Sporty's, Little League and the state of the orange

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Rodney Harwood

Ever since DirecTV bumped my bill up with yet another explained reason, I've dissed the dish and taken up residence in front of the big screen at Sporty's Steakhouse.

Well, not really the big screen. I know my place.

Moses Lake 12s are loud and proud like CenturyLink Central and I've lived in Seahawks Country long enough to understand the pecking order. Where most sports bars have the NFL Ticket and have every game playing on one TV or another. Here they have the Hawks on every television in the joint.

So I worked out a deal, there in the far end of the room, next to the kitchen, with my back to the wall, viewing the smallest TV in the place, I watch the Denver Broncos. Depending on the time of day, my set is the only one in the house that doesn't have the Seahawks playing. I suppose it'd be like sitting in a sports bar in downtown Seattle, Huskies or Bust.

But I have to give the staff credit. They see me coming and like a scene out of “Cheers,” they flip the switch, take my order and keep the food and drink flowing for the Denver guy.

Sunday was a particularly bad day for Colorado sports fans. The Broncos, not that far away from a Super Bowl win, ran into a buzzsaw in New York, losing to a team the not-so-lowly Browns beat earlier in the season.

As I sat in my corner, watching with disgust as the Seahawks were jumping up and down as their game with the Rams unfolded, I kept a steady stream of texts going back to Colorado to a couple of guys I knew were seeing the same thing I was.

The times they are a changin' man.

Dave Klene, Mike Weiland and I used to play Little League football together some 50 years ago. Yep, three guys that grew up before internet, before cable, before cell phones, let alone Smartphones and selfies, and we're banging out texts from all around the country.

“Vance Joseph has to go.”

“Ya got that right.”

“Who would we get?”

“Who cares?”

The State of the Orange is in disarray right now and texting back and forth to the guys reminded me of time when we were still playing Little League. We couldn't have been more that nine or 10, but our coach hired (invited) Denver Broncos tight end Tom Beer to come talk to us at our season-ending banquet.

This was before the multi-millionaires, megatron screens, back when the players were regular guys playing for regular money. But to a bunch of little kids, Dave, Mike and myself, he was larger than life. He was a Bronco.

Beer later co-wrote (with George Kimball) the 1974 memoir Sunday's Fools: Stomped, Tromped, Kicked and Chewed in the NFL, his experience of playing for two of the worst franchises in pro football during his career.

Oh, that other team Beer played for? The New England Patriots.

Now that I've given myself a good pep talk, maybe it won't be that bad next week when the Broncos play the Los Angeles Rams.

Rodney Harwood is a sports writer for the Columbia Basin Herald and can be reached at

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