M’s Involved In Cal League Shake-Up

News leaked out late on Sunday night that a major shake-up at the Class-A level of the minor leagues was in the works, and today official announcements were made: The Advanced-A California League is contracting two teams, and the Advanced-A Carolina League is adding two teams.

The two California League teams that are being contracted after the season are Bakersfield and High Desert. The Mariners are currently affiliated with Bakersfield, and were previously affiliated with High Desert.

Apparently the Mariners are still going to be in the California League next year, having worked out a deal to link up with Modesto next season according to online reports.

This news makes me kind of sad. I worked in the California League for three years prior to getting the Tacoma radio job. As the broadcaster in Rancho Cucamonga, we took road trips to Bakersfield and High Desert frequently. I have many memories of these trips – both were unique places for baseball, for very different reasons.

Bakersfield’s home ballpark was decrepit when I was in the league – I can’t imagine how bad it is now. It’s famous for sun delays, because the sun sets behind the center field wall.

High Desert has been among the most extreme hitter’s parks in professional baseball since it was built. High elevation, wind always blows out, and the infield grass cut so short and the dirt so hard, it was like 1980s Astroturf. On top of that, the stadium sat in the middle of the desert with nothing around it for several miles.

Mostly I feel bad for the people who worked to keep baseball n these cities. These teams had tiny, hard-working front offices and now they’ll have to find something else to do.

Sunday was a good day for the Rainiers, as they moved closer to clinching the Pacific-North title.

Tacoma beat Las Vegas, 7-3. Both of the challengers lost, and now Reno is 5.5 games back and Fresno is 7 games back with 15 to play.

The Rainiers haven’t made the playoffs since 2010. We’re getting closer…

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Tacoma enjoyed a strong start from Joe Wieland and beat Las Vegas, 7-3. Wieland went six innings and allowed two runs to earn his 12th win of the year, becoming Tacoma’s first 12-game winner since Cha-Seung Baek went 12-4 in 2006. Dae-Ho Lee hit his first Triple-A home run in the second inning, and Tyler Smith went 3-for-4 with two runs batted in.

‘Magic Number’: 10. That’s the total number of Tacoma wins + Reno losses needed for the Rainiers to clinch the Pacific-North division title (without resorting to tiebreakers).

Today: Las Vegas (60-69) at Tacoma (74-54-1), 7:05.

Opponent Affiliation: New York Mets.

Season Series: Las Vegas leads, 9-5.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Robert Gsellman (1-5, 5.73) at RHP Jarrett Grube (1-3, 3.88)

Ken Rosenthal of Fox is reporting that the Mets are calling up Gsellman, so this might turn into a ‘bullpen day’ for Vegas.

Hot Rainiers: Daniel Robertson is 9-for-18 over his last four games, and he is hitting .355 since the all-star break… Tyler Smith has gone 7-for-13 during a three-game streak.

Look Out For: Michael Conforto has had multiple hits in nine of his last ten games, going 24-for-43 during that stretch… Brandon Nimmo is 18-for-41 over his last eight games… T.J. Rivera leads the PCL with a .347 batting average, and Nimmo is second at .345.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

PCL Game Reports:

  • Reno lost a ridiculous game at home to Sacramento, 11-9. Down 7-4 in the eighth, Reno scored five times to take a 9-7 lead – only to see Sacramento tally four runs in the top of the ninth inning. Travis Ishikawa‘s three-run homer in the ninth was the big hit.
  • The red-hot Isotopes survived a 94-minute rain delay and beat Fresno, 4-3. The Isotopes have won 13 of the last 15 games.
  • El Paso appears to be getting back on track. The Chihuahuas pitched well in a 2-1 win over Salt Lake, and they maintain a 6.5-game lead over Albuquerque in the Pac-South.
  • Nashville utility infielder Josh Rodriguez homered twice and drove in five runs during a 13-7 win at Omaha.
  • Colorado Springs pitched its second straight shutout, this one a 6-0 win at Round Rock. Sky Sox pitchers struck out a franchise-record 18 batters. Josh Hader went six innings with a dozen K’s.
  • Memphis beat Iowa, 4-1, while I-Cubs outfielder Albert Almora is battling an injury.
  • New Orleans is even hotter than Albuquerque right now. The Zephyrs took down Oklahoma City, 5-3, and they have won 11 of the last 12 games.

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