Sunday, June 25, 2006

Game Report: Rainiers vs. Beavers - Leone For Third!

I went to the Tacoma Rainiers vs. Portland Beavers game on Friday night. It's now Sunday afternoon and I still don't feel like writing about it. I'm not entirely sure why. But I haven't paid attention to the Mariners all weekend, and my softball team got crushed 33-3 today (at least I scored one of our three runs, after making several huge errors in the field. I felt like Hunter Brown), and I need something to write about, and no, I *don't* feel like writing about stuff like Brett Myers, so.

"Short" version: Someone's really got to teach Jared Wells and Cesar Jimenez how to freaking throw strikes. In the first four innings of the game, those two combined walked THIRTEEN GUYS. I am not making that up. Anyway, amidst a ton of base runners, the Rainiers managed to score 3 runs in the first two innings via a Quiroz GIDP RBI and a sweet double by Adam Jones. Terrmel Sledge (how the hell did he end up on the Beavers, anyway?) blasted a home run over the left-field wall in the 3rd inning to make it 3-1. Several boring innings later, the Beavers eked out another run in the 8th when Sledge doubled, McAnulty grounded out to first, and Knott hit a sac fly. This set the scene for the 9th inning, when Scott Atchison came out to pitch. Justin Leone led off with a single, and advanced to third when Atchison walked both Luke Carlin and Ken Jones. Manny Alexander hit a sac fly out to right, and despite Choo fielding it perfectly and firing the ball in, Leone still tagged up to score. The Rainiers couldn't get a run in their half of the ninth and the game went into extra innings. Nothing much happened in the 10th beyond Hunter Brown's fielding antics. Justin Leone scored another run in the 11th off Atchison; he doubled and was driven in by Carlin's double. Ken Jones singled, Carlin advanced to third, and the only reason Carlin didn't score was that Manny Alexander hit a sac fly ball that went to extremely shallow center field, and Adam Jones charged in for it, catching it slightly behind the second base infield dirt. With the score 4-3 coming into the bottom of the 11th, Jason Anderson took the mound for the Beavers, and after Asdrubal Cabrera grounded out, the Rainiers reeled off a ton of singles to center, starting with Scott Youngbauer and ending in the game-winning RBI by Guillermo Quiroz, and the Rainiers won it 5-4, Atchison getting the blown save and the win. Whee.

Top Ten Reasons the Rainiers game was great:

1. Shin-soo Choo got on base SIX TIMES in SIX PLATE APPEARANCES. Three walks, three hits. Choo's your own adventure.

2. Hunter Brown made a horrendous error in the tenth inning, dropping a pop fly that basically landed right over him; it popped out of his glove. I felt really bad for him, except the play immediately after that, he redeemed himself with a fantastic double play, catching a low liner and and firing it to first to double up the runner who had reached on the error.

3. Brown also walked twice, scored a run, and got caught in one of the funnier rundowns I've seen, after Jeff Clement grounded out to first. It does seem that while carrying the torch for the Hunter Brown Fan Club, I've gotten to see him do some really crazy stuff.

4. Jeff Clement got one hit and another near-hit when he scorched the ball into the shortstop, who happened to make the catch. It was a hell of a drive though. I'm really glad I can watch him play again; was it really only a year ago I went up to Everett to see his first professional game?

5. Justin. Leone. Is. AWESOME. Why the hell aren't the Padres playing him? He was fantastic in the field, starting a double play, catching Choo stealing third, and perfectly charging and fielding a bunt by Asdrubal Cabrera, in a play I'm not even sure Adrian Beltre makes. In the meantime he also hit a single and a double and scored both times, one of which was the tying run which brought the game into extra innings, and the other was the go-ahead run for the Beavers in the 11th.

6. Adam Jones charging that fly ball in the 11th was really good. I think he's getting pretty good out there in the outfield; he's got a great arm and a lot of foot speed. There was a long fly ball by Ken Jones which was caught by Greg Dobbs in left field, but Adam Jones got there in time to back it up as well. Good stuff.

7. Greg Dobbs doesn't suck. He's a much more acceptable outfielder than Mike Morse, for one, and at this game, he walked 4 times and got a single in one of his other plate appearances.

8. Despite the tying run scoring in the 9th off of it, Choo's play on Manny Alexander's sac fly was pretty awesome, very Ichiro-esque, as he caught the ball and immediately FIRED it home. The throw was dead on and even beat Leone to the plate, but Quiroz didn't make the tag. Oh well.

9. Also, Shin-soo Choo's son is the cutest kid ever. When the game got boring, I'd start watching Choo's kid running around the aisles and Choo's wife chasing him down. It got really funny at parts. Once, he even got far enough through the stands to get in the way when Nageotte and Cruceta were charting pitches, and he just looked up at them with this huge grin before getting taken away. It was so damn cute.

10. During the "I Want Candy" thing between the 7th and 8th innings, I got hit in the face with a piece of Cashew Roca. It was pretty good, though.

Top Ten Reasons the Rainiers Game Sucked:

1. NO CHRIS SNELLING :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

2. Those thirteen walks in the first four innings. The 20 walks issued in the game overall. I know walks are just as good as hits when your team gets them, but when the bases keep getting loaded due to walks for both teams, it's just BORING watching bad pitches go across the plate over and over again.

3. NO CHRIS SNELLING :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

4. Getting to see Justin Leone kick butt for another team makes me sad. I realize that my Leone fanship is largely influenced by Jeff, but still. When Leone doubled in the 11th inning down the left field side and Dobbs had to chase after it, I was vaguely reminded of what Jeff put on Dobbs's b-ref page. It's funny, but sad.

5. NO CHRIS SNELLING :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

6. There was this guy sitting behind me who yelled stuff the whole game. Most of the time it was just really annoying, particularly when it'd just be things like "YOU GUYS REALLY ARE A BUNCH OF BEAVERS" or whatever, although there was a funny moment when Atchison had a 3-something count on Ken Jones, and the dude yelled "YOU'RE WALKING HIM??? THIS IDIOT IS BATTING ONE FORTY THREE. ONE FOUR THREE, MAN!"

7. NO CHRIS SNELLING :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

8. I had seats in section O originally, and after about ten minutes there realized I couldn't see a damn thing with all the sunlight. I'm never sitting over there again. We moved infield to shadier seats. Thing is, though, Cheney Stadium is nearly impossible to take good pictures of during evening games because of the way the sun hits it, which is why there's no picture accompanying this entry.

9. NO CHRIS SNELLING :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

10. Freaking Tacoma traffic is annoying as all hell. Would you believe I left Seattle at about 5:15pm, and barely got to the game by 6:55pm? Not only is it a nightmare getting down I-5, but even once you get on route 16 out to the park, it was just completely backed up. Then, you get stuck getting into the Cheney parking lot. I don't think I'm coming down on a Friday ever again. Weekend games, maybe... earlier in the week games, maybe... but not Fridays. Yuck. And in the meantime, they had fireworks after the game -- the game didn't end until 11pm, after all -- which meant that you couldn't get out of the parking lot either, because it was blocked off during the fireworks. So I didn't get home until around 12:45am, which is probably why I didn't write this report until now.

On the other hand, the fireworks were good.

But goddamnit, I never ever seem to get to see Chris Snelling play.

It is sort of funny how the Mariners and Padres were playing each other at the same time their farm teams were playing each other.

Also, this game was my 25th baseball game attended of the year, which means I finished off my first scorecard book. This puts me one week ahead of where I was last year, when I finished off my first scorecard book on July 4th at the Yankees-Orioles game.

We had baseball-shape-frosted cupcakes after our softball game today because it was our shortstop's birthday during the week. I made the requisite Joe Blanton reference, but nobody got it.

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