Jumbotron Grand Theft Auto?
A $250 million renovation to Husky Stadium will be unveiled August 31st and it's hard to imagine what won't be included. It seems designers have thought of everything — closer seating for fans, drastically improved training and rehabilitation facilities for players and lavish offices for coaching and support staff. The building boasts 700 digital displays, the entire venue is now cashless and the jumbotron is 108 feet wide. You will never miss a minute of the game, no matter where you are. But, the designers also added another unique feature — Xbox capability for the jumbotron. GeekWire reports that "when players are done with practice, they can plop down on a patio across the field and battle each other" on the massive screen. Just imagine playing Grand Theft Auto on that baby.
Ichiro does 4,000
Former Mariners star Ichiro Suzuki had sports radio in Seattle talking this morning with his 4,000th hit as a pro baseball player. On KIRO 710 ESPN, midday hosts Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby dug out some neat stats about how rare that is: Fewer than a dozen players have ever reached 4,000 hits in the U.S. — even counting their minor league playing time. And Ichiro's not leaning on his time in Japan either. More than half of his overall hits came as a Mariner. Even subtracting all his playing time in Japan, he's fewer than 280 hits from the 3,000 mark for hits as a Major League player — the statistical gold standard for the best batters of all time.
ESPN sportswriter Jim Caple, a former Seattleite and true baseball expert, calls the 4,000 hits "a staggering achievement." In Japan, the national public radio network NHK devoted the first three and a half minutes of its noon broadcast Thursday to Ichiro's accomplishment. To get a similar takeover for sports on NPR in this country, Hank Aaron probably would have to take off his suit jacket, loosen his tie and swat just enough additional homers to reclaim the all-time lead from the steroid-tainted hands of Bobby Bonds.
School lockdown: There's an app for that
The Rainier School District in Thurston County has become the test site for a new computer app designed to provide an instant school lockdown and immediate notification of emergency dispatchers if someone shows up with a gun at school. As the Nisqually Valley News reports, as soon as a teacher or staff member activated the app, it would remotely close and bar doors, make a lockdown announcement over the school intercom and provide an immediate live video feed from school security cams to the dispatchers so they could provide information to responding police. Writer Michael Wagar does a nice job of tracing the development of the app to district Superintendent Tim Garchow's work on school issues statewide, the passage of a new state law on school safety and a conversation with a software developer.
Bales' teary apology
Confessed mass murderer Sgt. Robert Bales today weepingly apologized for the killing of 16 civilians in Afghanistan. Bales expressed his sorrow to survivors, his family and the Army, saying, "I don’t have the words to tell them how much I wish I could take it back." The News Tribune's report notes that the defense team decided against calling any mental health experts despite having told reporters for nearly a year and a half that post-traumatic stress and brain injuries suffered during earlier combat tours in Iraq had led to the killings. Bales will receive a life sentence but will have have a possibility of eventual parole unless five or more of the six military jurors rule that he should never have a chance at release.
Violent days in Spokane
An 89-year-old World War II veteran, Delbert Belton, has died after being beaten by two men, thought to be teenagers, in the parking lot after he left an Eagles lodge in Spokane on Wednesday night. In a separate Spokane incident this morning, police shot and killed the driver of a pickup truck who, they said, had been involved in another traffic incident before ramming police vehicles and allegedly attempting to strike officers with the truck.
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