Results tagged ‘ Sacramento River Cats ’
These are the dog days of summer. The days when you buy chopped fruit from a street vendor, wear breathable shoes, snicker at people wearing cargo shorts, wear a light sweater at night, and perhaps even kiss a summer fling. There are blasts from boomboxes (cell phones) and people lounging and splashing in the river. There are people sitting on porches with a can of beer and with no hope of ever getting anything done that day. The days are getting shorter and the baseball season is slowly coming to an end, as if a lovely friend was planning a vacation for 6 months. When it ends it would have been a deep and complicated relationship full of thrills, contemplation, happiness, anger, and finally…heartbreak.
Recently my “baseball buddy,” Manny and I decided to take in Game 1 of the Pacific Coast League playoffs this past week with The Sacramento River Cats (S.F. Giants) squaring off against the Las Vegas Aviators. (Oakland A’s) I was particularly interested in this game because Daniel Mengden was on the hill and he and his handlebar mustache had spent a significant amount of time as a starter in Oakland this season, doing a pretty solid job before being sent down. There were, of course, a smattering of A’s prospects that I wanted to see in person although most had been called up when the rosters were expanded a few days prior.
Manny and I did our usual “pre-game” routine of a twelve pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon in the parking lot complete with the musical stylings of Slayer and the Circle Jerks. We stumbled into the stadium right around game time and settled into our seats a few rows behind home-plate. This game was announced around 48 hours earlier and was only attended by 3000 and change making the atmosphere close to a funeral. The catatonic-like atmosphere only got worse as the Aviators took a 6-1 lead in the third inning, turning anyone in the place not wearing green and gold into a virtual zombie. This was quite the opposite of an MLB playoff game in every way possible.
In a desperate attempt to liven up this experience, we had decided to walk around the stadium and take in the game from every angle possible every inning or so. This turned out to be fruitful as I had a moment of kismet when a ball was smoked down the left field line, arching foul and entering my outstretched hand on one hop moments before going over the fence. Manny returned from the bathroom and I told him he looked liked 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag moments before tossing him the ball.
“Can I have the ball, dude?”
Of course you can.
It was time to go. The game was in the bag and Manny had his foul ball. It was a beautiful, breezy night and I walked across the Sacramento River before biking home and immediately retiring to bed.
Around Fall 2001 I was moving in to a new place with my girlfriend at the time; she was 21, petite, had short red hair, a great sense of humor, loved to eat cheese and watch the X Files. We moved to a studio in a dodgy urban area, but it was ours and we loved it–we were young and still trying to understand the internal world of our hearts and minds among punk rock music, modern art, drugs and used furniture.
One night we were behind our apartment building taking out the trash when we saw a small gray and white cat running around. After chasing the little rascal around for a while, we caught it and decided to adopt him, but we couldn’t decide on a name.
“How about Bip?” I said.
Leon Joseph “Bip” Roberts hadn’t been in the league for a couple of seasons, but at the time was announcing for the local AAA Sacramento River Cats and this predicated the name. Besides, the player Bip was sort of smallish and an underdog who only hit 30 homers in his career. (One for the Oakland A’s!) The cat “Bip” was smallish and an underdog as well. The name stuck. Bip is probably gone now and the relationship is long over, as things tend to do, but the memories will always last.
No word yet as if Bip (the cat) has hit any homers in the Big Leagues.
I’ve been to 100’s of baseball games in my life, but perhaps the “miraculous strangeness of life” came into play recently as I recently attended a minor league AAA game between the Sacramento River Cats and the Reno Aces. (both teams are affiliated with a N.L. team, I am unpledged to any N.L. team except the Dodgers.)
It was Sunday; there there were hordes of annoying children and even more annoying non-baseball fans out for a sun drenched day–unable to simply figure out the Dewey Decimal system and standing around awkwardly with blank stares, metaphorically taking us back to the primeval seas as protozoa. Kudos to the drunk guy yelling “down in front!” to the yuppies, completely unaware that they had breached the unwritten baseball rule of finding your seat quickly and getting your ass out of the way.
Game facts: there was a grand slam. An event I can’t remember ever seeing live. I had also never come close to a foul ball, instantly disappointed as I dropped one, (bare and one-handed) that had such an unexpected force that my right hand was bee-stung for a few minutes afterward. I had to watch an old guy from the post-war generation two seats in front of me take a picture with my ball. That said, I still cringe when I see a grown man try to catch a ball and recoil like a coward at the last moment. I had just tidied myself with a 12 dollar beer in the 5th when the game was stopped because of a small snake on the infield. This is something I have never seen and perhaps will never see again.
Baseball season represents an infinite cloud of future potentialities, and as I walked in my door and flipped on the tube the Cubs and Yankees were playing an eventual 18 inning affair that broke the ML record for strikeouts in a game. This game has been played professionally since 1876.
Eat a dick, indeed.
I am typing this through the dense smell of cow shit on an Amtrak train hurtling at 80 mph through the California Central Valley from Sacramento to Los Angeles. What a strange, wild world we live in.
It looks like the Oakland Athletics’ lovable frat-boy, Brett Lawrie (pictured) found himself in a bit of trouble over the weekend–injuring Kansas City second baseman Alcides Escobar in an attempt to break up a double play. After seeing the replay, it seems to me if Lawrie manages to slide directly into the bag, he’s safe. Easily. Instead he takes out Escobar, cleats up, with his lead foot shin/calve, dragging his hand across the bag (and then past the bag). I’ve seen a talking head for MLBN state that it was a hard slide to break up Escobar receiving the ball and I agree. After a beaning in the back, a Twitter war between players and fans, a bench clearing “brawl” that consisted of players standing around and a few ejections; it looks like we have a good old-fashioned baseball rivalry on our hands. That’s just baseball. Obviously there is still bad blood between these teams due to last years playoffs, yet the season is still way too early for these kinds of things. It’s good to see that the Athletics have a lot of heart and competitive drive, but let’s get back to the summer marathon that we all enjoy shall we?
IN OTHER NEWS…I got a chance to see the (AAA) Sacramento Rivercats play the Las Vegas 51’s on Tuesday. Mind you, this was after swearing that I’d never step foot in their ballpark again after recently switching affiliation from the A’s to the Giants. Well, boredom and curiosity got the best of me. My mom was working that day and I needed something to do in a town that traditionally has nothing to do. I hadn’t stepped foot in Sacramento in over a year and wanted to see what the lions’ den would look like–what was once home would now be behind enemy lines complete with orange and black barbed wire.
The moment felt strange from the beginning. The sea of Giants caps and guilt made me feel a bit nauseous. “It’s OK, it’s baseball.” I kept telling myself. My positive emotions were soon turned to mush as I found out that the cheapest tickets were 12 DOLLARS! For a minor league game!!! Like always, I waited the unwritten baseball rule of 3 innings planted in a crap seat in the sun before finding a nice, shady seat right along the first base line. It was a typically fun day at the yard with a homer, a few great defensive plays, (even a bases loaded 1-2-3!) a few pitching changes and even a few great plays by the fans. I paid 6 bucks for a relatively fat hot dog (anything is better than the Dodger Dog, which are usually stale) that was quite tasty. The price was ridiculous but I came away happier and with a nice tan as I listened to the sea lions bark below the iconic Tower Bridge on the walk home.