More

Seattle Mariners first place in AL West thanks To Felix Hernandez’s best start – is The King back?

usatsi_10872027.jpg
USA Today

Seattle Mariners first place in AL West thanks To Felix Hernandez’s best start – is The King back?

By 

I’m writing this as Félix Hernández takes the mound for his 13th start of the season; a season that, for Félix, has been clouded by more than just Seattle overcast.

Félix will always be the King, but there is no denying that, other than in the season opener, he’s taken a backseat to the rest of the Mariners starting rotation. Mike Leake, the back-end starter for the M’s, has a 4.71 ERA on the season and his FIP of 4.41 shows that he, unfortunately, has been pretty consistent in earning himself some runs. After a season of hurtful starts and terrible first-inning woes, Hernández’s ERA of 5.83 is more than a full point higher than Leake’s. That stellar game at the beginning of the season is now a whole two months gone, almost seeming like a fluke in the distance.

The Opening Night game against the Cleveland Indians is worth noting in retrospect. Interestingly enough, the first pitch Hernández threw was a poorly located 89 mph fastball that was almost at Francisco Lindor’s ankles when it crossed the plate. His second pitch was a sinker that ended up being faster than his previous pitch when it was clocked at 90 mph. It was that sinker, his one of his three secondary pitches, that might have caused him to crumble through the season.

Hernández has always been a crafty pitcher, but when your fastball goes from an average 98 mph to 90 mph ten years later, it’s time to up the deception, which he has tried. His second pitch in the season opener, the sinker previously mentioned, was popped up for an out. The next batter he faced, Jason Kipnis, also when down on two sinkers, grounding out on the second pitch. He started off the next plate appearance with a sinker and seven pitches later, forced José Ramírez to ground out on a sinker just as the batter before him. After a tumultuous 2017 season, Félix had to come into 2018 with something to rely on, something to help him regain his confidence. He must have found that confidence in his sinker, a pitch he’s always favorited and used almost exclusively since 2014.

Félix went on to pitch 5.1 innings in that game, allowing only two hits and striking out four batters. Since then, he threw the sinker more than any other pitch this year, making use of it a whole 34.4% of the time throughout the month of April.

But his newfound faith in the pitch would soon be sullied as Hernández began to throw it extensively. So far, 20 hits have come by way of his sinker, three of which were home runs, and he’s only gotten seven swinging strikes off of the pitch. And so began the continuing troubles of Félix Hernández. Throughout the season, Hernández has gone 5-4 in 12 starts, allowing 65 hits in 66.1 innings pitched, with 17% of those hits ending up outside of the park.

But the best pitchers, the best athletes, adapt. They take in their struggles, work with them, learn from them, and change their approach. Félix, the King, is one of those pitchers. After a gruesome April of earned runs and varying pitch selections, Félix has begun to adapt. In May, he began to use the sinker less and relied more on his curveball and changeup, two pitches far superior than his sinker.

For the first time since 2014, Félix has started using off-speed pitches more than his sinker, and making more use of the curve. He’s been able to deceive more batters with those pitches as 22 swinging strikes have come off of Hernández’s curveball and 21 off of his changeup. He’s now only used the sinker about 24% of the time in May and has increased his use of the curve and changeup by 6%. This change in pitching approach, the need to adapt is what will allow Félix to develop into his next stage as a major league star.

Hernández’s changeup has allowed only 13 hits, compared to the 20 from the sinker, and mostly due to poor location. Batters best capitalize of off Hernández’s off-speed pitch when he’s throwing it in the middle of the zone or off to the right side of the plate. His curveball has come in for 15 hits, most of which were located all over the lower part strikezone, save for one he hung to Mike Moustakas on April 10th, which ended up in the stands for a home run; it happens to the best of pitchers.

What is important to note here is that despite all of the trials Félix has had on the mound this season, he seems to have reflected on his woes and adapted accordingly. His secondary pitches have allowed him to make up for a fastball that just doesn’t have the life and speed it used to, and make up for a sinker that just wasn’t working the way he thought it was. He is adjusting, albeit slowly, and improving throughout the season.

In his most recent outing against the Tampa Bay Rays, Félix opened the game with a changeup, then two curveballs to Mallex Smith, three changeups in the zone for C.J. Cron, and a sinker-changeup-curveball-changeup combination to strikeout Joey Wendle. It was a 1-2-3 inning for the King. He didn’t throw a single fastball until facing his 6th batter and his sinker would make the occasional appearance amidst the myriad of breaking and off-speed pitches.

In that start against the Rays, Félix pitched eight complete innings, the first time this season that he’s gone past six. He struck out seven while only issuing one walk. He allowed five hits, but halted the Rays to only one run.

You can’t say the King is back after one outing, but it is a boost of confidence for the long-time ace, and a necessary one at that. While he may not be the pitcher he once was, his reign seems to be far from over.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and singer/songwriter Ciara have signed on as owners/investors in Portland Diamond Project

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and singer/songwriter Ciara have signed on as owners/investors in Portland Diamond Project

The following is a press release from the Portland Diamond Project:

Portland, OR – June 1, 2018 – Local management group Portland Diamond Project (PDP) today announced Super Bowl Champ Russell Wilson and Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Ciara have signed on as owner/investors in PDP’s campaign to bring a Major League Baseball team to Portland, according to PDP managing director and spokesman Mike Barrett.

“We believe Portland is the next great Major League Baseball city, and that’s why Ciara and I are excited to announce we are a part of the Portland Diamond Project,” Russell Wilson said. “It is time for MLB in Portland.”

“Athletics has always been important to me. As a young girl growing up in Atlanta, I was a tomboy who ran track and worked the hot dog stand at Turner Field,” said Ciara. “I am excited about the opportunity to bring the comradery of the game to the city of Portland. I want to see this vision come to life and empower more women owners in major sports franchises.”

The Seattle Seahawks star quarterback, who led the team to a Super Bowl victory in his second season, and the platinum recording artist, who has been dominating the stage nearly 15 years, look forward to having a significant role in Portland’s MLB team. Owning a professional sports franchise has long been one of Wilson’s dreams. He is also a partner in an initiative to bring an NBA franchise back to Seattle.

“Having Russell and Ciara sign on as owners and investors in PDP is game-changing, and has elevated our campaign significantly,” PDP founder and president Craig Cheek said. “I got to know Russell and Ciara when we signed Russell to his Nike endorsement deal. I saw firsthand their passion, pursuit of excellence and impact they bring to every endeavor. We know they will bring that same energy, sense of legacy and entrepreneurialism to the Portland Diamond Project.”

Wilson led the Seattle Seahawks to their first world championship in Super Bowl XLVIII. He was a multi-sport star in high school and played baseball and football at North Carolina State. Wilson was drafted out of high school by the Baltimore Orioles in 2007, and then drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2010. Despite an outstanding college football career at NC State and Wisconsin, the 5'11" quarterback was considered too small by many NFL teams. Nevertheless, Wilson quickly became an elite pro quarterback, and led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl victory in just his second season.

Ciara is a Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter, producer, model and actress. Over her thirteen-year career, she has sold over 23 million records and 16 million singles worldwide, including chart-topping hits “Goodies,” “Ride,” “Oh,” “1, 2 Step,” “Body Party,” and “I Bet.” Known for her incredible visuals and stellar dance abilities, Ciara’s videos have been viewed over 1.4 billion times accurately earning her the moniker of “Queen of Dance.”

UFC 225 – A great card with a weird lineup

ufc-1078x516.jpg
UFC 225

UFC 225 – A great card with a weird lineup

BY DAVID GOLDEN

UFC 225 is fast approaching and fight fans are ready for a card that is absolutely loaded with talent. This card features fifteen fighters who are either ranked in the top-fifteen of their respective divisions or hold the title. Thanks to that remarkable group, it makes it a challenge to put the card together without more than a couple fighters feeling they are getting short changed. That being said, there are a number of curious choices with how this card was built and it seems fans and fighters alike are voicing their frustrations. Some argue this card is perfectly balanced from top to bottom, others think only proven talent should get a shot on the main card. No matter how you slice it, someone is going to have to grab that last tiny, misshapen slot from the pizza box that is this lineup. Let’s take a peak at a few of the issues and see if we can make heads or tails of it.

CM Punk

We first have to turn our attention the to straightedge elephant in the room, Phil “CM Punk” Brooks. Don’t try and kid yourself, Punk being on the main card is a joke. Even he has gone on record as saying he thinks it’s nuts and he would rather be on UFC Fight Pass. Obviously as a professional fighter with a record of 0-1, he has not earned his way onto the main card but Punk did not make his to the UFC the same way as other fighters either. He cut his teeth in the wrestling ring. Love it or hate it, he came to the UFC a hotter commodity than almost any MMA prospect and wasting the value of his name would be absurd. Couple that with the fact that this fight is in his hometown and it seems a no brainer that UFC officials tossed him out as the curtain jerk for this pay-per-view. Has he earned this slot? No. Will the UFC make more with him on than pay-per-view portion of the card? Probably. The whole thing is a little nuts but CM Punk is an investment in fans not an investment in the future of a 39 year old that spent over a decade getting slammed on a mat night after night.

Joseph Benavidez vs Sergio Pettis

Benavidez versus Pettis is a fight that is getting little to no love on this card. This may be because each of these fighters have shown a lack of finishing ability in their more recent fights. However, when you talk about championship contenders, Joseph Benavidez is a person who has only ever lost to two fighters: Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and Dominick Cruz. Having two losses to Johnson hurts Benavidez but prior to an injury that has kept him sidelined since 2016, he had won six fights in a row with four of those against former title challengers. Having Benavidez buried on the Fight Pass portion of this card seems odd at best. His opponent, Pettis, is a fighter that many felt would eventually be able to earn a shot against Might Mouse. Pettis never truly lived up to the hype, but he did manage to win seven out of ten UFC fights and was even on a four-fight win streak before losing a decision to perennial title challenger, Henry Cejudo. Pettis may not have caught the world on fire, but when two of the top five flyweights are competing in the Octagon, it should make the main card of a pay-per-view.

Colby Covington

Colby Covington is a polarizing figure and there is no denying he is on the rise in the welterweight division. He has won five fights in a row and in his last outing, secured the biggest win of his career when he bested Demian Maia. However, with three straight decisions, two of which came against fighters in the twilight of their careers, some would argue that Covington should not be in the co-main event of this card.   His talent has taken him up the rankings, but his mouth seems to have done some of the work as well. That is the difference between a fighter like Sergio Pettis and a one like Covington. While many disagree with his antics, his trash talk on social media has clearly made him standout from a sea of UFC fighters. Covington may have taken some inspiration from fellow Oregonian Chael Sonnen, but his twisted version of the call out has him looking more like Bizarro Sonnen than the American Gangster. Covington is a shoe in for a future title shot but he could us a little more seasoning. Additionally, there are some heavyweights in Alistair Overeem and Curtis Blaydes that fight fans would love to see in the co-main event.

This card could be built any number of ways. Is it wrong the way it is now? Could it be better setup? Just who should be on Fight Pass? The answers to these questions could take weeks to decide and likely did, behind closed doors with the UFC brass hoping they made the right choices. This is a fun card no matter how you slice it and there will never be a piece left in the pizza box, even if it is tiny and misshapen.

Actual Card***
MAIN CARD
Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington
Holly Holm vs. Megan Anderson
Andrei Arlovski vs. Tai Tuivasa
CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson
FS1 PRELIMS
Alistair Overeem vs. Curtis Blaydes
Claudia Gadelha vs. Carla Esparza
Ricardo Lamas vs. Mirsad Bektic
Rashad Coulter vs. Chris de la Rocha
FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Rashad Evans vs. Anthony Smith
Joseph Benavidez vs. Sergio Pettis
Clay Guida vs. Charles Oliveira
Mike Santiago vs. Dan Ige

 

My Card***
MAIN CARD
Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero
Alistair Overeem vs. Curtis Blaydes
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington
Joseph Benavidez vs. Sergio Pettis
CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson
FS1 PRELIMS
Holly Holm vs. Megan Anderson
Claudia Gadelha vs. Carla Esparza
Ricardo Lamas vs. Mirsad Bektic
Clay Guida vs. Charles Oliveira
FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Rashad Evans vs. Anthony Smith
Andrei Arlovski vs. Tai Tuivasa
Rashad Coulter vs. Chris de la Rocha
Mike Santiago vs. Dan Ige

Seattle Mariners – A week of mettle tests

usatsi_10845218.jpg
USA Today

Seattle Mariners – A week of mettle tests

By 

This past week felt longer than it had to for the Seattle Mariners.

The team hadn’t had a day off since May 7th, unless you count the delayed and later postponed game on the 11thin Detroit, which might have boded more tiresome than actually playing a full nine innings. This delay set off a chain reaction of feet-dragging events.

After the postponed game, the Mariners split a double-header against the Tigers the following day and ended up losing the series on the next day. The day that followed saw them travel up to Minnesota in an effort to make up for a game that was rained out on the 8th of April. The Mariners beat the Twins on that day after yet another rain delay and flew back home, arriving in Seattle in the darkest hours of the night. They managed to go 2-2 within three days and had a whole week of games to go until they were to see another off day.

But Tuesday morning brought even darker skies to Seattle, as a metaphorical storm was brewing for the Mariners front office. On Tuesday, May 15th, Robinson Canó was suspended for testing positive for Furosemide, a known PED masking agent. He is suspended for 80 games without pay and if the Mariners are to make the playoffs this season, Canó would be ineligible to play.

It was a cataclysmic Tuesday morning. Sports media outlets were burning every lead they could to find out every bit of information about the suspension and PED usage. Twitter was divided into three factions; Objective reporters, Canó supporters, and Canó accusers. The Mariners players had just come off a bad weather weekend and woke up to a torrential downpour of tweets and blurbs about their star teammate. But metaphorical rains do not delay games. The show had to go on as the Mariners were set to face the Texas Rangers and the Detroit Tigers the rest of the week.

The Mariners scrambled. They called up Gordon Beckham from Tacoma. They began transitioning Dee Gordon back to second base. They called up Christian Bergman for a start and optioned him back to Tacoma to call up Ryan Cook, the 30-year-old right-handed reliever who had not been on a big-league mound in two years. In the process, the Mariners designated Erik Goeddel for assignment. It was all hands on deck for the Mariners, trying to cover the gaping hole at second base and make the most of what they have.

And thanks to the Robinson Canó foofaraw, the Mariners were given the opportunity to prove that they are the prime example of what a team should be; a true sum of parts working together to win games. A team made up of various players, not just one mega-star.

Out of the six games the Mariners have had without Canó, they’ve won four. These wins included complete games by pitchers, walk-offs, and come-from-behind wins with lineups that not only were Canó-deficient, but sans Nelson Cruz as well, since he was hit by a pitch on Tuesday and had to take a couple of rest days.

This 2018 Mariners team is a team that, even if they are down and out, they find ways to make things work. In wake of the Canó news, they team banded together like brothers, and the fanbase followed suit. Off the field, they have chemistry and on the field, they have grit. Criticize what you will about intangibles, but the Mariners are every bit as talented as any team in the American League. Pitching may still be an issue, but with Canó’s suspension allowing an empty spot on the roster, the Mariners have an opportunity to keep their success moving despite the setbacks.

And that’s the thing about this team. They’ve managed to end this long and terrible week on a high note despite all the setbacks that came their way. Like Safeco Field, the Mariners too have a roof to shield them on the days were the downpour is just too much to handle, and that roof is their comradery as teammates and talent as players.  If they can keep it up, they can be ten games above .500 by Wednesday night and potentially in first place if the Astros drop their next two games. If they can ride this wave of success against all odds, their June schedule might not seem as daunting, as they are set to face the Red Sox and the Yankees, powerhouses of the east.

The Mariners are a bounce-back team this year. It’s time they bounce back from years and years of misery.

The Seattle Mariners will get better 'Dee' at second base

usatsi_10825941.jpg
USA Today Images

The Seattle Mariners will get better 'Dee' at second base

BY BRIAN HIGHT

In the immediate wake of Robinson Cano’s suspension for violating MLB’s drug policy, the front office of the Seattle Mariners stated that former Gold Glove Award winner Dee Gordon, who was obtained in the offseason via trade with the Miami Marlins and subsequently converted to a centerfielder, would remain in the outfield during Cano’s absence. The rationale was that the long-term plans for Gordon were for him to play CF and any interruption might hinder his development at his new position. But, after a few days of reflecting on the prospect of inserting light hitting Gordon Beckham into the lineup for 80 games, the GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais changed their minds. Gordon has been taking grounders in pre-game and will likely return to second this weekend in the home series against the Detroit Tigers.

An Improvement on Defense

Seattleites, just like the home fan base of every team in the major leagues, suffer through the incessant over-hyping of the prowess of their team’s players abilities from the local broadcasting crew. And despite the insistence of the ROOT Sports team, Robinson Cano has been about league average at 2B for most of his tenure with the Mariners. In his four-plus seasons with on the infield at Safeco and on the road as a Mariner, Cano has recorded DRS (defensive runs saved) of 0, -9 (minus isn’t good), 11 (worth about a win – good), 0, and 2 so far this season, for a total of about 4 DRS. He is solid, steady, and reliable. He is not, by any means, a gold glove 2B at this stage of his career.

The other sabermetric measure of defense reported by Fangraphs, UZR (ultimate zone rating) and its extrapolated companion UZR/150 (for a look at 150 games or roughly a full season – useful in smaller sample sizes), is even less kind to Cano. In 2016, the year DRS rated Cano at 11, UZR placed him at 3.9. The positive trend is the same, but the overall impact of maybe less than half a win versus a full win can be important, as Mariners fans who have seen their team fall a single victory short of the playoffs in recent memory. To be fair, the UZR of -1.7 in 2015 does look better than the DRS -9 of the same year.

By contrast, Dee Gordon, once the Los Angeles Dodgers moved him off of SS, has been pretty darned good at 2B. in 4,462.2 innings at 2B, Gordon has 13 DRS and 14.9 UZR. Cano’s overall cumulative DRS and UZR are greater than Gordon’s (30 and 24.5 respectively), but he has played 17,372 innings at the position, nearly four times as much.

In the outfield this season, Gordon has been less than spectacular. While metrics like DRS and UZR are admittedly not intended for small sample sizes like the fourth of a season that’s been played so far, Gordon currently has -9 DRS in just 341.0 innings and a corresponding UZR of -1.7. By improving the glove in both CF, with say Guillermo Heredia, and by the move of Gordon to 2B in Cano’s absence, the loss of Cano’s bat could, theoretically, be off-set in WAR.

The Present and the Future

The relatively younger Gordon (30), should offer a defensive upgrade over the thirty-five-year old Cano in the short term of half a season. It’s worth noting that Nelson Cruz, the Mariners regular DH, is in the last year of his contract. Cano, signed through his age forty season could easily slot over at DH, with Gordon remaining at second. And as for this season, pitching and defense have been the problem in a still so-far successful season, not the hitting. With Dee Gordon at 2B, one of the team’s deficits should get addressed.

More answers to common questions about the future of legalized sports gambling

More answers to common questions about the future of legalized sports gambling

It's been a few days now since the Supreme Court Decision that will allow states to legalize sports gambling. There were A LOT of questions after the initial ruling came down. ESPN's Brian Windhorst has a great FAQ posted and you should really take the time to read the whole thing. 

Here are some bullet points:

How will teams/leagues make money?
Sponsorships & royalty fees (in theory)

Will players get a cut?
Yes, most of this revenue will be considered Basketball-Related Income which the CBA dictates the players get a cut of. 

What about games being fixed?
There are a lot of safeguards in place and in fact, it's far less likely games would be fixed with legal gambling. Oversight of all betting locations as well as betting limits will help the cause. Keep in mind this type of betting system has been in place in Europe for quite a while, so this is not entirely new territory. 

How will we be able to bet?
TBD. The league wants fans to be able to bet via an app (they already have this in the state of Nevada) but depending on the states' individual plans it might require going to a physical location (casino, kiosk, arena, etc). It also depends if Congress gets involved. 

Read the full story at ESPN.com

Portland Diamond Project launches new website with all your MLB to PDX info

screen_shot_2018-05-16_at_2.59.17_pm.png
Portland Diamond Project

Portland Diamond Project launches new website with all your MLB to PDX info

There are people all over the state of Oregon and all over the country who have been keeping up on the potential of Major League Baseball to Portland. On Wednesday morning, the Portland Diamond Project introduced its new website to keep you updated on the project’s efforts, goals, and more.

Some of the main objectives for the goal of the ballpark is to build an iconic stadium that enhances the cityscape, while providing a catalyst for workforce housing around the ballpark.

[Read more on Portland Diamond Project’s goals]

A good majority of people who have been following the Portland Diamond Project know that former Trail Blazers TV play-by-play announcer Mike Barrett is a big part of the baseball advisors & executive team. But did you know Craig Cheek who is a retired Nike executive is the Found and President of the Portland Diamond Project?

[Learn more about the leadership team]

Portland’s baseball history dates back 150 years. The tab of the “History of baseball in Portland” on the Portland Diamond Project website has an incredible timeline illustration of the various baseball landmarks in Portland’s history starting with the first Portland baseball club in 1866.

[More on the formation of Portland’s first baseball club and the detailed history recap]

You can join the Portland Diamond Project’s 'MLB to Portland' movement at www.portlanddiamondproject.com.

The biggest hit of Robinson Cano’s career

usatsi_10834024.jpg
USA Today Images

The biggest hit of Robinson Cano’s career

BY BEN SPROUSE

The path to Cooperstown was there.

305 career homers, over 1200 RBIs, closing in on 2500 hits, Robinson Cano has put together one of baseball’s best ever careers as a second baseman, And with over 5 years still left on his current $24 million per year contract with the Mariners, those numbers are sure to inflate.  He has been respected as much for his smooth defensive ability as for his offensive prodigy, and looked to be a lock for the Hall of Fame when he decides to hang up the cleats.  All of that disintegrated Tuesday as news broke that Cano was to be suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball for violation of the league’s anti-drug policy, effective immediately.

While the personal loss of almost $12 million, 80 games of statistics, and a chance at ending the Mariners’ 17-year playoff drought, the biggest hit Cano took was to his reputation.  He will never be looked at in the same way by baseball writers, the gatekeepers of baseball’s prestigious Hall of Fame.  His reputation is forever tainted as it’s hard to know just how much of Cano’s numbers were a product of his use of performance-enhancing drugs and how many were produced by natural ability.  As a lifelong Mariners fan looking for our first playoff run in almost two decades, it’s disheartening.  As a lifelong baseball fan who’s fascination with the game is rooted in the difficulty required to play it, it’s enraging.  And finally, as a fan of Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame, I am further reminded just how difficult it is to reach baseball immortality.  Tremendous natural ability has to be coupled with longevity, production, and a little bit of luck, all traits essential to a Hall of Fame baseball career.  Cano seemed to be embodying these traits and looked to be on his way to joining the 323 other Hall of Fame players.  But anyone who’s ever been linked to PEDs has never been elected to the Hall of Fame.  Anyone who has this tainted past is immediately written-off by writers as ineligible and Cano will be no exception.

Robinson Cano was sure to be someone remembered for his unusual power, smooth left-handed swing, and gracious roaming of the middle infield.  He had all the makings of a surefire Hall of Fame player.  But now, he’ll be remembered for his use of performance-enhancing drugs, forever overshadowing any successes he’s had on the field.  He just another one of the game’s cheaters, glorifying those who’ve done it clean.  He was supposed to be in the Hall, but the inside of those walls are reserved for those who did it the right way, and unfortunately, Robinson Cano is not one of those people.

Seattle Mariners' Robinson Cano will be suspended 80 games

usatsi_10825023_147386290_lowres.jpg
USATI

Seattle Mariners' Robinson Cano will be suspended 80 games

Reports are out from various outlets that Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano will be suspended 80 games for violating the MLB's joint drug agreement.

Cano tweeted out a statement that he will accept the punishment handed down by MLB:

More to come on this story as it develops and be sure to tune in to The Bridge tonight at 6pm on NBCS Northwest for the latest reactions from Seattle on the news. 

Sports gambling in Oregon?

money_51343997.jpeg
USATI

Sports gambling in Oregon?

In a decision that could have major implications across the country, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor today of New Jersey in the state's challenge to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. This law prevented states from having legalized gambling (with an exception for Nevada). The ruling came down to a 6-3 vote and now allows states to make their own decisions as it relates to legalized sports betting in their state. 

If you happen to have a law degree, you can read the whole legal document here. 

The big question for Northwest fans is how will this affect those of us in Oregon and Washington. While it could be a while before any official decisions are made, Oregon ranks in the middle of the pack in terms of states that would be ready to legalize gambling. Washington is in the bottom pack of states and would be starting from scratch. 

[RELATED: Dwight Jaynes on today's ruling]

The Oregon Lottery used to run a betting game called Sports Action where players could wager on the NFL but strictly in a parlay format which required getting at least three picks correct to win. Single game bets were not available. NBA games were involved with Sports Action for a short time until the NBA filed a lawsuit and forced the state to remove them. Sports Action was first introduced in 1989 and banned in 2007 when it became a roadblock to the state of Oregon being a host site for the NCAA basketball tournament.

The bottom line is this: We do not know a timeline for placing bets in Oregon and Washington and we do not know how the physical process of placing that bet would take place (in person and/or online). It is likely that if either state chooses to adopt legalized sports gambling, that Oregon would be first. With the history of Sports Action combined with the legalization of fantasy sports such as Fan Duel it puts Oregon in a far more likely position than Washington where online fantasy sports such as Fan Duel are not allowed. 

The leagues obviously have a major stake in this whole process. Here are some initial reactions from around professional sports from this morning: