ump call
The Mariners went from one out with two on to the bases loaded after Friday's reversed transfer rule call. (AP)

By Jim Moore

Maybe you were watching it live. But I was at a kids' baseball game and following the ninth inning of last night's Mariners' game on my phone.

I was slightly encouraged when I saw on the SportsCenter app that Yoervis Medina got the force at third on a sacrifice-bunt attempt by the Marlins with runners on first and second and nobody out.

But then I didn't know what to make of what the app was telling me. Two minutes later, the bases were loaded with no outs. I figured it was operator oldster error on my end because I could've sworn I saw that the Mariners had gotten one out in the ninth.

I went to Twitter to find out what had happened, and that's where I learned about Kyle Seager's violation of the transfer rule.

Seager, as you know by now, caught the whirling throw from Medina, but the sliding runner was called safe because the Mariners' third baseman bobbled the ball after he took it out of his glove.

That caused an outpouring of Twitter outrage.

Shannon Drayer: "It's official. The transfer rule is making a mockery out of this game."

Bob Stelton: "This transfer rule is an absolute joke."

Scott Weber of Lookout Landing: "Infielders will have to learn to swallow that ball. Doesn't matter if he was meaning to throw or not."

Terry Blount of "This transfer rule is an absolute disaster for MLB replay. The runner is out as soon as the ball is caught. That's been true forever."

I thought about writing a troll of a post, arguing that I love the new transfer rule, that it's long overdue because we all know a ball is not really caught until it's cleanly transferred to a player's throwing hand. Even Abner Doubleday knows that.

But if I wrote something like that, I'd be like Dori Monson contending that Mariners' attendance is down this year at Safeco Field because fans don't like the players' beards.

In his heart of hearts, I don't think Dori believes that, but he certainly got a rise out of fans with his way-out-there take on the Mariners, and I have to admit I'd rather see a clean-shaven Dustin Ackley hitting .280 than a Duck Dynasty Dustin hitting .300.

I can see why the Mariners were upset with what happened last night. It certainly hurt their chances to force extra innings, and it would have been interesting to see if they would have pitched to Giancarlo Stanton, the man who hit the grand-slam walk-off to give the Marlins an 8-4 win.

They had intentionally walked Stanton twice in the game and maybe would've done it again, even with runners at first and second.

You could also argue that Medina would've been wiser to go against conventional baseball wisdom by allowing the sacrifice bunt to happen and throw out the runner at first.

That would've left an empty base for Stanton and a certain intentional walk to load the bases. With one out and the bases loaded, Medina could've gotten out of the inning with a double play.

If we're being rational when discussing the transfer rule, the Mariners have benefited from ridiculous interpretations as much as they were hurt last night.

During Monday night's game in Texas, I could've sworn that Ackley was forced out at home when Pedro Figueroa threw to J.P. Arencibia, but he was ruled safe after the Rangers' catcher botched the transfer and dropped the ball.

The Mariners also got a break when Josh Hamilton "dropped" a fly ball in a game against the Angels at Safeco Field.

And remember the sliding "catch" that Ackley made against the A's? When Brandon Moss hit the fly ball to left, Josh Donaldson headed toward second, then retreated to first after thinking Ackley had caught the ball.

Moss passed him on the basepaths and was called out. The whole thing was idiotic and contrary to everything we've ever known about the game.

Even without the benefit of slow-motion replay, we can tell with our naked eye whether a player caught the ball or not. Hamilton, Ackley and Seager all caught the ball. There's no debate, yet there is, all the time, and the team that shouldn't get the "call" does.

It's almost like Sean Barber, the umpire who butchered Roenis Elias' start in Oakland two weeks ago, is involved in every transfer-rule fiasco.

Fortunately the nonsense could end soon according to a report by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. MLB officials are meeting early this week to discuss a less-strict interpretation of the transfer rule.

It sounds like they'll encourage umpires to use "more of a common-sense approach than the letter of the law."

For a transfer-rule that has been around for only 2 weeks, you could still say its removal is long overdue.

The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website and You can reach Jim at and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.

dempsey goal
Clint Dempsey has scored five goals in two weeks and won back-to-back MLS Player of the Week awards. (AP)

By Michael Grey

Five thoughts on the week that was in Seattle sports and beyond:

The first of many?

The story of this young season for the Mariners has been the starts that they have gotten from a patchwork rotation. Within that rotation is young Cuban hurler Roenis Elias who, in his third start, got his first win in the majors Monday with a one-run, 7 2/3 innings outing against the Rangers. For a young player that had never pitched above AA to have settled in (even at this early point of the season) is truly something to watch, and the impact of quality starts in April from this crew of fill-ins is hard to overstate. There are several options that will open to Lloyd McClendon & Co. with the returns of Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton, but Elias could be among the more intriguing among them. For now I'll take that first win and look forward to the next time No. 29 is on the hill.

Oops, they did it again

Wednesday night in Texas marked the 18th time in Felix Hernandez's career that he's pitched seven or more innings, allowed one or fewer runs, and the Mariners went on to lose the game. A 2-0 eighth inning lead turned into a 2-1 ninth inning advantage which turned into a 3-2 Rangers victory, robbing King Felix of a 4-0 start on a night when he allowed four hits and one run. At the end of the day this is just 1/162nd of the Mariners season, but it was still heartbreaking for M's fans eager to celebrate the teams most consistent star. They let an early-season win slip away, and that may also end up weighing a bit more by virtue of being an AL West matchup for a team with a rotation already missing three starters. King Felix deserved better Wednesday night. Here's to hoping he gets it as the season progresses.

Reheated Rice

Sidney Rice and the Seahawks announced this week that they had come to an agreement on a one-year deal for 2014 after Rice was cleared by doctors. In the nonstop news cycle of the NFL it's good to see patience pay off again for the crew at the VMAC. The Hawks have gone about bolstering their WR corps the same way they've built depth elsewhere, with less-than-earth-shattering moves like the Sidney Rice deal and Chris Matthews signing from the CFL, and they still have the draft ahead. None of these moves on their own makes or breaks this team, but in total provides the kind of depth the Seahawks needed to make a title run in 2013 at a manageable cost. Just the latest in a long line of examples of Pete Carroll and John Schneider sticking to the plan.

Super Clint!

Get that man a cape! Clint Dempsey could pull the MLS Player of the Week hat trick if he keeps up the torrid pace that he's been on the last two weeks as Sounders FC heads south for a match with Chivas USA this weekend. His five goals in the last two weeks puts the all-time MLS mark of seven goals in three weeks within reach, and as unlikely as that may be it sure has been fun for Sounders fans to watch. The work Dempsey is doing with Obafemi Martins in the offensive zone gives the Sounders the kind of attack to keep virtually every match within reach, as fans have seen in back-to-back comebacks. Above and beyond all the number is the fact that Seattle is finally seeing the quality of play from Dempsey that they hoped for when he signed the biggest contract in MLS last year.

You can't fix stupid.

49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has made a habit of appearing in NFL offseason headlines for all of the wrong reasons (four arrests since 2012). I have no intention of addressing his previous (or pending) charges, and while arguments can rage about circumstances or sensationalism or a slow news cycle, one thing I think we can all agree that it's ALWAYS a bad idea to mention a bomb while in line at airport security. Well, that's exactly what happened this week when Smith was taken into custody at LAX for even mentioning the 'B' word during a security check. That's right, he dropped the word "bomb" in some shape or form while dealing with the TSA. Whether he was frustrated or intoxicated or thought it was funny is irrelevant when it comes to the Federal Authorities that govern air travel and the not-up-for-interpretation penalties for a violation. Ultimately this will cost Smith some time on the field and may even cost him his position with the Niners. What it will never cost him is a Mensa membership. Just. So. Dumb.

Thanks for reading, enjoy your weekend and if you feel the need to know more stuff that I think about stuff please follow me on Twitter @TheMichaelGrey.

By Jim Moore

The Seahawks wisely released Sidney Rice in February to save $7.3 million in salary-cap space.

Now they should re-sign him if he's willing to accept a much smaller salary with incentives.

rice submain
Sidney Rice never reached the production of his 2009 Pro Bowl season for the Vikings in his three seasons with the Seahawks, and he was released earlier this offseason. (AP)

On Monday, Rice received medical clearance to work out for NFL teams. As you'll recall, he tore his ACL last October in the eighth game of the season at St. Louis.

Rice was having a down year – 15 catches for 231 yards, and he was generally considered a disappointment in his three years here.

He had a hard time staying healthy and a harder time justifying the five-year, $41 million contract the Seahawks gave him in 2011 with $18 million guaranteed.

Rice never looked like the guy who went to the Pro Bowl in 2009 after having 83 receptions for 1,312 yards with the Vikings.

We saw glimpses of his greatness in 2012 – against the Patriots, he caught the deciding touchdown on a 46-yard pass from Russell Wilson in a 24-23 win at Century Link Field.

Two months later in a 23-17 victory over the Bears at Soldier Field, he had six catches for 99 yards, including the game-winning TD.

If Rice were to return to the Seahawks at a drastically reduced price, I'm looking for negatives and can't think of any.

At 6-foot-4, he'd be the tall, rangy receiver they're currently lacking. They lost Golden Tate to the Lions, but how good would this receiving corps be with Percy Harvin, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Rice? I don't think anyone would be calling them pedestrian anymore.

What if Rice comes back and gets hurt again? What if he makes another trip to Switzerland for some kind of magical medical procedure that doesn't work out?

So what. If they're paying him peanuts, it's worth the risk when you consider the best-case scenario.

Rice turns 28 on Sept. 1. He could not only help you this year but for years to come. If he and Harvin are healthy for 16 games – a big "if," I know – imagine the possibilities for the Seahawks' offense.

If I were John Schneider, I'd be making a big push to re-sign Rice, which means he probably isn't because anything I'm in favor of is likely a bad idea.

But let's say he is pursuing Rice. I'd say it's 50-50 at best that the Seahawks re-sign him.

According to an post I saw this morning, the Seahawks are the favorites to sign him among the other teams who are reportedly interested in Rice – Carolina, New Orleans and the New York Giants.

They're the favorites because they have the most room under the salary cap at $15.8 million. Carolina, which needs receiving help the most, is $2.7 million under the cap; the Saints are at $3.7 million and the Giants are at $4.1 million.

But the Seahawks also have an Earl Thomas extension in the works, which reduces their wiggle room.

Carolina could really use Rice, and it's thought he might want to play for the Panthers since he grew up in Gaffney, S.C., just an hour from Charlotte.

But I'm hoping he'll want to return to the Seahawks. He's familiar with the system and was said to have enjoyed his time here.

If the Seahawks get Rice, they could still draft a tall, gifted receiver and groom him for the future – maybe even redshirt him like they did Christine Michael last year.

The chance for another Lombardi Trophy in which Rice has a more active role could lure him back and trump higher offers elsewhere.

The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website and You can reach Jim at and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.

By Jim Moore

This is the year when Felix Hernandez finally wins 20 games. I'll go farther than that – he'll win 22 games this year and finish with a 22-5 record and 2.58 ERA, good enough to win his second Cy Young Award.

Yes, I know I predicted the Mariners would go 77-85 this year. If Felix wins 22 games, you'd think they'd win more than 55 with their other starting pitchers.

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The Mariners might finally have enough offense to help Felix Hernandez win 20 games for the first time in his career. (AP)
But I like to think I'll be wrong with that 77-win projection based on what we've seen in the first week and a half from the 5-3 Mariners and closer to right with Felix.

As you know, he's making a Supreme Court appearance tonight against the A's at Safeco Field. You'll see yellow T-shirts and yellow K-cards throughout the ballpark.

Felix is 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA thus far. The Mariners hung on to beat the A's last Saturday, giving Felix a 3-1 win.

I really thought manager Lloyd McClendon got lucky in that one. Felix was starting to get knocked around in the eighth inning. I thought McClendon should have had Fernando Rodney start the ninth, but he left his ace out there, and Felix gave up a leadoff home run to Jed Lowrie in the ninth.

We've seen those kinds of wins from Felix before; more encouraging was the season-opening 8-3 victory in Anaheim when Felix allowed a two-run homer to Mike Trout and fell behind 3-0.

How many times have the Mariners rallied from a three-run deficit and done it in time to give Felix the win? Rarely if at all, but they did it that night, and it gives you hope that a more-potent offense could do it again.

That will help Felix get to 22 wins. This won't be a season like the last four for him – records of 13-12, 14-14, 13-9 and 12-10 from 2010 to 2013.

Everyone knows he would have averaged at least 15 wins with a little more run support and probably would have won 20 games in a season three or four times by now if he played for the Tigers or Yankees.

To go 22-5, Felix will have 27 decisions in 31 starts. That's a little high because Felix typically has a bunch of no-decisions, but there's precedence – 28 decisions when he went 14-14 in 2011.

This year Felix is squarely in his prime, having turned 28 on Tuesday. And this year he appears to have the run support he's been lacking in his career. When you talk run support for Felix, all you need is three or four runs, and with this group, that's not too much to expect anymore.

The biggest hurdle for Felix is the month of September. In the last three years, he's gone 1-8 with a 5.07 ERA in his September starts, very un-Felix-like numbers.

By the end of the season, he's either wearing down or not as sharp because the games are pretty much meaningless. This year he's bound to be helped if the Mariners are still in a pennant race.

All of these factors add up to a 22-5 record and a Cy Young Award-winning season.

The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website,, and You can reach Jim at and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.

James Paxton's lat strain was the only negative from the Mariners' thrilling home opener. (AP)

By Michael Grey

Five thoughts on the week that was in Seattle sports and beyond:

Grand opening

After finishing an opening American League West road trip 4-2, the Mariners returned to Safeco Field to one big party. The red carpet was there. The fireworks were there. The Silver Slugger Award was there. The Seahawks were there. Even the Lombardi Trophy made it. All that – as manager Lloyd McClendon would put it – "hoopla" made the 3-0 lead the Angels took in the first inning all the more disheartening. Here were 45,000-plus fans in full throat, eager to believe a better season had begun while an old story was being re-told on the diamond. Then it happened. James Paxton shook off a rough start and dialed his stuff in. The Mariners' bats began wearing down Hector Santiago. Finally, Corey Hart hit a ball that would have gone through the center field wall if it hadn't gone over it, and the bullpen took over. When the fireworks smoke had cleared, the Mariners scratched their way back to win a game that they would've lost a year ago. Grand opening, indeed.

Now, the bad news

Paxton was only in second start of the season and has fewer than 10 in his big-league career, but his potential had become ballpark reality before a strained lat saw him leave the game with the Mariners' training staff Tuesday night. The initial diagnosis has Paxton on the 15-day disabled list and Mariners fans can only hope that's all that's needed with a potential jewel in an already strained rotation. Erasmo Ramirez and Roenis Elias have been very good filling spots thus far but they're band-aids and not a long-term strategy at the top of this Mariners rotation. Taijuan Walker and Hisashi Iwakuma will be back into the rotation sooner than later barring setbacks, but the return of two stars while losing another is still rough news when the guy the M's lose is a gem like Paxton. The difference between a better season and a special season could well lie on its arms, and Paxton needs to be in the mix for that to happen. Get well soon, James.

A new twist to an old rivalry

The Sounders FC rekindled the most intense rivalry in MLS with their trip down to Portland to face Timbers FC last Saturday. The Sounders took the early lead but promptly surrendered it and late in the match looked as though they were about to provide Portland with its first victory of the season. Then Clint Dempsey happened. Dempsey scored his first hat trick as a Sounder with a 2-2 tying goal at 24' and then the two key scores at 85' and 87' to give the Sounders their first result in a regular-season match in which they were down two goals. If you've downloaded the "SoundersCast" on, you've heard Ross Fletcher emphasize what an elite player can mean to a MLS club, and that was never clearer than it was in Providence Park a week ago. On to FC Dallas.

It's quiet ... too quiet

The NFL has trained us all to believe that the NFL comes first. It doesn't matter what the calendar says or how many days remain between today and the next actual game – it is always football season. That makes this particular time (and this particular year) the most excruciating of all for those fans that have sworn the deepest allegiance to The Shield. Fact is, there just isn't that much going on in the NFL right now and even the next "major" event doesn't involve a single player that has actually played in a game. With that said, I would encourage any sports fan to get out and partake in something where you can find actual competition. I love football more than most, but there's nothing like actual games with actual players and I'll take it over a Top 10 List or mock draft any day. The Mariners, the Sounders, the NHL and NBA playoffs, the PGA, NASCAR. Contrary to what commissioner Roger Goodell would have you believe, there are other games and leagues to support. None of them will replace football, but any one of them is better than watching the offseason business cycle of the National Football League – at least for me.

The year was 1990

I turned 15 that year, got my learner's permit and set to making both my parents incredibly nervous riding shotgun while I drove a car. The first George Bush was president. Gas was $1.16 a gallon. It was also the last time that the NHL Playoffs did not include the Detroit Red Wings. A franchise that is the gold standard for sustained excellence secured its 23rd straight playoff birth this week in an overtime game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It is the longest such streak in the Big Four professional sports leagues here in the Unites States and almost incomprehensible considering all that has changed in the two-plus decades that have passed since the Wings' last postseason absence. Also worth noting: the nervousness from most anyone riding shotgun in a vehicle I'm driving. I'm guessing the Wings' streak will end before mine does.

Thanks for reading, enjoy your weekend, and if you feel the need to know more stuff that I think about, please follow me on Twitter @TheMichaelGrey.

Percy Harvin is one of the league's best kickoff returners, but does it unnecessarily expose him to injury? (AP)

By Brady Henderson

John Clayton, Jim Moore and Dave Wyman spent a portion of Tuesday's edition of "Cold Hard Facts" revisiting what has become their great debate – whether Percy Harvin should be the Seahawks' primary kickoff returner.

Here's the link to the audio. The Harvin conversation begins at the 7:15 mark.

As Moore and Wyman note, Harvin is unquestionably Seattle's best kickoff returner. But the debate boils down to whether it's too big a risk to expose an already injury-prone player to additional contact.

Clayton thinks it is.

"You need him more to spark the offense and give Russell Wilson more playmaking ability," he said. "You can occasionally spot him, but I am totally against the idea of him being the full-time returner because if he gets injured – and he tends to get injured because he runs so hard and plays so hard – you want him for the offense, not special teams."

Each opinion has merit, in my view.

Harvin came to Seattle having already established himself as one of the league's best kickoff returners, and what he did during his only two chances last season reinforced that. First was a 58-yard return in Week 11. Then, of course, was the 87-yard return for a touchdown in the Super Bowl. It's hard to argue with a 72.5-yard average, and while that's obviously a small sample size, Harvin's career mark during the regular season is a healthy 28.2.

Seahawks 2013 Kickoff Return Stats
Player Att. Yds. Avg. Long TD Fum.
Jermaine Kearse 13 283 21.8 40 0 1
Robert Turbin 8 177 22.1 27 0 1
Doug Baldwin 6 187 31.2 69 0 0
Percy Harvin 2 145 72.5 87 1 0
Jeremy Lane 2 47 23.5 25 0 0
The other side of it is Harvin's injury history and how much more the Seahawks figure to count on his contributions as a receiver now that Golden Tate is no longer in the mix. When he came to Seattle, Harvin was a luxury of sorts for a receiving corps that was returning its leading targets from the previous two seasons in Doug Baldwin and Sidney Rice as well as Tate, who would go on to claim that distinction in 2013.

That's no longer the case now that Tate has moved on and Rice is unsigned as he recovers from a torn ACL. Seattle's receiver corps, as it's currently constructed, isn't as deep as it was last season and therefore may not be as well positioned to adsorb the loss of Harvin if he becomes injured.

Something else to keep in mind, though, is how the Seahawks' defense might limit the team's kickoff-return opportunities. Seattle has allowed the fewest points in the league the last two seasons, which has meant fewer times where opponents have kicked off to the Seahawks following a score. Seattle returned 33 regular-season kickoffs in 2013 and 29 in 2012, totals that ranked 25th and 30th, respectively. Fewer opportunities to return kickoffs means fewer hits, so if Seattle's defense comes close playing at the same level in 2014, that could indirectly mitigate some of the injury risk.

The table on the right shows the Seahawks' kickoff-return totals last season, including the playoffs. It excludes Tate, who returned four kickoffs but no longer factors into the equation now that he's moved on. It also excludes four instances where a kickoff – presumably a squib or an onsides kick – was fielded by a blocker.

Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.

The Mariners' offense and starting rotation are off to an encouraging start. (AP)

By Michael Grey

Five thoughts on the week that was in Seattle sports and beyond:

Putting the "Oh!" in offense

The Mariners started the season with a bang and that's putting it lightly. Through the first week of the season, Mariners batters are first in runs scored and third in slugging percentage. In layman's terms, the batters in this lineup are absolutely mashing. Extra-base hits, production up and down the lineup, advancing runners, taking advantage of runners in scoring position, hit and runs, oh, and some home runs, too. Smart baseball. Fun baseball. I can almost hear It's-A-Long-Season-Guy typing his snarky comment as I write this but, for now, I will buy what these Mariners hitters are selling. I understand that it's a 162-game grind but all the M's can do in the beginning of the season is begin – and they couldn't have done it with a whole lot more pop than what we watched this week.

They can throw it, too

There are so many questions – many asked by yours truly – about this Mariners rotation as it enters the season with two of its prized horses on the shelf in Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker. Most anyone could've predicted a dominant opening day from King Felix, but what about seven full innings from Erasmo Ramirez and James Paxton? What about the guy that could be the biggest question mark in this entire rotation in Roenis Elias? Here is a pitcher that hadn't started a game above Double-A and but for a blown call on a third strike would've pitched five innings of scoreless ball himself. This Mariners team absolutely needs the arms at the back of the rotation to hold things down as the big guns get healthy and they did it in spades so far this week. This pitching staff talked about being confident and aggressive throughout the spring, then you saw it play out right before your eyes in the first week of the season. Now about Hector Noesi coming out in late relief ...

Takin' care of business

The Seahawks called a Friday press conference to announce a contract extension for head coach Pete Carroll. While so many of The 12th Man eagerly await a contract cycle that includes Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson, this might be the most important piece of business that the franchise can get done. The plan needs an architect and Pete Carroll (along with general manager John Schneider) is just that. The Seahawks did not resemble the organization it is today when Carroll arrived. It's not just about talent acquisition or game plans – it's about the culture that Carroll has created. Getting his contract done is an obvious move that everyone expected but that doesn't make it any less important for a team with a legitimate shot at repeating as Super Bowl champs. Now that Carroll's contract is finished, the team – and the 12s – can move on to more pressing matters like the draft, deals for Thomas, Sherman and Wilson and trying to decide where to build the case for that shiny new Lombardi trophy.

Nothing like a rivalry

The Sounders have had uncharacteristic struggles at home, piling up their second loss this season at CenturyLink Field against Columbus last Saturday. Maybe a trip south on I-5 and one of the most intense rivalries in all of sports is just what the doctor ordered. It's time for the first match of the Cascadia Cup and a date with the Portland Timbers. While Seattle has had its challenges at home, the Timbers have struggled everywhere thus far and will be looking to get right at their rival's expense. The good news for Sounders fans is the fact that Clint Dempsey returns from his two-game suspension (they certainly could have used him a week ago). He looked fantastic in the U.S. friendly with Mexico, manning the middle and creating on offense much like he'll be asked to do Saturday. The best news is that this match will always be the most intense of the MLS schedule. Green flares. Tifos. Eternal Blue Forever Green. Rose City Til I Die. Emerald City Supporters. Timbers Army. It doesn't get any better than this in all of American soccer.

Slow down!

Draft insanity is one of my favorite parts of the NFL year. I get caught up in prognostication, mock drafts and all of the "expert" opinions out there as much as the next guy. However, when Mel Kiper went so far as to intimate that the only reason Jadeveon Clowney doesn't end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame would be his personal effort, even I am inclined to Pump. The. Brakes. It's hard enough to discern whether or not these prospects can even become decent pros, much less All Pros, much less Hall of Famers. I would say that it's putting the cart in front of the horse but it's more like having the cart shipped three time zones ahead and assuming you can get where you're going with just the horse. I think that Clowney is a freak of nature just like everyone else, but can we wait until he's played a single down of football before putting him in the Hall?

As always, thanks for reading my ramblings, have a great weekend and if you're so inclined or feel the need to know more stuff that I think about, follow me on Twitter @TheMichaelGrey.

Ernie Kent's up-tempo style and charisma should bring some much-needed excitement to WSU hoops. (AP)

By Jim Moore

If you still follow Cougar basketball, what was your reaction when you heard that athletic director Bill Moos hired Ernie Kent to be the new coach?

I'm mostly excited about it for several reasons, and I'm putting aside any possible concerns such as:

• If Kent's so good, why has he been on the sidelines doing TV stuff for the past four years?

• Did we really want a retread at the age of 59 to revive our team?

I don't know what the answer is to the first question, but as for the second question, sure, why not?

On a personal level, I love the former coach, Ken Bone. I'm still guessing he's as good as it gets when it comes to coaching the X's and O's of the game. But it wasn't happening on the floor or in the stands, where empty seats turned into empty sections at Beasley Coliseum as each year went by during the Ken Bone Era.

No one seemed to care about Cougar basketball anymore, which is crazy because it was just six years ago when we were in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament with Tony Bennett as the coach. Then again, it's not so crazy when you consider how far we've fallen. The Cougs played hard but lacked talent; Bone didn't recruit enough good players to Pullman.

So if you're like me, they could have named Big Lo or anyone as coach and I'd be happy about it because it was time for a change.

Ernie Kent more than qualifies as a potential upgrade. At Oregon, for most of his time there, he proved himself as a recruiter and a coach. He coached four players who were first-round draft choices – Fred Jones, Luke Jackson, Luke Ridnour and Aaron Brooks. He led Oregon to five March Madness appearances, two Elite Eight appearances and two NIT Final Four appearances.

As I recall, when he coached at Oregon, the Ducks were a high-flying, three-point shooting, fast-paced team. I miss watching that kind of basketball and can't wait to see it in crimson-and-gray uniforms.

I'm old enough to remember when Kent played at Oregon for Dick Harter. The Ducks were known as the Kamikaze Kids because they were overly aggressive, always diving for loose balls and playing tough defense.

To be honest, I hated the Kamikaze Kids. I still remember the buzzer-beater that Ronnie Lee hit against us from the right of the lane as he fell to the floor. What a nightmare. I no doubt drank myself silly in room 227 of Gannon Hall after that one.

But if we can have an up-tempo, in-your-face, 25-foot shooting team now? Bring it on. I'd like to see us be more successful, of course, but while we're rebuilding, it sure would be fun to see an entertaining brand of basketball again.

I also like the fact that Kent has something to prove. He must have a chip on his shoulder. He must wonder why no one has hired him since 2010, his last year at Oregon.

And I like the fact that he was second or maybe even Moos' third or fourth choice. We all know that Boise State's Leon Rice was the first choice, but the WSU alum chose to stay put. I was the second choice a long time ago when I was hired to be a sports writer at the Anchorage Daily News. I remember having a feeling of wanting to prove that I should've been the first choice all along.

The other thing with Kent that I like: he has charisma and presence, traits that were missing in Bone.

We'll see how it plays out, but I can't wait to see what happens when Ernie Kent ushers in a new era of Cougar basketball.

The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website,, and You can reach Jim at and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.

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Dave Wyman

In addition to co-hosting "Wyman, Mike and Moore", Dave Wyman co-hosts the Seahawks pre- and post-game shows on 710 ESPN Seattle. Dave was an All-American and All-Pac-10 linebacker at Stanford -- where he received a degree in communications and is a member of the university's Athletic Hall of Fame -- before entering the NFL as second-round pick in 1987 and spending nine seasons with the Seahawks and Broncos. Dave lives in Sammamish with his wife and two kids.

Michael Grey

Michael, the new co-host of "Wyman, Mike and Moore", comes to 710 ESPN Seattle from 590 ESPN in Omaha, Neb. and previously worked at WBBL in Grand Rapids, Mich. Michael started in radio in 1997 in the rock music world at Grand Rapids stations WGRD and WKLQ.

Jim Moore

Jim Moore has co-hosted the show since its inception in 2009. He also co-hosts "The Northwest Golf Show" with Shon Crewe and writes weekly columns for Jim spent 26 years as a reporter and columnist at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where he developed his nickname, "The Go 2 Guy."

Jessamyn McIntyre

Jessamyn McIntyre has produced the show since its inception in 2009 and is the executive producer of 710 ESPN Seattle. Jessamyn previously spent four years at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn. She freelances as a producer for ESPN Radio and TV and is the sideline reporter for WSU football games on 710 ESPN Seattle.
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