Category Archives: Rainiers

2017 Underway

Life as the season begins, is really kind of up in the air. We are in the final planning stages of our big move back to Tacoma, which most people assume is because we are bailing on the craziness which has taken over California (gas taxes, service taxes, other insanities, etc.) but it isn’t that at all. For all it’s wackiness, California still has five Major League Baseball Clubs, two AAA level teams and an entire league of high A teams, virtually all of which are within a few hours drive time.

Seriously, from where i sit right now, in 1.5 hours I could drive to two MLB teams, both AAA teams and at least three of the A teams, one of which is fifteen minutes away.  The loss of the Bakersfield franchise after last season has left something of a hole in my annual trek to see my parents and catch a few games, but really, where else in America Рexcept during Spring Training Рis there so much baseball so close?

As I said though, we are leaving, by the end of June, to move back to Tacoma from whence my wife came to marry me and where our children and grandchildren still live. Obviously, Tacoma isn’t a bad place to be. The Rainiers are wonderful and the Mariners reasonably close. The Aquasox are a bit of stretch though and beyond that it’s all a bit barren.

So opening day and week was something that I was really going to savor this year. And of course, we were on the road so my wife could interview for a couple of jobs up north.

Meanwhile the Ports were at home, but the Rainiers and the Mariners were not. I ended up listening to the Ports on the stream, and watching a lot of games on MLB.tv.

Then the Ports and the Rainiers (in Sacramento) got rained out on opening day. I felt bad for the players and fans. It’s such a buildup and a thing to look forward too, and then it doesn’t happen. kinda like when your wife gives you that look – you know… that look – at 3 in the afternoon. Then when all the kids are in bed and the day is over, you’re both wiped out and just too tired to even think about going out for ice cream.

Or anything else.

Skye Bolt

The Ports made it up with a double header, which is great. In the minors that means two seven inning games which became almost magical when Stockton dang near no-hit the Quakes in the opener. In the night cap the Quakes said, “Hey, let’s give that a shot ourselves” and did no hit the Ports. Not a lot of hitting, but certainly fun and interesting baseball. Driving home I was able to listen to the Dodgers play the Rockies (and lose) and later the Ports beat the Quakes again. On Sunday, Skye “Usain” Bolt raced home on a bottom of the 9th hit to score the winning run which even Zack Bayrouty (Ports Announcer) insists was a blown call and he was out. Maybe the Umps wanted to go have an early dinner?

The 2017 season is off and running. Ports host Modesto before heading to San Jose for the weekend. with the Passover holiday i have time to take in a day game on Tuesday at banner Island, and with school out on Friday I am trying to convince the wife to go to San Jose. The Dodgers head to Chicago to be the victims of the World Series Banner presentation, which is fitting I suppose after the NLCS, and the Rainiers, after a rain soaked 0-2 start are still hanging gout for a doubleheader in Sacramento.

We’re off and running!

Always Something New, Almost Always a Heartbreak

The new right knee

So I cannot go to the game tonight. Which is, of course, disappointing. At the same time, this has been a great first week of the 2016 MLB season, having watched more games these past few days than I have since 1985, when USS Michigan went to 12 hour shift work and Bob Langworthy and I went to all five of the first six Mariners games that season. By the way they opened the season 6-0. Probably because of our attention.

Tonight opens the MiLB season, with the Ports hosting the Nuts and the Rainiers hosting Albuquerque. We didn’t get moved to Tacoma because of my knee replacement surgery, and that same surgery has me sidelined and unable to attend the Ports game. Actually¬† could probably sit there are watch but folding myself into the car is basically the most difficult thing in the world to do right now. So a 15 mile drive to the stadium would pretty much kill me right now.

The Rainiers have a solid roster this year, with one of my favorite recent Ports, Boog Powell, roaming centerfield and with a decent chance of moving up to the Mariners this year.

The Ports have a roster of names I will get to know again, some of them highly touted prospects some of them not so much but all with the promise of a new seasons start in what is – outside of the Majors – the most competitive level of baseball.

I heard someone say last week that AAA Baseball is the “most bitter” level for players. Either they are so close or trying so hard to stay up that the whole AAA is a seething mass of players who all think that they should be in the majors. Attitude goes a long way in baseball, and I think that sometimes you really can see that in AAA.

In High A Ball, I’ve come to see it as really the “make or break” level. If you don’t succeed at High-A there’s not much point in sending you to AA. Going back down to Low-A can be beneficial in some cases, but you can really see that pressure on the players and the pressure they put on themselves too. It makes for some o the most intense and competitive baseball I’ve seen. And given that “winning” isn’t supposedly “the goal” in A ball, but rather player development, it magnifies each and every play, if not every pitch as saying, “Look at me, I am going to make it!”

So here’s to a new season of the grand old game, Majors, Minors and every other level there is. We’re all but guaranteed to see something we’ve never seen before. We’ll cheer the highlights, have great moments, and in the end, for most of us, the game will break our hearts, as Bart Giamati once said. But in any case, it always comes back with promise.

And a new season.

quote-it-breaks-your-heart-it-is-designed-to-break-your-heart-the-game-begins-in-spring-when-a-bartlett-giamatti-53-80-98

Boog Business

Baseball, at the end of the day, is a business.

I get it. Believe me, I get it. I came to watch the game at the dawn of big free agent dollars, and I have long become used to the idea that players aren’t loyal to a city or an organization, and the era of the player spending his entire career with one team, one organization is now so rare as to be almost unheard of.

19667981376_1d3f465817_o_6kv15qyi_no03vp4jStill though, it hurts a lot to watch Hershel Mack “Boog” Powell cruise around Centerfield for the Mariners, making smooth as silk catches and be described by the broadcasters as “effervescent.”

I mean, he is. But seriously, this is another ex-Port A’s prospect that went away in the Zorbrist trade last season. Daniel Robertson, another highly touted A’s prospect went in that deal too. Combined with sending Addison Russell to the Cubs a while back, you have to watch these guys now and wonder what the A’s could have been this year and into the next years.

Watching Boog, Robertson and Russell play in Stockton was a joy. You just knew that all of these guys were going to make it, and someday you’d be able to say, “I was there in Stockton when…”

So yeah… it’s a business. The Mariners and Rainiers benefited in the end by getting Powell from the Rays for Logan Morrison which makes you wonder what the Rays are thinking, and he does look smooth and effervescent” in Center for the M’s.

And I was there when he played 14 wonderful games in Stockton. Then he got suspended and then he went down to Beloit.

It’s a business. Boog business.¬†

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