Quick Thoughts from the Pacific Northwest

I’m driving all over the place, so transmissions will be few and far between this week. Here’s a brief recap of the story so far:

Day 1: San Diego to Sacramento

  • We tried taking I-15 to avoid LA traffic. It didn’t work, but at least we saw different things while crawling along on the freeway.
  • In ‘N’ Out at Newhall. Can I get an amen?
  • Neko Case and Snow Patrol provided the tunes.
  • I can tell I’m getting too old for these long drives because I become even more disagreeable than usual by the time we reach our destination.
  • We arrived at Raley Field about 15 minutes before first pitch. The ticket line was long, and we ended up spending a lot… for great seats behind the plate. Still, including tri-tip sandwich and Newcastle on draft, I spent more at one RiverCats game than I spend on the Padres in a month.
  • We sat behind the guys charting pitches for the visiting Salt Lake Bees. I’ve talked about this experience and it never gets old. Triple-A teams have a bigger budget than A-ball teams. The pitcher doing the actual charting used a touchscreen computer instead of pencil and paper.
  • I had no rooting interest in this game, so I cheered for players I’d seen at Lake Elsinore. That meant second baseman Eric Sogard for the home team (he singled, hit two deep fly ball outs, and committed a throwing error) and Paul McAnulty for the visitors (he had an RBI single and came in to play third base after we left).
  • We took off after the seventh inning on account of having to leave town early the next morning. I’m told that the postgame fireworks started a half hour after I fell asleep, so good call there.

Day 2: Sacramento to Eugene

  • We woke up at 4:30 a.m. and got out of Sacramento an hour later, running on Cliff Bars and Diet Mountain Dew… Breakfast of Champions.
  • I shall never tire of watching Mt. Shasta peak through the clouds.
  • We arrived at PK Park in Eugene about 5 minutes before first pitch. I need to allow for more lead time when planning these things.
  • Eugene definitely needed an upgrade. The new facility is modern and comfortable, but still has the charm of an old ballpark.
  • The game was… a bit sloppy. The Emeralds came from behind to win basically because Vancouver couldn’t turn a double play or three.
  • The Ems are incredibly young, even by Northwest League standards. A lot of the international signings from 2008 are there, so we’re talking 17- and 18-year-olds.
  • Right-hander Adys Portillo made his season debut. I couldn’t see any radar guns (we sat in the second row off to the third base side, right next to the visitors on-deck circle), but guys were late on his fastball and the mitt was popping. He looked like a pitcher, if a tad wild. Portillo walked three, plunked a guy in the back, and uncorked two wild pitches. I wouldn’t want to face that.
  • Jedd Gyorko (pronounced JER-ko) knocked four singles: one up the middle, two to right, one to left, all line drives. He was drafted as a second baseman but played third base on Sunday. He’s got tree trunk legs… no clue how that’s going to work on the middle of the diamond.
  • Rymer Liriano had trouble with high fastballs… also low breaking balls. That doesn’t leave a lot, but he’s young.
  • A steady drizzle fell throughout the game. After that drive, it was refreshing… and I wasn’t inclined to yield my seat for anything. The beer was a local honey ale on draft whose name escapes me at the moment… mmm, tasty.

Day 3: Eugene to Portland

  • Finally, a short drive… two hours.
  • We ate lunch at Deschutes Brewery… Pork ribs and Cascade Ale (I’d had the Black Butte Porter at dinner the previous night… trying to mix it up a little).
  • We met my friend Timm for dinner and then headed over to PGE Park for a ballgame.
  • Josh Geer tossed a complete game shutout, allowing only four hits. Say wha’? Seriously, I saw it with my own two eyes. We cheered him like crazy.
  • Everth Cabrera started his rehab assignment and looked fine. He didn’t do much to test the hamstring but almost made a terrific diving catch of a line drive… dropped it on making impact with the ground. He also got to show off the arm once or twice. Fun stuff.
  • The baseball situation in Portland is very, very sad. That park was deader than Eugene’s. PGE is going to soccer-only next year and the Beavers may cease to exist, but yikes… You would think a town the size of Portland could support a Triple-A team.

Well, this no longer qualifies as brief so I’d better stop now. I will pop back in when I have a chance, which will be… at some future date. Enjoy!

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6 Responses »

  1. I’ll be at the rays-pads final two games. Sad I don’t get to see Latos in real life for the first time though… but I’ll survive with LeBlanc. The guy has been pretty surprising. SO hopefully I’ll be able to provide some insight on the final two games wed and thurs :)

  2. So jealous…

  3. Amen!

    P Mac!

    They call him Timm?

  4. Sounds like a great trip. I love Raley field. When I lived in Davis for a few years I had the privilege of seeing the Padres play a pre-season exhibition against the Rivercats at Raley Field (c. ’99). It was probably the closest I ever sat with Trevor Hoffman on the mound in his prime and he was fooling me with his delivery. I would look at him for the wind-up but I couldn’t time looking at the batter for the swing without being early or late. I looked over at the Rivercats dugout and they were all on their feet leaning on the rail mouthing “wow” just like the rest of the crowd. I never had that experience at Qualcomm or Petco, it was awesome.

  5. Great story, Matt!