Rainiers Can’t Walk-Off Last Home Game

August 28, 2014

The home portion of the Tacoma Rainiers 2014 season came to an end with a 3-2 loss to the Iowa Cubs on Wednesday night.

The Rainiers finished with a 38-34 record at Cheney Stadium. Twelve of the 38 home wins came in the team’s last at-bat.

That last stat made me think, as we went to the bottom of the ninth with Iowa leading 3-2, that Tacoma might have one last walk-off in ’em. But the All-PCL reliever Blake Parker shut down Tacoma in the bottom of the ninth for his league-leading 24th save, and Iowa claimed the victory.

We had another good crowd, wrapping up an excellent homestand at the gate. The crowd of 6,319 brought the Rainiers final attendance up to 305,446. That’s down from last year, only because of the eight early-season rainouts. A couple of those rainouts came on big crowd dates (Opening Night, Throwback Weekend, etc.), which added to the impact.

The Rainiers aren’t done yet. The team has five games in Fresno starting tonight and ending with the traditional Labor Day afternoon game.

Thursday’s game starts at 7:05 PM – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 6:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Jordan Pries (9-7, 3.79) against Fresno RHP Jason Berken (10-9, 4.68).

Last night the annual team awards were presented before the game. They went like this:

  • Hitter of the Year: Jesus Montero
  • Pitcher of the Year: Logan Kensing
  • Gold Glove: Gabriel Noriega
  • Community Service Award: Logan Bawcom and Forrest Snow

Links:

  • We start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
  • The Mariners got blown out by the Rangers, 12-4. It was a rough day for Erasmo Ramirez.
  • Bob Dutton’s Mariners notebook has an update on Michael Saunders, among other things.
  • Sacramento maintained a one-game lead over Reno in the Pac-North by scoring six runs in the eighth inning of an 8-5 win at Nashville. Things got emotional in the last game at Greer Stadium.
  • Charles Brewer tossed eight strong innings and Reno completed a four-game sweep of Omaha with a 5-2 win.
  • Tim Cooney picked up his league-leading 14th win (which also set a Redbirds franchise record) for Memphis in a 5-4 win over Fresno. Memphis swept that series and leads Nashville by three games in the American-South.
  • Oklahoma City also finished off a sweep, downing Albuquerque 2-1. The RedHawks lead the American-North by two games over Omaha and four games over Iowa – they travel to Des Moines to finish the season.
  • Las Vegas won its seventh in a row and pulled a solid prank on pitching coach Frank Viola during a 9-3 victory over Round Rock.
  • Apparently these things are not related in the Springs: Colorado Springs set a franchise record for best attendance, eclipsing 350,000 for the first time. They also set a franchise record for worst home record, going 27-45.
  • Brennan Boesch bashed the Salt Lake Bees to a 6-5 win over New Orleans.

At this point, it’s all about the guys trying to finish strong, tacking on a few more wins, and seeing who gets called up. I’ll have blog posts all weekend, and we’ll keep updating this thing (almost) daily through the PCL playoffs and the end of the Mariners season.


Ibanez Accepts Hutch Award

January 31, 2014

Yesterday former Rainiers player Raul Ibanez accepted the annual Hutch Award in a ceremony at Safeco Field.

Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center presents the award annually to the Major League player who “best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire of Fred Hutchinson by persevering through adversity.”

This award honors players for their off-field contributions. From today’s Seattle Times story, check out this list of projects Ibanez donates his time to:

He chairs the annual Mariners Care Cystic Fibrosis golf tournament, supports Page Ahead Children’s Literacy Program, works with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Boys & Girls Clubs, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Treehouse, Covenant House Pennsylvania and Project H.O.M.E. and serves as a spokesman for the Mariners’ “Refuse to Abuse” campaign.

Ibanez became the third former Tacoma player to win the award. He joins Willie McCovey (1960 Tacoma Giants, Hutch Award in 1977) and Jason Giambi (1994 Tacoma Tigers, Hutch Award in 2000).

As an organization, the Mariners do a tremendous job of emphasizing to players the importance of giving back to their communities. This starts in the minor leagues, and the emphasis grows as players move up the chain. In his season-opening team meeting the past seven years, manager Daren Brown always strongly encouraged his players to participate in Rainiers community outreach programs.

Ibanez came up through the Mariners farm system, and he really took that organizational philosophy to heart and made it a part of his life regardless of which team he was playing for. I’m sure he’ll continue to do good work in the community while he’s with the Angels this season.

We’re proud to claim Raul as a former Rainiers player.

Links:

  • The News Tribune’s Bob Dutton has a unique perspective on Raul Ibanez, having covered him when he established himself in Kansas City.
  • If you are curious about Fred Hutchinson‘s story and why the award is named for him, his Wikipedia page is actually quite thorough.
  • Here is the news story on the Mariners signing Scott Baker, with quotes from Jack Zduriencik.
  • For ESPN Insiders, Keith Law’s Top 10 Mariners Prospects are right here.
  • I was a guest on the Lookout Landing podcast and if you can survive all of my rambling there are a few decent Rainiers stories.
  • The Orioles hired Brian Moran‘s uncle as a special assignment scout.
  • The new baseball cards are here! The new baseball cards are here! The new baseball cards are here! Jim Caple writes.
  • The season is approaching – I ordered my scorebook today. If you are into keeping score, these are the best books.

Have a Super weekend!


Mariners Awards Announced

September 27, 2013

The Seattle Mariners Minor League Awards were announced yesterday – here are the winners:

Player Of The Year: shortstop Chris Taylor, who started the season at Class-A High Desert and was promoted mid-season to Double-A Jackson. Combined, Taylor hit.314 with eight home runs and 60 RBI. Taylor drew 84 walks, stole 38 bases, and scored 108 runs – a total which ranked third in all of minor league baseball. I expect to see Taylor in Tacoma next year – if not on Opening Day, then at some point midway through the season.

Pitcher Of The Year: no surprise here, it’s Taijuan Walker all the way. Walker made 25 minor league starts between Jackson and Tacoma, posting a 2.93 ERA with 160 strikeouts in 141.1 innings pitched. Walker will compete for a spot in the Mariners starting rotation next spring.

Relief Pitcher Of The Year: Jackson right-hander Carson Smith gets the nod, posting a 1.80 ERA with 15 saves in 44 games. I thought we might see him in Tacoma during the 2013 season, but he got off to a slow start before really clicking in the second half, so the Mariners decided to leave him in Jackson and let him have a successful season. We’ll see him in 2014.

Heart and Soul Award: Tacoma’s Abraham Almonte receives the honor for “exemplary play and leadership.” Almonte hit .300 with 15 home runs and 26 stolen bases in 123 games between Jackson and Tacoma. He played 93 of those games for Tacoma, ranking fourth in the PCL with a .403 on-base percentage. He’s in the big leagues right now.

Broadcaster Of The Year: Tacoma’s own ok that one doesn’t exist.

Links:

Enjoy the weekend!