Columns & Blogs

Tri-Cities loses state volleyball tournaments

KENNEWICK -- It wasn't for a lack of trying by the Tri-Cities Visitors and Convention Bureau, but the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association decided to take away the state 4A, 3A and 2A volleyball tournaments from the Toyota Center.

The TCVCB presented its proposal last fall to keep the event here. But the WIAA decided to move the three tournaments to the Lacey-Olympia area starting in November.

The 4A and 3A tournaments will be played at St. Martin's University in Lacey in two days, Nov. 11-12.

The 2A tournament will be at Evergreen State College in Olympia on Nov. 11-12.

Doesn't make much sense to me. The Toyota Center area has plenty of nearby hotels and eateries -- everything teams need in a close location.

But the WIAA says it's saving money on facilities rentals. Plus the west side of the state wins again. More schools over there with people lobbying to get the event closer to their homes.

Super Bowl trivia

Since it's Super Bowl week, here's a couple of trivia questions: What player or players hold the record for most Super Bowl appearances? And which player has the most Super Bowl rings?

NFL labor

I understand the NFL's owners wanting more of the financial pie with these labor negotiations. I also understand the players not wanting to risk even more injury with the owners' desire of expanding the regular season from 16 games to 18 games.

What I'll never understand, as a former season ticketholder with the Seahawks, is why I ever had to pay full price for the two exhibition games as part of my ticket package. I never cared to pay full price to watch players who won't make the team.

Early warning

Herald hockey writer Annie Fowler will be coming out with our annual Best of the West poll on Feb. 13. Fowler has players from every Western Conference team to vote in this poll. ... The Herald's annual Motorsports Calendar will come out the day of the Daytona 500, Feb. 20. ... The annual Media Classic, two high school all-star basketball games pitting the best boys and girls from the Tri-City Herald's readership against the best from the Yakima Herald-Republic's readership, will take place March 12 at Pasco High School. We'll be announcing the Tri-City teams over the next month. ... The Herald's annual golf calendar is scheduled to run March 19.

Potential problems

The Washington State Horse Racing Commission's next meeting is set for Feb. 10, at which time it will approve racing dates for all Class C tracks in the state. That includes Sun Downs in Kennewick and tracks in Dayton, Waitsburg and Walla Walla.

The Tri-City Horse Racing Association, which runs the meet at Sun Downs every spring, has asked for 10 dates for April and May. The key component here is the commission has warned the Class C tracks that there may not be much if any money this year to send their way.

The commission usually gets a portion of revenues from Emerald Downs in Auburn, and in turn trickles it down to the smaller tracks. That money is important for the smaller tracks to run. Stay tuned.

London 2012

I know the next Olympics are still a ways off, but humor me for a minute.

Richland's Cody Roberts and Othello's Natilee Ruiz have both earned berths to the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials this summer.

That got me thinking about this area's potential for London.

Let's say both Roberts and Ruiz make the team. Then there's Richland product Hope Solo with the women's soccer team. Don't forget about Richland's Jacob Turner, who is a member of the USA shooting team. I believe Kennewick's Amanda Purvis is still with the USA Archery program.

Then there's the Paralympics. Benton City's Chelsea McClammer is a member of the United States' IPC track team that competed in the last Paralympics in Beijing. Don't forget about former Wa-Hi standout David Wagner, who just won the Quad singles title last week at the Australian Open tennis tournament. Wagner is ranked No. 1 in the world in quads tennis.

It's going to be a great Olympics to follow if these great athletes get to represent our country.

Bonderman still unsigned

Pitchers and catchers report in less than two weeks for spring training, and Pasco's Jeremy Bonderman still doesn't have a team to play for yet.

When the Detroit Tigers signed Brad Penny a few weeks ago, that meant the Tigers weren't looking to re-sign Bonderman.

But now the Tigers are saying they'd be willing to bring him back. The catch is he'd have to drop his request for a major-league contract and would have to sign a minor-league deal.

Tennis fans note

Want to watch some good college women's tennis? Head over to the Columbia Basin Racquet Club this weekend as Portland, Eastern Washington and Idaho meet there.

Portland meets Eastern at 7:30 p.m. Friday. At 2 p.m. Saturday, Portland takes on Idaho.

As an added bonus, Kamiakin grad Caitlin Bampton plays for EWU, and Kennewick grad Natalie Kirch and Hanford grad Molly Knox are with Idaho.

Super Bowl answers

Wide receiver Don Beebe and defensive lineman Mike Lodish each have played in six Super Bowls. Beebe and Lodish each appeared in four of them with the Buffalo Bills. Lodish had two more with Denver, while Beebe had two more with Green Bay.

As for most Super Bowl rings, defensive lineman Charles Haley won two with the 49ers and three more with the Cowboys.