A look at the top sports stories in today’s edition of The Herald:
1. He’ll be carrying an umbrella and drinking Starbucks in no time
While Mariners fans are thrilled with the trade that brought pitcher Cliff Lee to Seattle from Philadelphia, the 2008 AL Cy Young award winner does not share their enthusiasm. In his first comments since Wednesday’s trade, Lee conceded he was disappointed to be leaving the Phillies. He did say, however, that it’s possible he could learn to love Seattle. What can the M’s do to help his affection grow? How about $100 million over five years?
2. What did he say?
With three members of the Everett Silvertips organization — defensemen Radko Gudas (Czech Republic) and Rasmus Rissanen (Finland), and assistant coach Jay Varady (USA) — likely to take part in the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championships, there has been some playful banter going on in the Tips’ locker room between the soon-to-be opponents. At least we think it’s playful banter. Since the trio speaks three different languages, we’re not 100 percent sure.
3. A moment of silence
Seahawks wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh was in a rare quiet mood Thursday — and for good reason. Housh was still dealing with the news that his former teammate Chris Henry died Thursday morning in North Carolina. The Closer’s prayers are with Housh and all the other friends and family members who knew and loved Henry.
4. The kid can’t wait for “Transformers III”
Students at the UW have two reasons to celebrate today. 1) Finals week ends; 2) Jake Locker is coming back for another season as the Huskies’ QB. For guest columnist David Krueger, a UW student, that makes for a near perfect Christmas. All that’s missing, he writes, is “Megan Fox and some mistletoe.” Sorry, David, but even Santa’s laughing at that request.
THE WARMUP PITCH
How many fingers am I holding up?
Matt Bouldin is expected to return to No. 15 Gonzaga’s lineup for Saturday’s game against seventh-ranked Duke. Bouldin missed the Zags’ game last week against Davidson because he was still feeling the effects of a recent concussion. As someone who’s taken many blows to the head over the years, The Closer offers this advice: If you see three hoops, Matt, shoot at the middle one.
He can’t keep winning forever
In the midst of his recent troubles, Tiger Woods continues to collect hardware for his already-stuffed trophy case. This week he was voted the AP Athlete of the Decade, and on Thursday he was voted the 2009 Male Golfer of the Year. But don’t expect his winning streak to last much longer. The husband- and father-of-the-year awards are due out shortly.
This not a crash diet, it’s a “no cash” diet
Former Lake Stevens wrestler Kelly Kubec, who competes at 133 pounds for Oregon State University, has no trouble keeping his weight down. His secret? He’s a college student. He has no money for food.
Honey, did we pay the cell phone bill?
Former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said he would love to talk with the team about its opening for a GM, but apparently the Seahawks have not called him. The Closer suspects Jim Mora yanked Holmgren’s number out of the company Rolodex.
Bring on the dancing bears … I mean, Chicago Bears
The Washington Redskins reportedly are talking with former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan about their soon-to-be-vacant head-coaching position. The Closer thinks current Redskins coach Jim Zorn should sue the ‘Skins for breach of contract. When Zorn signed on as head coach, he was told he was joining an NFL franchise, not the circus.
For rent: An entire offensive line … although it does have a few holes
The L.A. Galaxy of Major League Soccer are loaning forward Landon Donovan to Everton of the Premier League. The Closer likes the idea of loaning out players. Maybe the Seattle Seahawks could loan out the members of their offensive line each week to their opponent. QB Matt Hasselbeck probably wouldn’t even notice they were gone, and going against their own O-line for 60 minutes no doubt would improve the Seahawks’ putrid pass rush.
The wild and wacky news from the world of sports …
On your mark, get set, talk!
Tennessee Titans running back Chris Brown and Miami Dolphins wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. apparently had a match race planned for last summer on Ocean Drive in Miami. According to Brown, Ginn backed out. Among those reportedly on hand to watch were Cincinnati receiver Chad Ochocinco and Miami linebacker Joey Porter. Those two could have held a competition to see who could talk the fastest.
Their play makes us all sick
The NFL’s St. Louis Rams canceled practice Thursday because an undisclosed number of players were suffering from the swine flu. No big deal. Practice wasn’t doing the 1-12 Rams much good anyway.
If you’ve been racking your brain trying to figure out what to get The Closer for Christmas, relax. To make things easier for you, here are the top five items on The Closer’s wish list:
5. Mike Holmgren in Cleveland. The former coach is not the answer to the Seahawks’ troubles, and the farther he is from all the talk-radio microphones in Seattle, the better.
4, A new leg for Greg Oden. When the Sonics left for the OK Corral, The Closer adopted the Portland Trail Blazers as his favorite NBA team. But without Oden, who is out for the season with his second major injury in three years, the Blazers have no hope of advancing in the playoffs.
3. Cliff Lee’s signature … on a contract extension with the Mariners.
2. A big man for the Huskies. With lightning-quick guards and with senior forward Quincy Pondexter playing like an All-American, all the UW basketball team needs is a big man in the middle who can swat some shots and score a few points. If they find him, they could be a force come March.
1. Twenty impact freshmen who sign with the UW football team because they want to be part of Jake Locker’s final season in Montlake.
Contact The Closer at firstname.lastname@example.org.