Sorry there was no blog yesterday – it was all I could do just to get to the ballpark, set up my gear, and call the game. And even that was a challenge. We woke up at 3:15 AM in Tacoma. The bus left the ballpark at 4:00, for the 6:15 flight to Denver. Then we had to bus to Colorado Springs – a 90-minute ride that turned into two hours because that bus was late picking us up. The whole team was lined up on the curb at the airport, with suitcases, for 30 minutes waiting.
Something amusing happened on the bus ride – we pull out of the airport, and the driver takes the first freeway exit. Uh-oh… where is he going? There is an older man in a western-style work suit standing on the side of the road, next to an open field. The bus stops next to him. Our driver gets out, and the new guy hops on and takes over the driving. He says his name is “Wild Bill Cody,” and he proceeds to drive us to the Springs.
So we arrive at the rookie-ball motor lodge where the Sky Sox make us stay. I check into my room, and its obvious nobody has been in there for days – the heat is turned up to the highest level, and the room is cooking like a sauna! When I opened the door I was blasted by a wave of hot air. Counter surfaces, the mattress, the TV, the bathroom – everything was very, very warm. I immediately turned on the AC and fell asleep for a one-hour nap – quite easy to do in that warmth.
I woke up, prepared some quick broadcast notes, walked to the rental car agency and grabbed a vehicle and drove to the ballpark for the first game of the five-game series. I called the game on four hours of sleep, and it was a rough one - even though I loaded up on caffeine. The one thing that can really affect the quality of a broadcast is sleep deprivation – I make far more errors and say many more stupid things* when working on little sleep. My apologies if anyone listened last night.
On the field, the Rainiers won the ballgame 11-6. Greg Halman played for the first time since June 2, and he responded by ripping a pair of home runs and driving in four. His three-run homer in the top of the seventh inning snapped a 6-6 tie and led the Rainiers to victory.
Mike Wilson and Adam Moore also hit homers, and the Rainiers had 19 hits, but all was not good news – Moore strained a hamstring on an uncontested play while running the bases and it could be a setback – he said he’ll know more today. Also Jack Wilson was scheduled to play all nine innings, but he left after seven because he “was tired” according to manager Daren Brown. So was I, Jack – so was I.
Jarrett Grube pitched well in his first start for the Rainiers – although it might not show in the box score. Grube allowed five runs in 5.1 innings, but two of them scored on inherited runners after he left the game. Also Grube did a nice job avoiding the big inning in a ballpark where they happen quite easily – Brown was quick to commend him after the game.
Tonight’s game is at 6:05 (Pacific) and will air on 850 AM and stream via www.tacomarainiers.com. Tacoma sends LHP Chris Seddon (6-3, 4.14) to the mound against Colorado Springs RHP Esmil Rogers (0-1, 7.36).
Colorado Springs is the home to all kinds of obscure fast food outlets**. Surely there must be one that specializes in… links?
- Here is my Rainiers game story for The News Tribune. Here’s the story from the Colorado Springs Gazette.
- The new Rainiers Insider is up – I interview Chris Woodward and Guillermo Quiroz.
- At Pro Ball NW, Jon Shields discusses Matt Mangini and Greg Halman.
- The Mariners lost the first game of their series in St. Louis, 9-3. To my eyes this series is a total mismatch – even facing Jeff Suppan today, the Mariners are still going to have to out-slug St. Louis.
- I thought the Mariners had a lot of crazy off-field “coaches” on staff, but they’ve got nothing on the Dodgers – does the Russian man in this story have the best job in baseball? Just watch games on TV and think positive thoughts – and cash checks!
- In the PCL, first place Salt Lake relied on a 20-year-old lefty to remain 1.5 games ahead of Tacoma in the standings. Smith just missed a complete game.
- Fresno just keeps winning – John Bowker hit a three-run homer yesterday.
- Nashville is playing Memphis six times in four days – foreshadowing the Tacoma-Salt Lake series next week. Memphis won the opener with a 7-run 6th inning.
- Free Alex Gordon! He went 4-for-5 yesterday and is now batting 373/495/667. Call Him Up Already!
- Here is a (free) Baseball Prospectus Q&A with former Rainiers reliever Brian Fuentes. It’s really in-depth.
- Rob Neyer says trade Cliff Lee – in only the way he can. And Dave Cameron says the same thing, his own way.
- I am not the type of person who can resist an Onion story with the headline “Rookie Strasburg Begins Hazing Nationals Veterans.”
I close today with something about Colorado Springs that I like: Mollica’s Italian Deli. This place brings the goods.
* I make at least one ridiculously stupid statement on-air every night. During sleep-deprivation games that number triples.
** Pleased to report that Chick Fil-A is featuring a new spicy chicken sandwich. I’m excited!