… Tacoma Rainiers Style.
4:30 AM – wake up, clean up, and drive to Cheney Stadium.
5:00 AM – arrive at Cheney Stadium and find two Rainiers players lighting off fireworks in the parking lot. Both are giddy – they are from California, where it’s illegal to light a match on the 4th of July.
5:10 AM – in the Rainiers clubhouse, our Italian third baseman asks if July 3 or July 4 is “America Day.” He learns that it’s the 4th, and a certain Oklahoman explains that if it weren’t for the 4th of July, “we’d all be speaking German.” This is wrong on so many levels, I can only shake my head.
5:12 AM - Mike… Off-Mic learns that Italy Day is June 25.
5:15 AM – the team bus pulls out of Cheney, destination SeaTac Airport.
5:45 AM – we arrive at the airport and check in without incident. The Rainiers travel coordinator smiles, says goodbye, and runs back to Tacoma to go celebrate the holiday.
6:15 AM – I enjoy a toasted bagel at the N gates.
6:45 AM – while waiting to board, I run into couple who are good friends of mine, waiting for a flight at the next gate over. They are flying to Las Vegas for a week-long vacation before embarking on an international career adventure. I offer to trade them my ticket to Colorado Springs for their ticket to Vegas, and even tell them they get to call three Rainiers games. They don’t bite.
7:30 AM – we depart for Denver. The flight is half empty, meaning we get to spread out a bit. This is one of the few times all season that this will happen.
10:30 AM (we lost an hour on the time change) – arrive Denver, collect baggage, and hop on a charter bus for Colorado Springs. The bus has that “bus bathroom chemical” smell that you are all-too-familiar-with if you have spent your career in minor league baseball.
12:00 PM – (warning – politics!) – on the drive from Denver to our Colorado Springs hotel, we take the Ronald Reagan Freeway to the Focus on Family Headquarters exit. I can think of one co-worker who would be absolutely delighted by this.
12:15 PM – we arrive at our new, tremendously improved Colorado Springs hotel. I’m running on four hours of sleep, which includes an hour of weak airplane sleep, and the bed looks so inviting. But I’m also starving. I unpack and shuffle across the street for some food.
1:00 PM – Ted’s Montana Grill. Chicken sandwich. Nom nom nom.
2:00 PM – finish blog post, finish preparing for game (I had done most of my broadcast notes late at night after the home game on the 3rd).
3:30 PM – the best 15 minutes of the day: catnap!
4:00 PM – team bus leaves hotel for Security Service Field. I rock “David Comes To Life” on the iPod to get me going, and it works.
4:20 PM – prior to Game #84, team bus gets lost trying to figure out where to drop us off at Security Service Field.
4:30 PM – arrive at field, set up broadcast equipment, test lines - everything works!
5:03 PM – interview skipper for pre-game show.
5:10 PM – pound 16-ounce coffee from the master of strong coffee, Security Service Field visiting clubbie Steve.
5:15 PM – I prepare my stats and scorecard while the team is taking batting practice.
5:45 PM – I don’t usually eat this close to the game, but by golly – some local Guru has arranged to have pre-game burgers brought into the press box from Five Guys Burgers & Fries. And thus the diet takes the evening off.
6:00 PM – pre-record my pre-game show (yup, I cheat and pre-record it every day. There’s a radio secret for you!)*
6:15 PM – read all of the notes and materials distributed in the press box.
6:30 PM – back to the Rainiers locker room to grab coffee #2. Shotgun!
7:05 PM - broadcast 3 hour, 40 minute Rainiers 9-4 loss. The game is played in front of a lively crowd of 8,865.
11:00 PM – done with radio post-game show, interview skipper again, write News Tribune story, while keeping an eye on the fireworks show. It’s a very good show but not as long as Tacoma’s.
12:15 PM – ride back to hotel with Rainiers coaching staff in our rented soccer mom minivan. Rehash the game; plot future PCL domination.
1:00 AM – ahhhhhh, sleep!
Tonight’s game is at 6:05 (Pacific), and new Tacoma Rainiers left-hander Anthony Vasquez gets the start in his Triple-A debut. You couldn’t pick a tougher place for a pitcher to make his Triple-A debut than Colorado Springs (although Reno would be close). This is an extremely tough assignment for the kid – the Rainiers have moved Chris Seddon to the bullpen until the all-star break, and he will be there to back up Vasquez. The Sky Sox are starting Triple-A veteran RHP Billy Buckner (1-3, 5.19).
Catch the broadcast on 850 AM or streaming online right here. The pre-game show starts 15 minutes prior to the first pitch, at 5:50.
- Here is a severely edited Rainiers game story I wrote for The News Tribune. Cliff’s Notes: issuing walks is really bad in Colorado Springs.
- We also have the Rainiers game from the perspective of the Colorado Springs Gazette, with quotes from Mike Jacobs.
- The Mariners beat the A’s in a day game, allowing Larry LaRue to get quotes from seemingly everybody in uniform for his game story. I counted seven sources.
- Ryan Divish wrote about Jose Yepez and the Mariners catching quandary. This is an informative and right-down-to-the-truth-of-it read.
- In the Seattle Times, Geoff Baker focused on Justin Smoak and his big go-ahead RBI double. His notebook is about Michael Pineda.
- Tacoma third baseman Alex Liddi is John Sickels’ Prospect Of The Day.
- In the PCL, Reno earned a tough win on the road, ending Tucson’s eight-game win streak and increasing their lead to 9.5 games. David Winfree came off the disabled list and homered.
- Tucson added top Padres prospect James Darnell and it looks like he’s going to play third base.
- Salt Lake had a 10-3 lead over Las Vegas after eight innings – and they barely held on for a 10-9 victory. Ryan Shealy had seven RBI for Vegas.
- Fresno beat Sacramento in the tenth inning on a bases-loaded single by Edgar Gonzalez. Sacramento has lost seven straight, so look for Billy Beane to sign Scott McClain, Dallas McPherson, Phil Hiatt, Bernardo Brito and Steve Bilko this week.
- The New Orleans Zephyrs won with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning on Joe Thurston’s game-winning double.
- Koby Clemens hit a pair of home runs and Oklahoma City beat Iowa, 3-2.
- Well, it wasn’t exactly a walk-off balk, but it was close: Nashville beat Memphis, 5-4, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning when Chuck Fick drilled Brett Carroll with the bases loaded. A walk-off HBP.
- Since Portland gave baseball the boot, attendance at Salem-Keizer is on a big up-swing. It turns out that Portland baseball fans are willing to drive 50 miles to go to a game.
Since my News Tribune story was chopped in half due to space restrictions, I’ve copy-and-pasted the entire original, unedited version after the jump. There are a bunch of numbers on the hitting streaks, etc, in the notes.
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