The Apocalypse ... err ... Apple Cup

The Friday Free-for-all is a properly dystopian set-up for Washington's "rivalry" game..

The Washington Huskies rivalry game against the Washington State Cougars will be played:

  • in September

  • as a non-conference game

  • at an NFL stadium

  • with single-game tickets that are not part of either school’s season-ticket package

  • aired on a streaming service called Peacock

That positively dystopian scenario is a perfect reflection of the current state of college football, as Christian Caple pointed out during this week’s episode of “Say Who, Say Pod.”

C’s get degrees, not pats on the back

I believe it was Chris Rock who made the point that you do not get credit for doing the things that you’re supposed to do.

He had a few more thuses and therefores in his description and a couple of other words that make me reluctant to include a clip in this (mostly) family-friendly newsletter. However, Rock is the example burned into my memory so I’m making it here because that’s how I feel about the Seattle Mariners and more specifically their spending practices, which I discussed in this week’s conversation with Mitch Levy.

The Mariners seem to want credit for doing the things that you’re supposed to do.

You’re supposed to pay a player like Julio Rodriguez that gargantuan contract if you’ve got a player that good who isn’t intent on getting to the free-agent market as soon as possible. You think the Washington Nationals traded Juan Soto because they’re cheap? Nah. They traded Juan Soto because he wasn’t going to take a deal like Julio did. He wanted to hit free agency ASAP.

Similarly, you do not get credit for signing Luis Castillo to a long-term contract. That’s what you’re supposed to do when you give up the prospects they did to get a pitcher like that in his prime especially when the rest of your starting rotation is making peanuts.

Most importantly, you do not get credit for increasing your payroll for three successive seasons when your payroll has gone from 21st to 18th to 17th in that time.

I feel compelled to say this because earlier this week, Mariners managing partner John Stanton answered questions from The Seattle Times

“We’ve grown payroll each of the last three years. Maybe not as much as you would like us to … but we all deal with constraints, right?”

— John Stanton

The quote gave off an odor that was reminiscent of last year’s post-mortem press conference when Jerry Dipoto said Mariner fans “should be thanking us” for taking a sustainable path to improvement. I’ll take Dipoto at his word, that this was a poor attempt at humor, but at the core of that is this belief that we — as Mariner fans — don’t fully understand and therefore lack the proper appreciation for what the franchise is doing.

Respectfully, I understand EXACTLY what Seattle is doing, and over the past five years I have watched it go from a slightly above average team whose nucleus was starting to decline (2016 to 2018) to a slightly above average team whose nucleus is young and growing (2021 to present).

I respect the job that has been done by the front office. I recognize that the ownership should not be lumped in a category with truly bad owners, but I also don’t feel I should have to offer attaboys for doing an acceptable job, and that’s how I view the Mariners ownership.

Water we dune here?

On Thursday, I saw this headline on the home page of Ex-NBA player West arrested on two charges.

I didn’t know for sure who was involved. There are a number of former NBA players named West. There’s David West, a power forward from Xavier. There’s Mark West, the big man who was part of the trade that brought Charles Barkley from Philadelphia to Phoenix.

I suspected, however, the subject was Delonte West, whom the Seattle Sonics obtained from Boston in 2007 in the trade for Ray Allen. Over the past few years, West has had some very public issues with substance abuse, mental health and has — at times — been unhoused.

Delonte was in fact the ex-NBA player in question, and the story stated that police had pursued West, finding him unresponsive and then administering Narcan, which is used to treat a drug overdose. West was revived only after receiving a second dose of Narcan. He was taken to the hospital, and later, to jail where he was booked on two outstanding chargers.

One thing I know is that Making the arrest the headline in a story about someone who suffered a drug overdose is some questionable news judgment in my opinion.

One thing I don’t know is if there’s a valid journalistic objection to covering the ongoing substance-abuse challenges of a professional basketball player who hasn’t appeared in the league in 12 years at this point.

One thing I’m fairly certain of is that covering West’s troubles does no one any good and serves to amplify the pain experienced by West and the people who love him.

Do not mistake the coverage of suffering with empathy.

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