Micah Rice: Sports worlds collide all at once



With apologies to Andy Williams, this is the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” for sports fans. Christmas songs can wait until after Thanksgiving.

Like a rare planetary alignment, baseball, football and basketball were briefly all in season last week. Northwest soccer fans will have a feast when the Timbers and Sounders play two playoff games that will have supporters camping out.

So here’s what’s on my mind as I wait for a flight to New York. I ran the Boston Marathon in April and was supposed to run last year’s cancelled New York marathon. I’m praying for a race where all the talk is about sore muscles, not superstorms or terrorism.


So was the World Series won with beards instead of bucks?

Much was made about how Boston trimmed its payroll, but not its facial hair, en route to going from worst in the A.L. East last year to first. Team chemistry and rallying around the Boston Strong movement have been credited for the turnaround.

True, no Red Sox player is in the league’s top 25 salaries, but it’s not as if Boston was living on baked beans all year. The Red Sox have the fourth-highest payroll in baseball, down from No. 3 last year. In the past five years, 15 of the 20 teams to play for a pennant have been in the top 10 in payroll.

The Oaklands and Tampa Bays of the world make for nice storylines, and there have certainly been colossal high-priced flops — see the 2013 L.A. Angels or the 2012 Dodgers. But the rule in general is you need a top 10 payroll to make the World Series.


And the Seattle Seahawks 2013 MVP is Russell … Okung?

Russell Wilson has made his share of plays, but Seattle’s patchwork offensive line is starting to spring major leaks.

Without their Pro Bowl left tackle, who is out until at least Week 11 with a turf toe, Wilson might not make it through the season unscathed.

The diminutive quarterback has taken the seventh-most hits (50) and sacks (27) of any in the NFL. The Seahawks line, which is also missing right tackle Breno Giacomini, had its worst showing of the year Monday against St. Louis, which sacked Wilson seven times and allowed 44 yards rushing.

Okung’s absence shows why left tackle is the second-highest paid NFL position behind quarterback. A good lineman’s value, unfortunately, is rarely noticed until they’re gone.


The 2013-14 Portland Trail Blazers wore a funny costume Oct. 30. They masqueraded as the 2012-13 Portland Trail Blazers.

At least Blazers fans hope it was a one-time thing.

The Blazers talked all through the preseason about how they were going to be better defensively, especially in the paint.

Then they were lit up by Miles Plumlee (18 points, 15 rebounds).

Granted, it’s one game. Miami certainly isn’t hitting the panic button after losing to Philly, picked by many to be the worst in the NBA. We should get a better gauge of whether Portland is a playoff team after last night’s game against San Antonio.

Micah Rice is The Columbian’s sports editor. Reach him at 360-735-4548, micah.rice@columbian.com or col_mrice.