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.
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….”