Mariners Show Rangers What it’s Like to Not be the Rangers

Courtesy of Lookout Landing Game Thread

Who else is having trouble digesting what happened last night? The Mariners absolutely crunched the Rangers and I mean absolutely crunched. In fact the Mariners looked like the Rangers, and the Rangers looked like the Mariners. Once the Mariners started scoring runs, they really didn’t stop (which is what you need to do against a team like the Rangers) and as a result they won. 

Now do they need to score 21 runs every night? Obviously not; however, they need to score five to seven runs a game to consistently win ball games. Last night might have been a step in the right direction, or the M’s could have scored a week’s worth of runs and get swept by the White Sox. But who cares? Last night was the most fun I’ve had watching a Mariners baseball game since Michael Saunders two dingers during a victory in Toronto. 
In that game in Toronto the Mariners drilled three home runs, one Montero mash and the two Saunders dingers (six RBIs). Last night the M’s clubbed four homers (for 11 RBIs) and three of those were in the second and third innings! Those second and third innings were the innings that the Mariners did the majority of their damage, with eight runs in the second and eight in the third. 
See what you are missing out on Texas?
For the last few years we have seen the Mariners get runners into scoring position, with no outs, and failing to knock them in. Last night the runners got on base, got into scoring position and scored. It was definitely encouraging to see a struggling (young) offense do what it has failed to do for the last couple of years, and it was certainly encouraging to see it against one of the best teams in baseball (if not the best).  The best part was the Mariners using the long ball to knock in the runners, especially 1B Justin Smoak’s two three-run bombs (403 and 414 feet respectively). 
What is really impressive about this game is the fact that it was the second consecutive night the M’s have reached double-digits in runs scored, they had beaten Texas 10-3 the night before. With the series victory the Mariners now sit at 23-30 on the year and are sitting in third place in the American League West and 5-5 versus the Rangers on the year. We shall see if the M’s learn something from this performance and can continue decent offensive production. But all I really have to say about last night’s game was that it was a lot of fun to watch.

King of the Britons: Froch continues to prove his skill and worth

They said he was too slow. They said he was simply not skilled enough. They said that he would finally get knocked out. Yet, Carl“The Cobra” Froch (29-2 21 KO) continues to prove doubters wrong as he blasted away previously undefeated Romanian Lucian Bute (30-1 24 KO) within five rounds to win his third world title last Saturday. This fight was highly anticipated among the boxing community and most experts expected a close, competitive fight. However, these experts also predicted a Bute victory by either decision or mid to late round stoppage.

Going into the fight, everyone thought that Bute was simply too talented, too slick, and too powerful of a force for Froch to handle. Before this fight, Bute had looked nearly unbeatable as he blasted away many opponents, including Brian Magee and Jean Paul Mendy. But Froch proved that quality can overcome quantity. Before this bout, Froch had engaged in the Super Six Tournament and fought highly talented and tough opposition without taking any “easy” bouts. Among the opponents that Froch faced include Mikkel Kessler, Andre Dirrell, Arthur Abraham, Glen Johnson, and finally Andre Ward in the final matchup of the tournament.

Another reason why Froch was considered to be the underdog of this matchup was due to the Ward fight in which he was systematically picked apart and eventually lost a lopsided unanimous decision. Meanwhile, Bute was coming into this fight after winning a dominant decision over former light heavyweight champion, Glen Johnson. Froch had beaten Johnson as well but Bute had a much easier outing against the aging Johnson.

It was clear from the opening bell that the difference in experience would prove fatal to Bute, to the surprise of virtually everybody. Even though the early assault of Froch looked clumsy in comparison to the smooth movement of Bute, Froch was able to prove his point by constantly walking through Bute’s best shots. Froch began to take over the fight in the third round, when a series of punches, including Froch’s wrecking ball right hand, landed on Bute and forced the Canadian-based star to hold on for dear life.

Froch knew he hurt his man, but he stayed calm and continued to apply intelligent pressure throughout the fourth round. Bute tried to work his way back into the fight and landed some great left hands that would have hurt or even knocked down anyone else. But Froch has always had an iron chin and it was on display as he continued to walk through Bute’s best shots in order to work his jab and power shots. Froch once again staggered Bute badly at the end of the round, but the bell saved Bute, if only for a little bit longer.

The end came in the fifth round, when Froch picked up where he left off and continued to pound Bute with power shots. Froch put Bute against the ropes and hit him with another right hand and snapped Bute’s head back and stunned him. Froch followed up and hit Bute with another right hand, which forced the corner of Bute to throw in the towel.

Right now, it is this writer’s opinion that Carl Froch is the best British fighter in the world right now, especially after this victory. His accomplishments exceed those of any other active English fighter out there. Hopefully, the boxing media will finally give Froch the respect and admiration he truly deserves.  

The Kibbie Dome, and the Vandals, are in Dire Straights

The Kibbie Dome (2010)
In 1968 the University of Idaho’s historic wooden stadium (Neale Stadium) was condemned and a year later it was torched by an arsonist. Eventually Neale Stadium was rebuilt using reinforced concrete and renamed Idaho’s New Outdoor Stadium, all of this was in-time for the 1971 football season. For some odd reason it was decided to incase the new stadium in a barrel vault dome; this was done throughout 1974 and the Kibbie Dome opened its doors for the 1975 football season.  The Athletic Department made the jump from the FCS to the FBS in 1996 and as a result the Kibbie Dome needed an expansion to meet FBS minimums, so the Vandals spent their first two years as an FBS squad playing at nearby Martin Stadium as the Kibbie Dome was being expanded.
Put a roof on it!
The Kibbie Dome reopened her doors in 1998 with a total of 18,000 permanent seats (the smallest in the FBS). For the Kibbie Dome (and Vandal football) the jump to FBS has not been kind, as the team struggled to gain relevance in the Western Athletic Conference (the WAC) attendance remained down. Attendance, along with success on the gridiron, has continued to be an issue in the Dome. Despite these struggles the Dome has undergone a few renovations in the last three years.  During the summer of 2009 the West End of the Dome received a rebuild and translucent panels; the East End received the same during the summer of 2010. Following the conclusion of the 2010-2011 Indoor Tennis season the Dome was gutted and the press box was moved to the opposite side of the building and the Lighthouse Center (luxury seating) was added were the press box used to be. These renovations reduced the Kibbie Dome’s capacity to 16,000 which barely meets FBS minimums for attendance/total capacity. 
Despite these shortcomings for football, the Dome is successfully used for many other purposes that have to be taken into account with regards to renovations. After the conclusion of football season the Dome is converted into the Cowen Spectrum, the home of men’s basketball. The building also hosts indoor track and indoor tennis. The Kibbie Dome is also Moscow’s event center and is almost always in use. All of these were factors in the decision to renovate (not replace) the Kibbie Dome in 1996. And now, may lead to the University of Idaho rejoining the Big Sky Conference (FCS) as the WAC disintegrates. 

The conference expansion madness of the last few years has been interesting, to say the least. And a few conferences benefited from it (Big-10, Pac-12, ACC, Big East, MWC and the SEC) and many did not (MWC, Big East, Big-12 and the WAC). The WAC has absolutely been decimated by conference expansion; it lost its most important member in Boise State last year and is also looking at the defections of New Mexico, Hawaii, Utah State and San Jose State (all current members). But that’s not even the worst part, the WAC (which had announced that Texas State would be making the jump to the FBS to join their conference for the 2013 year) watched as this new school jumped ship before even playing a game in its new conference. All of this leaves the WAC with only two football playing members New Mexico State (which the Sun Belt Conference is looking at adding) and Idaho. 
If the New Mexico State to Sun Belt rumors are true that leaves the WAC with one football playing member (Idaho) and five total members (Seattle, Denver, University of Texas at Arlington and Idaho) in 2014. Even if New Mexico State stays, the WAC is in trouble. Its viability as an FBS athletic conference is completely shot and its smaller/newer member schools are left, trying to hold it all together. Seattle University and the University of Denver are in big markets and should be able to land new conference homes pretty easily. New Mexico State is probably waiting for the Sun Belt to make its move. And Idaho is just sitting in its little Dome, wondering how it is going to get out of this sticky situation. 
Possible Expansion of the Kibbie Dome, from the Lighthouse Center
Fortunately for the Vandals their Athletic Director Rob Spear has a general plan in place. And believe it or not, the essential part of that plan is not adding seats to the Kibbie Dome. No, the most essential part of his plan is to build an event center to move basketball and many of the concerts and events out of the Kibbie Dome, making the addition of more football seats an easier proposition. However, for either of those to happen Spear will have to get both plans past the State Board of Education (which nearly shot down the 2009-2011 renovations of the Kibbie Dome). And both of these plans will have to be in motion as soon as possible so Idaho can remain an option for other FBS conferences during this era of expansion. Otherwise they could find themselves back in the Big Sky, completely wrecking any chance of expanding the Dome.