Greetings! Do you have a broom handy? Are you in the greater Pullman metropolitan area? Well get thee to Bailey-Brayton Field around noon on Sunday to see whether your Washington State Cougars baseball team closes out a three-game series sweep over the Arizona Wildcats. This week has been huge for the Cougs, as they couldn’t come away with any wins in Tempe last weekend. Now, after a win over Seattle and two straight over Arizona, they’re looking to stay hot with their fourth straight win.
Arizona is struggling this season, but it has traditionally fielded one of the stronger teams in the Pac-12, while WSU has been up and (mostly) down for a while now. But the Cougs are clearly the better team this season, and the series-clinching win on Saturday marked a first-in-a-long-time milestone.
WSU clinches series wins over Arizona in back-to-back seasons for the 1st time since 2006-07!#GoCougs | #T124 | #WAZZU pic.twitter.com/mka8zfw0MV— Washington State Baseball (@wsucougarbsb) April 16, 2023
How long ago was that? I didn’t even have kids then! And I’m older than dirt now!
Saturday’s 11-8 win was definitely a team effort, as five WSU batters had multiple hits, and seven batters who drove in at least one run. They were led by DH Jacob McKeon, who went 4/5 with two RBI, and his first triple of the season.
The pitching effort was definitely an “all hands on deck” situation, as five Cougs took to the mound. Andrew Baughn took over for starter took over for starter Caden Kaelber, and got the win, his fifth of the season against zero losses. Not bad! The game wasn’t bereft of a white-knuckle moment or two, however, even though WSU held Arizona at arm’s length for much of the game. The Wildcats kept battling, and even though WSU took an 11-6 lead into the 9th, there came a point where Arizona had the tying run on deck. But closer Chase Grillo came on to strike out the last batter for his sixth save, and the ballgame was over. WSU goes for a series sweep Sunday, with first pitch a little after noon. The game will air on Pac-12 Washington.
Speaking of that last strikeout, it was preceded by someone in the crowd yelling “give him the chair!” I’d heard this before but hadn’t looked into its origins or meaning (though I’m sure many of you are like ‘hey, dumbass, this has been around for a few years now’) and you’re right on all counts!
For the uninitiated, the chant was born of a college marketing project, and has been a part of WSU home games ever since. It’s cool that the home crowd has a rallying cry of its own, and hopefully it endures. But I’m still trying to figure out what “give him the chair” has to do with striking out, and perusal of the article and video didn’t exactly help! Either way, if it helps, I’m for it! The chair squad even has its own Twitter account
Mark your calendars Cougs! pic.twitter.com/5OKOSAMHO6— Give 'Em The Chair (@thechairleaders) April 12, 2023
I did find it funny (in a tragic way) that the video was shot just as WSU was set to open Pac-12 play in 2020, when very few people knew we were about to enter the plague times.
The Cougar football team was also busy on Saturday, conducting another organized scrimmage prior to spring’s final week of drills. The Spokesman Review’s Colton Clark was there to take it in and relay the details, which were led by some offensive standout performances from a couple relative neophytes (“DJ Schlenbaker and Tsion Nunnaly), along with a seasoned vet (Lincoln Victor).
Head coach Jake Dickert seemed pleased overall, and singled out Nunnaly’s performance on offense, along with linebacker Hudson “Lumberjack” Cedarland on defense.
A few other Cougs also got some time with the assembled press, starting with Victor. I’m still somewhat confused at the lack of chances Victor got in 2022, because he seems like a weapon in the slot. Hopefully he’s featured more in the upcoming year.
This Week in Parenting
Should probably be called, “This week in dad wanting to embarrass his kid by screaming at an idiot youth baseball umpire”, but we’ll get to that.
After months of practices and all of two actual meets (apparently there aren’t many schools that can accommodate the throwing of a javelin), the high schooler concluded track and field this week. For someone who had never done anything resembling the javelin toss, he wasn’t bad! The thing that stuck out to me throughout the season occurred when I’d pick him up after practice. As the kids trickled out of the locker room, one could infer that there was some of “shirtless kid with shaggy hair” quota. My guy doesn’t have shaggy hair because JROTC, and isn’t the kind to walk around without a shirt for some reason, but his teammates definitely pick up the slack.
He also decided to head out with his fellow scouts for a canoe trip this weekend, and I had the pleasure of dropping him off at 0730. On a Saturday. Yippee. Anyway, we were headed out the door, and all he had for footwear was a pair of flipflops. Now, I’m no seasoned outdoorsman. Matter of fact, I consider having to share a hotel room with my kids as “roughing it”, but even I looked at that situation and thought, “I’m pretty sure it’s not the smartest idea to head into the woods with nothing resembling closed-toed shoes.” Sure as shit, we show up to the assembly point and everybody has water shoes on. Well, everybody but one!
But off he went, and after the rafting portion, they set up camp shortly before this showed up.
Good luck with that, son! I’ll be on my couch drinking a beer if you need me!
On the younger kid front, the mighty Rockies 12U baseball team is struggling. It doesn’t help that, even though we’ve known the schedule for weeks, a few kids (read: their dumbass caregivers), can’t figure out a way to get them to a game that starts after 7 p.m., and also can’t sacrifice 10 seconds to alert the coach. So on Thursday, the Rockies had to enlist the help of a couple kids who were walking around the sportsplex.
Things were looking up, though, as they trailed 3-1 but had the bases loaded late in the game, with my kiddo on third base. The pitch came, and the batter smacked a grounder between first and second. The runner on the way to second hopped over it, and the ball rolled all the way to the fence. Everybody scores! The Rockies lead, 5-3! But wait! The dumbass middle-aged field umpire has no time for so much joy, and must quash it immediately!
Based on zero evidence, and contrary to the laws of physics, Mr. Magoo ruled that the ball hit the runner. Therefore, the runner was out, the ball was dead, and everyone had to go back to their base. I ain’t gonna lie, I was pretty damn close to becoming one of those idiot parents I always mock, wanting to scream at the moron loudly enough so as to risk ejection. Fortunately, laziness and dignity prevailed, and I sat back down to fantasize in my mind how great it would feel to go Lou Pinella on Mr. Killjoy.
In case it didn’t sink in the first time, this ump ruled that a ground ball struck a runner and still ROLLED THROUGH THE OUTFIELD ALL THE WAY TO THE FENCE! Isaac Newton? Whatever. Albert Einstein? Who’s he? WE HAVE NO TIME FOR YOUR SCIENCE AROUND HERE! (but for real many of the folks in this part of the USA aren’t exactly fans of science so the math checks out). That miscarriage of justice took the wind out of the Rockies’ sails, and the game ended in defeat. But hey, at least the doofus in blue gets to regale his cats with stories of the time he got to steal a possible win from a bunch of 11 year-olds.
Iraq: Twenty Years on, Two Narratives Emerge - War on the Rocks
Tales of the American veteran experience at the symposium were powerful.
Unsolicited Podcast Recommendation(s)
The first is an old reliable, in Derek Thompson’s sensational “Plain English” podcast. This one deals with the question of why the average American lifespan is so much lower than that of our developed counterparts.
The second is a feast of nerdery for anyone who follows the war in Ukraine, and who also is interested in many of the fabrications and distortions the Russians use to describe their history.