Good morning. Let’s begin this Sunday as we always do, with a couple Bible verses. Wait, we’ve never done that? I guess there’s a first time for everything! The Gospel of Matthew - no word on whether his fellow apostles called him Matt, M-Dog or something else - contains a few verses about the difference between building a house on rock versus sand.
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
What does that have to do with anything? Well, it seems to be a good metaphor for WSU Baseball’s 2023 campaign. When the Cougs jumped out to a 13-2 record after a series win over Top-15 Oregon State, and appeared in the Top 25 for the first time in years, it felt like we might be on the verge of a special spring on the Palouse. But then WSU lost seven of its next eight games, and aside from a promising series against UCLA, largely underperformed, failing to earn a spot in a nine-team conference tournament that pulls from a pool of 11.
Again, how on earth does a gospel verse fit in? Keep reading!
So, about that 11-1 non-conference record to start the season, which was part of an overall 18-4 record outside the Pac-12. Here’s a look at the teams WSU faced before conference play began, and their final records:
- UC-Riverside: 11-41
- Villanova: 14-37
- UC-Irvine (lost): 38-17
- San Diego State: 24-29
- UC San Diego: 34-18
- UNLV: 21-30
- Southern Indiana: 17-38
- Seattle U: 21-32
To add it up, those 11 pre-conference wins came against teams that went a combined 142-242. That, friends, is a house built upon sand, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that the record went south as Pac-12 play began and the competition got better.
There were also several instances during conference play when WSU was on its way to wins, only to fold late, such as:
- Led ASU 5-3 in 9th, lost 6-5.
- Led Arizona 4-1 in the 7th, gave up 13 runs in final 3 innings.
- Tied 3-3 with Utah after 6, lost 6-3.
- Led Utah 10-5, gave up 7 runs in the 6th, 7th and 8th to lose 12-10.
- Led Stanford 6-4 after 6, lost 7-6.
So, now what? A quick look at the recruiting rankings doesn’t portend a lot of near-term optimism (admittedly, I have no idea whether baseball recruiting/evaluation experts are as good as their football counterparts). WSU’s 2022 class ranked 73rd according to Perfect Game, and the 2023 class is currently 85th. Lots of room to move up!
This was only Brian Greene’s second full season at the helm, and he’s definitely due a couple more years to get the program going, particularly now that WSU has its own baseball facility. The hope here is that this facility and Greene’s coaching ability form the rock upon which WSU Baseball can build its program. But right now, there’s a whole lot of sand underneath.
Yeah, NIL and the seemingly unlimited transfers are combining to make college sports - basketball and football in particular - less fun to follow. But these scholarship videos will never not be awesome.
We’ve also reached another milestone during our offseason in the desert!
And speaking of that upcoming season, we’re about to learn the kick times for the first few weekends!
#Pac12 early-season kickoff times will be released Wednesday (5/31) sometime in the late morning/lunchtime window— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) May 26, 2023
Dear little baby Jesus in your little bitty manger, you know I don’t ask for much, so please give me a Wisconsin kick at about 4 p.m.
What’s Up With That???
Time now for another thing I thought of and also that I’ll probably forget about and never do again. This segment gets its inspiration from the great Saturday Night Live sketch and its star, Keenan Thompson.
It may surprise you, but I see a lot more Jeeps in the good ol’ USA than I saw in Germany. There are a few that share my work parking lot, and I noticed that a couple of them had a bunch of ducks on the dashboard. Driving around the area, I saw this oddity several more times, prompting me to wonder, what’s up with that?
Let’s head to the Google machine, shall we?
Why do people put rubber ducks on Jeeps? At the heart of the Jeep ducks phenomenon is a desire to put a smile on someone’s face. Jeep owners leave rubber duckies on other Jeeps to surprise the owner. It’s an inside joke and a random act of kindness among fans of this beloved auto brand.
A little more research reveals that the tradition of branding the red-blooded American Jeep with rubber ducks began in, you guessed it, Canada. Apparently someone put a duck on someone’s Jeep with a note attached and voila, ipso facto Jeep dashboards everywhere feature ducks of all designs and colors. Okie dokie!
This Week in Parenting
It was a mixed bag for the Rockies, as they closed out the spring season. Tuesday was probably 2023’s apex, as they jumped out to an 8-0 lead after an inning, then saw that lead dwindle to 8-6. Uh oh. But wait, these aren’t your April Rockies! The final at-bat brought another big inning, and the Rockies stayed hot, winning 13-6. Unfortunately, the curtain came down on Thursday with a loss to the Pirates. In fairness, several Rockies players, including our 11 year-old, were coming straight from a graduation party and were surely affected by the
bourbon and blow Sour Patch Kids and M&Ms they consumed between swimming stints in the bay. All in all, while the Rockies only won three games, they improved drastically over the course of the season.
I mentioned the graduation for the 11 year-old. That’s because he’s headed to middle school next year, so they had a little ceremony. Ok, make that two. First there was the hallway walk at the school. Then there was the class party/certificate presentation at a classmate’s house. So if you’re keeping score at home, he had two more graduation ceremonies from 5th grade than I had from both my Bachelor’s degree at WSU (Winter grads represent!) and both Master’s degrees. Oh, I’m now the parent of a high school sophomore and a junior high student. DAFUQ HAPPENED??!!
On the high schooler front, he played in a baseball tournament last weekend. The team didn’t do very well, undone by poor hitting and rather shaky defense. But despite the loss on the diamond, the real losers were my ear drums, which endured a few other dads talking continuously for the entire weekend. You may think I’m exaggerating, but oh, dear reader, I am not. Here is just a small sample of the topics covered on Sunday alone:
- Trump did everything he said he’d do and the media hated him for it.
- We need more tariffs on China. (Comment: tell me you don’t know how tariffs work without telling me you don’t know how tariffs work)
- Everything was fine until Obama showed up.
- All that woke stuff drives me crazy.
- I know someone in advertising, and the Bud Light advertising exec who green lit the controversial ad campaign will never work again. She just needs to go back to college and get a different degree.
- I found a way to get paid two cents to purchase a case of Bud Light. (Comment: Pay me two million cents and I still am not drinking that garbage)
- My family only buys from companies that align with our values. (Comment: lol)
- Taxes are so much lower in Alabama! (Comment: Probably not a mystery why Alabama is 49th or so in education)
- Getting a pool isn’t worth it because then you can’t use your yard. (Comment: wut)
- My buddy did 10 years for mortgage fraud.
- I was going to start a company where we bought the rights to the trees on a property owner’s land as an investment in carbon offsets but it was too complicated. (Comment: wut)
- Bill Gates is behind all of it anyway. (Comment: well, yeah, just like the COVID vaccine microchips and chemtrails)
- My power bill is $1100 month. I have three garage fridges. (Comment: Why not just tell us you’re a prepper?)
- Interest rates are set to decrease in 2024 according to the model I developed. (Comment: news we can use!)
Again, that is a fraction of the topics covered, and there was a ton of baseball strategy fit for a kindergartener interspersed between the banter on politics, investment strategy and Bud Light wokeness apoplexy. I’m not kidding when I say they talked nonstop for hours. It got so bad that one of the parents had to move to the other side of the team’s rooting section to try and get away from the noise. When the guys brought up why old Obama screwed everything up, I turned around and gave him a big thumbs up (he’s black), and we shared a laugh.
tl;dr it’s great to be back at the diamond!
The high schooler is also addicted to an app on his phone. Twitter? Nope. Tik Tok? Well, no because it’s not allowed. Facebook? Also no! All those time-wasters can’t hold a candle to Flightradar24, where he follows live air traffic during every spare moment. So when I’m flying, I’ll sometimes let him know what my callsign is so he can follow along. You know, like any good parent would do when the kid is supposed to be paying attention in school. When I landed the other day, I got this message:
Nothing quite like having your kid refer to you as “bruh.”
Two Weeks at the Front in Ukraine | The New Yorker
In the trenches in the Donbas, infantrymen face unrelenting horrors, from missiles to grenades to helicopter fire.
Veterans are less likely to support hate or extreme political groups : NPR
The Pentagon continues to investigate the case of Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira, accused of leaking sensitive intelligence. The military apparently missed signs that Teixeira was possibly stockpiling guns and preparing for a race war.
The 40 Best TV Finales of the 21st Century, Ranked - The Ringer
It’s hard to say goodbye. But if there’s a silver lining, it’s that we often get a tremendous hour of television. In honor of ‘Succession’ and ‘Barry’ ending this week, we’re ranking the best series wrap-ups since 2000.