Columns & Blogs

Sports hit the fan this week locally and beyond

This is going to be a very busy sports week, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Be careful on planning your time, as there’s too much to do.

Here’s what’s on tap:

Today — The first day high school spring sports teams can hit the playing fields for practices.

Today or Tuesday — Keep an eye or ear out from the Western Hockey League, which should be handing out fines and/or suspensions after the Spokane Chiefs tried roughing up the Americans on Saturday night. It all started in the third period, when Spokane’s Ryan Letts ran over Americans goaltender Chet Pickard. Never saw the play. But judging by Americans broadcaster Craig West’s on-air comments and Tri-City coach Don Nachbaur’s quotes, the Chiefs should get hammered by the league.

Wednesday — The World Baseball Classic begins this week with Ichiro, Kenji Johjima and the Japanese baseball team opening with China. But you’ll have to stay up late to watch it, at 1:30 a.m. on ESPN2. Meanwhile, the USA meets Canada at 11 a.m. Saturday on ESPN. Also Wednesday at 6:05 p.m. on FSN, Team Australia takes on the Mariners in an exhibition.

Finally on Wednesday, three different classifications of boys and girls state basketball tournaments begin four-day runs: 4A in the Tacoma Dome, 1A in the Yakima SunDome, and 2B in the Spokane Arena.

The Pasco girls, with a 25-0 record, open the girls 4A tournament with a 3:30 p.m. tipoff against Mount Tahoma.

Thursday — From Thursday through Sunday, the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges will hold its men’s and women’s basketball tour naments at the Toyota Center in Kennewick. Thiry-two teams — 16 men and 16 women — will do battle. That includes the Columbia Basin College men’s and women’s teams. CBC men’s first game is at 2 p.m. Thursday, while the Hawks women’s team plays at 4 p.m. But the action actually all begins at 8 a.m. Thursday.

Saturday — The University of Washington men’s basketball team can win the Pac-10 Conference outright if it can beat Washington State in the regular-season finale for both schools. Tipoff is at 2:30 p.m. on FSN.

Sunday — The West Coast Conference tournament begins Friday in Las Vegas. The No. 1 seed doesn’t have to play until Sunday in the semifinals. But that game will be televised at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2.