This Week’s Three Local Sports Stories You Need to Follow, Plus One National One

It’s Monday afternoon, gray outside, and everyone but you has the day off for a holiday that you have to think twice about why we celebrate. It’s Presidents Day, which takes place on the third Monday of February, in which we celebrate the birthday of George Washington, who was born on a Tuesday. No, as holidays go it’s not exactly Christmas, but hey, cars are on sale and street parking is free all day! To celebrate, lets look at the top three local stories of the coming week, plus one national one to pay attention to.

Three: Mariners’ Roster
Players will continue to take batting practice and throw pitches over the next few days, but the major storyline surrounding the Mariners this week is not about the players on the roster as it exists right now. Sure, there will be an occasional tweet about how much weight someone has lost, or an update about how a pitcher spent the whole off-season improving his curveball. These stories, while not a bad way to distract yourself as you put off the work you should be doing, may or may not have a big impact on the actual season. I don’t mean that those stories are not important or not to pay attention to them. I am glued to the computer waiting for any and all news from Arizona. The story this week that could make the biggest splash, however, is the potential that Jacky Z. is not done building his roster for the season. There have been some rumors over the last week that the Mariners have contacted Johnny Damon. Accompanying those rumors is the question of why. He seems to add some unneeded depth to positions already filled, which has led a few people to question whether this is a sign that the Mariners have a trade in the works.

The other question surrounding the Mariners roster is who will be calling pitches behind the plate. Expectations have been lowered so much for Jesus Montero in that role that it will be interesting to see if the Mariners plan on playing him there at all. Plenty of people, however, have questioned whether Olivo is a decent option in his own right. Whether it is news about players being cut, signed, or traded, the Mariners roster is a story that has the potential to wind up on the front page this week. Whatever you do, don’t stray too far from your twitter.

Two: Husky Basketball
What!? An actual game this week? In Seattle? And it matters? Yes, as everyone talks about who will be the Seahawks’ starting quarterback next season, how the Mariners’ roster will end up looking, and a building for two teams that don’t even exist, Lorenzo Romar and the University of Washington Huskies are playing for their tournament lives. In Espn’s Joe Lundardi’s latest bracket, the Dawgs are an eleven seed. It looks as if they are right on the line. A team that so far has been defined by its inability to perform on the road has a big road challenge in Pullman this weekend. It’s going to be a tough battle either way, but the Huskies have to be able to make the argument that they were a team that improved on the road throughout the season. Unless they end up winning the Pac-12 tournament and getting an automatic bid, this weeks game really could be a must win.

Game to Watch: Huskies at Cougars, Sunday, 5:00 PM, Root Sports

One: Arena
This is a story that will have constant updates from the media for the foreseeable future, without any real news coming out. We will hear stories about how numerous politicians and local citizens feel about an arena. We will see editorials on the difference between user fees and public taxes. With nothing of substance new to report, the anti-arena people will complain about what traffic will be like, while the pro-arena people will rave about what two more teams would do for the culture of our city. Plan on seeing constant updates on the state of the situation in Sacramento, along with plenty of local articles about the odd feeling of rooting to take another city’s team just a few years after turning OKC into the villain. This story is like a game of Where’s Waldo. You have to search through all the meaningless information in order to find whats really important. At this point, look for stories about the committee appointed by the city and county and the actions they are taking. News from the NBA or NHL is something to pay attention to as well, but I doubt we will see anything concrete on that front until we have a more firm decision on the arena. Beyond that, the fun part about this story to focus on over the week is the excitement in the air. There seems to be more hope and momentum to bring the NBA back to Seattle than any time since the Sonics left. So, although I hope I am not setting you up for disappointment, I say enjoy the ride.

And One National Story: Jeremy Lin

Linsanity! He’s Lincredible! All he does is Lin! Okay, enough. You guys don’t want to hear me rambLin. Seriously though, Jeremy Lin has taken the NBA by storm. The odd thing is that the NBA, the league that relies on star power the most, hardly ever sees surprise stars like this. Baseball makes its living on players who come out of nowhere to play amazing when everyone expects it least. The NFL has plenty of those stories as well, and is the league where Tom Brady was picked 199th overall only to become one of the greatest quarterbacks ever. Those leagues are different. This just doesn’t happen in the NBA. Jeremy Lin was nearly cut by the Knicks just a few weeks ago, and now? He may be having the greatest start to any NBA career ever. LeBron came into the league and hardly took anytime at all to adjust. Blake Griffin was practically the logo for ESPN as a rookie and made the all-star team his rookie year. None of them, nobody actually, has put up the type of numbers Lin has in his first few games as a starter. Now Carmelo is coming back and the pressure for this team is going to heat up quick. It should be fun to watch. If you haven’t seen him yet, take a couple hours Thursday evening to watch him put on a show against Miami. Really, he’s balLin’! Sorry, I said I was done.

Game to Watch: New York at Miami, Thursday, 5:00 PM, TNT

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