Category Archives: Ports
The designated time and calendar coordinates having arrived, that is to say now just a month away from Pitchers and Catchers reporting to Spring Training Camps in Arizona and Florida, it is time also for me to once again make my annual pledge to be both a better Baseball Blogger and a better human being.
It’s most likely that I will only be able to do one of the two, and most people would concentrate on being a better person. But I am not “most people.”
Also we are anticipating a few major life events to happen to our family in 2016. First, it looks like – assuming that the insurance company finally agrees – that I will be having knee replacement surgery in late Winter or the early part of the Spring.
Then, we are planning to relocate to Tacoma, my wife’s hometown sometime between July and September, assuming my recovery goes well.
Lastly this will mean job changes for my wife and probably for me, unless the VA gets off it’s duff and approves my disability claim.
So how will all of this effect this blog?
Well, first off, leaving the Central Valley will make it less able to closely follow the Stockton Ports, although with the internet and such, it seems like that would be easy. The problem is that love fades with distance unless there is a hard connection like most people have with a MLB Team. Over time and distance, I have lost interest in my hometown Ogden Raptors (even as a Dodgers Affiliate) and my all time favorite AAA Team, The Tacoma Rainier’s.
But now that we will be back in Tacoma, albeit near the end of the season, they will again assume front burner status. Moreover, while the Dodgers, thanks to MLB.com and Extra Innings, will remain an integral part of my day, the return to the PACNORWEST means that I will once again, probably as passionately as I did in the 1980’s and 90’s follow the Mariners. Especially with no reasonable chance of them ever meeting in the World Series. The Facebook Page will continue to be the place for quick stuff like news and box scores. Here I will talk about what I saw and felt and liked and even disliked about a particular game.
The bigger thing though is that every year at this time I sit down and plan to write about Baseball. From my own perspective as a fan, not a Stat Wonk or or broadcaster or a player. Just a casual fan who loves the game very much.
And maybe that will help me to be a better person, too?
It’s not very often that I have any interest at all in following a Mid-Majors NCAA Basketball post-season tournament. Especially when it’s closing in on Opening Day and rosters are coalescing and my fantasy team is overloaded with #1 Starters, too many in fact to use them all on opening day.
But that’s what I am doing and what I have been paying attention to closely for the past week or so. And while it’s NCAA Basketball, it is going to have a HUGE impact on how I watch the final pre-season Ports game against the SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS and depending on what happens in the CIT in Murray, Kentucky on Tuesday, whether or not I make the trip to Visalia to be there for the Ports opener against the RAWHIDE.
You see, Zack Bayrouty, the voice of the Ports, is also the voice of the University of Pacific Tigers Men’s Basketball team, and they are on a roll in the CIT. And they play Tuesday against Murray State, and if they win, they play in the CIT Championship. And Zack will be in Kentucky and/or Virginia or Connecticut.
And guess who will be sitting in for him on the Ports Radio network?
Listen, Zack is the best in the business. I am am so honored to have been asked to sit in for the preseason game and possibly the opener.
And I am so jazzed about this! Thanks to Zack and the Ports for letting me have this opportunity to do this, and trust me, I am both nervous ad excited.
“Swing and a….”
Back in 2010 I was a big fan – one might say that I was the founder and President and entire membership of the Dusty Napoleon Fan Club. Dusty was a catcher for the Ports, and he had a pretty forgettable year overall. But in the fading weeks of the Season on one night in Bakersfield, I took my son to his first baseball game. Dusty played in that game for the Ports and had a magnificent night. All with a lone guy in a Ports Cap standing down the 3rd base line standing up and cheering for him in a very loud manner.
Minor League Baseball is full of guys who will never get even a cup of coffee in the Big Leagues. Boys becoming men as they play out a labor of love, knowing that they have to try before they are too old and lose the dream forever. Guys who know that the odds are longer than the California lottery and yet, still have a little boys heart for the love of the game.
Dusty Napoleon is that kind of guy – a good baseball player, but just not good enough for the Big Leagues. But he is the kind of man who makes this game so wonderful.
The men who grew up riding buses to dingy old ball parks in the low minors, worked as hard as they possibly could, suffered injuries and setbacks that could have discouraged them but didn’t. Day after day, week after week, month after month and season after season. All for the merest possibility of a dream coming true.
All for the love of the game.
After the season, Dusty returned to his education, working on finishing his degree at the University of Iowa and serving as the Assistant Coach for the Baseball program he once helped to lead. Today he has gone on to be the Assistant Coach at Western Illinois University.
I think that he’ll be a natural.