Ok, lots to get to, not much time to do it. I spoke to our incredibly well-informed “source” who had a lot of info. He was just over in the heartland this weekend and gave me an update:
1) BRINK over Swogger. He said from talking to some who would know, unless things change dramatically, it will be Brink. He said it was very apparent in the scrimmage he watched, and things just were a lot more smooth with Brink vs. Swogger. Swoggs timing is really off in all facets, and you can tell just by reading the recaps that he’s not on his game right now. Our source said it’s everything, from poor throws/reads, to footwork, you name it, he’s just off right now and is battling a confidence issue to boot. Further, the coaches like the way Brink has competed for the job, and even though Swoggs was named the #1 guy coming into camp and after spring ball, Brink has been busting his butt in every way to steal the job. It’s going to come down probably this week, so don’t be surprised if this is the dawning of the Alex Brink era….until he gets hurt vs. Nevada that is!!?!?
2) The player we were worried about, due to grades? It’s all taken care of. Don’t know any more details, but everything turned out fine. I’ll leave it at that.
3) Stadium info is new, they just finalized everything with the arcitect I think Friday. Don’t know how the final meeting went, but both the athletic department and the board liked the idea of a deck on both sides and leaving the endzones, other than a slight upgrade, as they are. 45,000 seats, very intimate. Obviously the facilities will get a major facelift and all that, but two decks is now likely. Not sure when the final announcement will be, but it’s coming down to the wire here, maybe for the Seattle game things will get going, who knows. It sure as hell takes a while to get all their ducks in a row before they fully launch the campaign, that much is certain!
4) The Auburn game WILL be officially announced this week. The good news? It’s a featured ESPN game and Gameday and all that will PROBABLY be there. Plus, we’re getting $850,000 from Auburn to play the game, and another $500,000 from ESPN to get us down there, for a nice $1.3 MILLION payday. Ok, the bad news (and this is bad news). There IS NO RETURN GAME. Auburn will NOT, under any circumstances, agree to play a game outside the south, and Seahawks Stadium or not, they will NOT ever come up here, period. The deal on the table now is a take-it-or-leave-it, one time only, and the money and national exposure it just too great to pass up. Supposedly UW heard about it and made some calls to them, but they said “no thanks, we want WSU first and foremost, but if they cancel you’ll be considered from a list of schools.”
5) Ticket sales are just under 30,000 for Grambling. They are expecting another 10-15K right up until kickoff, so probably in the neighborhood of 45,000 at the most. Then again, sales last year were lagging and then late in the process things picked up and we were close to a sellout, so we’ll see.
That’s it on the Cougs.
So how about King Felix? The fact that he battled through a rough first inning to completely dominate again is a story, when you think of the fact he was facing the Twins on the road, a team he has already faced, etc, but to think he went 8 innings only giving up 5 singles!?!? On the season, 30 IP, 16 singles, 4 BB, 30 K’s and a 1.24 ERA?!?! He’s better overall than I ever imagined, and to see him fight through a rough start to completely own them was amazing. That curve ball, too, YIKES. Some of the strike-outs were phenominal. You must go to MLB.com and look at the Saturday recap to see the video, the movement is Nintendo-like. He’s a once-in-a-decade pitcher, Michael, and if they can PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH THAT ARM, we have something special! The fact they let him go 115 pitches though?? Scary. He was at I think 95 or 100 even after 7 IP, so that should have been enough, but who knows. I’m no pitching coach, I don’t know what their plan internally is on the guy, and maybe they wanted to let him go an extra 15-20 pitches above the 100 mark to see how he does. Think about that, though, for a moment – 16 singles, no extra base hits, 4 BB’s and a K-an-Inning!?!? It’s just incredible. I can’t wait for him to go again. I don’t think it’s announced yet, but he’ll go either Thursday AM at Texas or Friday PM at home against the White Sox (if they have half a brain down there they’ll hold him back for Friday at home, they need every gate attraction they can get right now). That one extra day of rest might be good after he threw so many pitches on Saturday.
Speaking of half a brain, it was nice to see they released SandFrog Spiezio. What a joke. What’s even more sad is that the entire 2004 starting infield has now been released or traded for absolutely NOTHING of value in return. That 2003-04 offseason has to be one of the worst in franchise history, and has set them back several years in the rebuilding process. There are whispers that Bavasi is in serious trouble, and they are about to do something for the first time in nearly 100 years – win 90+ games two years in a row, to be followed by consecutive 90-loss seasons. Any way you spin it, that’s a pretty lousy job. Of course Bavasi couldn’t predict the future, and I really believed that coming into 2004 they’d be better overall with Spiezio and Aurillia both hitting their normal 15 HR’s, and Olerud and Boone doing their normal things, but it all went to crap. Plus the Guillen-for-Santiago deal is easily one of the worst in franchise history.