Congratulations to the Omaha Storm Chasers, who won the PCL Championship by defeating Salt Lake in a best-of-five series over the weekend.
It’s the second PCL title in the last three years for the Kansas City Royals Triple-A club, which also won it all in 2011.
The result is more proof that anything can happen in the baseball postseason. Omaha entered the playoffs with a losing record (70-74), but that was good enough to win its division. In the playoffs, Omaha got red-hot, winning six of seven postseason games.
It was a stunning result. Not only was Omaha a mediocre team all season, but their parent club is in the wild card hunt – so they called up a half-dozen Omaha players before the PCL playoffs even started. Many of Omaha’s playoff heroes spent the majority of the season with the Royals Double-A team.
Tonight Omaha meets the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay) in the Triple-A National Championship Game. It’s a one-game exhibition between the champions of the Pacific Coast League and the International League.
The game starts at 4:00 (Pacific) and will be televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus). The game is played at a neutral site: this year it is being hosted by the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, who have a nice new stadium in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Durham starts RHP Jake Odorizzi – who actually pitched for Omaha last year; he was traded to Tampa over the winter in the James Shields / Wil Myers blockbuster. Omaha starts LHP Chris Dwyer.
I’ve scoured the rosters of both teams, finding just one former Tacoma Rainiers contributor: Durham Bulls hitting coach Dave Myers managed Tacoma from 1997 to 2000, before serving as Mariners third base coach for four years. Dave still lives here in Gig Harbor.
- We start with stories on Omaha’s PCL title. The Omaha newspaper has this one, and there is a national game story from MiLB.com,
- Here’s a preview of tonight’s Triple-A National Championship Game. The Durham Bulls are a loose group. The opposing starting pitchers are buddies. Here are some players to watch tonight.
- The Mariners season has gone in the tank. At least Felix Hernandez wants to return before the season runs out.
- Larry Stone writes that the Mariners have no blueprint for success.
- Former Rainiers outfielder Wladimir Balentien broke the single-season home run record in Japan over the weekend – Lookout Landing has video of the dinger and subsequent celebration. Marc w from USS Mariner compared Balentien to another former Tacoma slugger who went on to star in Japan.
- The Colorado Springs Gazette has a multiple-part series looking at the pros and cons of a new downtown ballpark.
I’ll be watching the Triple-A game tonight – it’s the last minor league baseball game of the year.