Not the headline you were looking for? Me neither, to be honest. I was shocked when I checked my email this morning at SeaTac while waiting for our flight to Vegas (Baby!), and I had this article sent to me by My Man In Canada, Gary Tater.
In summary, the Edmonton Oilers hockey team is shopping for a PCL team to move back into TELUS Field. And I say…. YES! Let’s do it!
I loved travelling to Edmonton. It’s a major league city, with two major league teams (the Canadian Football League is major league in Canada). The ballpark is outstanding once you get past their silly 1980s Astroturf infield – surely they could replace that. They always gave us first-rate accommodations, and the travel from Tacoma was a breeze. Yes, customs slows you down by 15 or 20 minutes – no big deal.
With Portland leaving the league after this season, the Rainiers will need a travel partner - and Edmonton would be a perfect fit. It’s an easy 1:30/2:00 direct flight from SeaTac. American Conference teams can get in there flying through Denver, Chicago, or Minneapolis.
The Trappers were always a first-class organization that treated the visiting teams very well – the old front office there made it a joy to visit the city.
Let’s go Oilers – get this done!
One part of the story is alarming, though – they list Las Vegas as a rumored team for sale. That would be a disaster, we need to keep Vegas in the league. Just move Portland up there and be done with it. Or dare I say…. the Springs?
The Rainiers arrived safely in Vegas, checking into the hotel at about noon. The guys got about four hours of sleep in their own beds after last night’s doubleheader – which means that we’ll be better rested than just about everyone else visiting Las Vegas.
About that doubleheader – yeah, the Rainiers lost both games, throwing away game two in a rather ugly fashion. But for now I’m going to focus on the positives: the team went 5-2 on the homestand, and the bats came alive. The chances of that continuing are strong: Cashman Field is an absolute launching pad, and Vegas’s pitching has been dreadful recently. Las Vegas does, however, have a lot of left-handed pitching which could be a problem for the Rainiers heavily left-handed lineup.
Look for some Rainiers roster moves before the game. Eliezer Alfonzo was not on the flight, I’m guessing he’s on stand-by with the Mariners in case Josh Bard’s injury forces him onto the disabled list. Two young kids are here with the Rainiers, and one or both might be activated prior to first pitch: catcher Blake Ochoa, and infielder Jeff Dominguez. Alternately, Bard might be OK, Alfonzo might fly to Vegas, and the kids go back to Arizona. We’ll see what happens.
Catcher injuries force situations like that – no manager wants to go into a game with only one healthy catcher. Thus, all of the maneuvering which might become totally unneccessary.
Tonight’s game is at 7:05, pre-game show starts at 6:50. Listen live on 850 AM or via the internet at www.tacomarainiers.com. Tacoma starts RHP Steven Shell (3-1, 2.28) against Las Vegas RHP Rey Gonzalez (4-3, 8.81). The two teams split a four-game series in Tacoma near the beginning of the month.
A word about the blog: we’re in Las Vegas, and it’s a holiday weekend. There are two noon games – Sunday and Monday. I’ll have a full blog Saturday but I make no promises for Sunday and Monday - for all of the obvious reasons.
- The News Tribune was at the doubleheader loss; here’s Ryan Divish’s story. It’s hard to win when you can’t play catch, right Brownie?
- Divish also says the next 20 games will determine the Mariners fate. Yes, Divish wrote this – not McGrath, who is listed as author for some reason.
- Tacoma’s Tommy Everidge was the latest to get the Karen Westeen Q&A treatment.
- If you want to see my ugly mug, I interview Brad Nelson and Steven Shell on the new episode of Rainiers Insider.
- Big news regarding Rainiers TV games is coming soon – stay tuned!
- Don’t want to watch or listen to baseball tonight? Larry Stone has the answer for you.
- In the PCL-North, two teams are really struggling: Colorado Springs has lost eight in a row, and Portland has lost seven straight. Something’s gotta give – they play each other in a four-game series starting tonight in the Springs. Colorado Springs scored five runs in a four-game series at Omaha.
- Salt Lake, meanwhile, is playing pretty well – they went 5-3 on the Omaha-Iowa swing.
- It’s a record: three straight shutouts in Albuquerque. Absolutely amazing. In this story: Andre Ethier is going to rehab with the ‘Topes.
- Here are some awesome action shots of Iowa manager Ryne Sandberg flipping out. I agree with the article – Mike Quade had the best ejections I have ever seen – even better than Dan Rohn. Ryno appears to be using the rarely seen Daren Brown hat-throwing method.
- Here’s the latest update on a man who has no business being in the minor leagues, Buster Posey.
- Ex-Rainiers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has hit the big time: a feature in the New York Times.
- No Mariners farm hands made Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet this week – but look at the bright side, they avoided the Not-So-Hot Sheet! A pair of PCL catchers are hot including J.P. Arencibia, who the Rainiers face this weekend.
- My favorite funny Twitter follow is @oldhossradbourn, the from-the-grave commentary by the Hall Of Fame pitcher from the 1800s. Well, Old Hoss reviewed a book about… Old Hoss Radbourn. Obviously, it’s fantastic.
We happened to arrive in Vegas the same day that The World Series Of Poker opens. So if you tune in at 7:00, and there is no Rainiers baseball, that could mean only one thing: I hit a jackpot on a slot machine and bought in to the $50,000 8-game mix Poker Player’s Championship. Wish me luck!