Today, I went down to Tacoma, and Jeff and I took in a Tacoma Rainiers - Salt Lake Stingers baseball game. I guess this is the equivalent of my birthday baseball game... Felix Hernandez was starting for the Rainiers, and everyone has been hailing him as King Felix, the next God of Pitching. Well, he is pretty good - 7 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 2 HR for him, and a win... as Jeff pointed out later, he really did only give up two hits, which were both home runs. It's all the making of another Good Meche. On the other hand, the kid's like 18 years old. We'll see where he goes.
I did manage to score the whole game, which is pretty amazing for me considering they have barely any scoreboards or anything else there. The odd thing here is that Shin-Soo Choo hit a home run over the centerfield fence, and I was reading the Rainiers magazine, which claimed that A. J. Zapp was the first person known to hit a home run over it, last year... can that possibly be right? Hmm. The headline on the Rainiers' site for today's game DOES say, "Choo clears the wall", so...
Snelling wasn't playing, which is a little disappointing, I really wanted to see him in action. Maybe I'll have to go to another Rainiers game soon. Also, did you know that there are two major league baseball players named Abraham Nunez? How weird is that?
Hunter Brown looked really good at third base, seriously -- he made some great defensive stops, fielded bunts cleanly, in general played very well -- and this particular evening he even went 3-for-4 at the plate. I actually thought he was Justin Leone at first because he was playing third and wearing number 26, but Leone apparently wears 24 these days and is on the DL currently. Anyway, I said something to Jeff like "Hey, this third baseman is awesome! Why hadn't I heard of him before?" We look at his numbers on the stat sheet and he's been hitting .148/.246.185, and it's like "Oh... uh, that explains it."
Masao Kida also looked pretty good out there -- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. Well, unless you believe the Rainiers' scorer, 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. Whaaaatever. They don't seem to call errors errors in the minors, which explains the high ERAs and the high batting averages.
Minor league games are fun, but kind of frightening, mostly due to the overwhelming amount of screaming 9-year-olds hanging out at the park. Even worse, they encourage it by having these insane birthday packages, which involve like, a group of 8 kids, and a birthday cake, and going up on the dugout with Rhubarb the Rainiers Reindeer (I am NOT making that up, that's really the mascot) to have everyone sing to you, and throwing out a first pitch, and getting a "birthday guest" t-shirt which reads, "I survived my birthday at Cheney Stadium" on the back, and... yeah. In-between innings the "fun crew" does such things as leading the stadium in doing the chicken dance, or throws candy into the stands.
I've got some pictures from the game, but I'm too busy turning 28 on Saturday and having a birthday to bother playing with them. Maybe after the weekend.