Happy Opening Day! For real this time – it’s opening day in the Pacific Coast League.
The Rainiers start the 2015 season with an eight-game road trip, and the first game is tonight in El Paso. First pitch is set for 6:20 (Pacific).
I know many of you are anxious for the home opener. We’ve got to wait another week – the Rainiers play their first game at Cheney Stadium on Friday, April 17. Yesterday the front office put out word that tickets for the home opener are moving briskly, so get yours at the stadium box office or online here.
Now, let’s get to tonight.
Tonight’s broadcast will begin with a pregame show starting at 6:00 (Pacific), and first pitch is set for 6:20. Schedules say 6:05 start but I’ve been informed that the pregame opening day ceremonies will push the start back 15 minutes, so 6:20 it is.
All Rainiers games can be heard in the Tacoma area on our longtime radio flagship South Sound Sports 850 AM.
We also have an online audio stream for internet and smart phones: the TuneIn Radio stream will be active at game time, and you can access it right here.
Finally, all 144 Rainiers games will be shown via streaming internet on MiLB.TV. This is a subscription service. Fifty bucks gets you the whole season, or you can try a month for $12.99. This subscription gets you every single Triple-A and Double-A game, plus select Class-A games.
A word about MiLB.TV: the home team is entirely responsible for the feed that you watch. Production quality varies greatly from stadium to stadium. Teams use their in-house cameras to shoot the game, and then place the home team’s radio broadcast on top of it.
Tacoma manager Pat Listach and El Paso skipper Pat Murphy have submitted their starting rotations. Here’s how they line up:
- Today: RHP Jordan Pries vs. LHP Jason Lane
- Friday: LHP Roenis Elias vs. RHP Aaron Northcraft
- Saturday: RHP Sam Gaviglio vs. LHP Robbie Erlin
- Sunday: LHP Mike Kickham vs. RHP James Needy
Tacoma’s fifth starter will be LHP Mike Montgomery, and he’ll pitch Monday night at Albuquerque.
If there are no rainouts or rotation changes, Mike Kickham is in line to start the home opener next Friday.
- Ketel Marte – SS
- James Jones – CF
- Stefen Romero – RF
- Jesus Montero – 1B
- Franklin Gutierrez – LF
- John Hicks – C
- Jabari Blash – DH
- Carlos Rivero – 3B
- Shawn O’Malley – 2B
- Abraham Almonte – CF
- Jake Goebbert – LF
- Tommy Medica – 1B
- Brett Wallace – 3B
- Rymer Liriano – RF
- Cody Decker – DH
- Ramiro Pena – SS
- Mike McCoy – 2B
- Rocky Gale – C
It’s warm here in El Paso, Texas, and it should be around 70 degrees tonight during the game. When I arrived yesterday it was extremely windy, but apparently that has died down for now.
The Rainiers expect to be dealing with some very cold temperatures on the second leg of this road trip, in high-elevation Albuquerque.
Let’s play a baseball game!
- The News Tribune opened its Tacoma Rainiers coverage today: Christian Caple has a story on Mariners outfield acquisitions forcing Stefen Romero and James Jones to Triple-A, and TJ Cotterill has the Rainiers opening day roster with commentary.
- Jay Yencich at USS Mariner has a long Tacoma Rainiers preview.
- It’s going to be a packed house in El Paso tonight. The El Paso Chihuahuas have a big-time catching prospect in Austin Hedges. He already has a reputation as an elite defensive catcher. This story includes the Chihuahuas opening day roster. Chihuahuas skipper Pat Murphy manages with love.
- Next up for Tacoma will be Albuquerque – they are now a Rockies affiliate, and will start Colorado mainstay Jorge De La Rosa tonight. It’s a rehab assignment – De La Rosa has a groin strain. Jonathan Gray is the big prospect in the ‘Topes rotation. Albuquerque’s pitch clocks are ready – here is a primer.
- After 15 years as an Oakland A’s affiliate, the Sacramento River Cats are ready for their first year with the San Francisco Giants.
- Salt Lake opens at Sacramento, and the Bees have a top-notch starting pitcher prospect in Andrew Heaney. Salt Lake should get big production from infielder Grant Green, who said it was “deflating” being sent to Triple-A. New Bees manager Dave Anderson was on-deck when Kirk Gibson hit his famous home run.
- Yasmany Tomas leads the list of Reno Aces to watch in 2015.
- The Las Vegas 51s are loaded and flamethrower Noah Syndergaard is back with the club.
- Manny Ramirez is still a coach in the Cubs system, but he is no longer a player-coach for Iowa.
- An interesting pitcher on the Omaha roster is Christian Binford, who got a late-season taste of Triple-A last year. Everyone in the PCL is chasing the two-time defending champion Storm Chasers.
- Former major league catcher Damon Berryhill will manage the Oklahoma City Dodgers – here’s a feature. He has a power hitting prospect in Scott Schebler. Broadcaster Alex Freedman doesn’t like catchphrases. Can the Dodgers brand revitalize baseball in Oklahoma City?
- MiLB.com has some opening day features, including a visual guide which has some truly ugly specialty jerseys – although I’ve got to say, the “hump day” jersey made me laugh.
- Bob Dutton’s Mariners Notebook includes the opening day starting pitcher for all four Mariners farm teams that open tonight.
- Baseball America released its 2014 minor league park factors. Cheney Stadium was the third-best pitcher’s park in the PCL last season.
- Former Rainiers outfielder Eric Thames hit for the cycle in Korea last night.
- The Mariners opened the season by dropping two-of-three to the Angels, and now they have a day off before playing at Oakland on Friday. Seth Smith is out with a tight groin.
- New MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was at Safeco Field yesterday, and both Larry Stone and Dave Boling spoke with him.
- The Chicago Cubs have a new local television partner, and the station is having a lot of trouble figuring out… the names of Major League Baseball teams. And spelling. Oh boy, the spelling.
Finally, it’s game day. Let’s have a fantastic season.