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Cougar Baseball stands on the brink

WSU has to win on Sunday.

WSU Athletic Communications

Greetings! After pulling itself out of the metaphorical flat spin that had become the 2022 season, the Washington State Cougars baseball team is once more threatening to enter uncontrolled flight. WSU entered the weekend series against the UCLA Bruins having won six straight and nine of 10, but cooled off quickly and considerably once it stopped in Westwood. After not mustering a run on Friday, WSU pushed only one across on Saturday in a 10-1 blowout loss.

EDIT: WSU lost to UCLA, which you know. Oh, and the author is a complete doofus who can’t count properly, rendering much of the text below moot. Thanks for not reading. (seriously I’m glad nobody pays attention)

That loss has the Cougars in “do or die” mode from here on out. WSU currently sits in 10th place, with a 9-17 Pac-12 record and four conference games remaining. The Pac-12 baseball tournament, which begins on 25 May, will feature the top eight conference finishers. As such, it doesn’t take Carnac the Magnificent to look at those facts and infer that WSU faces a nearly impossible road to 8th place.

Currently, the Washington Huskies sit in the eighth and final qualifying position with a 13-16 record, bolstered by their recent three-game sweep of the same UCLA team that is currently taking it to the Cougs. Washington only has one conference game left, versus the USC Trojans on Sunday, and presumably holds the tie breaker over WSU by virtue of its three-game sweep of the Cougs earlier this season.

Aside - Why on earth is there only one series per season between rivals? Seems rather stupid that WSU doesn’t face Washington both home and away, same with Oregon and OSU, USC and UCLA etc. I want to think that the conference could have wedged in a three-gamer in Pullman in lieu of a series against Utah Valley but maybe I’m just an idiot on the couch.

WSU’s best - and probably only - chance actually lies with the seventh-place team. After facing 5th-place Oregon on Sunday, the 13-13 Arizona State Sun Devils head to Pullman for the season’s final series. So, if the Cougs can salvage Sunday’s game at UCLA, and Oregon beats ASU, WSU still has a shred of hope, needing a three-game sweep to pull even with the Sun Devils at 13-17. Oh, and there’s also the matter of what Cal and Utah (the other teams between WSU and 8th) do next weekend when they face each other.

In other words, the Cougs probably face longer odds than Lloyd Christmas did with Mary Samsonite, but hey, stranger things have happened. I think. Unfortunately, the midseason stretch when WSU dropped eight straight conference games will likely tell the tale of this 2022 season.

Anyway, Go Cougs

Baseball

Smith Collects Three Hits, WSU Drops Road Contest to No. 15 UCLA - Washington State University Athletics
UCLA improved to 32-18 overall and 16-10 in conference play after scoring 10 runs in the first three innings.

Football

Pac-12 spring football recaps: Breaking down the offseason for each team
With spring football wrapped up and the start of another season just four months away, let’s take a look at what we’ve learned and what we still need to learn for each Pac-12 team.

Southern Cal football has major concerns; Utah could win Pac-12 again
Dickert's defense last year made strides and if it can continue that ascension then Washington State has the opportunity to finish one spot higher in the division than last year.

College football Re-Rank sees Alabama atop 131 FBS teams, new addition
The FBS now goes to 131 teams with the addition of James Madison, which joins the Sun Belt after finishing last season ranked No. 3 in the Football Championship Subdivision.

College football rankings: 10 best transfer QBs this season - College Football HQ
On the numbers alone, Ward might end up the most exciting player to watch among the transfer quarterbacks.

This Week in Parenting

I wasn’t around for much of the week (more to follow), but the weekend made up for that in spades. By the time I got home Friday, the oldest was already on a camping trip. Saturday brought an early wakeup to drop off mom and the youngest at a baseball game, then a 45-minute drive to pick up the camper, followed by another 45 minutes further away from the house for his baseball game. Said game ended in a 11-11 tie (A TIE!) because they reached the time limit and the official scorer couldn’t count by 1s (we scored at least 13 but not according to her!). Then it was 90 minutes back home. I guess a long drive is better after a tie than a loss?

After that, it was time for the teenager to get ready for 8th-grade prom. Yes, you read that correctly. Over here, we have a prom for junior high kids. Maybe that’s common back home, too, but I’ve never heard of it. The kiddo planned to go with his buddies, but coincidentally also had the most beautiful date in the entire school district.

Beforehand, mom and I gave him two rules: 1) He was not allowed to make fun of anyone who was dancing. 2) If anyone asked him to dance, he would always say, “yes.” We dropped him off a bit after the appointed time (while explaining that you are never supposed to show up to such events at the appointed hour), and away he went. Once home, sources with indirect knowledge of the situation indicated that he had, in fact, been asked to dance one time. Mrs. Kendall was persuasive enough to keep me from waterboarding him, so I guess we’ll always be left to wonder who he danced with. As it stands, my 13 year-old has already attended more proms that I did, and he hasn’t even hit high school yet!

Stranger in a Strange Land

I mentioned that I wasn’t here much this week, which was due to a work trip I took to Valencia, Spain. Mrs. Kendall decided to come with me for the adventure, and we can both say that Valencia is a lovely city (with really good craft beer!). We went to the beach front for dinner on our last night, dining at a place where I’d reserved a table in early April. Before that, we had a glass of wine down the way, as our restaurant didn’t open until 8:30 p.m., in true Spanish fashion.

When our reservation time was nearing, we asked for our check. Nothing. So we asked another waiter. Nothing. We asked a third person who came over. Nothing. I had Mrs. Kendall head over to our dinner location in order to make sure we kept our table, while I waited to pay for our wine. After another five minutes, I decided that if our waiter turned his back and walked toward the kitchen, I was skipping out. Sure enough, he did just that after a bit, and I walked off. It is amazing how hard people actively work to avoid collecting money that patrons are eager to fork over. And the place wasn’t even very busy!

Over at the dinner spot, the staff with the very sophisticated reservation system (read: pen and paper) couldn’t locate my name on the reservation list, so I had to get on my phone and dig up the email which said, “We confirm your reservation.” So they stuffed us at a table in the corner, but at least it had a view of the sand and water as I’d requested. Pretty soon, here came the bread and drinks...to every table around us, but not ours. Now, Mrs. Kendall has often voiced her displeasure over getting the “American” treatment from time to time at European restaurants, which means that we are ignored in favor of the locals. I almost always demur - my Occam’s Razor bias taking over - and blame wait staff buffoonery over some preconceived American antipathy. But damn, it was hard to ignore in this case.

Mrs. Kendall (the one of us who isn’t a coward) spoke up, and we finally got some bread and our drinks. We were still both rather perturbed, but then the food arrived.

It may look like a tar-filled pothole, but I’m here to tell you that the arroz negro seafood paella (blackened by squid ink) was some of the best food I have ever eaten. Then the waiter brought us frozen cocktails as a peace offering, and all was forgiven. tl;dr Valencia is a beautiful city and I wish I were able to stay longer than a couple days. And if you’re ever there, get what I got. Turns out Kramer was right, as always.

Non-Sports

How Ukrainians Saved Their Capital | The New Yorker
When Russia attacked Kyiv, Ukrainians dropped everything to protect the city—and to ease one another’s suffering.

How the White House Correspondents Dinner Broke the Democratic Party - Rolling Stone
When the A-List came to Washington and started treating formerly anonymous staffers as personalities on their level, it was an Icarus moment that transformed the possibility of what government service could do for any one individual staffer, as opposed to what service should do for the country.