It’s finally here – the 2012 Tacoma Rainiers season opener.
The Rainiers host the Salt Lake Bees tonight at Cheney Stadium. First pitch is set for 7:20 – Tacoma starts RHP Matt Fox against Salt Lake RHP Garrett Richards.
If you are coming to the game, please try to get in a bit early – the pre-game festivities will begin at 6:50, when select fans parachute into the stadium. There will be tickets available at the gate.
I cannot advise you strongly enough to dress warmly. I went to the Rainiers workout last night and it was *chilly*.
The radio broadcast will be airing on South Sound Sports 850 AM – which will once again be radio home to all 144 games of Rainiers baseball, home and away, plus the Triple-A All-Star Game and, if we should be so fortunate, the playoffs. Additionally – technology willing (fingers and toes crossed) - the broadcast is supposed to be streaming online right here.
Typically the Muckleshoot Casino Pre-Game Show begins 15 minutes prior to first pitch. Since it’s Opening Day, I’m doing 20 minutes today. We’ll start at 7:00 sharp.
Pre-game interviews will be different this year. Last year, I interviewed manager Daren Brown before each game. This was an experiment - radio guys interview the manager every day in the Major Leagues, and I wanted to try it for a season. I thought it had some benefits, and I learned a few things – but it came at the expense of player interviews, as I only did one player interview a week (Sundays). I didn’t get to everybody on our team, and I certainly didn’t get to interview any of the other interesting people around the league.
So this year we’re doing something different: I’m going to interview the manager before the first game of each series, and on Sundays. Before all other games I’ll interview our players or opposing players or managers or executives from around the league.
(Note: that doesn’t apply today. I always interview the Rainiers GM before the home opener, so today we’ll talk to Aaron Artman about what fans can look forward to at Cheney Stadium this season).
A few notes from the Rainiers workout last night:
- Catcher Adam Moore was there, and he’s going to play tonight. Moore is currently on the Mariners disabled list, and he will technically be on a rehabilitation assignment with Tacoma. Moore told me his wrist feels great, he’s ready to go, and he is scheduled to catch seven innings tonight.
- Manager Daren Brown already had his lineup decided, but he did not want to share it with us the day before. He said he wants to communicate with the players who are not playing before telling the media or anyone else.
- Opening day starter Matt Fox said that his cut fastball is his best pitch.
- Relief ace Chance Ruffin talked a bit about growing up in a Major League clubhouse – his father Bruce Ruffin was a longtime MLB pitcher for the Phillies and Rockies. He said his biggest memory as a kid in the clubhouse was Rockies second baseman Eric Young picking him up and throwing him into the couch – over and over and over again.
- The big winners from Alex Liddi making the Mariners roster are Johan Limonta and Luis Jimenez. These guys are going to get the at-bats as long as Liddi is in Seattle.
- The mysterious marc w from USS Mariner was in attendance, straight from his real job – and I saw him without a hat on for the first time ever. Guess what? Not bald. I still have never seen Jason Churchill without some sort of head cover. My guess: bald.
Let’s hit the links:
- The News Tribune has two stories in advance of the Rainiers opener today: Larry LaRue has a profile of shortstop Carlos Triunfel, in which he re-lives the injury that changed his career. John McGrath whipped up a column on the improbable rise of pitcher Forrest Snow.
- Larry Stone has an article on the Mariners setting their second opening day roster.
- The second page of this PDF document has the opening day rosters for all four Mariners full-season minor league affiliates. Greg Johns has a review of the assignments. Baseball America has a quick-take on the organization.
- Baseball America looked at all 120 minor league opening day rosters, and they picked out the one with the most talent on it. Which one was that? The Mariners Double-A Jackson Generals. This bodes well for us. Three teams from the PCL made the Top-10 (Sacramento, Tucson, and Memphis).
- USS Mariner is posting Mariners minor league previews today – as of right now they have three of the four teams posted; I’m assuming Tacoma will come later today.
- Know your enemy: the Salt Lake City newspapers are all about Mike Trout, who along with Bryce Harper (AAA-Syracuse) is considered one of the top two prospects in minor league baseball. Features from the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News.
- They’re excited in Las Vegas, where the team is going to be very strong up the middle. Centerfielder Anthony Gose is an electrifying player. The 51s are – once again – for sale << entertaining column alert!
- Sacramento has talented pitchers that are new to the A’s organization. Here are the River Cats at a glance.
- The San Francisco Giants decided to keep Brandon Belt and Hector Sanchez, who figured to be Fresno’s top two players.
- All of the progress with the Miami Marlins is having a positive effect on Triple-A New Orleans.
- Memphis has a new manager in Ronald “Pop” Warner. He was featured today in the Commercial-Appeal.
- One thing the Dodgers players assigned to Triple-A Albuquerque are not thinking about is new Dodgers owner Magic Johnson.
Opening Day – I love it. Can’t wait to get to the ballpark!