April Showers Bring May Flowers

The River Cats stopped their six-game losing skid after taking the second game of a double header to close out their road trip against the OKC Dodgers (20-7) and come into May with a record of 11-16 and trail the Reno Aces (15-11) by 4.5 games in the PCL West, and trail the Dodgers by 9 games in the League. The River Cats are tied for last in the League with the Salt Lake Bees.

The River Cats simply took a beating by the Dodgers, no ifs, ands, or buts, about it. They were also tasked with facing top pitching prospects Bobby Miller, and Gavin Stone for OKC who easily handed losses to Sacramento. Stone was also called up to make his Major League debut days after facing the River Cats, but didn’t fair to well in his Major League debut and was swiftly sent back to Oklahoma City. That move is not a knock on Stone, he was called up for a quick start against a very dangerous Philadelphia Phillies lineup, and I’m sure we’ll see him back in the Dodger’s rotation soon enough, along with Bobby Miller.

The opt out clause that Gary Sanchez holds on his contract was set to expire on Monday May 1, which prompted the promotion of Giants 2020 #1 pick Patrick Bailey to Triple-A who made his debut on Sunday night. Sanchez is hitting only .164 with one double, no home runs, and 19 strikeouts in 55 at bats with Sacramento so it would be a miracle to have the Giants call him up. The Giants would officially grant Sanchez his release on May 2nd.

There is no wonder that the River Cats are having such a woeful season as no River Cats player is in the Top 10 of any offensive categories, but Clint Coulter is 15th in RB with 20, and Casey Schmitt is #20 in batting with a .301 average. The only bright spots on the mound continue to be Ryan Walker and his all-around pitching performances this season, as well as Kyle Harrison and his 15.51 strikeouts per nine innings average which places him third in the league. Harrison continues to have control issues though, but his stuff is fantastic.

Around the league Phillip Evans and Buddy Kennedy from the Reno Aces are still tearing up the league as Evans has an amazing .431 average, and Kennedy is second in the league hitting an even .400. Salt Lake’s Jo Adell leagues Minor League baseball with 10 home runs, and Mike Ford leads the league in RBI with 39.

Cody Bradford of Round Rock continues to dominate on the mound and ends the month with a 5-0 record, 0.64 ERA, 0.74 WHIP in 28.1 innings, which is only one third of an inning behind the league leader.

The weather and my other interest, concert photography, kept me away from the ballpark much of this week as the Oakland Athletics Triple-A affiliate Las Vegas Aviators came into town but the River Cats seemed to have right the ship a bit as they take four of six this week including two back-to-back walk offs on Thursday and Friday night.

The series started horribly with a loss to Las Vegas by a score of 2-1 where the River Cats left 14 on base and went 0-15 at the plate with runners in scoring position. The highlight of the night would belong to Patrick Bailey who doubled for his first Triple-A hit.

Both of Las Vegas’ runs were driven in by Turlock’s own Tyler Soderstrom who knocked in Zack Gelof on a double and single in the first and third innings respectively.

The River Cats would win the next four games in the series that included a five run fourth inning in Game 2, and Kyle Harrison’s strongest performance of the season on Saturday night, Game 5 of the series, where the lefty showed what the hype is all about. Harrison pitched four shutout innings striking out seven, while walking none. Harrison’s strikeouts per nine improved to 15.56. Harrison’s performance earned him the Pacific Coast League’s Pitcher of the Week Honors for May 1-7.

The River Cats ended the series going 4-2 against the Aviators this week, putting them at 15-18 on the season and in a three-way tie for last place with the Aviators, and this week’s opponent the Salt Lake Bees. The Bees come into town with hot hitting Jo Adell and his Minor League leading 12 home runs and I’m curious to see how many he has at the end of the series here in Sacramento.

While OKC and Round Rock are running away with the best records in the PCL, both teams are in the East Division, while Sacramento and Salt Lake are in the West, and both are only 3.5 games behind Division leading Reno. A good week by either team could put them right back in the mix for a chance at a post season berth as the first half of the season ends on June 23rd.

The big news which was just announced today is that Casey Schmitt was just called up to the Giants to make his Major League debut. Schmitt is batting .313 with 10 doubles and 22 RBI. In corresponding moves, the Giants Designated for Assignment, Darin Ruf who had been rehabbing in Sacramento, and optioned Cal Stevenson to Sacramento.

Astropops or Taco Bell?

Allergies have been brutal in the Sacramento valley this week and River Cats bats are being affected as they appear to be allergic to barreling baseballs. After averaging 59 runs the first two weeks of the season, the River Cats found themselves scoring only 24 runs during this six game homestand against Round Rock during which they lost four. Credit is due to Round Rock who are the second-best team in the Pacific Coast League behind the Oklahoma City Dodgers who the River Cats face this upcoming week in Oklahoma.

Since we last saw the team two weeks ago, the River Cats headed into their series against Reno with a record of 4-5 but won their first series of the season by taking four of six games against the Aces before returning to Sacramento. In Reno, Aces first baseman Phillip Evans continues to tear up the league with his .439 batting average, and teammate Buddy Kennedy is second in the league with a distant but still amazing .393 average. Reno has four batters in the top 10 in batting average as they sandwich the rest of league at one, two, nine and ten.

The Express came into Sacramento with Pacific Coast League’s best pitcher at the moment, Cody Bradford, who pitched game three of series and went seven innings allowing one run on five hits while striking out five and walking two. The lone run was only the second run that Bradford has allowed all season and came off the bat of Gary Sanchez who knocked in Austin Slater for the River Cats only run of the game in the bottom of the third. Bradford’s ERA and WHIP are both 0.77, as he improved to 4-0 on the season and leads the PCL in all three categories. Combined with Cole Winn, the Express really have some tough pitching, and their lineup is stacked with both former Major Leaguers such as Clint Frazier and Yoshi Tsutsugo, as well as Texas prospects, Jonathan Ornelas, and Justin Foscue the Rangers’ 2021 first round draft pick selected 14th overall. Foscue had a good series going yard twice. I’m not sure what to expect from the River Cats this year, but for as much of a hitter’s league that the Pacific Coast League historically has been, there is an amazing crop of young pitchers in the league right now that are challenging that notion.

River Cats third baseman/shortstop Casey Schmitt was honored this past weekend by receiving his 2022 Minor League Baseball Gold Glove Award, and then continued to shine at the plate. He is tied for most hits in the PCL with 30, and second on the team in both average and RBI but has also been prone to striking out this year.

Clint Coulter continues to lead the River Cats offensively and is top 10 in the PCL with his 25 hits, 19 RBI, .352 average, and .465 on base percentage.

Giants’ top prospect Kyle Harrison is starting to look a lot better having his best outing of the season last week, but Ryan Walker continues to be the most effective pitcher on the staff with 13 strikeouts in 13.2 innings and an ERA of 1.32, and WHIP of 0.88. He also leads the team with a 2.6 strikeout to walk ratio.

Opening Day starter Tristan Beck also got the call on Tuesday the 18th and made his Major League debut two days later pitching 5.1 innings of relief and striking out five against the Mets and their powerful lineup. As of this writing, Tristan hasn’t appeared in another game and will most likely make a return to Sacramento for the time being, but overall, a good debut.

Mitch Hanigar made his Giants organization debut this week starting a rehab assignment with a home run in his first game with the River Cats and blasting another later in the series. Austin Slater also finally got to see some playing time as he too returns from injury and spent the past week with the River Cats.  Both players were activated and made their 2023 debuts yesterday (April 24) in the Giants lineup. During the game, Joey Bart did leave Monday night’s game with a groin tightness after hitting a double in the seventh inning against the Cardinals. Depending on how serious the injury is, this could be the opportunity that Gary Sanchez needs to make the roster before May 1st. . This must be a hard decision for the Giants because Gary is not only not hitting in Sacramento, but he doesn’t even look like he wants to be there. I get that he, along with everyone else, would much rather be in the Majors, but he’s not producing, and he looks horrible behind the plate and shows little to no effort. While Patrick Bailey is having a hot start in Double-A Richmond, I don’t think the Giants pull him up to the Majors at this point so if necessary, it seems the job goes to Sanchez if Bart goes down.

Hello Cal Stevenson, and after two years, goodbye to Sacramento native Sammy Long. Having burst onto the scene back in 2021 with the River Cats when he struck out the first eight batters he faced setting a new record to start a game, Long has been traded to the A’s for cash consideration. Although Long and Stevenson were each traded to each other’s team for “cash”, it turned out to be like a Stevenson for Long deal didn’t it? Its great that Sammy will have the opportunity to stay with a local organization, but you can’t really beat playing in your backyard.

The River Cats debuted two new alternate jerseys this past week. The first was a revamp of the Dorados uniforms that remind me a little of the Astropop uniforms the Houston Astros wore in the 80s or maybe a Taco Bell box. Either way I actually like them a lot.

This is the third incarnation of the uniforms that I can remember going back to their inception in 2018. Originally a black body with yellow sleeves, the previous jersey consisted of the light blue with yellow of the Ukrainian flag, having alternating triangular shapes pointing inward toward blocked letters that read “Dorados”, and the uniforms looked horrible. The new jersey still has a primary blue and yellow design but darker with added orange and white. The upper half is the blue and now the bottom half has the orange, yellow and white go around the body of the lower half and on the lower portion of the sleeves.

The River Cats also debuted their throwback uniforms to commemorate the Sacramento Solons who were one of the original teams of the Pacific Coast League back in 1903 and were in the league on and off until 1976 with its longest stretch from 1918-1960. The Solons were the last professional team in Sacramento until the River Cats moved from Vancouver for the 2000 season.

And Its Only Just Begun

On a day that 2022 Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara pitched a complete game shut out over the Minnesota Twins with exactly 100 pitches in one hour and fifty-seven minutes, the River Cats took to the field for their home opener and stayed there for three hours and nineteen minutes in a loss to the El Paso Chihuahuas.

The night was cold and overcast and yet 9,548 fans, one of the biggest I’ve seen at the park in years, showed up to cheer on the River Cats as they faced off against the El Paso Chihuahuas. Not only did baseball return to Sacramento for 2023, but it did so with a rush of excitement as Fernando Tatis Jr. Tatis, a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and 2021 All Star, is on a rehab assignment with El Paso as he finishes off the last two weeks of his 80-game suspension after testing positive for the banned substance Clostebol. Tatis said at the time that he took medication for the treatment of ringworm without realizing that Clostebol was in the medication. Yes, it was dumb that a player with such good care could have made such a mistake, but I believe him because unlike most other players who get popped, he didn’t just leave it at the generic I don’t know how it happened, or that he “tried endlessly to find the answer”, no he just accepted it and said he messed up.

Game time was now upon and aside from Tatis, the biggest news of the day for San Francisco Giants fans was that Kyle Harrison, the Giants’ top prospect was making his Triple-A debut. Harrison had an amazing 14.3 strikeouts per nine innings last season, which was an increase from the year before. Harrison’s first pitch, ball one, to none other than Fernando Tatis Jr. Harrison would walk Tatis in that first at bat, which would be the first of twelve walks the River Cats gave up that evening on their way to losing the home opener by a score of 10-8 and would end his night pitching two-plus innings, striking out four and walking four. Tatis would end his night going 1-2, with and RBI, and two walks, which pale in comparison to the excitement Tatis would produce just twenty-four hours later.

The River Cats came out swinging in the second game of the series and scored five runs in the bottom of the second to take the early lead over El Paso. The Chihuahuas would start to fight their way back as soon as the top of the third when they scored their first run when Kade McClure came into the game to relieve Ryan Walker.

Fernando Tatis would lead off the fifth with a 406-foot home run to left centerfield. This was Tatis’ first home run in only his second game back after having not played in a game since 2021 due to injury and suspension. The game went all down hill from there as the Chihuahuas tacked on six more runs including a four run sixth inning that had ten batters come to the plate and scoring four more runs, and eventually the game would end by a score of 8-5 on a night where the River Cats pitching woes got worse as they walked fifteen on the night.

Social media was abuzz with highlights of Tatis’ homerun, and Kade McClure got a little annoyed to say the least. McClure decided that it was a good idea to tweet, **Cheater hits a home run on a rehab assignment during a steroid suspension** after seeing a Padres writer Darnay Tripp write, “Kade McClure will be telling people for years about the time he gave up an absolute nuke to Fernando Tatis Jr”. McClure would double down the next morning with “Man woke up to some juiced up Padres fans”. The irony is that the San Fransico Giants ace pitcher Logan Webb was suspended for 80 games for testing positive for steroids back in 2019. Kade’s tweets have since now been deleted but McClure was raked through the coals by not only fans but also his peers. Old tweets were found, reprimands were given, and he has not pitched for the River Cats since that night, which I can only imagine is a move to let this die down for a bit. This story blew up so much that even Tatis’ mom jumped in on the action and said, “A player with 7 years in minor league just wanted a minute of fame, that was the reason he use a super star player name to obtain visibility” on her Instagram story. No one involved in this craziness is in the wrong, but to use another one of McClure’s tweets, “If you don’t like it, do better”.

Joe Musgrove of the Padres was announced as the starting pitcher for Thursday night’s game for a rehab assignment. After training 4-2, the River Cats clawed their way back and knocked Musgrove out of the game in the fifth after going 4.1 innings, allowing five hits, two runs, and six strikeouts. The River Cats resorted to small ball and found themselves taking their first win of series by a final score of 10-5.

Friday night’s match up was the one I was looking forward to all week as the River Cats would send Tristen Beck to the mound and face Jay Groome for the Chihuahuas. Groome who is still one of San Diego’s Top 30 prospects was originally drafted in the first round by the Boston Red Sox but came to the Padres last season in the trade that sent Eric Hosmer to the Sox.

Groome did not fair to well giving up six runs off five hits in five innings and walking four including a 385-foot to Will Wilson for his first homerun of the year.  I’m superstition so I feel like I should be taking some of the blame for this one. The first time I ever saw Groome pitch was in the Pacific Coast League Championship game against the Reno Aces last fall in Las Vegas. Groome was lit up that night giving up four runs in 1.2 innings pitched which gave Reno the Pacific Coast League title. Tristen Beck picked up his first win of the season going five innings, giving up two runs, and leading the River Cats to their second win in a row as they defeated the Chihuahuas by a score of 9-4.

Melvin Adon, who is pitching for the River Cats for the first time since 2019, and the last remaining player from the team that won the Triple-A National Championship that year, closed out the game for the Cats. Adon looked typical to say the least, 100 miles an hour rockets coming out of his hand, but you never know where they’re going to end up.

This homestand has to be one the most star-studded series I’ve seen at Sutter Health Park in recent memory. Outside of Tatis, we’ve seen Joe Musgrove, and now tonight you can add Joey Bart who is on a rehab assignment, and former Yankees and Twins catcher Gary Sanchez to the mix who will be making his debut for the Giants organization after signing a Minor League deal last week. I wonder if that “I jus’ wanted to see a Yankee” guy from last year has come to these games? This is a very weird situation in my eyes. Bart, a former number two pick overall by the Giants, has seemed to lose favor with the team as they continue to bring in catchers looking for the right fit. While both of these players realize that this is a business, and that there is someone always looking to take away your job, I can only imagine how taxing it is when your bosses’ every word in reported on, and the guy looking to take your job is more experienced and sitting right next to you in the dugout. Don’t get me wrong, Bart is the guy for now, but those breathing down his neck are right there waiting for their chance. In Sanchez, a two time All Star, also has a stipulation in his contract that states if he is not promoted to the Majors by May 1, 2023, he can walk and sign elsewhere. That too is an interesting situation as Sanchez was sitting there with no other offers when the Giants came knocking so we will see what happens come May 1st.

The River Cats would roll over the Chihuahuas by a score of 12-4 for their third straight win with help from a big bottom of the third inning the team would bust out seven runs which started when Michael Gigliotti doubled down the right field line scoring two. Bart and Sanchez would also add to the excitement by knocking in a combined three RBI in the inning. River Cats pitching would have their most dominant night of this young season as Walker, Waites, Marciano, Hildenberger, Guzman, and Dabovich would only give up two walks on the night, a far cry from earlier this week.

The River Cats had won three straight coming into Sunday’s final game of the series and they would be looking to Kyle Harrison on the mound once again to keep the winning streak alive. The Chihuahuas started Julio Teheran on the mound who made quick work of the River Cats as he looked like the Teheran of old allowing one run in six innings while striking out eight.

Harrison started the game with ten straight balls and would not make it out of the first inning throwing thirty-five pitches of which only twelve were thrown for strikes. Harrison couldn’t help but look amused at himself in disbelief as Dave Brundage came out to take the ball from him.

That look pretty much sums up the final game of the series, but the cherry on top was when right fielder Clint Coulter came into to pitch to Taylor Kohlwey in the top of the ninth with two outs and the River Cats trailing by a score of 8-1. Kohlwey would fly out to Coulter’s replacement in right, Shane Matheny, on the first pitch to end the inning. This would be Coulter’s professional pitching debut after having played in the Minor Leagues for eleven years as he became the first position player to pitch for the River Cats in 2023.

While the two teams split the six-game series evenly, it was not pretty and I’m writing that off as still being early spring. Ryan Walker has quietly been the pitcher to watch early on this season as he has not allowed a run in his three appearances and has six strikeouts and two walks in 6.1 innings of work. On the other side of the coin, Will Wilson finds himself struggling to start as he is dwelling in the cellar with a .138 batting average with 11 strikeouts in 29 at bats. The River Cats look to bounce back from it all as they start a series against the Aces tonight in Reno.

Now Batting…Morgan Wallen?

The River Cats come into Tuesday’s home opener against the El Paso Chihuahuas with a record of 1-2 from their opening series in Salt Lake. Opening Day was scheduled for Friday, March 31, but a blanket of snow on the Smith’s Ballpark field postponed the game until Saturday which turned into a midday doubleheader. Due to the weather, Opening Day now fell on the shoulders of Tristen Beck in game one. The final score was 2-0 with both runs being charged to Beck who gave up a solo homerun to Chad Wallach in the third, and got into a bases loaded jam in the fourth where reliever Ryan Walker did just that, and walked in a run before retiring the inning.

The River Cats would pick their first win of 2023 as they split the season opening doubleheader by defeating the Bees by a score of 7-4. The River Cats used Mauricio Llovera as an opener for one inning before handing the ball over to Sammy Long who would pick up the win. The River Cats offense was lead by Ricardo Genoves and Michael Gigliotti who combined for five RBI on the night. Cole Waites would bring his deceptive fastball in to close out the game and earn his first save. The River Cats closer has topped out at 100.6 in his career but normally sits around 95-98 which appears much faster watching him through from behind the plate as he bores into right-handed batters.

The River Cats would close out Opening Day weekend with yet another loss to the Bees. The Bees took advantage of 14 walks issued by River Cats pitching on their way to reaching base 21 times in the game and defeating the River Cats 8-3 after an outstanding performance by pitcher who shutout the River Cats through five innings and striking out six.

Sacramento’s home opener on April 4th, brings the Triple-A debut of San Francisco Giants’ #1, and MLB’s #18, prospect Kyle Harrison who averaged 14.8 strikeouts per nine innings in 2022 is getting the ball for the River Cats as they face the El Paso Chihuahuas, Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, and the reigning Pacific Coast League East Division Champions. Look for former Red Sox 2016 first-round draft pick Jay Groome to take the mound for the Chihuahuas during this six game series, but the bigger story is that Fernando Tatis Jr is expected to play for the Chihuahuas this series. Tatis who is coming off an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance last August, is eligible to return to the Padres on April 20th. A little fun fact about Tatis is that when he suits up for the Chihuahuas for the first time, it will also mark the first time he will play at the Triple-A level having jumped from Double-A to the Majors in 2019.

The 2023 Minor League Baseball season is just a few days old, and before the River Cats started their three-day series in Salt Lake City against the Bees I had a chance to get to know some of the players on this year’s team.

One of the more interesting players to watch this year will be Ronald Guzman who is starting 2023 on the injured list after suffering a pronator strain in a Spring Training game against the A’s. Guzman, the 6’4” former Texas Rangers slugger has now converted into a relief pitcher whose fastball reaches the mid-90s will be playing with the River Cats when he returns in 6-8 weeks to the field of play in 6-8 weeks. I am curious to see if the Giants organization plans to utilize his bat still or if he will put 100% of his focus into pitching.

The San Francisco Giants have also signed two time Major League All Star Gary Sanchez to a Minor League deal and have assigned him to the River Cats. Sanchez will first report to the Giants Spring Training facility in Scottsdale, Arizona for an undisclosed amount of time before joining Sacramento which should be fairly soon as his contract allows Sanchez to opt out if he isn’t on the Major League roster by May 1st. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out as the Giants options behind the plate do not appear to be making any lasting impressions on the front office.

The fans will have many familiar faces returning in 2023 as Heliot Ramos, Casey Schmitt, Cole Waites, Tristan Beck, and Isan Diaz, just to name a few, will once again wear the River Cats jersey. This team is a good mix of guys who are already familiar with each other and will be spending another season together, but while they are a team, they’re still their own individual selves.

Kyle Harrison spent time in the Dominican Republic at one of the baseball academies where the culture shock hit hard. Kyle visited an orphanage and had his eyes open to how people live there in the DR, and he also saw the difficulties that Dominican baseball players face as they try to climb up the organization ladder. While he thought it was a cool experience to have, he discussed having to live eight to a room in bunkbeds at the baseball academy which gave him the appreciation for what players in the United States have.

Will Wilson had a busy off season by moving from North Carolina to Florida where you can go to the beach without freezing during the off season. Will also just started to golf, and admitted has a way to go having only broken 90 once thus far.

Giants fourth ranked prospect Casey Schmitt, the recent winner of the Barney Nugent Award given annually to the player who best exemplifies the spirit of the San Francisco Giants is an avid UFC fan who likes to bring the joy of wrestling into the clubhouse. I was surprised that all hell didn’t break loose during this interview as Schmitt and Wilson went back and forth about the the number of pins Schmitt has suffered at the hands of Wilson, who claims four while Schmitt argues that they are “unconfirmed”; River Cats manager Dave Brundage was unavailable for comment on the matter, but as you can tell by this picture, it’s pretty obvious to see who Daddy is.

Casey Schmitt & Will Wilson

The teams’ musical tastes was far less diverse than expected but a few stood out such as Kyle Harrison and his love for rap artist Gunna who I had to look up, but now I wish I could have asked Kyle what his thoughts were on Gunna cutting a deal on a case and snitching on YSL? Considering Harrison has spent time in the DR he should talk to Heliot Ramos about his musical choice Eladio Carrion a Puerto Rican rapper and reggaeton singer.

Pitcher Ryan Walker an accomplished guitarist who has played since he was eight years old, and can shred along to the best rock solos, or slow it down and fingerpick his way through a ballad confessed to strumming his guitar to Lainey Wilson’s “Heart Like a Truck” while sipping on whiskey these days.

The one thing that many of the players had in common was their love for pop country singer Morgan Wallen. In case you don’t know, Wallen is the hottest thing since sliced butter on the country charts, but he’s also the guy who casually dropped the “hard R” in 2021 when Wallen was 28 years old. The use of the word was justified by fans as Wallen trying to be a tough guy, and after some sensitivity training Wallen apologized and saw the error in his ways, but was he contrite? Money and a number one hit song will erase a lot of sins, but there is no doubt in my mind how Wallen truly feels because he showed us, and the fear of being “cancelled” is a powerful thing, and that power is where the true danger really lies. Cancel culture doesn’t resolve anything, but just makes it worse by driving the ignorance and hate underground, while the resentment is buried and grows deeper within. Let a person show their true colors, and accept them for who they are, the good and the bad, but own the reflection of yourself as well. Anyway, anyone who listens to Morgan’s music knows he’s not much of a tough guy anyway.

“I jus’ wanted to see a Yankee…”

A couple of weeks back I got into this phase where I kept saying, “How can you not be romantic about baseball”? The quote made famous by Brad Pitt in his portrayal of Billy Bean in the 2011 movie Money Ball. It’s a line that rings true for me whenever I’m told how boring baseball is, because to me, baseball is much bigger than the players on the field, and the game between the foul lines. Baseball is life and touches the lives of so many whether they hate it, or love it, many of us have some memory about baseball.

I was feeling very unmotivated during the last River Cats homestand against the Salt Lake Bees, and this past week while they played in Las Vegas. I wasn’t finding any inspiration in the games themselves and had a hard time capturing moments with my camera to tell a story. I then decided to turn my attention toward the fans, and that’s when the excitement came back. I remembered why I loved baseball, and I smiled.

Looking into the stands I saw children screaming for baseballs, arms outstretched, faces pressed to the netting to keep them safe from foul balls. Families sitting together with popcorn, and hot dogs, wearing their River Cats shirts, and San Francisco Giants hats, glove in one hand and a souvenir cup in the other. Grown men shoulder to shoulder with kids, baseballs and cards, and pens in hand asking, “sign mine”? There were couples on first dates, and couples of forty years; how many games had they been to? What memories do they have? Which players have they seen? Drunken frat boys, and screaming sorority sisters, laughed, and cheered creating lifelong friendship through baseball. Then there was one thing that really struck me, and humbled me, and reminded me to be grateful for the easy access that I have to baseball.

Baseball is America’s Pastime, but it is played around the world and in 2020, roughly 31% of Major League players hailed from Latin American countries. Most of us see baseball and its high salaries as a luxury, but to the Latin American players, it’s a way out of poverty for not only themselves and their families, but many times for those in their community who benefit from the charitable acts that the few players who do make it give back. While today’s stars of Latin America are known to us who follow the game, those players weren’t just born with the desire to play. They were influenced by generations of players who we never heard of, and by stories of those who were legends both here and overseas; Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, and Willie Mays, all superstars who helped spread the game around the world. Yet even if those names did not resound themselves, there was one team that did. The New York Yankees, owners of a record 27 World Championships, you’d be hard pressed to find many families around the world who had not heard of the New York Yankees.

The crowd had just finished singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in the middle of the seventh inning on this Friday night, and as usual people were coming down the aisles of the stadium seats, many milling around by the photo well trying to get a peek and the attention of their favorite players, and as the inning was about to start, one gentleman remained. A Latino, probably in his mid-thirties just stood there staring toward the batter’s box while Salt Lake’s pitcher Ty Buttrey was finishing up his warmup throws to catcher Austin Romine. The man got my attention and asked me as he pointed to the box, “Is that Austin Romine”? to which I replied in the affirmative and went back to what I was doing. I knew that he would be asked to take his seat once the game began, but it wasn’t my job to do, and I remember what it’s like to be on that side of the railing.

Austin Romine

Security came up to the gentleman and kindly asked him to take his seat, to which the man did not argue, but just before he left, he said the most authentic thing I’ve heard all season. In a heavily accented voice, and speaking of Bees catcher Austin Romine, “I jus’ wanted to see a Yankee. He played for the Yankees” as he pointed to Austin Romine behind the plate, then turned around and left. He returned to take his seat, wherever they may have been, but I was instantly moved by the power of his words. Austin Romine hasn’t played for the Yankees since 2019, and Salt Lake City is worlds apart from New York, yet this man with the look of excitement and joy on his face said in his heavily accented voice, “I jus’ wanted to see a Yankee, and he used to play for the Yankees”, that statement was all I could think about the rest of the night. This man’s wish, his dream for who knows how long, had probably been going to New York, watching a Yankees game, and fulfilling a dream, but the desire for that was so strong in him, that he was in awe of a man, who simply had put on the Yankees uniform.

Immediately after the game, without even considering that Austin had just caught nine innings of baseball, sorry about that Austin, I approached him and said I had a story to tell. Reluctantly Austin gave me a look like whatever, just say it. I could see the boredom and tiredness in his face as I gave him a quick background as to what had just happened, but when I said those words, “He just wanted to see a Yankee”, Austin’s demeanor changed, you could see he was touched, and said, “I wish I could have met him to say hi, thank you for telling me that, that’s really special”. How can you not be romantic about baseball?

He Does It All!

The 2022 Oklahoma City Dodgers are a vibe.

They are the most exciting team I’ve seen in a while with an energy that makes it easy to understand their record coming into this series in Sacramento. From the nonchalant too cool for school attitude of Omar Estevez, the slick laid back demeanor of Andre Jackson, the swagger of Miguel Vargas, or the cool professional leadership of veteran Kevin Pillar, it creates an energy in the dugout that is making baseball fun for this team and exciting for their fans.

Eddy Alvarez, shortstop for the OKC Dodgers had this to say about what he feels creates the ball club’s energy,

“I think the roles that a lot of us have, [as] a lot of us are…veterans now, [with] a lot of big-league experience in our clubhouse, and we’ve taken the roll as it comes. The big-league team is obviously a video game kind of lineup, we understand that. I think the Dodgers on their end have done an unbelievable job in just getting and meshing a great group of guys together; if you can tell what its like as an outsider, it only gets better once we’re in the clubhouse”.

The last time the OKC Dodgers played in Sacramento was in 2018 with a team that featured the likes of Alex Verdugo, Tim Locastro, and Donovan Solano. This year the Dodgers roll in with an 8-4 record and atop the Pacific Coast League East. The River Cats, at 7-5, are in a three-way tie for second in the West.

Game 1 featured a pitching matchup between Sean Hjelle of the River Cats, and Andre Jackson for OKC. While the River Cats would lose by a score of 10-4, which included a six run eighth, the fireworks started early on when Dodgers’ second baseman Eddy Alvarez knocked in a run in the first, and then blasted a monster solo homerun in the third.  

After rounding the bases and giving high fives to his teammates lined up across the front of the dugout, OKC Dodgers pitching coach Dave Borkowski said, “He does it all”, and that is no exaggeration, as Eddy indeed, does it all.

Eddy Alvarez is not your typical professional baseball player. A native of Miami, Florida, Eddy was born to Cuban immigrant parents, and while baseball was in his blood, he fell in love with another sport, inline speed skating. Eddy learned that to compete on the international level he needed to be skating on ice. That decision, determination and hard work led to Eddy being selected for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Short Track Speed Skating team which earned him a Silver Medal in Sochi.

I mentioned earlier that baseball was in Eddy’s blood, and that was manifested in his brother Nick, thirteen years his senior, who spent seven years in the Dodgers’ organization making it to Triple-A. Nick was a power hitter, and unbeknownst to me until recently that the two were brothers, I actually followed Nick’s career for a time. I live and write about baseball in San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s country, but on the inside, I bleed Dodger blue through my Red Sox. After the 2014 Olympics, Eddy decided to hang up his skates for cleats due to the punishment his body was taking and the surgeries he needed to maintain at just 24 years of age.

Signed as an undrafted free agent, for nothing more than a chance by the White Sox, Eddy toiled in the Minor Leagues for five years before being traded to his hometown Miami Marlins in 2019. Eddy made his Major League debut on August 5, 2020 for the Marlins and would go on to get his first Major League hit off Jacob deGrom a few days later. Eddy credits his brother Nick in helping him transition to baseball.

“Nick’s career was kind of a steppingstone for me. He passed a bunch of information down to me when I made the decision to transition to baseball. He was the first one that I went to, to ask for help. Now he has three kids, two boys that are heavy in the baseball world. He has his own baseball academy…his own training facility that he runs the academy through; 25,000 square feet and that place is booming. He’s doing good, he’s doing really well, and the kids are doing extremely well, and we know he’s a basher right? He hit some far home runs that probably haven’t landed yet but he’s an unbelievable dad now, and it’s incredible to watch”.

In May of 2021, Eddy was named to the roster of the 2020/21 United States National Baseball team at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and would once again wear the Red, White, and Blue on the international stage. Eddy’s experience in Tokyo was much different than Sochi.

“It was a lot different, the 2020 Olympics, compared to the 2014 with everything being shut down with Covid, and no crowds in the stands. The 2014 experience was my first taste of accomplishment, something that my whole life I sacrificed for, but either way, I was so honored to be named one of the flag bearers, next to Sue Bird, and to be able to walk out the Flag, knowing that it’s a symbol of liberty and freedom. It’s something that my family came over to the United States in search of, so I waved that Flag proudly for them”.

Team USA Baseball would fall to Japan in the Gold Medal game, which earned USA Baseball, and Eddy Alvarez the Silver Medal. This would be Eddy’s second Olympic Medal, in a different sport, making him one of six athletes, and only the third American, to have medaled in both the Winter and Summer Olympics. He is also the first Winter Olympian, and first non-baseball Olympian to have played Major League Baseball since the great Jim Thorpe in 1913, after getting Gold in 1912.

Eddy isn’t the only Olympian on the OKC Dodgers roster; he is joined by Team Israel infielder, and U.C. Davis alum, Ty Kelly. One thing I was dying to find out though was about the beds in Tokyo. All over social media last summer, athletes from around the world shared videos of the beds as they were tried, tested, and sometimes destroyed for views. The one thing that none of them ever mentioned, was how comfortable they were, so having the opportunity, I asked Eddy and with a laugh he said,

“They weren’t bad; they were a little stiff, the cushions were a little hard, but I slept really good. Then again, it was like sleeping on an arts and crafts model of a bed frame, but it was perfectly fine. [They were] really easy to move, and really easy to clean under”.

Its hard not to root for Eddy and wish the best for him. Eddy is also known for his backflips, and one of his goals is to bring the backflip back to the game of baseball a la Ozzie Smith, which he says he’s saving for when he’s back in the Major Leagues. So, a tip of the hat, and a raise of the glass to Eddy’s success in making it back to the Majors, so that we can see that flip.

The six-game series would end with a split between the teams but was much more meaningful for Giants and River Cats fans as the Dodgers were knocked out of first place in the East, and the River Cats would take sole possession of first place in the West.

Key highlight of the series included a Game 4 pitching matchup between Michael Plassmeyer for the River Cats and Ryan Pepiot who is the Dodgers’ #2 pitching prospect. The Dodgers would beat the River Cats by a score of 1-0 with the Dodgers lone run coming in the first off a double by Andy Burns that scored Miguel Vargas. From then on out it, it was lights out. Plassmeyer, and reliever Wei-Chieh Huang combined for 15 strikeouts in the loss. While Pepiot struck out eight in five innings of work.

The tables were turned in Game 5 when the River Cats exploded for 12 runs against the Dodgers. Heliot Ramos went oppo-taco, newly assigned Luke Williams continued his hot streak by going 3-4, and LaMonte Wade Jr started his rehab assignment, but the story of the night was Austin Dean. Dean went 3-5 with two runs score, and four RBI, as he fell a double short of the cycle. Things got so bad that infielder Ty Kelly came in to pitch just to save the bullpens arms. Kelly was really zipping them in there as he even touched the low 80’s on his fastball.

The River Cats are off to Albuquerque next for a series against the Isotopes, the Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. If you’d also like to know more about Eddy Alvarez, and in his own words, check out Episode 8 of the podcast Sax in the Morning, hosted by five-time Major League All-Star, and 1982 National League Rookie of the Year, Steve Sax. Sax in the Morning can be found wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Launch Codes Activated

I am going to be honest; I am a little disappointed with myself this week because I did not fully think through how my plan for the blog this year was going to work. Initially I was planning to write a piece every Monday talking about the River Cats series from the previous week and keep you posted about other things around the league; and while I still plan to do that, I think I must change things up a little. I think focusing on the River Cats while they are out of town simply is too much for me to take on this season with my own personal schedule. Yes, I can regurgitate the nightly re-cap of games, but you too can read a box score, and there simply is not any passion in me to do that. I wrote a book this way, and I love it and hope that you will too, but my goal has always been to grow, and bring you more.

Going forward I will write my posts in the following manner. During the weeks in which the River Cats play in Sacramento, my stories will focus on that series and the players. Yes, there may be a story that comes up that I feel is a more relevant story to write, but in general that is the plan. The weeks in which the River Cats are not in town, I will write a more special interest story in which I try to merge life with baseball, because what is baseball, if not a metaphor for life? Each week I will still try to have updates about the River Cats and other goings on in the Pacific Coast League as the focus of the blog is the Pacific Coast League with a River Cats slant.

The River Cats end their series against the Reno Aces with a record of 7-5 after splitting the six-game series. Game 1 saw the River Cats take a loss in a game that included a controversial grand slam that broke it open for the Aces in the bottom of the fourth. Aces second baseman Camden Duzenak hit a ball that appeared to the umpire to have hit above the yellow line on the outfield wall that constitutes a home run. River Cats manager came out to discuss the call and would end up being ejected from the game. Video replay would later show that the ball did in fact hit below the line, but there was nothing that could be done. 4-0, Aces. Matt Davidson would also hit two home runs in the game for Reno as they beat the River Cats 11-4. Davidson, some of you might recall, is one of only four players to have hit three home runs on Opening Day when he accomplished the feat in 2018 for the Chicago White Sox.

In Game 5 of the series on Saturday night, it was like watching a home run derby as the River Cats unloaded for five of the eight home runs hit on the night. David Villar, and Luis Gonzalez each hit two for the River Cats, and Matt Davidson hit his seventh home run of the season, which is the most in all of baseball at the time of this writing, in a game that ended with a River Cats victory by a score of 18-8. The Cats were 22-50 (.440) at the plate with 18 RBI, five doubles, five home runs, and six walks.

The River Cats could only muster up three hits on Sunday’s series finale after last night’s hit parade and would drop the final game of this series by a score of 1-0 on a home run by Arizona’s #1 prospect Alek Thomas. Thomas has a six-game hitting streak going right now and has hit safely in 10 of 12 games the Aces have played this year. Sunday was also Heliot Ramos’ return to the River Cats lineup after a brief call up to the Giants last week, and he goes 0-4 on the day.

Around the league we see River Cats third baseman David Villar sitting second in the PCL leader board with five homeruns behind Davidson, and third in the Minor Leagues behind Memphis’ Nolan Gorman who has six to lead the International League. Villar’s 16 RBI also lead the PCL but fall second over all in Triple-A behind Worcester’s Franchy Cordero who has 18. Bryce Johnson, who led the PCL in steals in 2021 has five on the season, just one behind the stolen base leaders Bubba Thompson and Forrest Wall. River Cats’ pitcher Matt Carasiti is tied for most wins in the league with a record of 2-0, and Raynel Espinal leads the River Cats with 13 strikeouts in 7.2 innings.

The Dodgers have most of their best prospect talent in the lower levels, but come in to this week’s series against the River Cats with three of their Top 30 on the Oklahoma City roster who are #5 Miguel Vargas, a power hitting corner infielder who is the son of longtime Cuban star Lazaro Vargas, #6 Ryan Pepiot a right handed pitcher whose change up is considered the best in all of the Minor Leagues and is among the leaders in the various pitching categories in the PCL. The Dodgers #11 prospect Andre Jackson, who made his debut with Los Angeles last season will be on the mound to start the series for Oklahoma City on Tuesday and is scheduled to pitch against Sean Hjelle for the River Cats.

The OKC Dodgers also have players who River Cats/Giants fans will be aware of starting with outfielder Kevin Pillar, pitcher Reyes Moronta, and coach Emmanuel Burriss who played for the Giants from 2008-2012. While there are other players of note on the team, U.C. Davis alum and Olympian from Team Israel baseball, Ty Kelly has come out of retirement and is playing for OKC, as well as Eddy Alvarez, Olympic silver medal winner in both speed skating and baseball has been leading off for OKC this season. Alvarez is only the sixth person ever, and third American to medal in both the Winter (2014) and Summer (2020/1) Olympics in different sports. This will no doubt be an exciting week of baseball in Sacramento as the Giants and Dodgers affiliates face off against each other accompanied by the same intensity and rivalry by their fans at any level of the game.

Some people call us the Space Cowboys, Some still call us the Skeeters

Maurice has left the building.

The first series of 2022 is in the books and the River Cats start their season 4-2. This series marked the debut of the Sugarland Space Cowboys, formerly known as the Skeeters since their inception back in 2012 while they were a part of the independent Atlantic League. While the Skeeters did come into the Triple-A West/Pacific Coast League in 2021 as part of Major League Baseball’s realignment and management plan, the deal also involved the Houston Astros purchasing majority ownership of the team. The name change, and rebranding was announced after the 2021 season to better align the team with the Astros, Sugar Land’s proximity to the Johnson Space Center, and of course, cowboys because Texas.

People keep talkin’ about me, baby.

Game 1 started with Sugar Land first baseman making history as he hit the first home run in Space Cowboy’s history. A two-run blast off Sacramento starter Jakob Junis, and yes, it was reported that the ball made is safely back to Sugar Land when it landed. J.J. would end the six-game series hitting .313 with two home runs, and five RBI, with a 1.200 OPS.

Heliot Ramos and David Villar have been the talk of the series because of their bats, and for Ramos’ call up this weekend, but it all started on Opening Night. The River Cats jumped all over Sugar Land starter J.P. France on Opening Night. After walking leadoff batter Luis Gonzalez, France gave up a two-run home run to Ramos who knew it was gone as he shuffled hopped a few steps down the first base line enjoying the moment. France would last only 0.2 innings before the River Cats chased him to the clubhouse.

In the second inning, David Villar would crank out a three-run home to put the Cats ahead for the night, and then walk it off with a single in the bottom of the ninth to seal the Opening Night victory for the River Cats. Villar would end the six-game series only batting .188, but his two home runs, and seven RBI over the series were literal game changers.

On the pitching side, Sean Hjelle was almost perfect in his 2022 debut going 3.2 innings having only given up a walk, with no-hits, and five strikeouts. Raynel Espinal who put in 3.2 innings on Saturday night where he scattered three hits, allowed zero runs and struck out seven. The performance kept the River Cats in the game in the pitchers dual, but Sugar Land’s Chad Donato was just too much and he handed the River Cats their first loss of the season. Other notable River Cat performances were put in by former Texas Rangers top prospect and first round draft pick Luis Ortiz, as well as Wei-Chieh Huang.

Well, don’t you worry, don’t worry, no, don’t worry, mama.

Sunday’s final match of the series was all Sugar Land, and J.P. France who simply dominated the River Cats and redeemed himself for the poor outing on Opening Night. The Cats would take their second loss of the season on a windy Sunday afternoon by a score of 8-1. Matijevic would hit his second home run of the season, and France would throw four complete no-hit innings and strike out eight, until allowing two hits and one run before being taken out in the fifth.

The River Cats begin their second series today with a 1:05pm start in Reno against the Aces who come into the game with a 3-3 record after opening the season in Las Vegas. The Cats will be seeing some familiar faces as Caleb Baragar, and Braden Bishop who have played with the River Cats in 2019, and 2021 respectively and are now with the Aces.


I wasn’t planning on writing about mondongo today, but life happens, and you adjust accordingly. Mondongo is a stew made from tripe and vegetables with different variations throughout Latin America. Growing up in a Mexican household I knew it as “menudo”. While I’m more of a pozole guy myself, I was looking forward to trying a Columbian style mondongo until the San Francisco Giants ruined my plans.

Heliot Ramos, one of the Giants’ Top 5 prospects started the season in Triple-A Sacramento as the 2022 season got underway this past week, and today he made his Major League debut. So, how does any of this have to do with mondongo? Well for that let me take you back to last weekend…

I had the opportunity to talk to Heliot last week about his Spring, and what his goals were for 2022. We got a little sidetracked and as usual with me the topic food came up, and he was telling me about who a group of the guys would go out to eat mondongo before every game. He couldn’t remember the name of the place, and said that he would get back to me. Well, I guess that’s not happening any time soon because after his debut performance in San Francisco, I don’t think he’ll be putting on a River Cats jersey any time soon.

Heliot said that when he’s at the plate he tries to keep his mind clear, stay patient at the plate and look for the best pitch he could hit and put his best swing on. That patience paid off five days later for the 22-year-old. Originally drafted with the 19th pick of the 2017 Major League Draft at just 17 years old out of Puerto Rico, Ramos quickly ascended through the Giants’ minor league system and reaching Triple-A Sacramento at the end of 2021.

Over the last two Spring Trainings, Ramos continued to show the Giants’ brass that he would be an impact player, and when he started this season in Triple-A, it was on his first swing of the season that he unloaded on a 3-0 pitch that was sent over the left field fence for a two-run home run. In just four games this season Ramos had one home run, four RBI, and a .950 OPS, impressive enough for the Giants to call and he came out of Saturday night’s River Cats game after the third inning.

Today’s River Cats and San Francisco Giants games both were scheduled for 1:05pm start times which really put a damper on watching Heliot’s debut, but thankfully cell phones were tuned into the Giants’ game all around; including inside of the River Cats dugout where in a touching moment of humanity the entire bench circled around to watch Heliot get his first Major League hit, in his first Major League at bat against Marlin’s ace Trevor Rogers. I don’t know Heliot on a personal level, but he seemed to be a nice and humble young man, but to those who know him, he must really be special. In a cutthroat business like professional baseball, to have your very professional Triple-A manager, Dave Brundage, and your teammates, break concentration and take a minute away from their jobs to cheer you on 90 miles away speaks volumes about Heliot’s character.

Ramos was given a standing ovation by the Oracle Park crowd as he came to bat for the first time in the bottom of the second wearing a pair of leopard print orange and black cleats given to him by Brandon Crawford to which Ramos said, “I got flow now papi”. Ramos shined in his debut going 2-3 with a run scored. After the game Giants’ manager Gabe Kapler said,

I don’t think you can draw up any better. A hit in your first at-bat kind of creates a little bit of confidence and swagger. He maintained that swagger throughout. He’s been driving to this moment his entire life. He got here and took advantage of it.


As of his own performance Ramos said,

Best moment of my life. It was great. After I got the first hit, I was more relaxed and it was pretty good, honestly. I’ve been waiting for this moment, so I just went out there and played and do what I do.


Yes, keep doing what you do Heliot, you got the flow now, and I can’t wait to watch you pimp those home runs in The Show like you did on Opening Night in Sacramento.

Anyway, you didn’t think I’d leave you without giving you a recipe for mondongo did you? Enjoy!

Hot Diggity Dog!!

Happy New Year!! No, you’re not in some alternate universe, for me the new year starts on baseball’s Opening Day, and that time has come for the Minor Leagues. The green freshly cut grass, the bright white uniforms, the smell of hot dogs and beer lingering in the air amid the hustle and bustle of the fans, yes, this indeed is another happy new year.

While I patiently waited all off-season, and even endured the 99-day lockout imposed by Major League owners, there’s one thing I’m looking forward to the most this year, and it’s not watching the best prospects. Yes, I’m still excited to watch Heliot Ramos, Sean Hjelle, and Michael Plassmeyer work their way to the Majors, and there will be veterans like Carlos Martinez trying to make it back for one more run, but this year, this year is different. This year I’m looking forward to hot dogs.

The ever famous $2 Dog, Dinger Dogs, Green Chili Queso Dogs, the Diablo Dog, and my oh so favorite Greek Dog. These specialty dogs use locally produced Miller’s Hot Dogs who are based in Lodi, California, and topped with an amazing combination of flavors that will keep your mouth watering, your wallets thin, and you belly bulging. Here’s a quick description of the three gourmet dogs:

Green Chili Queso Dog, topped with white cheddar queso, hatch green chiles, and hickory smoked bacon. It’s a south of the border twist on an American classic that goes well with a Modelo beer.

Diablo Dog, smeared with cream cheese and topped with a house-made jalapeno relish, raspberry jam, and bacon. Its sweet, salty, with just the right amount of kick from the jalapeno relish. Oh, and the raspberry jam goes surprisingly well, so come with an open mind, and an empty belly because your tastebuds will thank you for it.

Greek Dog, topped with Tzatziki, tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta. You get a piece of the Mediterranean at Sutter Health Park, and make sure you class it up with a glass of wine from Bogle Chardonnay. Yes, this is what I’m having for dinner tonight.

If you’re not a hot dog fan, don’t worry, Sutter Health Park has a wide array of food options from ballpark classics, pizza, barbeque, tri-tip, and Mexican just to name a few. You’re bound to find something no matter what you’re craving. Of course, Sutter Health Park has more than food to offer, it is a Triple-A baseball park too.

The start of the new season brings opportunities. Opportunities to try new food, opportunities to watch the stars of tomorrow today, the opportunity to make new friends, and more importantly create memories. Those memories are not just for the fans who come out to the games, but players make their own memories as well. Heliot Ramos reflected on his time in Sacramento and the memories that he created for himself last year. From going out to eat “mondongo”, Columbia’s version of what many of you might know as “menudo”, every day with coach Jolbert Cabrera to playing against his brother, and 2019 River Cats alum, Henry Ramos in a professional game to which he said,

“Honestly that was one of the best experiences. I’ve watched my brother since I was like ten years old play professionally, and I look up to him a lot, he’s my role model. So, seeing him and playing against him, he hit a lot of homers playing against us, so its cool seeing him play like that. To me, he’s a superstar”.

Of course, not every athlete has a chance to play with or against their brother at the professional level, and their memories can be as pedestrian as the ones we make at work every day. Bryce Johnson shared his memory about when Mike Tauchman joined the team last year in early August,

“Mike Tauchman, came to us in Salt Lake, and he ended up coaching first base over there in the box, and [the pitcher] picks off over there [at first base] and I kid you not, like 45 seconds after the ball was already thrown back to the pitcher by the first baseman, he screams, “Back”!! telling the runner to get back. Of course, the runner’s already standing back on first base, but Mike Tauchman has a bunch of memories I can take from, I love that guy. He’s a character and he’s always got some trick up his sleeve that makes everyone laugh; he’s a great guy”.

What memories are you looking to create this year? Or what are some of your favorite memories from the past 22 seasons of River Cats baseball? I’d love to read what you have to say in the comments. If you’re looking for more memories from the Sacramento River Cats, check out my new book, “Let’s Get It All”, a memoir of the amazing 2019 River Cats run to the Triple-A Championship. Part One is available now for FREE on this website at https://dugoutblog.com/lets-get-it-all/