The renovated Cheney Stadium opened up last night as the Rainiers played their home opener in front of a sellout crowd of 7,202.
I suppose it was inevitable that it was going to rain during the opener. Not only did we have that familiar misty Puget Sound rain at the first pitch, it did not stop at any point during the game. Yet still, fans seemed to enjoy themselves. As far as I could tell, anyway – with my job, I’m not able to mingle around the crowd and get a sense of people’s impressions.
However, with my new booth, I can actually see the crowd right in front of me (I’m not stuck on the roof anymore!). The people in front of me in Section E appeared to be having a great time at the ballpark – I wished I could bail out of the booth for an inning and join them for a hot dog and some cheering.
I talked with several Rainiers co-workers afterwards and the night went as smooth as could be expected under the circumstances. There were some hiccups, of course – there is still some finishing work being done at the park, and filling it up with all of those people for the first time ever certainly tested it. On the whole, it was a great night.
From my personal area, the broadcast went as well as could be expected. I arrived at about 1:00 in the afternoon and began moving into my booth: equipment, books, etc. I had to make sure all of the proper connections were working, and I was running around looking for cables and power strips and that type of stuff.
The big test of the connection to the radio station passed with flying colors – phew! – and I knew I was in good shape.
Calling the game was fun. Having Eddie Fisher stop by was a joy – we chatted about the Tacoma Giants of the early 1960s, knuckleballs, the 1966 World Series, the changing role of relief pitchers in the 1960s - it was great.
As for the mechanics of the broadcast, I am now situated on the third base line. This is a very different vantage point for me and it’s going to take some getting used to – I had difficulty judging balls hit to the left side, particularly fly balls to left field and if they were fair or foul. A couple more games and this should stop being a problem. Pitch location (inside/outside) is tough to see, but I have a video monitor to help with that.
The game was a back-and-forth affair that saw Sacramento win it, 6-5. Chris Carter drove in five Sacramento runs, including the game-winner with a double to right in the ninth inning.
Carlos Peguero was the big star for the Rainiers. He slugged a homer off the scoreboard in right-center, smashed a rocket off the glove of the Sacramento second baseman, singled sharply to center, and doubled off the giant wall in deep center. Four hard-hit balls for Peguero.
A few “firsts” in the new ballpark:
- First Pitch: Chaz Roe, Tacoma (ball)
- First Hit: Jemile Weeks, Sacramento (single)
- First Tacoma Hit: Alex Liddi (single)
- First Run: Alex Liddi, Tacoma
- First Home Run: Carlos Peguero, Tacoma
Tacoma hosts Sacramento again today at 7:05. Tickets are available at the door tonight, and as I type this it is not raining (fingers crossed!). Tacoma starts LHP Fabio Castro (0-1, 6.75) against Sacramento RHP Travis Banwart (0-1, 8.31). The broadcast airs live on 850 AM and streams online.
- Cheney Stadium Grand Re-Opening coverage from The News Tribune: Kathleen Merryman with the fan’s perspective, John McGrath with thoughts on the opener, Ryan Divish with the game story, and TNT staff photographers with a photo gallery.
- The Seattle Times was there, too: Mason Kelley filed this report.
- Quality bloggers made it out to the park as well: Prospect Insider has photos and a food review, the mysterious and level-headed marc w from USS Mariner was on hand, the Weekly Volcano had a good note on bicycle access.
- The Cheney Stadium “SuperFlush” was just a ball sitting on a tee for The Nose. I’ll admit it: I laughed at the Rhubarb-in-the-shower line.
- The Mariners had a late rally fall short in Kansas City.
- I like the quotes from Michael Saunders in this well-researched Geoff Baker blog post. Nice stat work, Geoff.
- A Mariners Minor League report from Ryan Divish.
- There have been many stories written about Mariners reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, but this one from Jim Caple takes the prize.
- Reno had a record crowd of 9,490 and local boy Konrad Schmidt had a big game in the home opener. This link includes a 60-shot photo gallery. My man Wily Mo Pena launched his fifth homer – look out, PCL record! The ghost of Tony Lazzeri (60, for Salt Lake City in 1925) is worried…
- Tucson is back in the PCL- and it might be for longer than expected. The Padres had a nice crowd but lost to Salt Lake, 7-6. The outlook is promising in Tucson.
- Las Vegas held its opener but lost to Fresno in the ninth. Former Rainiers reliever Chad Cordero is with Vegas. Ed Graney had fun at the game in this state-of-Las Vegas baseball round-up, and he dares to mention one of the PCL’s most hallowed and formerly secret traditions: the Jim Gemma Table Knock.
- Breaking news: Emmanuel Burris was caught stealing. He’s 13-for-14 on the year.
- New Orleans won its home opener over Round Rock, 4-0. Name to know: Zephyrs starter Tom Koehler, who was a big winner in Double-A last year.
- Nothing is more depressing than when the home opener is rained out. It’s a real bummer for the fans, and the team front offices. We here at Mike… Off-Mic send out our condolences to Sam Bernabe and his staff, and Martie Cordaro’s crew, also.
Time to head to the ballpark and get further acclimated. Hope to see you out there!