June 2019

Red Rock Casino – Presidential Suite

June 1, 2019

“That was the biggest blindside I’ve ever had in my life” is how Chris Shaw described his assignment to Double-A Richmond to start this season.

“It was the second to last day of camp and Kyle Haines called me into his office. I was the last guy in the facility, and he called me…because we had to jump on a conference call with Farhan right [then], and the only thing that ran through my head was, that I must be getting traded. So, I got in there and he told me, he explained, I don’t even remember the conversation because he said the words, “you’re going to Richmond”, and I felt like I was hit by a train. I was thinking “What? How did that happen”? I know I struck out a lot last year, but at least let me go out and prove that I can make an adjustment, but at that point its, “No, we made a decision. We think you’re going to do a better job down there”. That was kind of slap in the face for me, and I felt like they didn’t think I could come out and do it. So that has been a really big goal of mine to just go out and prove to myself more than anything that I am the player that I think I am”.

While Chris went 0-4 in his first game back in Sacramento, I don’t think we should read into the next couple of days that much considering what he endured to get here.

“Yesterday was the longest travel day I’ve ever had in my life. I left Richmond, [VA] at 3am East Coast time, flew into Chicago, had a layover, and got into Sacramento about 1:30pm, and came straight to the field. I was almost up for 24-hours. I think by the sixth inning of that game I was cross eyed. I couldn’t see three feet in front of me I was so tired”.

Chris was obviously still when meeting with me as he had that loopy laugh people get when they haven’t caught up on the rest they need from lack of sleep and a three-hour time zone change. Chris continued to share what he found was the key to returning to Sacramento this season.

“Mo [Richmond hitting coach Francisco Morales] was definitely helpful down there as far as game planning and making sure what to look for each night…but I honestly think that last year I let things get away from me. I tried to do way too much, and you get your ass kicked like as far as that assignment goes, I step back and go, all right, are you going to go into this and let anxiety take over and are you going to completely shut down and pout…about it, or are you going to go in and get your work done and just take it day by day and enjoy baseball…I’m not showing up to the park nervous about playing, I’m not nervous about striking out, it is what it is, and I’m going to go out and play my ass off and whatever happens, happens”.

Chris has shown a lot of growth in the past season, and now comes to the ballpark with a different attitude each day.

“I just want to enjoy myself. I know that sounds corny, and it might sound like it’s a generic answer, but I couldn’t be more serious in that I just want to have fun. I want to enjoy what I’m doing; I want to get that feeling back of going out and playing a kid’s game and taking the pressure off. This year has shown me that I have zero effing control over anything like that other than going out, playing hard, and enjoying myself”.

The River Cats ended May on a high note with a win, and they did so by shutting out the Aviators 1-0. The only run of the game came off the bat of Mike Gerber, a solo home run in the third. It was also an interesting night with a one hour and seven-minute game delay due to the stadium lights going out.

The River Cats are coming into June tied for second with the Fresno Grizzlies who are both 1.5 games behind Tacoma who are on a four-game win streak. The team’s batting leaders are Mike Gerber and Mike Yastrzemski, although Yaz is up with the Giants right now. Gerber’s .344 average is currently seventh in the PCL, and he has 11 home runs which still puts him one back of Yaz. In the pitching department, it really goes to show how inconsistent of a rotation and overall pitching staff the team has had being that Stephen Okert and Pat Venditte are tied with the lead in wins but have only three a piece, which is about half of what the rest of the league leaders have. Now with both Beede and Anderson up with the Giants, Ty Blach leads the team with 5.96 ERA, and 1.68 WHIP. You might be able to disregard that ERA since this is the PCL and the balls are flying out across Triple-A at a record pace, but that WHIP, Ouch!

Mac Williamson has cleared waivers and has elected free agency. Best of luck to him wherever he may land.

Curt Young had to have surgery yesterday, so the Giants are making Matt Herges the acting pitching coach and calling up Steve Kline to join the bullpen. Steve is going to make that bullpen a frat house and I say that it the most respectful way. Lol. No clue who will take his place in Sacramento just yet, but I will in a few hours.

Yoanys Quiala gets the start for the River Cats today, and he’ll be facing Tyler Alexander for the Aviators. The River Cats will be wearing special Farm to Fork jerseys that they will be auctioning off tonight. They are probably the worst jerseys that I’ve ever seen in my life. They are white with large pastel yellow, orange, and red with poppies on them. They look like something you might find from a Tommy Bahama knock off store.

If there is a Jorge Mateo fan club, they need to make shirts that say, “Te Mateo”. After giving up back-to-back singles to Martini and Fowler, Mateo sends one out to left field and it’s a quick 3-0 lead for the Aviators.

Gerber gets one run back in the bottom of the first when he sends a 1-0 pitch to dead center and the score is now 3-1 after one.

The Aviators pick up one with some small ball in the second, and the River Cats add one in the bottom of the third with a solo home run in the bottom half of the third. 4-2 Las Vegas.

Quiala gives up a solo home run to Seth Brown in the top half of the fifth, and now down 5-2, Ryan Howard leads off the bottom of the fifth with a double to right.

Abiatal Avelino with an absolute bomb to left field that lands on the back side of the clubhouse 417 feet away to make it 5-4. Gerber walks, Michael goes down swinging, and Austin Slater comes up and hits a two run #SlaterTater to make it 6-5. A couple of more singles by the River Cats, but that’s all the damage, they do, but they take the lead after five.

Out in El Paso the score is 23-3 in favor of the Chihuahuas over the Rainiers and it’s the bottom of the eighth with El Paso batting; make it stop they’re already dead.

Quiala goes out there for the sixth. Baretto hits one back to Quiala, but this time he can only deflect it, and Baretto reaches safely. That was pitch 103 for Yoanys, so that will be it, and Sam Selman comes in to relieve.

Selman strikes out two to get out of the inning, and to the bottom of the sixth we go. This is now an official game, and I only say that because rain is due here in 16 minutes and expected to go on for a few hours. Last night it was the lights, tonight potential rain. I have to say that watching the lightning over a dark Sacramento sky, from the press box at Raley Field is one of the best things I’ve ever seen.

Howard is leading off the Bottom of the sixth and singles to right. Can we get lightning in a bottle and get some more runs? After hitting a monstrous home run in his last at bat, Avelino bunts and gets Howard over. Gerber hits a ball just past and over the head of an outstretched Mateo to extend the lead to 7-5, and Vegas goes to the bullpen again. Ryan Dull comes in for Las Vegas, and on his first pitch, he balks. He gets Slater out on the next pitch to end the inning.

Selman is having a little bit of a tough time in the seventh. He only has one out, and runners on first and second. Ray Black is getting up in the bullpen as Selman strikes out the next two batters to get out of the inning. He now has five strikeouts in 1.2 innings of work tonight.

Ray Black comes in to start the eighth for the River Cats. After getting the first two outs, Black walks two and Couchee, who is the acting pitching coach while Kline is away, comes out to talk to him while Gustave warms up in the pen. Now he is charged with a balk. Runners on second and third, Fowler at the plate, and he strikes him out to end the inning. 

Yandal Gustave in to close this out here in the ninth. It’s not an easy task with Jorge Mateo starting off the inning followed by Seth Brown, and Shelon Neuse. Gustave shuts down the heart of the lineup and the River Cats take this one by a score of 7-5 to even up the series.

In San Francisco Giants’ news, Shaun Anderson is on his way to winning his first Major League game as the Giants lead 7-2 going into the seventh. Buster Posey is coming out of the game now too and it looks like he pulled something. Just happened, so no word, but this may mean Aramis is going up soon.

Shaun did officially win his game today, so congrats to him, and Posey should be back in the lineup on Tuesday the fourth. He was scheduled for a day off tomorrow, and they don’t have a game Monday, so it worked out just fine.

June 2, 2019

I was right about Aramis; he is indeed in Baltimore now as Buster is day to day. May be a short stint, but hey, a day in the Majors is still worth it if you ask me. Coonrod was sent down to Sacramento as a corresponding move.

Today is another MiLB es Divertido today, and I saw my first “Mexican” looking Mexicans at the ballpark. Chris Shaw will be getting his first start out at left field today since he returned to the team the other night. Tonight’s pitching matchup will feature Ty Blach for the River Cats and Paul Blackburn for the Aviators.

Blach starts the game off with a quick 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts.

The River Cats start off the bottom half of the first with a single and walk from Gerber and Slater before Blackburn strikes out Shaw and Green for the first two outs which brings up Henry Ramos.

Strike one on the first pitch to Ramos.

Line drive to center by Ramos will score Mike Gerber, and the River Cats take the early 1-0 lead.

Another quick inning by Black and another strike out and on to the bottom of the second. 

Avelino hits a liner up the middle to start the second, and on the very next pitch Ronnie Freeman with the two-run shot just fair to make it 03-0 River Cats.

A bouquet of balloons is floating onto the field right now. Not sure exactly where they originated from but they’re headed right toward Aviator center fielder Dustin Fowler who makes a nice grab in stride and starts to walk them to a grounds crew member who gets them off the field.

The Avaitors are chipping away at the lead here in the third. After starting the inning off with a strike out to Beau Taylor, Blach has given up three singles to put the Aviators on the board, and sac fly to make it 3-2 before striking out Mateo to end the inning.

Shaw goes down for the second time swinging in this game, on three pitches this time. Blackburn is having a better outing than the scoreboard appears, but Blach is matching him along the way. Green goes down swinging, and Ramos grounds to first to end the inning. Its 3-2 going into the fourth.

It’s a hot day under the sun, time to go into the press box.

Blach gives up two hits to start the fifth. Corban Joseph hits into a 4-6-3 and they just get him at first. Ryan Howard had to charge that ball and was able to make the play with a quick shuffle to short and on to first by Avelino. With Beau Taylor on third, Blach escapes the jam as Campbell grounds out to Levi Michael to end the inning. That’s probably going to be it for Blach as he just 100 pitches.

Two on for Slater here in the bottom of the fifth with no outs. Slater picks up an RBI as he grounds out to short, and he comes up lame. The ball was a comebacker to the pitcher as it hit Blackburn, and an amazing play by Mateo on a crazy hop and with his momentum going the opposite way he throws across his body and behind him to get Slater, 1-4-3. Slater is leaving the game to get looked at. That’s the first out of the inning and the River Cats still have Gerber on second and Shaw coming to bat.

Shaw swings through the pitch, curveball. He’s seen four straight curves in this at bat but lays off the next one. Shaw chops the next pitch to Mateo at second to advance Gerber to third.

Zach Green strikes out to end the inning.

Starting the sixth for the River Cats is Tyler Rogers and replacing Slater in rightfield is Anthony Garcia.

Mateo leads off the inning with a double just on the line and past third into the outfield.

Seth Brown with a double in just about the same spot as Mateo’s and the score is now 4-3 River Cats.

Sheldon Neuse with another double down the third base line and the game is tied.

Fowler battles Rogers to a full count and swings at ball four for the first out.

Franklin Barreto hits the fourth double of the inning, but this time it is in the left field gap.

The Aviators are now up 5-4 and there are two out.

Steven Okert comes in for Rogers.

Corban Joseph with a screamer down the right field line on the first pitch but it goes foul.

Oh, it only gets better.

Okert hits Joseph, and now walks Martini.

The bases are loaded for Eric Campbell.

First pitch pulled just foul, and the team avoids a fifth double of the inning for now. Campbell pops it up to short right just past second, and both Michael and Garcia are charging, and Garcia just makes the catch to end the inning.

The River Cats are only down by one. 5-4.

Let’s see if the River Cats can get the run back here in the sixth.

Henry Ramos leads off.

Ramos and Howard go down, and Avelino gets an infield single off the palm of Baretto’s glove.

Ronnie Freeman with a single off the left field wall, and Avelino is held at third. Freeman with catcher’s legs holds at first.

Levi Michael strikes out to end the inning.

Henry Ramos who has been the DH, is headed to the clubhouse. I don’t know if he is out of the game or if he just needs to do something.

Okert goes back out for the seventh.

After giving up a leadoff single to Mateo, Okert gets Brown and Neuse to fly out and the inning ends when Dustin Fowler pops out to Zach Green in foul territory. Green grabs the pop up by the netting along first, but as he starts to back pedal he runs over Levi Michael.

The River Cats go down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh, and Shaw strikes out for the third time today. He’s 0-4 today, and 0-9 since joining the River Cats.

That is it for Okert, as Williams Jerez comes in for the eighth.

Beau Taylor hits a blooper to left center, and it falls between Shaw, Gerber, and Avelino for a hit.

Franklin Barreto with this fourth home run of the season, a two-+run shot, and all Chris Shaw can do is watch it go. 7-4 Aviators.

Joseph with the bunt to back to Jerez, and he throws a rocket to first past Green and the error goes to Jerez.

Martini hits into 4-6-3 double play. Avelino made a nice spin on the play.

Campbell flies out to right and on to the bottom of the eighth.

Green gets one back to start the eighth! 449ft, and its 7-5. That is Green’s ninth home run of the season but first since returning from the IL.

Jerez goes back for the top of the ninth for Mateo coming up for the fifth time tonight, but he hits a soft grounder to Michael for the first out.

Jerez strikes out Seth Brown for out number two and here comes Brundy.

Dillon McNamara replaces Jerez and will be facing Sheldon Neuse.

Neuse grounds out to Avelino.

Last chance for the for the River Cats against the closer for the Aviators, Brian Schlitter.

One down on a ground out to short for Ronnie Freeman.

Levi Michael with the perfect bunt up the third base line which brings Mike Gerber to bat.

Gerbs leads the team with 12 home runs; with Garcia due up next and he will be followed by Shaw if they get that far.

Gerber flies out to left, and Garcia is our only hope.

Schlitter strikes out Garcia, and that’s the ball game.

The River Cats are now 4-22 against Oakland Triple-A affiliates (Nashville, and Las Vegas) since the team left Sacramento in 2015.

June 3, 2019

The River Cats have their second day off the season today, but they are traveling to Oklahoma City, and then to New Orleans. There are also only three Major League games today, because its draft day. The Baltimore Orioles have the first pick, and the consensus #1 pick, is someone they say hasn’t had the type of hype since Bryce Harper in 2011, and that is Adley Rutschman from Oregon State. If they don’t go with Rutschman it will probably be Bobby Witt Jr, whose father went #3 overall in 1986. The Giants have the 10th pick of the night.

The Giants have selected Hunter Bishop out of Arizona State! I’m so excited for this. In my opinion he was the best option here, and I think he should be a great addition to San Francisco’s lineup in the future. A left-handed power hitting outfield who went to Serra HS in Palo Alto, and then on to ASU just like Barry Bonds did. Fun fact, Hunter’s brother Braden, while playing for the Rainiers, opened the 2019 River Cats season by leading off the game with a double off Andrew Suarez. I’m looking forward to seeing Hunter in a River Cats uniform one day before suiting up for the Giants.              

June 4, 2019

I spent most of today doing laundry and packing for the trip to New Orleans tomorrow. It was nice to have yesterday through today to not really have to think about baseball even though I did watch the draft long enough to see who the Giants were going to select.

The River Cats are in Oklahoma City to play the Dodgers, and just like in the Majors it is expected to “Beat L.A.”. Former River Cats and Giants catcher Trevor Brown told Bridget Mulcahy and I in an interview last year what is expected organization wide.

“Whenever we play the Dodgers there is always a little bit more intensity even from the coaches…They want us to beat the Dodgers at every level, it’s not just at the Big Leagues, they want us…to beat them regardless of where we are at”.

The River Cats will be going with Carlos Navas, while OKC will be starting Vacaville native Tony Gonsolin.

The Cats make it easy for Gonsolin here in the first going down 1-2-3.

Leading off for the Dodgers is former Rule 5 pick and Forever Giant Connor Joe, who was returned to the Dodgers on April 7th.

Navas strikes out the side to start the game.

Zach Green leads it off in the second for the Cats and reaches on a throwing error by shortstop Drew Jackson. Chris Shaw follows, and still has not gotten his first hit. He is currently 0-8 with four strikeouts. It has been a tough couple of days after doing so well in Double-A and Shaw works a walk.

After Howard flies out, Francisco Pena gets a hit to load the bases for Levi Michael; and Gonsolin hits Michael to bring in a run.

Navas goes down looking.

Avelino gets a hold of one, but foul.

Avelino with a swinging bunt on the next pitch goes between Gonsolin and Edwin Rios that Gonsolin cannot field and Shaw scores to take a 2-0 lead. The inning ends on a strike out by Henry Ramos.

Long time River Cats fan favorite Shane Peterson leads it off here for the Dodgers, and grounds out Zach Green at first for the out. That will bring up power hitting Edwin Rios.

Rios follows with a double to right field.

Drew Jackson makes up for his error earlier in the game and doubles with a hard lined shot off the glove of Green to knock in Rios and it 2-1 River Cats.

Navas buckles down and gets Josh Thole and Jake Peter to ground out.

Jumping to the bottom of the third with two outs, OKC center fielder Zach Reks gets on with a bunt single.

Kyle Garlick follows with a double to center which scores Reks and the Dodgers have tied it up.

Navas throws one away and Garlick is now at third.

Shane Peterson up to bat.

I love it when former River Cats players do well, and I love seeing them continue and advance their careers, that is until they hit a two-run home run and help the OKC Dodgers take the lead. 4-2 OKC after three.

After a walk to Fransisco Pena to start the fourth, the River Cats go down in order.

Drew Jackson gets things going for the Dodgers with a single to left in the bottom of the fourth.

Pickoff attempt by Navas but Green misses the ball and Jackson heads to second base. Navas had Jackson dead in the water if that ball would have been caught.

Josh Thole walks.

1-1 is the count, and Jake Peters singles to put add on another run here and its now 5-2 OKC.

OKC makes a change here in the top of the fifth. Cameron Perkins coms in for Kyle Garlick.

Henry Ramos with a double to center field, followed by a Mike Gerber line drive to second base for the first out.

Zach Green follows up with a double and Ramos scores. 5-3.

Dodgers’ pitcher Justin Grimm is being looked at right now. Not sure what is going on, and he is leaving the game. Injury of some type, and Rob Zastrysny is coming in to take his place.

Two down now as Shaw flies to center and is still looking for his first hit since joining Sacramento.

Ryan Howard with the single to right.

Zach Green is going to home.

The throw from Cameron Perkins is on time and Green is out!

Its funny how often players make a great play and then lead off the next inning, so first up here in the bottom of the fifth, Cameron Perkins.

One out.

Shane Peterson is just tearing it up tonight as he takes a 2-0 pitch down the left field line and gets himself a triple.

Sac fly by Edwin Rios and the Dodgers extend their lead 6-3. Two down.

Drew Jackson flies to right for out number three.

Ray Black came in for the River Cats in the bottom of the six and strikes out the side while hitting 100 mph with the fastball.

Abiatal Avelino got a hit to lead off the seventh, but both teams have been hitless since. The Cats still trail 6-3 starting the top of the ninth, and they’ll have Levi Michael, the pitcher’s spot, and Avelino due up.

Back-to-back singles by Levi Michael, and Anthony Garcia who pinch hit for Venditte.

Avelino with an easy can of corn to right fielder Cameron Perkins for out number one.

Henry Ramos strikes out. Two down.

First pitch swinging and Mike Gerber with a hit up the middle that scores Michael and its 6-4 with two down.

Zach Green goes down swinging and that the ball game.

Is there really anything else to say besides, “That’s the ball game”? Not only do I feel like a radio announcer, but I say it a lot. Anyway…fun fact, today was only the second time since Connor Joe did not reach base since being returned to the Dodgers by the Giants.

Congratulations to Bruce Bochy as the Giants beat the Mets with Madison Bumgarner on the mound to secure Bochy’s 1,000 managerial win.

June 5, 2019

Bright and early day game here on the West Coast as it is a 9:05am start here in Game 2 of the three-game series with OKC. This works out great for me, as I’m flying out to New Orleans tonight and I was trying to figure what I would do about the game.

Andrew Suarez gets the ball for the River Cats against Daniel Corcino. If I remember correctly from last season, Corcino may have done a pretty good job at shutting down the River Cats, but it is a new season, and new players.

Avelino starts the Cats offense with a double here in the first with one out.

Anthony Garcia with a fly ball to center for out number two.

After starting his stint in Sacramento last week 0-10, Chris Shaw gets his first hit with the River Cats and picks up an RBI as Avelino comes in to score, 1-0.

Green flies out to end the inning.

Suarez has a quick inning in the bottom of the first. He gave up a hit to Connor Joe, but Ronnie Freeman guns him down when he attempts to steal second.

Ryan Howard doubles to start the second. Now with two outs Suarez walks, to bring Gerber up with Howard on third. Catcher Rocky Gale just picked off Ryan Howard at third to end the inning.

Rocky Gale is having a good day as he ties it up on the second pitch of the bottom of the fifth for his second home run of the season to tie it up 1-1.

Andrew Suarez has two outs now, but he just hit Shane Peterson to load the bases for Cameron Perkins who is 1-2 today. Perkins flies out to Ramos in right, and that gets Suarez out of the jam.

Williams Jerez comes in for Suarez to start the sixth and he sets the Dodgers down in order.

The River Cats are putting something together here in the seventh.

Ryan Howard singled, Freeman walks, and Michael gets down the sac bunt to advance them to second and third. 

Austin Slater is in to pinch hit for Jerez. Glad to see Austin in the game as he has not played since Sunday when he came out of the game after pulling up lame running to first.

Slater goes down looking on three pitches, and he is visibly upset over that. 

Quakenbush gets out of this jam by striking out Gerber. Still tied at 1-1 going into the bottom of the seventh.

Coonrod comes in for the bottom of the seventh.

If you have read this far, you know that Coonrod is not my favorite reliever. Let us just hope he proves me wrong and does not blow the lead.

Credit where credit is due. Four pitch, 1-2-3 inning. Impressive. 

Avelino starts off the top of the eight with a double and two batters later, Shaw comes through again!

Shaw hits a double and gets his second RBI of the game to put the Cats up 2-1.

Coonrod continues here in the bottom of the eighth, throws two pitches, and gets Conner Joe out, and that will be all for him.

Brundage goes to Fernando Abad who closes out the inning and that’s nine straight batters that the bullpen has set down in order. Ten straight batters if you go to Suarez’s last batter. 

Abad, like Coonrod last inning, starts the bottom of the ninth to get the first out, and that will be it for him.

Brundage brings in Gustave for the last two outs.

After getting Angelo Mora to ground to second for out number two, Rocky Gale, and Errol Robinson both reach base on back-to-back singles, and the Dodgers are threatening with two away.  

Zack Reks will be pinch hitter for the Dodgers in place of Adam McCreery.

Gustave strikes him out on four straight fastballs to end the game.

The River Cats win, ending the Dodgers six game winning streak.

They will be back at it tomorrow, and I am off to the airport. See ya from the new time zone!!

We landed at LAX on time, but we are stuck on the plane as there is a technical issue terminal wide that has all the jetways down.

I guess there is a power outage here at LAX so we will be on the plane for another 10-15 minutes until they can bring stairs out for us. We still have an hour before our connecting flight to New Orleans leaves, but we will be cutting it close.

The ramp finally arrived, and they had us exit out of the rear of the plane. It was cool, and I felt like a rock star from those old black and white clips where they exit the plane to adoring fans. We didn’t have any fanfare, but I have a strong imagination that I used while we just walked along the tarmac into the building.

Flights are being cancelled, including what would have been my connection, and it’s a sad scene at LAX. The bar is hoppin’ though, and some band pulled out their gear and is doing an impromptu set, but I wish everyone else who was stuck here realized that toilets can still be flushed manually.

What else could go wrong? Just got a tornado warning notification for New Orleans.

It’s almost 11pm and the lights are back on at LAX. We’ll be losing a whole day in New Orleans because Southwest can’t get us on another flight until tomorrow afternoon. Time to figure out sleeping arrangements.

Holy cow!! On our way to the hotel, we saw a crazy hit and run at the intersection of Century and Freeway by the Am/Pm in Inglewood. This truck with an American flag flying out of the back just smashed into a car and took off from the intersection and back onto the freeway.

Well, that’s all the excitement I need for this night.

June 6, 2019

New LAX drama to announce. Last night we were booked on a flight for 1:40pm and were even given a confirmation number. Wouldn’t you know it though when we were checking in, they couldn’t find us. We are now booked to fly out at 5:40pm and need to haul our luggage around for the next few hours because they can’t check it yet.

I guess the one good thing is that the flooding and tornado warnings will all have passed by the time we land…tomorrow morning.

Twenty-three and half hours later, we are finally in the air.

Oh, right, you’re here for baseball. The River Cats won tonight by a score of 7-5 over OKC. They start their series in New Orleans tomorrow.

June 7, 2019

We arrived at our hotel at 2:30am and immediately went to bed because we obviously had already made plans to see the city in the morning.

Grabbed a quick bite to eat this morning as we headed out to start our day. I just saw the Superdome for the first time, and honestly, I wasn’t all that impressed with its size from the outside. Maybe I was expecting more because its so nostalgic, and well, it is called the Superdome.

Walmarts in rural Louisiana are just as good as you would expect them to be.

After spending the day on an airboat through an Airboat Adventures tour in Lafitte, Jess and I found ourselves at the Shrine on Airline in Metairie to watch the Sacramento River Cats play the New Orleans Baby Cakes. The Shrine is a beautiful park that features a lawn area in the outfield along with a pool and two hot tubs. While the beauty of the park remains with its scenery and trees in the outfield, all was not well at the Shrine.

While at the game we met two guys, Eric Olson and David Patent, who were the best ambassadors for baseball in New Orleans and shared a great deal about the turmoil that the team is facing and how affiliated professional baseball would be leaving New Orleans. They openly criticized management and it was obvious based on what we experienced at the ballpark that evening that they were not exaggerating.

Earlier this week Sam Selman started using a photo I took as his social media profile picture, which was a serious honor for me, and before the game today we had a chance to meet for the first time. Having seen me around the ballpark enough already a few other players stopped by to say hi as they recognized a friendly face in the stands. Just to the left of me Abiatal Avelino is making friends with a group of folks as well; that guy really has the charisma that people are attracted to.

The game itself is being delayed as they watch what the rain will do so its been pushed back about ten minutes. I hear that the field does not drain well, so I hope we can get this in. Yoanys Quiala is scheduled to face Hector Noesi.

On the first pitch of the game Henry Ramos puts the River Cats on the board with a home run to right center field and its 1-0.

Austin Slater with the double to right.

Noesi gets Anthony Garcia to dribble one back to him, and Noesi throws to Billy Fleming at first for the first out.

Chris Shaw is back folks!

First home run of the season for Chris and it’s a blast to dead centerfield. 3-0 River Cats.

Going to the top of the sixth and score is still 3-0 River Cats. Not a lot going on, but I think I’ve seen it all now. Back in the third Chris Shaw laid down a bunt, he didn’t beat it out, but he bunted for a base hit. Mind blown.

Vlad Guerrero’s nephew Gabriel plays for the Baby Cakes and is a spitting image of Vlad. The build, the swing, it’s all there, and he also wears number 27.

Ryan Howard with a base hit to open the sixth.

Two run bomb by Freeman to make it 5-0 River Cats.

Seventh inning stretch time, and of course they are throwing beads to the crowd. What else should I have expected in New Orleans?

Everything is going right for the River Cats tonight and they start the eighth with a walk to Zach Green.

Ryan Howard on the 1-2 pitch hits it to third. Devin Marrero fields it cleanly but throws it away on the throw to second and everyone is safe. Green is at third and Howard on first with the fielder’s choice.

First pitch swinging, Ronnie Freeman picks up his third RBI on the night with the sac fly to left which scores Green and its 6-0.0 That’s Freeman’s third RBI on the night.

Two run home run by Levi Michael, 8-0.

Avelino pinch hits for Ray Black and flies out to center for out number two.

Jose Quijada walks Henry Ramos, and the New Orleans pitching coach comes out to try to work things out with his pitcher, and maybe waste a little time while the bullpen warms up.

Quijada gets Slater to ground out to end the inning.

Brain Moran, older brother of Pirates third baseman Colin, comes into the game to pitch and replaces Quijada here in the ninth.

Double, single, double. The hot bats continue here in the ninth.

Green’s doubles down the third base line makes the score 9-0 for the River Cats. 

Green on second and Shaw on third base, no outs.

Ryan Howard hits one to third, Marrero doesn’t even worry about Shaw who scores easily, and Howard is out at first.

Strike out, ground out, ends the inning.

Last chance for the Baby Cakes who are down 10-0. Jerez on the mound for the Cats.

River Cats win and shut out the Baby Cakes! What a great way to start the trip in NOLA.

June 8, 2019

Here’s the deal, you can’t come to New Orleans for the first time and not do touristy things on a Saturday, so no baseball today for me.

We started our day at Café du Monde to try their famous beignets. We were not impressed.

The rest of the day was spent doing a bike tour of the city and learning about how Nicholas Cage is hated by everyone in town, and that if someone approaches you and says, “I bet you $20 that I can tell you where you got your shoes”, DON’T TAKE THE BET, just reply, “They’re on my feet”. The hustler gave me a smile and walked off.

The River Cats lose 4-3 today, and Francisco Pena hit a home run.

June 9, 2019

I have to give a shout out to Colt Ford because this morning we made sure to try a Waffle House for breakfast for first time. Their motto says it all, “Good food fast”, and it was Colt’s song “Waffle House” that made me want to try it.

It’s a beautiful day here at The Shrine as the River Cats begin their warmups to face the Baby Cakes. We should have a great pitching matchup today as well with Conner Menez making his 2019 River Cats debut and he will be facing arguably the best pitcher in the Pacific Coast League right now, Zac Gallen.

Gallen opens the game with a strike out of Mike Gerber, one down.

Slater up to bat, and on an 0-2 pitch hits one down the right field line and he’ll end up with a double.

Anthony Garcia pops up, and Shaw grounds out to first where Gabriel Guerrero makes the play at first.

Menez coming out for the bottom half of the inning.

Magneuris Sierra to lead things off the Baby Cakes, and Menez gets him to go down on swinging for out number one.

Isan Diaz makes it a quick 1-0 ballgame as he took Menez deep to right field for his 14th home run of the season.

Make that 2-0 and the Baby Cakes go back-to-back. Solo home run by Yadiel Rivera.

Menez settles in and get Lewis Brinson to fly out and strikes out Guerrero to end the inning.

The rest of the game has been nothing short of a pitching duel between Menez and Gallen who both go five complete innings without another run put up by either team.

Today has been hot; like ridiculously hot under the Metairie, sun. Team trainer David Getsoff brought me some water and towel; I was really grateful for that, and they let me get shade in the dugout.

No change in the score going into the top of the ninth and the River Cats are down to their final three outs.

Chris Shaw to start things off and is hit by a pitch.

Avelino with the double that splits center and right fielders, Shaw to third, and two runners in scoring position with no outs for Ronnie Freeman.

Ronnie Freeman with a base hit deep into the pocket to short that scores Shaw, and Micah Brown doesn’t have a play, but Avelino holds up at third. 2-1.

Ryan Howard with a long fly ball to centerfield which is easily handled by Sierra. Avelino tags and easily scores, and we have a whole new ball game as the River Cats have tied this up in the top of the ninth.

Alvarez strikes out Levi Michael to end the inning and we’re headed to the bottom of the ninth tied at two.

Coonrod into the game for the Cats here in the bottom half of the innings and easily shuts down the Baby Cakes and strikes out two.

Well, free baseball on its way as we head into the tenth.

Mike Kickham comes in for the Baby Cakes in the tenth. Originally drafted by the Giants in 2010 and made his Major League debut with them in 2013.

Mike Gerber will be starting the inning as the runner on second base, and Austin Slater up to bat.

Slater with a ground ball to shortstop Micah Brown who bobbles the ball and Slater is safe at first.

Balk!

Gerber to third, Slater to second.

They’re going to intentionally walk Anthony Garcia to get to Shaw and the bases are loaded. I know that Chris has had a slow start since joining Sacramento, but one thing this guy is good at is coming up big when he needs to.

Kickham walks Shaw! The River Cats take the lead 3-2, and the bases are still loaded.

Avelino flies to center and its deep enough to score Slater and the Cats extend the lead to 4-2.

Freeman strikes out, and Howard flies out to end the inning.

Cats are up 4-2 going into the bottom of the tenth, and Fernando Abad comes in to close this game out.

Guerrero will start at second base for the Baby Cakes. Micah Brown, Deven Marrero, Rodrigo Virgil will be coming up.

Wild pitch by Abad and Guerrero goes to third.

Abad strikes out Brown for out number one.

Sac fly by Deven Marrero brings the Baby Cakes to within one, and its now 4-3 River Cats. Two down.

Rodrigo swings at the first pitch on an easy ground ball to Avelino, who throws to Slater at first and that’s the ballgame!

Zac Gallen delivers as promised, but the River Cats come away with the win.

Side note, I learned that New Orleans will pay $5.00 per nutria rat that people exterminate, I wonder what they would give if we turned in the Baby Cakes mascot Bourdeaux?

June 10, 2019

Traveled home today. Early start by waking up at 1am local time for a 4:30am flight out of New Orleans. We will be stopping in LAX again, so I hope we don’t have any issues this time around.

My thoughts on New Orleans? Well, it was nice, but I think this tweet that I sent out yesterday really sums it up best, “#NOLA Smells like booty, tastes like boudin”.

The big news today is that Alex Dickerson was acquired by the Giants and is being assigned to the River Cats. He will probably make his debut once the Cats get back to Sacramento on Wednesday.

Whoa! This game is starting out fast! New Orleans’ Dustin Beggs throws two pitches and gives up two runs. Gerber doubles, followed by a Ramos home run to make it 2-0.

Time for Andrew Suarez to take the hill for the River Cats.

Quick 1-2-3 for Suarez, and he is looking pretty good.

Gerber and Ramos attempted a double steal in the top of the third but were sent back because Anthony Garcia’s swing hit catcher Tyler Heineman’s face mask, so he was called for interference and strikes out.

Shaw walks to load the bases with one out.

Pena just misses a grand slam, but it does bring in Gerber to make it 3-0.

On the next pitch Green sends a deep shot to center, but the wind knocks it down and that is the end of the inning.

The Baby Cakes start the bottom of the fourth with back-to-back singles by Magneuris Sierra and Yadiel Rivera. Isan Diaz grounds one back to Suarez that scores Sierra while they get the out at first.

The River Cats end the inning with a double play as Heineman lines to Green who throws to Michael at second for the third out. Cats are up 3-1.

Lewis Brinson just watched as Chris Shaw hits a two-run shot just fair down the right field line. The only question about that ball was whether it was staying fair or not because it was crushed a mile.  

Francisco Pena follows with a solo home run to left to make it 6-1 River Cats in the top of the fifth.

Suarez has walked two to load the bases here in the fifth, but I am not sure what exactly is happening as I have lost the video feed, and following this game on the Gameday app. After a mound visit, he gets Sierra to pop out, and no runs score.

Yadiel Rivera who has 11 home runs is up to bat.

Suarez battles Rivera in a seven pitch at bat, until he grounds out to Green for the final out of the inning and keeps the Baby Cakes from scoring.

Finally got the video stream back, but so far, no changes here in the top of the sixth. 

This stupid game feed keeps going out on me. It is the top of the ninth and the score is 7-2.

There is a delay of game because of an injury to Anthony Garcia but I have no clue what’s going on. This is frustrating. Ty Blach comes in to pinch run. Chris Shaw is hit with a pitch to load the bases, but Pena flies out to end the inning.

Some changes here in the bottom of the ninth. Shaw moves from first to left field, Zach Green goes from third to first, and Ryan Howard comes in to play third. Dillon McNamara will replace Williams Jerez on the mound to close out the game.

McNamara gets three ground ball outs, and the River Cats win 7-2. Off day tomorrow. 

June 11, 2019

No game today for the River Cats.

June 12, 2019

Enderson Franco gets the ball today for the River Cats as the Omaha Storm Chasers come into town for a three-game series. The Storm Chasers will have former #1 pick Kyle Zimmer (and older brother of Bradley Zimmer of the Indians) on the bump.

I am excited to finally see Bubba Starling play this year; he was injured last season when Omaha came in and that seems to be what his career has come down to. I couldn’t get much info on the injury that Anthony Garcia suffered the other night besides that it appears to be a back issue. Up in San Fransico, Buster Posey is coming of the IL so Aramis Garcia has been optioned back to Sacramento.

Franco starts the game off by hitting Omaha’s leadoff hitter Humberto Arteaga, and that itself is the only damage done. Pena throws out Arteaga on a steal attempt and Franco makes easy work of Erick Mejia and Jorge Bonifacio.

Mike Gerber starts off the bottom half of the first with a double, but the River Cats leave him stranded when the 2-3-4 hitters just roll over for Zimmer.

Franco gets a quick two outs here in the second but gives up a double to Elier Hernandez. Wild pitch and Hernandez is at third with two out.

Jecksson Flores with a ball that goes over Gerber’s head and to the wall, Flores hits the turbo and he’s on third with a triple to give the Storm Chasers and 1-0 lead.

Next pitch swinging and Brett Phillips with a blast over the right field fence and onto the berm, it’s now 3-0.

Franco composes himself and gets Xavier Fernandez to fly out to Austin Slater in right.

In the top of the third with two out and one on, Franco gives up a hit to Starling, and a double to Samir Duenez extending the Storm Chasers lead to 4-0

Kyle Zimmer was taken out after only two innings, and I’m not sure if he has an injury or a pitch count. He struck out three and only gave up a leadoff double to Mike Gerber.

Jake Kalish comes in for Zimmer here in the third.

Franco goes five, allowing five on 11 hits. Travis Bergen who is on a rehab assignment for a left shoulder strain has come in to start the top of the sixth in relief of Franco, and aside for one walk is able to shut down the Storm Chasers.

Ray Black comes in now for the seventh. Black has hit 100mph a few times already this inning.

The River Cats have brought out the big guns to keep Omaha’s bats quiet in hopes of coming back for the win.

Zach Green to lead off here in the bottom of the seventh.

406 feet later and the River Cats are on the board. 4-1. That is only the third River Cats hit of the night and the first by anyone not named Mike Gerber.

Top of the eighth, now pitching, Sam Selman.

Cats still trail 4-1 going into the bottom of the eighth and Omaha brings in Gabe Speier replacing Jake Kalish who has done a great job since taking over for Zimmer in the third.

Gerber leads off the inning with a walk.

Ramos flies out to Bubba Starling for out number one.

Slater takes the next pitch up the middle for a base hit, which will bring out the Storm Chaser’s pitching coach for a quick visit with Chris Shaw coming to bat.

Chris Shaw with a base hit to right field where Brett Phillips who has a canon of an arm gets the ball in quickly which got Gerber to stop at third all the while Cabrera was waving him home.

Bases loaded with one out here and Francisco Pena comes to bat.

New pitcher will be coming in now for Omaha as Jake Newberry replaces Speier.

Sac fly to right for Pena will score Gerber. Phillips dropped the ball, but it was ruled that it was done on the transfer, so the catch still counts. Two down and its now 4-2.

Go crazy folks, go crazy! Zach Green goes oppo taco to put the Cats on top 5-4!!! That’s his second home run on the night!

Avelino grounds out to the pitcher to end the inning.

On to the ninth and the River Cats are just three outs away from the win.

Jandel Gustave comes in to close out the ninth.

It’s a quick 1-2-3 for Gustave, but I must note a great play for the second out on a sliding catch in left by Henry Ramos.

Amazing come from behind win for the River Cats! Selman picks up his third win and Gustave gets save number four.

June 13, 2019

The River Cats will have Yoanys Quiala starting for them tonight who will be facing Arnaldo Hernandez for the Storm Chasers.

It’s the top of the second and Quiala has two down with one when Nick Dini singles to left.

Quiala’s next pitch goes wild and the runners advance.

Jecksson Flores up to bat and he takes an 0-2 pitch out to left and the Storm Chasers lead this one 3-0.

Offerman Collado follows up with a double, but Quiala pops up Arteaga to end the inning, but the damage is done.

Solo home run by Ryan Howard in the bottom of the third creeps the River Cats a little closer. 3-1 after three innings.

Back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the sixth by Mike Gerber and Henry Ramos, and the River Cats have tied the game! 3-3.

Coonrod comes in for Quaila who had a nice start today going six complete but will get a no decision.

Jecksson Flores starts the inning off with a single to centerfield.

Collado with a sac bunt moves Flores over for Arteaga. One out.

Swinging bunt by Arteaga back to Coonrod who flips to Shaw at first for out number two, Flores goes to third, with Brett Phillips coming to the plate.

Phillips lines one to left and the Storm Chasers are back on top 4-3.

Bonifacio with a single to right and that brings out Kline to talk to Coonrod.

The Kline visit didn’t improve things for Coonrod as he walks Starling on four pitches to load the bases.

Coonrod gets Duenez to fly out to right on an 0-2 pitch to get out of the jam.

Venditte replaces Coonrod in the eighth and makes quick work of the Storm Chasers.

Bridget Mulcahy and I are sitting behind the plate right now and I found a quarter on the ground on the way to our seats. The River Cats are down by one here in the bottom of the eighth so I placed the quarter on the backstop and told Bridget that I just tweeted out that whoever knocks in the winning run for the River Cats tonight would “win” the quarter. Hoping for some luck, I’ve got my fingers crossed, knocked on wood, and done some other things that we won’t discuss that the baseball gods have required of me.

Andres Machado is now in for the Storm Chaser here in the bottom half of the eighth inning and he will face Zach Green, Alex Dickerson, Aramis Garcia, and Ryan Howard if anyone gets on base.

Zach Green gets hit by a pitch and that’s one way to start the inning.

Dickerson grounds one to short but Flores bobbles the ball and everyone is safe.

Nice sacrifice by Aramis to move the runners over, one out for Ryan Howard.

Howard grounds one to second but that’s just enough to score Green and the River Cats have tied it up on the Howard’s second RBI of the game.

The inning ends on a groundout by Avelino, but it’s a new ball game tied at 4-4 as we head into the ninth.

There have been 17 straight outs put up between the River Cats and Storm Chasers pitchers going back Ryan’s game tying RBI in the eighth and he will be leading off the bottom of the 11th inning with Aramis Garcia starting off at second base for the River Cats.

First pitch swinging, single up the middle, and Ryan Howard wins it in the bottom of the 11th!

As the celebration on the field ended, I ran over to Ryan and handed him the quarter; he laughed.

June 14, 2019

Is it just me or does Alex Dickerson look a lot like Johnny Doskow?

Ty Blach will be taking the mound for the River Cats and facing one of the Royals top 30 prospects, Josh Staumont who comes in 0-3, but has an ERA of 2.48.

Spoke with Ryan Howard really quick before the game and joked about him not spending that whole quarter in one place. He told me that its sitting in his locker because he’s pretty superstitious. Kinda cool.

Two errors and a wild pitch allows Brett Phillips to score, and the game is 1-0 here in the third.

Jecksson Flores hits his second home run, a three-run shot, in as many nights to make it 4-0.

Zach Green was just hit in the head and goes down. He recovers quickly but he is bleeding from just above his eye. As he got closer to me I could see that there is pretty good gash above his eye like a boxer would have. I don’t know if it will require stiches or not, but it does look deep.

River Cats fail to score on a bases loaded opportunity.

Kelvin Gutierrez doubles in a run in the top of the fifth to make it 5-0 Omaha.

Blach goes 5.1 innings and gives up five. Williams Jerez is coming in to take over.

Brett Phillips just hit his ninth home run of the season, and second of the series to make it 7-0. There is one out here in the sixth.

Slater knocks in the first run for the River Cats here in the bottom of the eighth as he scores Gerber. Ramos stays on second and Shaw is coming to bat. It’s now 7-1.

Jake Newberry strikes out the side to end the game, final score 7-1.

Side note, Brundy left the game for a couple of innings today. It sounds like he got sick and didn’t look very well when he returned to the dugout. I hope he’s okay now.

June 15, 2019

Conner Menez gets the start tonight and it’s his first start here in Sacramento.

He breezes through the first inning with three up, three down against the Cubs.

The River Cats have come out swinging with five straight hits, including RBI singles by Chris Shaw and Francisco Pena, while Aramis Garcia doubles in a run to make it 3-0.

Menez has shut down Iowa so far allowing only one hit through three, and in the bottom of the third Avelino hits one to deep center for his fifth home run of the season to make it 4-0.

The Cubs start to chip away at the lead, as they see Menez for the second time. They score three here in the fourth. Starting the inning was a walk to Ian Happ, followed by doubles from Mark Zagunis and Phillip Evans, Zagunis was thrown out at third trying to turn that into a triple for the first out of the inning. After popping Robel Garcia for the second out, Trent Giambrone goes yard and makes the score 4-3.

The Cubs got the bases loaded again on two walks and a double, but Menez strikes out Matt Swarmer to end the inning. Someone has been warming up in the pen but I can’t see from here so that may be all for Conner today. 

Quiala is pinch hitting for Menez with two outs here in the bottom of the sixth and goes down swinging to end the inning.

Now coming in to pitch the start of the seventh for the River Cats is Travis Bergen.

A little mix up almost causes a run to score, but Bergen and covers the plate to prevent the runner from coming in.

Travis Bergen blows the lead in the top of the seventh and its now 5-4.  After allowing a double, walk, and a passed ball on a mix up for Aramis Garcia, Mark Zunigas doubles in two runs.

Iowa goes to Dillon Maples to start the bottom of the seventh.

Dillon McNamara in for the River Cats in the top of the eighth. He keeps the game within reach, but it was stressful. 

Two out rally?

Avelino gets it going with a double, and Levi Michael follows up with a shot down the line to right and the game is tied after eight complete.

Ray Black comes in to start the ninth.

Black strikes out Jacob Hannemanm to start the inning.

Ian Happ who questions the call as he goes down looking.

Zagunis up and he takes a slider looking.

1-2-3 for Black who strikes out the side.

Henry Ramos will lead this off for the River Cats here in the bottom of the ninth.

Ramos goes down with a ground out, and Austin Slater is coming up to be followed by Shaw.

Shaw has a bit of a flare for the dramatic when it comes to walking things off, so let us hope something happens. Gustave is also warming up in the pen if we go to extra. He’s been used as the team’s stopper as of late.

Slater was trying to end the game on that swing on a 96 MPH fastball from James Norwood.

Slater goes down swinging.

Shaw coming up, and that will be the end of Norwood as the Cubs go to the bullpen and bring in Randy Rosario.

Shaw hits a single over shortstop Dixon Machado’s head.

Taylor with a passed ball on the next pitch allows Shaw to advance to second.

Its 1-1 on Francisco Pena. Pena grounds out to short, and we are going to extra innings.

Gustave gives up a leadoff double to Robel Garcia to put the Storm Chasers up 6-5 as they go into the bottom of the 10th.

Ryan Howard does it again!

Francisco Pena starts the inning on second, and Aramis Garcia walks which sets up Howard who doubles to end the game scoring both Pena and Garcia.

That quarter from the other night is paying off for him. The Cats now lead the Pacific Northern Division by three games over Fresno.

Tonight, has been the biggest crowd of the season with 12,434 in which they were able to see an amazing start by Conner Menez who looks like he could be a regular part of the Giants rotation soon enough. A wasted start though, and he is stuck with a no decision.

June 16, 2019

Happy Father’s Day! Today is probably one of the best Father’s Day that I have had. The family took me out for breakfast at Off the Griddle in Natomas, and that is of course followed up with today’s River Cats game against the Iowa Cubs. I think I summed up Father’s Day as breakfast and baseball, and I think that should be the standard.

Today’s game features Andrew Suarez vs Alec Mills. The River Cats are wearing special light blue Father’s Day caps that have a black bill and look really nice.

It’s a hot day and a pitchers’ duel. The score is still 0-0 after four and the Cubs have three hits, while the River Cats have two. The only thing of interest that I’ve seen and heard was Donnie Dewees walking into a low hanging camera in the dugout and wondered aloud “Who the fuck puts a camera there”! Seems to be the same response everyone gives.

Well, the Cats ended up losing 1-0. A solo home run by Trent Giambrone, in the top of the eighth was all the Cubs needed. You really can’t complain though for a Father’s Day; it was a beautiful day and a well-pitched game. The low score was really something special with the hot, dry air, and the way these baseballs having been flying out of the park all year.

I think the most notable event of the game was that Danny Hultzen made an appearance. Remember Danny Hultzen? Selected second overall between Gerrit Cole, and Trevor Bauer in the 2011 Major League Draft by Mariners. Considered to be a sure thing, his career hasn’t panned out the way it’s been expected as injury after injury has kept him from making it to the Majors. 

June 17, 2019

Happy Anniversary to OJ Simpson! It was 25 years ago today that those of us who were old enough were glued to the news of Simpson’s car chase.

Big news coming out today that Craig Kimbrel will be making his 2019 debut with the Iowa Cubs and is scheduled to get some work in tomorrow against the River Cats. I expect to see a lot of media out there because both he and Kuechel’s late signings have been some of the biggest news stories in baseball this season.

Enderson Franco will face Trevor Clifton today. Prior to tonight’s game, Clifton was out in centerfield and began his warmup tosses with kids on the outfield berm.

Enderson is 2-1 with a 6.40 ERA which is a lot more deceiving than its face value. I overheard some scouts the other day saying that he is a reliever and could be impactful in the Majors with the stuff that he has. I’ve kind of been saying that all season. He is good at least that first time through the lineup, and then that’s when the problems start to happen.

Official update on Kimbrel is that he is here tonight but will be activated for tomorrow’s game. He will pitch one clean inning, and not be an opener.

The first inning sees both teams go down in order, and Ryan Howard puts the River Cats on the board first with a no doubt two run home run to left in the bottom of the second. 2-0.

Erick Castillo battles Franco to open up the third and draws a walk which brings up Iowa’s pitcher Trevor Clifton.

Perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Clifton moves the runner over and there is one out.

Franco issues his second walk of the inning and Jacob Hannemann takes first, bringing up Trent Giambrone who grounds out to third, but both runners advance. Two outs.

Ian Happ swings at the first pitch and lines one into left scoring Castillo, and Giambrone is held at third. Cats still lead 2-1.

Franco walks power hitting Mark Zagunis to load the bases. I’ll never forget seeing Zagunis hit a home run here at Raley Field last season, and while he rounded third, he flexed into the River Cats dugout while shouting at someone. I never learned the history of that incident and what brought the response or who toward.

Jim Adduci singles on a line drive to right scoring Giambrone and Happ, and the Cubs have taken the lead 3-2.

The Cats get out of the inning when Phillip Evans lines out to Levi Michael at second.

1-2-3 for both teams in the bottom of the third and top of the fourth, respectively. Austin Slater, Chris Shaw, and Francisco Pena due up for Sacramento in the bottom of the fourth.

#TaterSlater

One pitch, one run, and the River Cats have tied this one up.

Austin Slater and Chris Shaw go back-to-back to regain the lead, and no out here in the bottom of the fourth. 4-3.

Francisco Pena doubles to left, and that’s going to bring Iowa’s pitching coach out to talk to Clifton.

Avelino with the perfect sacrifice moves Pena to third, one down.

Ryan Howard goes down looking for out number two.

The Cubs intentionally walk Levi Michael to get to Franco who grounds out to short and that’s the end of the inning. Cats regain the lead and its 4-3 going into the fifth.

Jacob Hannemann starts off the fifth for the Cubs with a single to right.

Trent Giambrone homers to left and Iowa regains the lead 5-4.

Franco strikes out Zagunis for out number one and that will be it for him tonight as here comes Brundage to take him out.

Pat Venditte takes over for Franco and gets two quick outs to end the inning.

On to the top of the sixth and with one out Venditte walks Erick Castillo. Donnie Dewees comes in to pinch hit for pitcher Trevor Clifton.

Venditte switches to pitching left-handed.

Dewees on a 0-2 count sends one to right, and its out of here. Two run home run extends the Cubs lead to 7-4.

Things are not looking good for the River Cats right now. Jacob Hannemann hits a routine ground ball to Ryan Howard at third and he throws it away.

Trent Giambrone draws a walk.

The runners go!

Hannemann gets into third without a play but Pena guns down Giambrone at third for the second out.

Ian Happ is coming to bat, and Venditte motions that he will be pitching left-handed. Happ returns to the dugout and comes back with a different bat.

Venditte strikes him out to end the inning.

Junichi Tazawa replaces Trevor Clifton on the mound for the Cubs here in the bottom of the sixth.

Pena on the first pitch he sees takes Tazawa 431 feet to make it 7-5.

Tazawa doesn’t let that phase him as he gets Avelino and Howard to ground out, two down and Levi Michael up to the plate.

1-1 count and Tazawa hits Michael, Venditte coming to the plate.

Venditte the troll.

After having to wait for Ian Happ to switch bats last inning, Venditte decides to do the same as just before he enters the box, he goes back to the dugout to get a different bat.

He has better luck than Happ did as he comes through with his second hit of the season to extend the inning. Runners at first and second for Mike Gerber.

Gerber strikes out, inning over.

Coonrod is now in for Venditte in the top of the seventh.

Coonrod starts off the inning with a walk to Zagunis, and single by Jim Adduci before he pops out Phillip Evans, and strikes out Dixon Machado, two down, and two on for Erick Castillo.

Steve Kline comes out to talk to Coonrod.

Castillo doubles on an 0-2 count with a ball that falls between Slater, Avelino, and Howard. Avelino kicks the ball while trying to pick it up and Zagunis and Adduci both score. 9-5 Iowa.

Francisco Arcia comes in to pinch hit for Tazawa.

Wild pitch! Castillo to third.

Coonrod comes back to strike out Arcia.

Goose eggs get us to the top of the ninth and Steven Okert on the mound now for the River Cats. The River Cats still trail 9-5.

Okert started this inning off by striking out Zagunis, but an error by Ryan Howard, a single by Phillip Evan and back-to-back walks put another run on the board for the Cubs. Okert has been having a great season, and to give you an idea, those two walks just doubled his season total. That will be all for Okert as Brundage goes to Abad with two outs.

Abad needed one pitch to end the inning.

River Cats are down 10-5 going into the bottom of the ninth. 

Mike Gerber leads it off with a straight shot to centerfield and its now 10-6.

Henry Ramos grounds out to second.

Slater goes the other way for a single to extend the inning, and Chris Shaw comes up.

Two run home run that is crushed by Shaw! It’s his second of the night and fourth since returning to the River Cats. The score is now 10-8.

Pena flies out to center and that’s the ballgame.

In other new, big congratulations to Tyler Beede who picked up his first Major League win tonight against the Dodgers. Tyler pitched six innings, and gave up one run on three hits, and striking out seven.

It’s now 11:30pm, and I feel like everything has been against me getting a milkshake today, but I finally got one. Thank you for being open late and having a working machine McDonald’s.

June 18, 2019

Today’s pitching matchup will have Yoanys Quiala for the River Cats against Colin Rea of the Iowa Cubs. I don’t envy either of these guys right now as it’s a noon game and it’s going to be over 100 degrees. Its currently 93 at 1130am.

1-2-3 for Quiala, and Gerber, Ramos, and Slater are due up in the bottom of the first for the Cats.

Gerber goes down swinging for out number one.

Henry Ramos gets things going with his 12th double of the season.

Slater drops one in to right for a base hit but shallow enough that they hold Ramos at third.

Sac fly by Shaw to that scores Ramos and the Cats are on the board, 1-0.

Aramis Garcia drops one to right, and they hold Slater at third. I thought they held Ramos up because the ball was picked up not too far out in right when Slater got his hit, but for them to hold up Slater, Jacob Hannemann must have a cannon out there.

Avelino flies out to Hannemann for out number three.

Quiala opens up the top of the second with a walk to Phillip Evans.

Zagunis double to right center and runners are at second and third with no outs for Jim Adduci.

Aducci singles to right and Ramos has trouble fielding the ball. Two runs will score and Adduci is on second. Cubs now lead 2-1.

Robel Garcia strikes out for out number one.

Great, pitchers who rake. Colin Rea with a double to left, Aducci scores and its 3-1.

Hannemann with the routine ground ball to Slater at first and he can’t make the play. Rea scores from second and its 4-1 Cubs.

Donnie Dewees with the sac bunt, but Aramis throws it away and everyone is safe!

Giambrone with a hit deep to short and Avelino can only knock it down, bases loaded for Taylor Davis but here comes Kline to visit with Quiala.

Quiala pops up Davis and strikes out Evans and the River Cats finally get out of the inning. The River Cats trail 4-1 because life happens.

One pitch, one out for Rea here in the top of the second.

Levi Michael with a base hit past short.

Quiala gets his job done with a nice sacrifice to move Michael over with Gerber coming to bat.

Mike Gerber sends one over the fence and far away and the Cats now trail 4-3. I hear that the ball went 390 feet.

Base hit by Ramos up the middle to continue the inning.

Austin Slater up to bat.

Ramos goes and catcher Taylor Davis throws the ball into the outfield and Ramos takes third.

Rea is flustered and throws the next pitch away allowing Ramos to score from third and the game is tied! 4-4.

Slater walks.

Chris Shaw with a long fly ball to left but easily caught by Zagunis to end the inning.                                                                                          

Top of the fifth now and Quiala gives up a solo home run to Evans to make it 5-4 Cubs.

Kimbrel has started to warm up in the bullpen in the top of the seventh.

The Cubs add another run on a couple of hits and an error to make it 6-4, but we’re going into the bottom of the seventh, and here comes Kimbrell to make his 2019 debut.

Kimbrel comes in to start the seventh, and only needs eight pitches to set down Ramos, Slater, and Shaw on a strikeout. He touched 95 on the gun.

I missed out on the Kimbrel interview because the time was changed to right after his outing and not the usual 20 minutes after he left the game. I got there at the very end while he was wrapping up, so I didn’t have an opportunity to ask him a question. He seemed like a down to earth and nice guy though. The persona on the field is much different than the one off it, which I am always fascinated how some of these players can turn off that intensity. I first experienced that during the very first interview I was a part of, which was Madison Bumgarner; the most humble and respectful ballplayer I have met to date.

The Cats would lose this by a final score of 7-4.

Kimbrel’s appearance made national baseball news, and one of the pictures I took made its way around the internet as I just happen to get one of the fastest pictures uploaded to Twitter. Yes, I’m bragging.

June 19, 2019

No River Cats game today, but some of them did play in a charity golf tournament.

June 20, 2019

The River Cats start a five-game series in Las Vegas tonight. Ty Blach gets the ball and will be going up against Paul Blackburn who I believe was pretty dominate the last time that he faced the River Cats, but I could be wrong. I’m not bothering to go and check.

Gerber being Gerber starts the game with a double to right center on the first pitch and Slater follows up with a line drive to short. Shaw gets an RBI double continuing his hot hitting and puts the Cats up in the first 1-0.

Wild pitch and Shaw goes to third. Dickerson up to bat and singles up the middle to score Shaw. The Cats are making good contact here in the first. There are two outs and Green comes up.

Green gets an RBI on an infield single as Barreto didn’t get the high pop up, and Dickerson scores to make it 3-0.

Blach starts the bottom of the first by giving up back-to-back singles to Jorge Mateo, and Sheldon Neuse, but gets Nick Martini to ground into a double play, Mateo advances to third with two down.

Easy grounder by Barreto to Avelino who makes the throw in time for the third out.

I stepped away for dinner and the score is 6-1 River Cats after three.

I should probably do some laundry and pack for this trip for tomorrow.

Three run home run by Aramis Garcia here in the top of the fifth for the River Cats and its 10-1 for the River Cats.

Eric Campbell of the Aviators now accounts for four RBI in the night, and its 10-5 after six.

Ray Black in now, and Sheldon Neuse with the home run to make is 10-6.

Skye Bolt with a three-run shot and the Aviators are making a serious comeback. The score is now 10-9 in the bottom of the seventh, and Sam Selman will be coming in to replace Black. Dustin Fowler is due up.

The River Cats have been able to hold on to the lead, and Brundage goes to Fernando Abad to close this game in the bottom of the ninth.

TIED.

Lost.

The River Cats blew an eight-run lead.

I still have not packed, but my clothes are clean.

The Giants have picked up Joey Rickard and he has been assigned to Sacramento. If he debuts this weekend, he’ll be playing in front of his hometown of Las Vegas.

Zac Gallen was called up to the Marlins today to make his Major League debut. I am glad I got to see him pitch earlier this year in New Orleans, and this call up is well deserved because he has been nothing short of amazing all season.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: June 21-24, 2019

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. This was kind of a crazy weekend, and I really do not remember much because it was such a whirlwind. I did not do much writing this weekend so much as I was tweeting. I have pieced together what I could with my notes, tweets, and memory.

June 21, 2019

The older gentleman next to me on my flight is wearing a Red Sox shirt that celebrates Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary in 2012. I went to some games that year for my first visit to Fenway and have the same shirt, so I tried to talk to him about it. His reply had nothing to do with the Red Sox, but he told me about his experience on 9/11 and going back ten years later. He said that in that visit he found hope and wants to return in 2021.

My flight to Vegas went smoothly, and Bridget Mulcahy had already arrived a couple of hours prior, so we met up at the airport. Once we got the rental car we drove out to Red Rock Casino where Bridget was staying for the weekend.

Red Rock is a beautiful casino, and we found our way to check in where Bridget discovered that there was a problem with her reservation. It turns out that she was double booked, and they had given her room to someone else. To make matters worse they were sold out for the weekend. We were told to wait for a moment while they checked on something.

A good ten minutes went by before someone came to talk to us…

As we took the elevator to the Presidential suite; yes, you read that right, she was upgraded to a $5,000 a night suite for no additional cost. Not a bad deal for $250.00.

We finally found the suite, and Bridget opened the door.

Luxurious was the only way I could describe it. The furnishings were gorgeous pieces of art, and paintings, two bedrooms, a pool table, a full bar, a private balcony with a very large spa that overlooked the pool area at the casino and out into the surrounding terrain. We sat down on the large leather sofa and took it all in while we laughed at the luck she had just struck.

After a while, I went to drop off my stuff at the $20 a night AirBnb room that I rented, and it was a little lacking compared to where I had just come from. My host was amazing, and there was nothing wrong with the place, I had a great stay and enjoyed some local beer courtesy of my host Mollie.

When we arrived at Las Vegas Ballpark we made our way to the Press Box to grab some dinner, and then took a tour. This is the Ballpark’s first year in operation and to say its an upgrade from old Cashman Field on the other side of town is an understatement.

NOTE: The following are my Tweets on the night.

Finn the Bat Dog is my hero, so glad I got to meet him before the game.

Ramos hits a bases loaded sac fly to score Austin [Slater] it is 1-0 to start the game.

Conner Menez will get the ball today for the River Cats.

After some words with Vince Coleman, #SlaterTater makes it 3-0 River Cats.

Green makes if 4-0 Nick Martini just watched in awe.

Conner Menez has just reached his career high with strikeout number 12. This is now the River Cats team high of 2019.

Okert in to replace Menez in the bottom of the sixth. Cats lead 5-1.

Bridget ordered some nachos in a helmet, and some guy just told us, “She’s got some big nachos”.

Not cheering on an Aviators home run but the night club lights were awesome! Oh, its 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth.

Venditte coming in to try to close this out. One out, two on, bottom of the ninth. Nick Martin and Seth Brown due up. 6-5.

Tied.

Ok, the one flaw about this ballpark is that the wind turns it into a dust bowl.

Free baseball, get your free baseball here.

Ryan Howard comes up clutch with a two run double to make it 8-6 Sacramento in the top of the 10th.

Slater is having himself a night! A double and two more RBI to make it 11-6.

Cats win! 12-7. Now fireworks.

June 22, 2019

Bridget and I met up the next morning for breakfast and we found an amazing buffet to brunch at in the Casino. I am still stuffed from trying all the goodies they had to offer, or maybe I’m just a little buzzed from the bottomless mimosas.

Prior to game time we spent the afternoon poolside and discussing baseball obviously.

Bridget had to leave Vegas early for work and unfortunately was forced to Uber to the airport not only because of time, but mainly because we were disoriented and could not find the car rental in the lot. I was eventually able to track it down, but what a nightmare.

I ran into River Cats team photographer Ralph Thompson and his wife during the game today.

NOTE: More Tweets.

Aramis Garcia starts the bottom of the second with a solo home run off Jesus Luzardo to make it 1-0.

There is a Rickey Henderson sighting here in Las Vegas tonight.

Cats win 4-3! Now I’m off to Fremont Street.

June 23, 2019

I woke up late today and feeling tired. I am skipping the game and seeing what kind of trouble I can get into. The River Cats win by a score of 4-3, and Zach Green really likes hot Sunday afternoon games as he goes 2-4 with two solo home runs, his 13th an 14th of the season.

June 24, 2019

Ryan Howard has been sent to Double-A Richmond, and Rickard has been activated on the River Cats roster.

Its travel day back to Sacramento so I do not have a lot to report on the game.

The Aviators exploded for 15 runs today, and Joey Rickard made his River Cats debut going 1-4 with a solo home run in the top of the fifth in front a group of family and friends who were out to watch him play here in the Vegas desert. While the River Cats lost 15-6, four of those runs came off the bats of Pena, Green, Rickard and Shaw who each had a solo home run.

My first trip to Las Vegas Ballpark, and it is a first-class stadium. It has a beautiful 360 experience, and it does Las Vegas proud with the sensory overload. You really must attend more than one game to take this all in.

June 25, 2019

Miguel Diaz gets the ball for the Chihuahuas, and the River Cats will be using Ray Black as the “opener”, to be followed by Ty Blach. Okay, got it? Black then Blach. 

Quick 1-2-3 for Diaz to start the game.

The Chihuahuas start it off with a base hit from leadoff hitter Michael Gettys.

Passed ball is charged to Freeman and Gettys is now on second. Full count on Boog Powell. Powell hits one to Avelino who flips it to Levi Michael who tags out Gettys, and Powell is on first with a fielder’s choice, one out.

Seth Mejias-Brean up to bat.

Powell goes and safely takes second. Brown lines out Avelino for out number two and Powell stays on second.

Aderlin Rodriguez doubles to left scoring Powell and El Paso scores first. 1-0.

Matthew Batten goes down on strikes, three down.

Each team has only allowed one hit since the first inning as we go into the bottom half of the third with one out and Michael Gettys up drawing a walk bringing up Mejias-Brean.

Mejias-Brean with double to right that scores Gettys and its 2-0 El Paso.

Aderlin Rodriguez goes down swinging for out number two.

Base hit by Batten scores two and the Chihuahuas go up 4-0 before Jason Vosler grounds out to first to end the inning.

The Cats’ bats have woken up here in the fourth with three straight hits by Joey Rickard, Chris Shaw and Austin Slater put the Cats on the board 4-1.

Zach Green goes down looking for out number one.

The always exciting Abiatal Avelino goes deep to left center for a three-run home run and the River Cats have tied this one up. 4-4.

Ronnie Freeman decides the Cats needed to go back-to-back, and the River Cats take the lead on this 5-4 here in the top of the fourth.

A ground out by Levi Michael and Gerber strikes out end the inning but the Cats take the lead.

Esteban Quiroz continues to impress me as he starts things off with a hit for El Paso in the bottom half of the inning.

Well, Quiroz just got himself thrown out on a force play at second from center field. One down, and Webster Rivas who hit the ball is on first.

Pitcher Dillon Overton lays down the sacrifice to move Rivas over and there are two down.

First pitch swinging and Gettys singles in the tying run but gets thrown out at second by Freeman to Avelino trying to steal to end the inning. Game tied, 5-5.

The River Cats regain the lead in the top of the fifth on a two-run home run from Chris Shaw, but four straight singles, and double by the Chihuahuas in the bottom half of the inning flips the lead back into El Paso’s favor and its 8-7 after five.

Robbie Erlin replaces Dillon Overton here in the top of the seventh for El Paso with Gerber, Rickard and Shaw due up.

Mike Gerber takes the first pitch he sees and hits a liner to right for a hit.

Erlin throws away the next pitch and Gerber is on at second.

Erlin is off right now as he just Rickard, and that will bring up Shaw.

Right away Chris singles to center scoring Gerber and the River Cats have tied it up 8-8.

Austin Slater up.

Slater hits a ball to Quiroz at second and throws to first to double up Slater, but Rickard scores from third and the River Cats take the lead again 9-8.

I’m a little confused here because it looked like Chris was in there and Brundage is out here talking to the umpire.

Well, Brundy just got ejected. According to Johnny on the broadcast they are saying that Chris ran out of the base path. Either way, two outs.

Zach Green grounds out to end the inning, but the Cats lead 9-8 going into the bottom of the seventh.

Steven Okert comes in for Blach here in the bottom of the seventh.

This game is giving me anxiety. Okert gets two quick outs and then three straight hits have tied this one up again at 9 before the side is retired on fly to right by Jose Pirela. 9-9.

This inning sums up this game. Single, wild pitch, ground out, ground out, run scores, ground out. River Cats take the lead 10-9 halfway through the eighth.

Williams Jerez in for Okert in the bottom of the eighth.

Albert Einstein said that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results”, well, I’m going insane watching this game.

El Paso bottom of the eighth went single, sac bunt, double, run scored, ground out, wild pitch, run scores, walk, single, single, run scores, pitching change, strikeout by Sam Selman to end the nightmare. El Paso takes the lead again and its 12-10, and the River Cats are now down to their last three outs.

Gerardo Reyes takes the mound for El Paso.

Gerber goes down swinging for out number one.

Rickard doubles on a 2-2 count to right.

Chris Shaw grounds to third for out number two but Rickard takes third.

Slater hits what should have been a routine play by Ty France at third, but he throws the ball away, Slater is safe and Rickard scores and the River Cats are within one, 12-11.

Zach Green dribbles one back to the pitcher and this game is finally over. 

What a crazy game! The lead changed hands seven times tonight, making this game exciting, and stressful. Unfortunately, the Cats just couldn’t hold on as they lose 12-11.

Well, here’s a fun fact, the River Cats have allowed 20 hits in each game over the past two nights which is a first in franchise history, so that’s exciting right?

June 26, 2019

It was announced today that Sam Selman, Fernando Abad, and Pat Venditte have been named to the Pacific Coast League All Star Team and will be representing Sacramento in El Paso next month. Even bigger news is the River Cats’ very own Dave Brundage has been selected to manage the team.

Today’s game will have Conner Menez on the mound for Sacramento and he will be facing Dietrich Enns for El Paso.

Base hit by Rickard to open the game.

Austin Slater base hit to right, Rickard heads to third, and Chris Shaw up to bat.

Shaw goes down swinging for out number one.

Zach Green at the plate.

Ennis throws to first in an attempt to pick off Slater, and Rickard breaks for home!

Rickard ends up in a pickle and he is out, but Slater is now on third with two out. You can score that play 1-3-4-2-5-4.

Base hit Zach Green! Wait, did you forget that Zach was up to bat after all of that? Slater scores and the Cats score first here in the first, 1-0.

The inning ends on a ground out by Francisco Pena to short. El Paso coming up.

Menez walks Gettys to start the inning and gets Luis Urias to fly out to left for the first out.

Ty France’s remarkable year continues as he sends one over the left centerfield wall and the score is 2-1 El Paso.

Base hit Jose Pirela. Two-run home run Austin Allen. 4-1 El Paso.

Menez strikes out Mejias-Brean and Powell to end the inning, but El Paso takes a nice lead early.

We’re on to the top of the fourth with the River Cats still trailing 4-1, with Aramis Garcia, Henry Ramos, and Abiatal Avelino due up to bat here against Enns.

Garcia lines one to right for an easy double.

Base hit by Ramos up the middle and Garcia easily scores, and its 4-2.

Menez due up now, and he goes down trying to lay down the sacrifice for out number one.

Rickard hits one to Mejias-Brean at third who bobbles the ball and can’t make the play, Rickard is safe and Ramos scores under the tag, its 4-3 now and Rickard is on second.

Slater hits one to Luis Urias at short and another error by El Paso, Slater is safe, Avelino scores and we have a tie ball game.

El Paso gets Shaw to strike out and Pena with an easy fly to center to end the inning. 4-4 going into the bottom of the fourth.

The game is still tied going into the seventh and Eric Yardley on the mound for the Chihuahuas.

Yardley starts things off with a strikeout to Chris Shaw, one down.

Full count to Zach Green and he hits one hard down into the left field corner and gets himself a double.

Pena goes the other way down the line for a double and Green scores! The River Cats take the lead 5-4.

Aramis goes down swinging on three pitches for out number two.

Ramos with the ground ball to second, inning over.

Tyler Rogers, Fernando Abad, and Jandel Gustave have shut down the Chihuahuas tonight, and that’s the ball game. The River Cats get a win after a rough start from Menez put them in the whole, and the final score is 5-4.

June 27, 2019

Pavs announced today that Steven Duggar will be joining the River Cats this weekend for a rehab assignment starting on Saturday. He also stated that fans should not expect him to be coming back to San Franscisco very soon, so we will see how things work out for him. Duggar has been one of my favorite players over the past few years, so it will be great to see him again, but this game is their lives, and the demotion must be hard. It is a great thing for Yaz though.

The River Cats and The Chihuahuas will be both be utilizing an “opener” today with Sam Coonrod getting the ball for the River Cats, and he will face fireballer Robert Stock for El Paso. I know that Andrew Suarez is due in for the River Cats after the first, but I do not know who will come in for Stock. I really hate this concept that some teams have started using to try to get some sort of advantage. The starting pitchers who I have talked with about this have all complained that it just throws the game plan off.

Stock gets two quick out to start the first, but back-to-back home runs by Chris Shaw and Zach Green put the Cats on the board 2-0. Say what you will about these baseballs being juiced, its still fun to watch them fly.

Stock strikes out Pena to end the inning, and the Chihuahuas will come to bat. 

Coonrod starts the game by getting Michael Gettys to ground out to third and Zach Green makes the throw to first with ease.

Luis Urias, double.

Ty France, double.

Jose Pirela, single; and just like that the Chihuahuas have tied the game.

One down and Austin Allen at the plate.  

Strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out for Coonrad to get Allen, and Aramis Garcia catches Pirela at second for out number three.

Aramis gets himself a single here in the top of the second but that’s all that the River Cats can produce.

Andrew Suarez comes in to start the second as expected.

One, two, three little singles and the Chihuahuas first three batters have reached base safely.

Pitcher Robert Stock is due up, but he will be pinch hit for by pitcher Paco Rodriguez.

Suarez walks Rodriguez with the bases loaded scoring Aderlin Rodriguez and the Chihuahuas take the lead 3-2 with no outs.

The good news is that Suarez got two quick outs. The bad news is that they were both sac flies, and it’s now 5-2.

Suarez stays consistent, and Ty France puts it in the air, but right to Henry Ramos in right to end the inning.

Paco Rodriguez stays in the game and will now be pitching for the Chihuahuas. He will be facing the top of the lineup for the River Cats in Gerber, Ramos, and Shaw.

Gerber goes down swinging on three pitches for out number one.

First pitch swinging Ramos grounds out for out number two.

Chris Shaw hits a soft liner just past third and hustles his way to second as the ball started to die quickly once it got on the grass.

Base hit Zach Green and the River Cats close the lead. 5-3.

Pena flies out to left, three down.

Bottom of the third and Suarez has Pirela, Allen, and Rodriguez due up.

Ok, this game has gotten out of hand. The Chihuahuas would rack up 17 runs on 20 hits tonight. That’s the third time they have given up 20 hits this week. It got so bad out there that catcher Ronnie Freeman came into the game in the bottom of the eighth to pitch, and one of the few highlights of this game was that he got Ty France to pop up to left to end the inning.

Let’s see if the River Cats can pull off a win tomorrow; its going to be interesting as Enderson Franco starts for the River Cats, and he will be facing Dinelson Lamet.

June 28, 2019

Dinelson Lamet came out ready to deal and set down the River Cats in order in the top of the first.

Let us see which Enderson Franco we get tonight. I’m telling you; he needs to be in the bullpen and not starting games. I think his stuff will get him to the Majors, but not in a starting role. I hope the Giants see his value out of the pen.

Michael Gettys starts the Chihuahuas half of the first with a double in the gap.

Luis Urias grounds one to shortstop, and Avelino hold Gettys at second before throwing to first for the out. Ty France up.

Double by France, and El Paso draws first blood 1-0.

Franco gets Vosler to strike out, two down.

Pirela singles to left and Ty France scores, 2-0. The always dangerous spark plug of a player Esteban Quiroz coming up to bat.

Quiroz hits it down the left field line, Pirela scores, Shaw misplays the ball in left and Quiroz dives in to third. Its officially being scored as a double and an error is being charged to Shaw in left. The score is now 3-0 El Paso.

Franco throws the next pitch away and Quiroz scores, and it’s now 4-0. Franco is visibly frustrated and ends up walking Boog Powell. 

Franco issues another walk to Webster Rivas, but luckily strikes out pitcher Dinelson Lamet to end the inning.

The River Cats pick one up on a solo home run by Zach Green in the second, his 17th on the season, and the Cats trail 4-1.

Top of the third starts off with Levi Michael striking out but Enderson Franco gets walked, Gerber singles, and Rickard draws a walk to load the bases for Austin Slater.

Slater takes the 1-1 pitch back up the middle for hit, Franco scores, Gerber scores, and the River Cats trail by one, 4-3.

Lamet strikes out Shaw and Green to end the inning.

Jason Vosler starts off with a hit for El Paso in the third.

Pirela flies out to Shaw. One out.

Quiroz another hit.

Two down with a fly out by Boog Powell, which will bring up Webster Rivas.

First pitch foul.

Quiroz steals third with no throw, ball one.

The River Cats decide to intentionally walk Rivas to get to the pitcher Lamet, and the bases are loaded.

Base hit! Vosler scores, Quiroz scores, and Rivas is on third. Two run single by Lamet makes it 6-3 El Paso. They gambled and it just did not pay off this time.

Michael Gettys grounds out to third, and that is the inning.

Travis Bergen who came into the game to relieve Franco in the fourth stays in to pitch the fifth for the River Cats.

The River Cats finally get Quiroz out as he strikes out to start the bottom of the fifth.

Bergen has walked three straight batters to load the bases and here comes Brundage. That will be the end of Bergen’s night. Ray Black comes in to try to end the inning, still one out.

Michael Gettys goes down looking. Two outs.

Black goes 0-2 on Luis Urias.

Base hit to left. Powell scores, Rivas scores, and the Chihuahuas extend their lead to 8-3.

Black walks France but a ground ball by Vosler to first and Slater makes the play himself for the third out.

The River Cats have not been able to much of anything since the third inning as Lamet, Andres Munoz, and Robbie Erlin have shut down the offense. The score remains 8-3 headed into the bottom of the eighth.

Jandel Gustave comes in for Selman.

The Chihuahuas add another run in the bottom of the eighth on two walks and a single by Esteban Quiroz of course. The score is 9-4 and the River Cats are down to their last three outs.

One pitch, one out for Robbie Erlin as Avelino grounds out to third.

Levi Michael takes Erlin’s second pitch of the inning down the right field line for a double.

Base hit Ronnie Freeman and the Michael scores to make it 8-4.

Erlin hits Gerber. Runners on first and second for Joey Rickard.

Rickard with a base hit to left, Freeman scores, and Gerber holds up at second as Powell gets the ball in quickly. The Cats are clawing back here in the ninth, and now trail 8-5 with one out and Austin Slater coming to bat.

5-4-3 and that’s the ballgame.

Well, it was a rough road trip but something to note is that Sam Selman hasn’t allowed a run in 11 consecutive innings, and he has struck out 18 in that stretch. Overall, he has struck out 45.1% of the batters he has faced on the season including two in his one inning of work tonight. 

The River Cats take the loss on this one but will be back home tomorrow and start a five-game series with the Albuquerque Isotopes.

June 29, 2019

I showed up to the field today and found out that Trevor Story is on a rehab assignment with Albuquerque for at least two days this week. Elk Grove’s Dom Nunez is also making his first professional appearance here as a member of the Isotopes. His teammates were calling him “hometown hero” when he was in the dugout before the game. I just noticed that Isotopes first baseman Roberto Ramos is wearing Virgin Mary socks tonight.

Last season Josh Fuentes, Nolan Arenado’s cousin, used to bring a stuffed monkey to the game and hang him from the edge of the dugout. I did not see the monkey today, so I asked what happened to it, and he just told me that he had to retire it. I don’t know who the player next to him was, but he gave Josh a look like, what is this guy talking about to which Josh told him, and although I didn’t hear what was said, the laugh from the other player made me think that the stuffed monkey’s life didn’t come to a happy ending. Rest in peace monkey.

Yoanys Quiala gets the ball for the River Cats tonight and Tim Melville will toe the rubber for the ‘Topes.

The Isotopes start the game off with a base hit by Yonathan Daza, but Quiala quiets puts the next three down in order with two strikeouts including Trevor Story who went down swinging.

Steven Duggar who starts his rehab here tonight for the Giants will be leading things off for the River Cats.

Duggar goes down looking on three pitches, one out.

Joey Rickard grounds one to third on the first pitch he sees, two down.

Mike Gerber takes the first pitch he sees and sends it to straight centerfield and the River Cats are on the board, 1-0.

Slater goes down on strikes, three outs.

Two more strikeouts for Quiala to start the inning.

Dom Nunez steps into the box for the first time and gets a nice reception from the fans as they welcome him home. The fans don’t help the outcome and he dribbles one to Shaw at first for the out.

Melville strikes out Chris Shaw to start the bottom of the second.

Zach Green taps Dom Nunez on the shin guard as they exchange hellos. I am sure these two have a long history of baseball between them having both grown up in the greater Sacramento area.

Zach started this at bat with a hello, and he ends it with goodbye. Solo home run to centerfield, his 18th on the season, and the Cats lead 2-0.

Green leads the River Cats in home runs and that’s with missing 22 games earlier this year.

Freeman pops out, and Avelino grounds out to Story to end the inning.

1-2-3 for Quiala in the third.

The River Cats start the third with two strikeouts, followed by three straight singles to add another run, and it’s now 3-0 Sacramento after three.

Quiala has rolled through the Isotopes lineup tonight allowing only two hits through five innings.

Dugger is leading off here in the bottom half of the fifth, and he’s 0-2 on the night with two strikeouts.

Duggar with the fly ball to center over the head of Daza and to the wall. Duggar’s speed gets him to third on a stand-up triple.

Base hit Rickard and the Cats lead 4-0.

Melville walks Gerber and that will bring out the Isotopes pitching coach for a talk with the righty.

Melville hits Austin Slater and the bases are loaded for Chris Shaw.

Base hit to right by Shaw, Rickard scores, and the bases are still loaded, 5-0 Sacramento.

Zach Green at the plate.

Melville with the wild pitch and Gerber scores from third, 6-0.

Green and Freeman strike out, and they intentionally walk Avelino to get to Quiala who goes down swinging for out number three.

Ramos comes in to replace Duggar in the sixth.

Quiala has reached 6.1 innings which is his longest outing of the season. He has hit six innings three previous times this season.

Amazing outing tonight by Yoanys Quiala who threw seven complete shutout innings, allowing five hits and getting nine strikeouts.

Thats the ballgame!! While the Isotopes did pick up a run in the eighth, the River Cats come home and take the first game of the series against the Topes by a score of 6-1. Quiala improves to 4-4 on the season. His nine strikeouts tonight were a career high.

June 30, 2019

The River Cats beat the Isotopes by a score of 7-2 today.

I decided that I needed a day away from baseball. I have been really depressed and just overwhelmed with this whole process, plus dealing with some stuff in my personal life, that I just needed a break. The motivation to keep writing is gone and I am finding no pleasure in doing this at the moment. Games all week, and travel, maybe it is for the best that I do not take a trip in July.

This has probably been the most eye-opening experience for me into the life of a professional athlete in Minor League Baseball. I feel that as fans we take for granted the hard work that they put in year-round and how taxing it is. While they play a child’s sport this is their livelihood, and the same stresses we feel each day are similar to what they have to endure. I often hear fans say, well, I would put up with it to be paid to play baseball, but if you really knew, would you? Are you that passionate and that good to have been here, and to know what they go through and not just through what you imagine it to be? I myself have not, but I know what I feel just writing this book. I know what I feel reporting to the field day in and day out and traveling to see them on the road about once a month, and its taxing if you’re not physically and mentally prepared for it.

Sitting in the stands we only see about three hours of their day, but they are still putting in a solid eight hours a day, day in and day out with very few off days. Travel schedules that have them leaving at three in the morning to be in a new city at three in the afternoon in a different time zone, the grind of their own manual labor that has younger talent chomping at the bit to take their spot because they had a bad week, the time away from family and friends, or even just sleeping in their own beds. This is what I see from where I am at, but there is so much more that I do not see behind closed doors. Yes, there are definite perks, and yes, they do find time to enjoy themselves like all of us, but its still a job, and without a doubt, if it was your job, I can only imagine that you wouldn’t find it as glamourous as it’s made out to be in our imaginations.