Greetings Cougs, and a happy Humpday morning to you and yours. Normally we'd lead off today with your usual round-up of links and such, but not today. Today, we hail the KING! And how 'bout the KING last night?? No, he wasn't perfect, but just 1 ER allowed over 7 2/3rds, with 5 K's along the way. But to come off the perfecto and still be able to allow just 1 run over nearly 8 innings, the guy has just been brilliant and is in the midst of a run that is amazingly impressive. His second-half ERA has now dropped to 1.41 (although the baseball nerd in all of us knows that you never fully judge pitchers by ERA!), and he has given up 2 or less runs in 7 of his last 8 starts. He has just as many shut-outs already this year (4), then he had in his CAREER coming in to 2012! Righties are hitting just .198 against him, and overall the league is only at .222 against the KING.
And don't look now, but the M's are HOT. 7 straight wins, and an amazing 14 out of 15 in Safeco Field?? What's up with that?? Maybe shedding Ichiro was a great thing for this franchise, as they are now 17-8 minus the mysterious #51. Let's not get crazy and start talking playoffs......but they have crept to within 7.5 of the Wild Card. Crazy talk, I know. Until you look back a year ago and realize that on the same date in 2011, the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals were 8 games behind ATL for the Wild Card! I know, I know, it's crazy talk, and they would have to pass like 5 teams in the process just to snag one of two AL Wild Cards this year. But hey, at least they are interesting to watch again??
But with Felix, it's not just the numbers. Watching him pitch is just a treat. The way he can still bring the heat when he wants to, several times up in the mid-90's on the fastball, but also the electric breaking stuff that is straight out of Nintendo is simply amazing. He truly is like watching Pedro Martinez in his prime, and all I can say is I'm going to enjoy this ride for as long as it lasts. Felix did say in a radio interview yesterday that he "promises" Seattle fans that he is going to be here for a long time, but we all know how crazy baseball free-agent money can get. Can you imagine the amount of money teams would be willing to fork over for the KING in a couple of years, when he hits the market at just 28 years old??!? Yes, he'll have a lot of mileage on that right arm in two more full seasons of 200+ innings, and like NFL running backs there's only so much tread on the tire for MLB starters. But I sure hope Jack Z and the M's brass roll up their sleeves and figure out a way to get him to sign a contract extension, because there couldn't be a more important player in the franchise right now than Felix Hernandez.
OK, back to football. Well, sort of. First, we have to mention this - remember our good friend Hooty, a former blogfather around these parts who is now famous for the Wave the Flag campaign?? How he has a billboard and a video and all that, in just a wonderful, touching tribute to his mother? Well guess what - HIS MUG IS NOW ON A SPOKANE CITY BUS!
I think to get him to "make an appearance" at our next tailgate, we're going to have to do more than fill him up with free beers and hot dogs. There's probably going to be a fee involved, plus a tent set up for autographs and a way for him to schlep his own merchandise. I don't even know if we can contact him directly anymore, I tried the other day and was immediately greeted by a rather large individual who told me to call his agent, and then slammed the door in my face.....OK, not really, but still. This is getting a little nuts??
In all seriousness, congrats to Tad/Hooty! Keep on keepin' on. Oh, one other quick thing - the Snow Bowl from '92 was replayed the last couple of nights on the Pac-12 network. What's weird is that in a game that ended 42-23, did you know UW actually led 7-6 at the half?? I remembered the explosion of points in the third quarter when the Cougs simply ran away from the Dawgs, and it was absolutely stunning. But I forgot that it was only 7-6 at the half?? Weird.
But also I saw in one quick shot, you can see Bill "The Beerman" walking the sidelines in a WSU jersey, which is kind of strange? I knew he was a Seattle icon for so many years, and he sadly passed away in 2007. I remember seeing him at Seahawks or Mariners games, trying to get different sections to start the wave or do some sort of cheer. He was always drenched in sweat and had that crazy, sweaty, red-faced thing going on. And I knew he sold beer at the Kingdome, and then was a cheerleader for hire for many years, turning it into a career of sorts.
$1.25 for a King Beer?? What a RIPOFF!
But what's great is that Hooty was able to get a pic with Bill after the '92 Snow Bowl!
And yes, I think that is an old-school Pizza Pipeline hat on Bill's head?? Oh, the memories. Anyway, I wonder if WSU hired him to be on the Coug sideline during that game, just to "cheeze off" the UW/Seattle folk?? Strange.
On to today's links!
Caple hits on Tuesday's practice, which was a little unusual in an attempt to simulate game week for the Cougs. Basically Tuesday's practice was supposed to be like a Thursday practice in a normal week, since next week they play a game on Thursday....or something like that? Anyway, check the link for Caple's round-up of the action.
Included in Caple's piece, but also touched on by Cougfan, is the departure of a couple of players from the WSU roster. Chas Sampson and Zach Koepp have both left the program, confirmed here by Cougfan on Sampson and also Koepp. We'll probably find out more in the days ahead, but seems kind of strange to see these players leave now.
Howie Stalwick has a notebook-style article that touches on pretty much everything going on with WSU athletics. Interesting on the football angle is how the positive talk of confidence and the we're-going-to-be-better-this-year-REALLY has been flowing, and Howie asks Wade Jacobson about all of it and how, uh, we've kind of heard this before??
“Last year, we said the same thing,” he admitted. “You know: ‘We’re going to be good.’ I think last year we just said it to (try to) change people’s minds. But right now, we actually feel the team and individuals have changed. We’re ready for the season. We feel more confident.”
We'll find out soon enough, but even the biggest cynic can tell you that this year has a different feel to it. Leach's arrival has upped the stakes, and in turn the confidence is on the rise in every corner of Coug-ville. We can speculate all we want, but it's all just talk right now. The beauty is that we will all find out TOGETHER if this is real or imagined, and sooner rather than later!
A good read from Bud Withers, who goes into the details on kicker Michael Bowlin's journey to Pullman. Bowlin was originally an Oregon Duck, then was booted from the team. After a couple of years at a JC, Bowlin was set to sign with San Jose St. Leach and company jumped in late in the recruiting process, and got Bowlin to sign on the dotted line to come to Pullman. And boy do we need the kickoff ability of Bowlin! Per Withers, he had 14 touchbacks last year kicking off from the 30. And when you consider per Withers that WSU opponents averaged getting the ball at the 36 yard line last year?? Sounds like a great fit for kickoff duties! Here's hoping with the new kickoff rule of kicking from the 35, I'll definitely take several possessions starting from the 25-yard line (also part of the new touchback rule, you get it at the 25 if it's a touchback).
All for now. GO COUGS!
No congratulations are needed, Hawk - I didn't win anything.
I'm glad you guys dig the campaign. It's pretty embarrassing and very surreal but it's all for my Mom. I had/have no idea when it would launch or the scope of it. I signed away my soul for an autographed Mike Leach football.
My Dad texted me on his way home from the Oregon coast today, saying he saw me "grinning" at him on Hwy 395 S of Ritzville. I haven't seen the commercials yet but everyone keeps telling me they see them. It's weird.
BTW - that pic of me and Bill the Beerman wasn't at Apple Cup. That was actually during a rainy fall game but don't remember who it was against. It appears I'm just starting to go cross-eyed in that pic, so I'd bet a paycheck that there's 151 and a little watered down Coke in that cup I'm about to drop.
Pop Warner season kicks off Saturday, so I won't make it to Pullman until the last two games of the season. UCLA and Apple Cup. Drunk Santa, anyone??
I love the whole "I Wave The Flag" campaign, but am a bit surprised how aggressively they're going after the Spokane market, and not the Seattle market. Considering a sold out CLink Field would generate more revenue than they can get out of Spokane in single game or season ticket sales, it seems kind of odd. Maybe that's just my inner advertising sales rep, but I think the AD could generate way more money out of the Seattle Game at this point than they can in Spokane. Quisenberry has dropped a lot of cash on TV and outdoor media in Spokie.
@LucasNurmi People in Seattle are good for Single game tickets.
People in Spokane are good for Season tickets. Most WSU alumni live in Seattle.
That is a hell of a drive regardless of how good the team is and I'll bet it has an effect on whether or not a Seattle area resident would be willing to come to Pullman more than once a year if at all.
However, Spokane is a relatively untapped market with fewer options for top end entertainment than Seattle. This is a great Idea. Hit Spocompton hard.
@allenml38 First of all, I think you're making that up. I would bet far more season ticket holders are along the I-5 Corridor than from east of the Cascades. If you've got proof, I'd love to eat my words, but would imagine you're wrong.
Again, I am not saying going after Spokane is wrong when it concerns the big picture, but considering we're giving up a home game, to host a conference opponent in Seattle, for the sole purpose of making millions more than if we hosted the game on campus, spending/trading very little in Seattle seems really odd to me.
Again, maybe it's just the cynical advertising rep in me,.
@LucasNurmi I have no doubt that there are more CURRENT season ticket holders on the west side. The marketing department isn't trying to target people who have already purchased ticket packages. So why flood the westside with more advertising when most of the season ticket holders are already from there? The people who live on the west side and hold season tickets are diehard fans God Bless them because it is quite the ordeal to travel that far. The program doesn't have enough of them. You won't recruit a whole lot more of them with a poster or billboard at this time. If everything goes as planned than their will be more people jumping on board but, not until then.
Right now You can recruit more people to come out of Spokane because it won't be a two day trip.
@LucasNurmi Its the cynical advertising rep in you.
Not so fast there! Most of the people around me, all season ticket holders are from the west side. I'd be interested in knowing just where the majority of season ticket holders live. I'd bet they are from the west side.
@LucasNurmi Stop hating on Spokane, jerk. The entire state of Washington -- Seattle AND Spokane -- are fair weather markets. I know boatloads of Seattleite grads that haven't been to a game since graduation because "the Cougs suck." If the Cougs are good, the fans will come... no matter the distance.
"would generate more revenue than they can get out of Spokane in single game or season ticket sales, it seems kind of odd."
I meant to add, "for the upcoming season." to this statement.
@LucasNurmi I think that if we even want to entertain ideas of stadium expansion, we have to increase the regional fan base and Spokane and the Tri Cities are the natural targets. So perhaps this is all part of a long term plan to always have LOTS of advertising in those cities.
@Longball I get it from a big picture standpoint, but am surprised the only dollars spent in the Seattle market for the Seattle Game, are on the bus wrap of the SLUT. That aside, I would be curious what the break down of fundraising/corporate sponsor/season ticket dollars are when it concerns what side of the state the money comes from.
OMG, if I was driving round Spokey and saw that bus I'd wreck for sure!
Between Tommy the rock star Simmons and Hooty wave the flag McBoob, its official, this blog is a star factory.
Can't forget Rooster either! I know we overlook him here and there but he was here from day 1. I thik he's the Apple KING of Yakima or something now, just a monster force in the produce market! I love the bus but it would be odd if it was your own mug? On the side of the bus, really?? That's weird/AMAZING!
"Eight days a week" is just too much time to try to stay calm and focused. Eight days and counting. I may skip our golf groups monthly dinner on the 30th if it goes too long...and I'm the guy running the meeting after dinner. Sorry guys, priorities though.
We have to know BYU isn't going to take this team for granted, and neither are our guys. It'll be a VERY interesting game to say the least.