A Grip on Sports: It was a productive Friday night for the Mariners and their new superstar


SPORTS MASTERY • Good things happen to athletes everywhere. Including their checkbooks.


• The Mariners bet on Julio Rodriguez yesterday. Julio Rodriguez is also betting on himself. Both things can be true.

In the midst of their 3-2, 11-inning playoff win over Cleveland last night, the M’s formalized what had been reported all day. The organization and their prized recruit had reached an agreement on a new contract that could be the richest ever.

Yet, as your mother used to say, the devil is in the details. It’s actually a pretty safe deal for Seattle, considering there’s a club option in a few years. And it’s also a sure deal for Rodriguez, which, if it hits benchmarks everywhere, could fetch nearly half a billion dollars. He has also guaranteed over $200 million.

If Seattle doesn’t like the deal, they can pay the guaranteed money and let Rodriguez move on. If Julio thinks he can do better, he can test the waters while still relatively young.

The bottom line? Rodriguez is playing in Seattle in the 2028 season. Only then do decisions have to be made.

Meanwhile, the deal provides the Mariners with enough financial flexibility during this time to continue to rely on its youthful core. If the stars align to the right, you could see Seattle having the same kind of success that, say, Houston had as its youth group got older. It is a very good example to follow. And it all starts with a smiling center player with seemingly limitless talent.

• If you wonder why the Zags play Baylor away from Sioux Falls, SD, wonder no more. We can explain at least part of it.

The organizers will pay the players. Not to play. Not precisely. But to sell the game.

Complete Sports Management and Range Sports, which are organizing the non-conference showdown, are willing to shell out money to any player who appears in advertisements for the broadcast.

We’re sure Drew Timme would draw a bigger check than, say, Hunter Sallis, but that doesn’t matter to us. This is not a unique case. This is the start of a trend.

“We are working to find a media partner who believes in providing this generation of student-athletes with more opportunities and aligning with iconic basketball brands Baylor and Gonzaga,” said the President of Range Sports, Will Funk, to The Associated Press, using marketing language to perfection. “Engaging players to help activate game broadcast sponsors is the future of college athletics.”

The game does not yet have a streaming partner. It will be. And you’ll see ads from Timme or Sallis or Anton Watson selling it.


WSU: Around the Pac-12 and college football, Jon Wilner sees Utah win the conference championship game but don’t make the playoffs. … Recruitment never ends, does it? … Washington has a new position. … Oregon State won’t decide on your starting quarterback until after the weekend. … Oregon should be fine in the secondary. … The first trip to Rock can be quite impressive. … The Rose Bowl loss at least gave Utah preview how versatile a player is. … UCLA could have a memorable season or, less likely, horrible. … A USC player wants to be an actor. … It’s a great season for Arizona and second-year coach Jedd Fisch. The wild cats will rely on the few veterans they have. … In basketball news, Oregon ended his trip to Canada with another victory.

Gonzaga: Besides the NIL story we linked above, we also thought today would be a good day to link this story. This explains what a Lisfranc injury actually is. At the end of the line ? It’s not good.

EU: The Eagles held their second (and final) scrimmage before next weekend’s opener, but the starters hardly played at all on Friday. The big news? Aaron Best has made the starting quarterback official. It’s Gunner Talkington. Dan Thompson was at Cheney and has this new and more. … Colin Mulvany was also there and has this photo gallery. …Around the Great Sky, Weber’s state expects more from his running backs. …Although their mother is no longer there to push them, brothers to Montana always heed his advice.

Indians: The night started badly in Everett. And, unlike Thursday, it stayed that way. Spokane lost 6-4 and lost a game in playoff standings. Dave Nichols has the history of the game.

Golf: Jim Meehan headed south to Circling Raven to cover the Epson Tour leg and watched a whole bunch of golfers shoot low scores on a course that, frankly, assaults our softness. If you ever want an illustration of how much better professional golfers are than the rest of us, read Jim’s story.

Sailors: Besides the essential July News (crucial for the future), the 3-2 match went in the direction of the Ms (crucial for the present) thanks to Mitch Haniger. His single late in the 11th scored Dylan Moore from second. … It’s the weekend the honor of M Ichiro as well. The stars of the franchise traveled to Seattle to help celebrate.

Seahawks: The quarter battle is officially over. In fact, it never really started. Geno Smith has always been Pete Carroll’s Choice to be “the guy who replaced Russell Wilson in Seattle” as the quizzes will now call him. Drew Lock showed why he lost in the Hawks’ 27-26 loss to Dallas. He throw too many bad balls. Some great, sure, but too many awful ones. … The pre-season is over. Now comes Denver in the first game in two weeks. Abe Lucas should start at right tackle.

Sirens: We are rarely right. But we believe we’re on it. Seattle has too many holes, some self-inflicted — a lack of urgency during the summer transfer window — and some caused by injuries, to make the playoffs. Their 2-1 defeat in Portlandwhich included a non-existent penalty that turned momentum, seals the deal for us.


• It’s so anti-Mariner. The Julio contract, we mean. That actually sounds smart. And it’s good for both. Then again, if he becomes the next big thing, in about nine years, he’ll be gone. Excuse us. We were laughing. As if we’d care in nine years. Until later …


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