Bernard Lagat, 37, a former star at Washington State University, qualified for his fourth Olympic Games this week. / Wiki Commons
As the Mariners sank ever further into the AL West abyss, Olympic Games qualifying in track and field and swimming provided several remarkable stories, none better than 37-year-old middle-distance runner Bernard Lagat’s attempt to defy time and reach the Olympics for an astounding fourth time. This Was The Week That Was:
JUNE 25-JULY 1, 2012
- GOOD WEEK — A dozen more athletes (listed below) with connections to the state qualified for the London Olympics in the past week, most impressively Bernard Lagat, the 37-year-old former Washington State University distance runner, who is Olympics-bound for the fourth time and now a candidate for a third medal. Lagat will run the 5,000 meters in London. His two medals came in the 1,500.
- BAD WEEK — Only the Mariners can record two walk-off wins, split a four-game series with the Red Sox and still have a bad week. In seven games at Safeco Field from Monday through Sunday, the Mariners scored just nine runs and batted 38-for-219 (.173), lowering their home batting average for the season to .197 (232-for-1178). After half the season (81 games), the Mariners also reached the seasonal nadir in games behind in the division race, 16.5 (last year after 81 the Mariners were 4.0 GB).
- PLAY OF THE WEEK — (3-way tie) The Mariners have had four walk-off wins in 2012 and two came this week, on John Jaso’s ninth-inning single Thursday and Chone Figgins’ 11th-inning sacrifice fly Saturday . . . Also, Cordell Cato’s goal in the 19th minute at San Jose Wednesday enabled the Sounders to stay alive in their bid to win a fourth consecutive U.S. Open Cup. The 19-year-old Cato became the youngest player to tally a goal for the club.
- STAT OF THE WEEK — Before Kevin Millwood left Wednesday’s game after tweaking a groin, Mariners starters had recorded at least 10 strikeouts in three of their four previous outings, marking the first time any Mariners trio had done that over a four-game stretch. Jason Vargas, Erasmo Ramirez and Felix Hernandez executed the feat. According to Elias, the last time such a feat occurred was Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 2003, when Randy Johnson, Brandon Webb and Curt Schilling did it for Arizona.
- EX-SEATTLE JOCKS OF THE WEEK — Former UW star Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants won for the first time in nearly two months Wednesday, allowing four hits with eight strikeouts in a 3-0 win over the Dodgers. In a 10-start winless streak, the two-time Cy Young winner had gone 0-6 . . . R.A. Dickey (Mariners, 2008), named to the NL All-Star team Sunday, continued his remarkable knuckleball roll through the National League , improving to 12-1 with a three-hitter over the Dodgers Friday (majors’ first 12-game winner).
- SUNDAY, July 1 — Seattle native Kara Patterson makes her second Olympic team by finishing second in the women’s javelin at the U.S. Trials in Eugene, with a throw of 196-2. Patterson, from Skyview High in Vancouver, WA., held the lead until the final round . . . A sacrifice fly by former Mariner property David Ortiz in the 10th inning scores the winning run as the Red Sox beat the Mariners 2-1, Seattle’s fourth loss of the week (vs. three wins) . . . Camille Little scores five of her 27 points in OT and adds nine rebounds as the Storm upends the Connecticut Sun 89-83, the team’s sixth win in seven games . . . The University of Washington freshman eight squashed Brown by three boats lengths to win the Temple Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta. The same crew won gold at the IRA Championships.
- SATURDAY, June 30 — Booed much of the season, (and properly so), Chone Figgins bangs an 11th-inning sacrifice fly, giving the Mariners a 3-2, walk-off win over the Boston Red Sox . . . Sounders lead 2-1 heading into stoppage time, but with less than 10 seconds remaining, reserve rookie David Fagundez knocks in a header that extends Seattle’s winless streak to eight games (0-4-4). “We’re 10 seconds from three points and we come out of here with one,” says Marc Burch of the 2-2 draw with New England . . .The New York Liberty snaps the Storm’s winning streak at five, beating Seattle 77-59, largely on the basis of the Storm’s 32 percent shooting and 24 turnovers . . . Washington’s freshman eight takes down Harvard’s second boat by two lengths, clocking 7:10, to reach the final of the Temple Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta.
- FRIDAY, June 29 — Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian wins the 100-meter freestyle at the Olympic Trials in Omaha, NB, qualifying for the London Games. It’s Adrian’s second trip to an Olympics (also 2008, when he won a relay gold) . . . The Mariners disgust manager Eric Wedge by scratching out just two hits off journeyman Aaron Cook in a 5-0 loss at Safeco Field. “I’m tired of watching this,” Wedge says of Seattle’s offensive woes at home. “An 80-pitch complete game? Not taking away from that guy (Cook), but you can’t make it that easy for him.” Wedge is so upset with the Mariners’ lack of production that he doesn’t even address the four home runs allowed by Hector Noesi.
- THURSDAY, June 28 – Terrence Ross (No. 8 by Toronto) and Tony Wroten (No. 25 by Memphis) become the first pair of Huskies selected in the first round of the NBA draft in the same year. “I couldn’t believe it,” says Ross. “I looked at my mom, and she started crying. I looked at my sister, and she was in shock. I looked at my coaches, and they were happy for me. It’s a real moment for me” . . . Bernard Lagat (5,000 meters), Brad Walker (pole vault), Jarred Rome (discus) and Ariana Kukors (200 IM) qualify for the London Olympic Games, Lagat (former WSU) reaching them for the fourth time and Walker (ex-UW) and Rome for the second. Walker wins his trials test by clearing 18-7 1/4 while Lagat, Rome and Kukors all finish second in their finals . . . Felix Hernandez whiffs a season-high 13 and John Jaso delivers a walk-off single in the ninth as the Mariners beat the Red Sox 1-0 . . . .UW hoops receives a verbal commitment from 7-foot freshman Giles Dierckx, who averaged 2.6 points and 2.2 rebounds at Florida International in 2011-12 . . . The University of Washington freshman eight defeats England’s Reading University by 3 1/4 lengths and advances in the Henley Royal Regatta to face Harvard.
- WEDNESDAY, June 27 — The Mariners eke out four hits in a 2-1 loss to the Oakland A’s, who actually out-eke Seattle by winning the game with just two hits. It’s only the eighth time in franchise history – and first since Sept. 23, 2010 vs. Toronto — that Seattle loses when allowing two or fewer hits . . . The Milwaukee Bucks trade former UW hoops icon Jon Brockman, a career reserve in the NBA, to the Houston Rockets as part of a package of players that changed clubs . . . University of Washington freshmen open the Henley Royal Regatta in London with a resounding win over Manchester University. Winning by a shade over three lengths, the Huskies clock 7:20.0 on the 2,112-meter course in suburban London, advancing to face England’s Reading University.
- TUESDAY, June 26 – Brendan Ryan’s eighth-inning single scores Casper Wells from second base, lifting the Mariners to a 3-2 win over the Oakland A’s in a game in which Seattle snapped a 25-inning scoreless streak and Jason Vargas whiffed a career-high 10. Vargas (no-decision) recorded 10 K’s one night after Erasmo Ramirez also zapped 10, giving the Mariners back-to-back 10-K performances for the first time since Aug. 23-24, 1999 with Paul Abbott and Freddy Garcia . . . Cordell Cato, at 19, becomes the youngest player to score a goal for the Sounders (19th minute, unassisted, eight yards out), and it’s a big one, giving the club a 1-0 victory over San Jose in the U.S. Open Cup at Kezar Stadium. The game ends in a near-brawl by the San Jose bench when Seattle’s Eddie Johnson celebrates and apparently punches reserve Jed Zayner. “Jed told Johnson to go over and celebrate on his aide, and he took a swing and hit Jed in the eye,” Chris Wondolowski told the San Jose Mercury News . . . The Storm receive 25 points from Sue Bird and defeat the Washington Mystics 79-71, giving the club five straight wins after a 1-7 start.
- MONDAY, June 25 — Erasmo Ramirez fires an 8.0-inning, 10-strikeout gem, but loses when the Mariners fail to provide enough run support — in fact, no run support. The 1-0 loss to Oakland A’s marks Seattle’s ninth blanking of the year and the 50th time in franchise history the Mariners have lost a game by a score of 1-0. Ramirez becomes the eighth Mariner rookie to produce a double-digit strikeout game and the first since Michael Pineda in July, 2011 . . . King’s High quarterback Billy Green makes an oral commitment to play football at Brigham Young. Former Skyline quarterback Jake Heaps played at BYU in 2010-11, flamed out and transferred to Kansas.
TOP 5 NUMBERS
25: Consecutive scoreless innings (over 2 1/2 games) posted by the Mariners before they broke the spell Tuesday against the Oakland Athletics.
5o: Number games the Mariners have lost by a 1-0 score after Oakland shut them out Monday.
The Mariners, who have developed many creative ways to lose, lost for the eighth time in club history Wednesday when allowing two or fewer hits.
Of the 10 shutouts suffered by the Mariners in 2012, four have occurred in June and two in the past week.
12: Number of state-based athletes who qualified for the Olympics during the past week. Washington’s Olympic “roster” now tops 20.
Indians slugger Mike Hunt, with a carnation pinned to his baseball uniform, and Charlotte Axelson exchanged vows at the Civic Field pitcher's mound July 8, 1937 in one of the biggest weddings in Seattle history. / David Eskenazi Collection
READS OF THE WEEK
Thiel: Great Pitching, Stern Lectures Not Enough: On a day when the Mariners were accorded the mandatory minimum allotment of berths in the All Star Game (one), while six others of Mariners heritage made the gig (Adrian Beltre,Asdrubal Cabrera, R.A. Dickey,Adam Jones, Bryan LaHair and David Ortiz), the current assemblage gurgled, twisted and twitched before spitting up a close defeat to a good team it should have beaten . . . MORE
Thiel: Wroten’s Play Won’t Be Missed Much: As much satisfaction as Huskies fans had in seeing Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten have the dream of their lives by being drafted into the NBA Thursday, was I the only one wondering whether it was some sort of a record to have two first-rounders from a team that didnt make the NCAA tourney? . . . MORE
Thiel: Moyer, 49, Gets It Done In Tacoma: Rocked early, Jamie Moyer pulled it back together Thursday night, as he has done practically since he introduced baseball to the Greeks in the first Olympics 3,000 years ago. OK, Im done with the age cracks, in honor of Moyer being no joke in his return to the Northwest . . . MORE
Thiel: Almost Halfway, Mariners Seek ‘Good Outs’: As Seattle fans ponder how a team with 10 hits over three games can beat the Mariners twice, as the Oakland As did this week, lets throw this log on the fire (or is it an ember?): The team with an $82 million payroll lost four of the past six to the two cheapest outfits in MLB, the Padres and As, who each entered the season with payrolls of $55 million . . . MORE
Wayback Machine: Mike Hunt, ‘Old Baggy Pants’: Based on written accounts and eyewitness testimony, the only possible conclusion is that Civic Field ranked as a first-rate eyesore. Located where Memorial Stadium stands (but not for long) in the Seattle Center, Civic Field went up in 1928 and met a wrecking ball in 1945 to the chagrin of no one, save perhaps Arthur (Mike) Hunt, who . . . MORE
Thiel: Sandusky Horror Reveals NCAA’s Futility: Appalling as was the conduct of Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach who was convicted Friday of 45 counts of sexually abusing 10 young boys, nearly as pathetic is the NCAAs inability to have a role in helping fix what was allowed to happen at Penn State and prevent its recurrence elsewhere . . . MORE
That Was The Week That Was (June 18-24): Four athletes with ties to the University of Washington, a discus thrower and three rowers, qualified for the London Olympics; save for another superlative outing by Felix Hernandez Saturday, Mariners starters endured a horrific week; the Sounders managed a draw and an abysmal loss, and the resurgent Storm had a perfect week . . . MORE
“You saw a complete performance by a young starting pitcher. He has something now that he can really work off of. Very similar to Hector Noesi’s performance (Sunday)” — Eric Wedge, Mariners manager, after Ramirez struck out 10 over 8.0 innings in a 1-0 loss to Oakland Monday
“We think he’s (Chris Hansen) got a great plan. We’re flattered to be part of it, and we hope we can enable it to happen” — Peter Nordstrom, part of an ownership group seeking to build a $490 basketball/hockey facility, expressing his belief that the arena would be a net benefit for Seattle
“The game got chippy. There were a lot of aerial duels. There was a lot of pushing and shoving . . . but at the end of the day it was just a good, hard-fought win for us” — Sigi Schmid, Sounders head coach, after the Sounders 1-0 win over San Jose in the U.S. Open Cup ended in a Kezar Stadium near-brawl
“It’s hard because no team that plays here really has the production that they would have somewhere else. But this is still a great place to play, and the challenge is doing the best with it, knowing things like, if you hit that fly ball, it’s not going to go out” – John Jaso, Mariners, on the club’s hitting difficulties at Safeco Field
“I’m not happy with it. It’s something we’ve talked about as a team and we’ll address it again. It’s important for us to maintain our composure. But when somebody kicks you, then you’re first reaction is you want to sort of kick them back” — Sigi Schmid, Sounders coach, after his team received its third red card and ended another match with a fight in a four-game stretch
“Nothing can bring me down right now. I’m in no way happy with that time (2:11.30), but considering that people have said for years and years that this is the most stressful meet in the world — I was feeling the stress — I will take it” — Ariana Kukors, Federal Way Olympic swimmer, after she qualified for the Olympic Games Thursday in the 200-meter individual medley
“I was just speechless. I told myself I wasn’t going to cry, but being a Memphis Grizzly was a dream come true and I just broke down” — Tony Wroten Jr., former UW basketball player, after he went 25th overall in the NBA Draft to the Memphis Grizzlies
“I was happy to be between a couple of sprinters who were going to go with me and really help push me in the first 50 (meters), and I was able to get my hand first on the wall at the end” – Nathan Adrian, Bremerton Olympian, after winning the 100-meters at the U.S. Swimming Trials Friday in Omaha, NB