlon is half the distance of the existing Ironman. Another plus is that 70.3 CdA is the same course as the original, so athletes can train for Ironman CdA by participating in the added triathlon.

Another reason to move Ironman Coeur d’Alene to the new date of August 21, 2016, is that organizers hope Lake Coeur d'Alene will warm up throughout the months prior to the race day. As Ironman athletes have to swim two whole loops in the chilly lake, this change is sure to be a welcomed one when those loops come in August instead of June.  

For those of you who like to be ahead of schedule, general registration will open on Monday, June 29, for Ironman Coeur d’Alene and Monday, July 6, for IRONMAN 70.3 Coeur d’Alene.

Also announced was the extension of Ironman Coeur d’Alene through 2020.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Gonzaga to play Tennessee in 2015 Battle in Seattle

Posted By on Tue, Jun 23, 2015 at 5:17 PM


Since 2003, Gonzaga has played one of its December games on the other side of the mountains for an event that was dubbed the Battle in Seattle. It was a smashing success in that inaugural year with the Zags muscling out an overtime win against then third-ranked Missouri.

But it became a little less of a battle the past couple of years with opponents like South Alabama and Cal Poly not exactly drawing massive crowds to Key Arena. It seemed that last year, even Coach Mark Few was losing some interest in the annual trip to the Emerald City.

The Gonzaga athletic department made some big strides today, however, when they announced that the 2015 opponent would be Tennessee. That game is slated for December 19.

True, the Bruce Pearl years are long behind the Volunteers and the team went just 16-16 last year, but there is some mojo in Knoxville that makes this a good score. Also, just having a big, major conference team with name recognition is a coup for the event.

Right now, former Texas head coach Rick Barnes is in the process of rebuilding Tennessee and has made some quick work doing just that, it appears. Here are some of their off-season moves.

And in case you're having some trouble remembering where exactly Zag basketball is at after that trip to the Elite Eight and loss to eventual NCAA champion Duke: Yes, Pangos and Bell are gone, but Wiltjer, Sabonis, Karnowski, Draginis and all those young point guards are back. A way-too-early poll has them at No. 21 in the nation. 
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Ironman CdA moves up start time because it's going to be really damn hot

Posted By on Tue, Jun 23, 2015 at 2:56 PM


So what's going through your mind when you look at the weekend's weather forecast? Terrified that we're all gonna die? Speculative that the mercury could even soar to such levels this far north in the hemisphere? Angry at your local TV weather person?

Whatever you're thinking, we can all agree that this heat wave picked one hell of a weekend to fry the Inland Northwest, what with Hoopfest and Ironman taking place.

And Ironman organizers are taking the prospect of athletes running or biking in temperatures that are set to peak at 104 F seriously. Thus, they announced today that the start time of the swim/bike/run contest has been pushed up to 5:30 am. The new start times are as follows:

5:30 a.m. - Pro Men
5:35 a.m. - Pro Women
5:45 a.m. - Rolling Age-Group Start
8:20 a.m. - Swim cut-off
12:30 p.m. - First Bike cut-off (Any rider who has not made the start of the second lap by 12:30 p.m. will not be allowed to continue).
3:15 p.m. - Second bike cut-off (Highway 95 turn-around).
4:30 p.m. - Official bike cut-off
8:00 p.m. - Run cut-off at halfway point of run (Lakeside turn-around)
9:30 p.m. - Second run cut-off (Bennett Bay Hill)
11:00 p.m. - Race officially ends

Here's a statement from Ironman organizers:
As our primary concern is the safety and security of our participants, spectators, volunteers, first responders and staff, we have been and will continue to be in constant communication with the National Weather Center and medical personnel to make certain we have the most accurate and up-to-date information. Plans have already been made to increase medical personnel support on the course as well as to increase our on course misting stations, fluids, sponges and ice orders. We will continue to work on additional contingency plans if adverse weather conditions require further modifications to the event. If any additional changes become necessary, they will be communicated to the athletes as early as possible.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Two HUGE sporting events happening in the PNW

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 1:44 PM

Chambers Bay hosts the U.S. Open for the first time ever.
  • Chambers Bay hosts the U.S. Open for the first time ever.

Never in the 115-year-old history of the U.S. Open has the event come to the Pacific Northwest. But today, the world’s best golfers have already begun teeing off at Chambers Bay public golf course near Tacoma for the chance at the $10 million purse.

All the big names are there for the four-day event — including old man Phil Mickelson and sucking-it-up-right-now Tiger Woods — but as no one is familiar with this essentially treeless venue (the tricky course only opened in 2007) it could be anyone’s game. Ticket prices of course are ludicrous, but for those who are used to watching on TV this is the time to get over there. Who knows when it will be here again? The last time a major golf tournament came through the area was the 1998 PGA Championships.

Also new this year, people are allowed to bring marijuana to the U.S. Open — perhaps making the proceedings a little less boring (come on, golf is somewhat boring). Water bottles though, you’ll have to throw away before entering.

The iconic photo of Brandi Chastain after the U.S. women's team last won the World Cup back in 1999. - ROBERT BECK/SI
  • Robert Beck/SI
  • The iconic photo of Brandi Chastain after the U.S. women's team last won the World Cup back in 1999.
The other huge sporting event happening in the PNW is the Women’s World Cup in Canada. The American women’s soccer team kicks ass at winning Olympic gold medals, taking the last three. But when it comes to the World Cup, they haven’t won since 1999. Having come out victorious in Group D Tuesday night with a 1-0 win over Nigeria at BC Place Stadium, the soccer team is guaranteed one more game — rolling to Edmonton next week to play Columbia during the Round of 16. For those strong drivers among us, that is a little more than 10 hours from Spokane.

While matches are being held all over Canada, on Sunday, July 5 the two final teams spar off in Vancouver, B.C., just six hours away from Spokane. Hopefully this year, the American team will be there too. This isn't the first time the PNW has hosted the Women's World Cup, play took place in Portland during the 1999 and 2003 Cups.

Regardless of your sports fanaticism level, admit that it's cool two world sporting events are happening in our region right now. Golf claps all around. 

For those of us who aren’t about to trek over the mountains, here’s where to watch on the good ol’ flat screen: Women’s World Cupplayed on FOX, FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2, and is the first time in history a network has resolved to show every single match of the month-long World Cup, male or female.
U.S. Openonline streams begin at 10:30 am, otherwise noon on FOX Sports 1

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Mariners woes got you down? It could be worse. Here are 10 ways how.

Posted By on Mon, Jun 8, 2015 at 3:12 PM

So-o-o-o, Mr. and Ms. Mariners Fan, you’re already given up on the season, eh? Barely a third of the way in, and you’re waving your white flag with more fervor than your Felix Hernandez K card?

Relax. Take a breath. Give thanks for the good things in life (like Felix). At the same time, consider the following 10 baseball disasters that bring a little perspective to the Mariners’ current struggles: 

1. That 25-32 (.439) record has gotcha down? Well, the 1899 Cleveland Spiders finished 20-134. That’s a .130 winning percentage if you’re scoring at home. Or, as ESPN’s Keith Olbermann once noted, even if you’re home alone.

2. The recent seven-game losing streak left you depressed? The 1889 Louisville Colonels dropped 26 consecutive games, which is not an easy thing to do while sober. Just four years ago, the Mariners lost 17 in a row.

3. Fernando Rodney is giving you ulcers? He has 14 saves in 17 chances, and despite that bloated earned run average of 6.94, his 2-3 record isn’t that bad. Mind you, Atlanta Braves closer Gene Garber found a way to lose 16 games in relief (with six wins) in 1979. Also, Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter are two of the four pitchers who share the major league record of 14 blown saves in a season.

4. You’re taking offense to the Mariners’ lack of offense? True, Seattle’s .237 batting average ranks 27th in the majors, and the M’s are 29th in runs per game at 3.4. On the other hand, only four teams have bashed more homers than the Mariners (63). The Chicago White Sox hit just three homers all season in 1908. Two years later, the sock-less Sox hit seven home runs, batted .211 and scored 2.9 runs per game. Of course, those Chicago teams played in the dead ball era. It only seems like the dead ball era when the Mariners are at bat.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Belief in Bigfoot versus belief in Pete Carroll's Super Bowl call

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2015 at 12:35 PM

Pete Carroll and those, presumably, who still believe he made the right Super Bowl call.
  • Pete Carroll and those, presumably, who still believe he made the right Super Bowl call.

Among Washington state's Seahawks fans, only 13 percent believe Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made the right call to pass in the last-second, game-losing play of the Super Bowl, according to a recently released Public Policy Polling survey of Washington state residents.

That's lower than the 18 percent of Washington residents who believe in Bigfoot, according to the same poll. Still, 89 percent of Seahawks fans believe that Carroll is doing a good job. (Sadly, PPP didn't ask whether Washingtonians believe Bigfoot is doing a good job.)

Other interesting findings from the poll:

- 30 percent of Washingtonians consider themselves "moderates."

- Republicans are slightly (21 percent to 16 percent) more likely to believe in Bigfoot than Democrats.

- 57 percent have a positive view of Starbucks. 

- Despite Windows 8, over two-thirds have a positive view of Microsoft. (And most are prouder of Microsoft than Starbucks)

- Liberals like Starbucks more than conservatives (Though moderates love Starbucks the most of all.)

- 23 percent just aren't sure what to make of apples.

- Husky football fans edge out Cougar football fans, 39 percent to 26 percent. 

- Disapproval ratings for WSU's head football coach are higher (16 percent) than UW's football coach (5 percent.)

- Less than half of Washingtonians want the NBA to return to Seattle.

- But Barack Obama voters are more likely than Mitt Romney to want the NBA to return to Seattle. (49 percent to 42 percent)

Read the whole poll here.
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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Some dude in Spokane wants you to pay the Patriots' Deflategate fine

Posted By on Tue, May 12, 2015 at 10:32 AM


Cruising through any crowdfunding site reveals no shortage of wrong-headed, misguided or simply God-awful ideas, but this campaign posted yesterday to GoFundMe may take the cake. Someone who says his name is Michael J. Whitman and claims to live in Spokane, launched an effort to raise $1 million to cover the fine levied against the New England Patriots for their conspiratorial efforts to deflate footballs below league requirements.

And while there are no shortage of Tom Brady apologists in the world, the planet is not, however, populated with enough morons to donate to this cause, and this dude seems aware of that truth. Here's what he wrote on his site, which currently has just over $1,900 raised.
We obviously know we won't reach One Million Dollars, however we do believe the fine is bulls**t and want to help anyway we can. So whatever is donated will be donated to the New England Patriots in help with the fine! As we venture with this, we will do frequent updates to show progression of this! If enough is made to make the travel, we will fly down there (on our own expenses) and deliver a check in person! 
There is so much idiocy spraying from this passage that reading it without protective goggles could forever alter your intelligence. First off, and most obviously — you're in Spokane and this is part of the Seahawk Nation, so start acting like it, Michael. But that's just the tip of this iceberg of ignorance.

How about the phrase "we want to help anyway we can." Really? You want to help an outlandishly profitable team owned by a man who probably has a million bucks absentmindedly tucked in the pocket of a fur coat he hasn't worn for a few years? That's where you think people should be spending their money?

You only have to click two or three times away from this moronic endeavor to find fully worthwhile fundraising efforts, even a page of Spokane-centric causes, including pages to raise money for a kid in need of a bone marrow transplant, a Whitworth student who wants to go to Guatemala on a goodwill mission, and a Spokane boxing team looking to head to the national championships.

Here's the full list of campaigns, almost all of which are more worthwhile than helping some dickwads on the other side of the country who cheated in a football game.
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Monday, May 4, 2015

One memorable Bloomsday wipeout; Results books arrive Tuesday

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2015 at 2:38 PM

No doubt your social media feeds have been full of images from Sunday's Bloomsday run, where more than 42,000 racers and walkers took to the streets on a beautiful day for some great exercise and one big party. We have a great gallery of pictures from all over the Bloomsday course that is well worth your time to check out. 

Among them you might spot some shots of first-time Bloomsday racer Adam Finney, a 32-year-old Chicago native who came to Spokane this year for the wheelchair race, only to hit the pavement in a dramatic crash that was caught by our photographer Ryan Sullivan. It's no shock that the big hills might cause a few tumbles, and we're happy to report race organizers told The Inlander Finney was fine after being taken to the emergency room. He even plans on coming back and racing Bloomsday again next year. 

Sullivan was waiting at the crossover of Latah Creek, less than two miles into the course, and watching for the first wave of wheelchair racers since they took off from the starting line earlier than the other groups. He figures Finney was about the 10th or 11th racer to come zipping down the hill. 

"It looked like he just came into the corner with too much speed," Sullivan says. "He veered right and connected with the curb, and he actually ended up under the guardrail instead of going right into it, which was good."

Finney and the paramedics got a laugh, Sullivan says, when a second group of medics joined the first responders and started doing a routine check of Finney's wounds. One of the medics asked if he was feeling a lot of pain in his legs — before noticing the nearby wheelchair and apologizing with a laugh, "Oh, I'm an idiot." 

Here's a look at Finney's wreck and the emergency crew helping him out: 
Finney wipes out. - RYAN SULLIVAN
  • Ryan Sullivan
  • Finney wipes out.

Emergency crews tend to the racer. - RYAN SULLIVAN
  • Ryan Sullivan
  • Emergency crews tend to the racer.

Finney is in good spirits despite the end of his race. - RYAN SULLIVAN
  • Ryan Sullivan
  • Finney is in good spirits despite the end of his race.
Prepping for a trip to the ER, where reports are Finney is just fine. - RYAN SULLIVAN
  • Ryan Sullivan
  • Prepping for a trip to the ER, where reports are Finney is just fine.

For all the participants, here's a reminder that the results books for Bloomsday 2015 will be available on Tuesday, May 5. 
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