Column as I see ’em …
Before their season opener Thursday, the Tacoma Rainiers honored the late Greg Halman with a video tribute that dwelled on the outfielder’s willingness to participate in Rainiers community service events.
The snapshots of Halman visiting children’s hospitals – wearing the same sweet smile he always brought to the ballpark – were both uplifting and heartbreaking.
The Rainiers are wearing a patch on their sleeves of Halman’s No. 26, an appropriate gesture. But given Halman’s impact on Rainiers fans of all ages, I think he merits serious consideration for a Cheney Stadium wall plaque as a member of the Tacoma Baseball Hall of Fame.
Aside from the good will he conveyed off the field, Halman was an impact player on it. He produced 33 home runs for the Rainiers in 2010 – the third-highest single-season total in the history of the franchise – and continued to rake in the Pacific Coast League championship series, collecting seven hits during the Rainiers’ three-game sweep of Memphis.
Tacoma in 2010 won its first undisputed PCL title in 41 years, and Greg Halman was a big reason why.
A Cheney Stadium plaque highlighting the achievements of Halman’s too-short life would be fitting.
• If you’re wondering how the Seattle-Tacoma market would embrace an NHL team that’d share a new arena with an NBA team, check out the playoffs. Playoff hockey is as riveting as it gets.
• Ozzie Guillen’s shoot-from-the-lips candor ultimately wearied his bosses in the Chicago White Sox front office.
Since covering him from his days as a shortstop with the 1990 White Sox, I’ve always enjoyed Guillen’s ability to fill a notebook with quotes that required lots of editing.
But then, I was merely among the messengers. I didn’t recoil and wince when his observations were published in the morning newspaper.
Guillen might yet lose his job with the Miami Marlins, whose ownership is in crisis-management mode containing the flap over the skipper’s perceived admiration of Fidel Castro, public enemy No. 1 of south Florida’s large Cuban population.
I hope he survives the controversy – baseball needs characters, and Ozzie is nothing if not a character – but yikes, he’s got to learn to push the mute button once in a while.
Obvious question: How did Guillen, during an interview with Time Magazine, drift off into a sidebar tangent about a dictator who has spent his life violating human rights?
Obvious answer: Ozzie Guillen was talking.
• NFL draftniks are busy projecting targets for the Seahawks, who will select at No. 12. The consensus is Seattle will try to upgrade a pass rush that best could be described as passive. Candidates include South Carolina defensive end/linebacker Melvin Ingram, North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples, USC defensive end Nick Perry, Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, and Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly.
The lone offensive prospect associated with the Seahawks? Stanford guard (and former Bellevue High standout) David DeCastro.
I heard Hawks general manager John Schneider on the radio the other day, and he made no secret of the respect he holds for DeCastro.
What a difference a De makes.
• Is it my imagination, or does Texas Rangers president Nolan Ryan look like he’s ready to explode every time he appears on the TV screen? Maybe it’s the suit-and-tie wardrobe: Uh, Nolan? Mr. Ryan? You’re in Texas, dude. Loosen up a little on that collar.
The team you’ve got is loaded with talent capable of winning today, and loaded with talent capable of winning for years to come. Enjoy the ride.
• Of course, after Mariners majority owner Hiroshi Yamauchi avoided his team in Japan, I will acknowledge the possibility that I am jealous: A businessman who’s made a substantial investment in keeping a Major League Baseball franchise afloat not only shows up at baseball games, on a daily basis, but sits in a prominent seat over the dugout.
• All the best to former Huskies offensive guard Colin Porter, whose arthritically damaged shoulders have ended a football career that was only getting started.
But Porter possesses a future that will be enhanced by a college degree, and the pursuit of that degree will come at no cost as he remains on scholarship. The policy of keeping injured football players on scholarship – even after they’re no longer capable of competing – is right and just and also sound: Parents of high school recruits are concerned about their children sustaining career-ending injuries.
Knowing the scholarship is binding, through sickness and health, is a terrific inducement to committing to a school.
• Another Huskies guard who participates in a different sport, Tony Wroten, recently declared for the NBA draft after a bittersweet freshman season that showcased his wondrous athleticism while exposing his flaws.
The flaws are fixable – nothing that can’t be solved by practicing 1,500 jump shots a day, along with 1,500 free throws – but Wroten’s contention that he could be selected anywhere from No. 5 to No. 25 has me wondering.
If the general manager of an NBA team takes Wroten at No. 5, he’ll have, as Ricky Ricardo used to warn wife Lucy after some madcap antic, some ’splainin’ to do.
• Golf is graced when its major-tournament champions are recognized by the first name of “Bubba.”
Gerry Lester Watson would’ve been a fan favorite at Augusta National had he entered the Masters as G.L. Watson – the left-hander played for the University of Georgia – but the “Bubba” adds to his mystique.
Watson acquired the nickname from the late, immortal Charles Aaron Smith, the College Football Hall of Fame player the world knew as Bubba.
• I’ve heard critics disparage them as too Oregon Ducky, but I like the look of the Seahawks’ new uniforms. They’ve got some flair, some verve, some out-of-the-box personality.
But what do I know? My favorite shirt was purchased for $1.99 at a thrift shop. The name “Vern” is stitched on the lapel, so I’m Vern for a day. I kind of like the thought of cheating on myself.
Between us? I’d rather be Bubba.