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.
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.
Still 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.