Tonight was sort of a double-header for me as I decided to attend the Tacoma Rainiers game at Safeco, then managed to listen to the Mariners on the way home.
Unfortunately both teams lost, the Mariners 4-3 in 14 innings on a walk-off homer by Bobby Abreu and the Rainiers 6-2 to the Sacramento River Cats.
Since I spent actual money and time watching the AAA game I think I will focus on them as it was a fun experience despite the loss. I spent $25 to get a seat in the 119 section in the first row on a quiet cool night where it felt a bit like the twilight zone.
For whatever reason only 2,460 fans showed-up tonight as the Rainiers were allowed to use Safeco field while Cheney Stadium is being rebuilt. I would guess that at least half if not more were true-blue Rainiers fans up from Tacoma, mixed in with people like me who did not really know all the players.
Mauricio Robles got the start for the Rainiers and did not have very good command of his fastball tonight against the River Cats who are part of the Oakland system and were playing with their backs to the wall facing elimination tonight. The River Cats were able to score 5 of their 6 runs via the long-ball off of the Rainiers who now lead the series 2-1.
It was nice to see John Halama, Tommy Everidge (who fanned 4 times tonight) and Brett Tomko in uniform for the visiting club. I was not particularly impressed with Smoak or Ackley though both have been hot prior to tonight’s game, which actually felt more like a highschool football game due to the small but lively crowd.
The Rainiers only scored twice tonight but for some reason it feels different from the Mariners when they are behind, probably because the Rainiers have 5 or 6 guys who unlike their counterparts on the big club routinely hit home runs. So I stayed to the end hoping to get a glimpse of the one guy I am really looking forward to seeing soon with the Mariners, that being Danny Cortes the flame-throwing reliever. I met Danny during spring training this year and he seems like a nice guy with a strong desire to compete and the arm to go with that fire in his belly.
It was great to listen to the fun-loving Rainiers fans chant and make noise like a group of kids on a field trip to the big city. The Rainiers have a great fan base that have been rewarded with a winning team this year and they did not seem as jaded as the average Mariners fan. Winning is fun!
The Rainiers are now up 2-1 in this 5-game series and will be playing at noon on Saturday at Safeco, and 7pm Sunday if need be. In the event they win this series they will be forced to play their next series entirely in Memphis as they are literally homeless here in the NW as the Mariners will be back in town.
So if you are looking for a change of pace and want to see Brett Tomko pitch against Justin Smoak and the Rainiers, head down to the Safe tomorrow and enjoy some fun baseball without the traffic and at half the price!.http://jeffsmariners.com