SOME SPORTS BLABBER
PRO FOOTBALL - The Seattle Seahawks' rookie quarterback Russell Wilson is nothing short of amazing. He plays with the confidence of someone who has been an NFL QB for years. Running back Marshawn Lynch is a blast to watch too, especially in the way he drags defenders along for a few yards sometimes... he truly is in "Beast Mode" all the time! The rest of the team? They're good too, and it's a very exciting team to watch. I'm hoping they can beat Atlanta in Atlanta next weekend, and then beat either Green Bay or San Francisco for the National Football Conference championship and a trip to the Super Bowl.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL - The Oregon Ducks' men's team may be off to a 12-2 start and may have just beaten arch-rival Oregon State last night 79-66 on OSU's home court, but my focus right now is on the men's and women's teams right here in town at Eastern Oregon University. The men are 19-1 overall, 7-1 in their league, and ranked #2 in the nation at the NAIA Division II level. The women are 17-2 overall, 8-0 in their league, and ranked #10 nationally. I think the men could end up 26-2 or 25-3 overall in the regular season with a couple of losses in some tough upcoming road games, but it looks like they definitely have what it takes to win their league championship tournament. The women? They could finish their conference season undefeated and go 28-2 overall for the regular season. Lots of excitement in our little town!
BASEBALL - What, baseball? But... it's January! Yes, I know that, but baseball is my #1 game, and I follow my Mariners even during the middle of winter. What have they done to improve the team for 2013? Very little, it would seem. They did manage to trade one of their starting pitchers, Jason Vargas, to the Angels for a good hitter (Kendrys Morales). They brought in one old guy who may or may not be washed up (Jason Bay) and brought back another (Raul Ibanez). They have a logjam when it comes to players who are suited to be first basemen or designated hitters. The outlook? Some of the young players from last year, when the team was 75-87, will get better. The older players should help provide some hitting, and Morales will for sure. Also, the Houston Astros have moved from the National League to the American League West Division, which means the Mariners will get to play Houston a bunch of times this year... and the Astros are WAY worse than the Mariners. So look for the team to finish with at least a .500 record (81-81) and probably do better than that. I say they finish 85-77. They have one of the best minor-league organizations in baseball now, and by next winter I expect them to use some of the kids in trades for acquiring missing pieces for the major league roster. We aren't quite at "happy days are here again", but we're getting closer.
PRO BASKETBALL - The Blazers are fun to watch. Rookie point guard Damian Lillard plays like a veteran, forward Nicolas Batum plays a high-flying and exciting game, LaMarcus Aldridge is an excellent 'big man', JJ Hickson is racking up "double doubles" (double figures in rebounds and points scored) almost every game, Wesley Matthews is a solid shooting guard... but after that, their roster is slim pickin's (in other words, they have very little if any depth). They're above .500 right now and doing a great job, but if any of their starting five gets injured, things could go downhill quickly. I'll keep my fingers crossed that all stay healthy, because if they do I think the Blazers could get to the playoffs and maybe even make a little noise.
HOCKEY - Eh?