First of all, mad, mad thanks to Pat Dillon, Tyler Krochmal, and Katie Crawford for putting us up and putting up with us yesterday. We took up two spots in the booth that Actual Journalists(tm) could have had, and I really appreciate the hospitality. You know how to show some bloggers a good time.
Second of all, for anyone reading this, it’s going to be a long one, so grab a cup of coffee and buckle in.
We arrived at Everett Memorial Stadium just before 3pm and met media relations man Tyler Krochmal at the AquaSox front office. He gave us two laminated passes, and took us into the stadium and up to the press box, and set us both up with internet access and places to sit, right up front where we had a nice view of the field. The Aquasox were out on the football field in back of Everett Memorial getting ready for their day by tossing the pigskin around. I neglected to get any footage of that, unfortunately. After we were set up in the booth, we spent the next hour or so walking around the empty stadium and sitting in the bleachers chatting and waiting for Pat to arrive at 4. When he showed up in the booth, he gave us the word on food and our access privileges, and started setting up for his broadcast night.
Pre-batting practice baserunning drills. The man in the middle there is manager Jose Moreno. He was making easy hits to various parts of the field, and small groups of players at each base would practice being sharp and looking at hit direction as they were running. Moreno would tell them what to look for as he took his chops.
Then came more BP:
It was around this point that Pat informed us that we could go onto the field, so long as we kept our wits about us for balls and bats. I was beyond excited, but hesitant to actually step out onto the dirt. After a very brief amount of argument with Conor, I did. Quite a few players gave us sideways eyes, likely wondering what we were doing on their field. We were probably down there for about 20 minutes or so on our own, and then Pat came down to find and interview second baseman Fred Bello about Friday’s rout of the Volcanoes, a game that Bello had quite a hand in with an inside-the-park home run. We watched manager Jose Moreno and his little son hit and shag (respectively) balls for a few minutes and talked with Pat while he was waiting for Bello to be done with BP.
When the ‘Sox BP was done and the Volcanoes took over the field, we wandered back up to the booth. We spent the next hour and a half sitting arpound, watching the Mariners/Tigers game on GameDay, and posting words and photos to Twitter. I imagine that being a member of the press corps is a lot like being on tour – there is a lot of waiting and time killing. Probably also very similar to being a ballplayer. The seats started filling in around 6.30, intermittent announcements were made, and ceremonial first pitches (about 4 or 5 of them) were thrown out. As the Seattle/Detroit game came to a close with a final, sad score of 6-1 in the Tigers’ favor, things in Everett Memorial were starting to get into full swing. The two umpires showed up at home plate for their pre-game meeting, members of both teams hovered around their dugouts, and folks in the crowd busied themselves finding their seats. The National Anthem was sung by a woman in armed forces dress whites who seemed rather nervous, and the teams took the field.
After every loss they had suffered so far at the hands of the AquaSox, the Volcanoes had something to prove, and they came after Aquasox starter Yoervis Medina like they meant it, bringing in a run in the first inning. For the bottom half of the first, Dwight Britton patiently took a walk. Left fielder Robbie Anston also succeeded in waiting out Volcanoes starter Taylor Rogers to obtain a base on balls. Kevin Mailloux wasn’t having any of that men-in-scoring-position nonsense, though, and grounded into a double play for our first two outs. Kevin Rivers RickRolled the stadium with his at-bat music before hitting an RBI single on an error by Volcanoes shortstop Carter Jurica. He then stole second with Jimmy Jacquot at the plate. On the next wild pitch, Rivers tried for third, but was punched out at the bag; he didn’t really stand much of a chance, but it was dramatic.
The top of the second inning wasn’t too exciting, aside from Volcano Carlos Quintana nearly hitting his own runner in the head with a line drive to right field. Third baseman Kyle Mach grounded into third for the final out. Aquasox catcher Jimmy Jacquot was hit by the first pitch thrown by Rogers, and Evan Sharpley worked his way into a walk; but designated hitter Jose Rivero rendered it all moot by grounding into a double play. Fred Bello took a few pitches and hit yet another inside the park home run, repeating his performance from Friday night’s win. If you ever have the chance to come to a game and watch Bello run, I highly recommend it. He was drawing praise from some of the other people in the press booth. I was trying to be quiet out of respect for the folks who were actually getting paid to be there, but I couldn’t stop myself from emitting a squeak or two as Bello approached home and Volcanoes catcher Alex Burg couldn’t stop the ball in time to get him out. The whole thing sent the crowd into a frenzy, it was hard not to get swept up in the moment.
Medina managed to keep the Volcanoes at bay during the top of the 3rd. Dwight Britton was first up in the bottom of the third, and took Rogers yard for a solo home run, score 4-1 in the AquaSox favor. I took some video of Kevins Mailloux and Rivers for the rest of the inning half for Conor, so was otherwise preoccupied. The Volcanoes tried to mount a threat in the top of the 4th, but despite two failed double plays on the AquaSox part, they were easily dealt with. In the bottom of that inning, Taylor Rogers was relieved by RHP Shane Kaufman. He immediately gave up a double to Jimmy Jacquot. I was beginning to sense that maybe – just maybe – Salem’s pitching wasn’t that hot. Jacquot advanced to third on a wild pitch to DH Jose Rivero, and Rivero was easily thrown out at first. Hero Fred Bello came up to bat with two out, but Kaufman managed to strike him out looking. It was at that point in the evening that I realized that I couldn’t feel my toes.
In the top of the 5th, Sox pitcher Medina allowed a runner on, then gave up a homer to Volcanoes shortstop Carter Jurica, score 3-4 still in the Sox favor. Medina started to struggle, giving a single to Volcanoes center fielder Jose Medina, and taking his time dealing with Ryan Scoma. He then gave Scoma a single. Nobody was warming up in the Sox bullpen, but Medina did rack up a talking-to on the hill. Adam Duvall popped up to center, and Salem left fielder Mike Loberg lined out to second to end it. The AquaSox order was retired quickly by Kaufman, but not before a somewhat odd and delayed third strike was called by the home plate ump.
Yoervis Medina remained active in the 6th inning, successfully taking out Alex Burg. Burg also managed to scare the living daylights out of me by sending a foul back that fortunately hit the top of the net before it came cruising back into the press box – and it would have. Kyle Mach took advantage of a further-wearying Medina for an RBI single up the hole past first base to tie the score at 4-4, and finally, there was activity in the bullpen.
Evan Sharpley hit a double that was actually an RBI, but I didn’t actually see the scoring end because I was too busy taking video of Sharpley’s swing and running. AquaSox back on top, 5-4. For the top of the 7th, relief pitcher Austin Hudson took the hill and gave up a home run to Adam Duvall. No further damage was done, but the score was tied again. Shane Kaufman still had arm duties in the bottom of the 7th. He got Jose Rivero to ground out, Fred Bello to fly out to left field (it almost left the yard, I swear), and Terry Serrano to ground out to first.
I busied myself with some photos in the top of the 8th. I’ve never had many problems with night time and white balance, but for some reason last night it made a massive difference. Austin Hudson, ladies and gentlemen:
Jake Dunning then took over in relief for the Volcanoes, and faced Dwight Britton. Britton chopped a single up the middle off of him. Robbie Anston hit a sac bunt for the first out, and Britton advanced. Kevin Mailloux struck out swinging, followed by Kevin Rivers and his fourth stadium RickRoll; also, fourth out. Hudson stayed in the 9th, getting Carter Jurica, Jose Medina, and Ryan Scoma all three to ground out with what appeared to be rather minimal effort. The rest of the 9th inning passed without incident for the AquaSox batting lineup, and into extra frames we went.
Fray Martinez pitched for the Sox, and allowed a single to Adam Duvall. Alex Burg was hit by a pitch, and Raynor Campbell struck out swinging. Carlos Quintana flew out to deep left field. Fred Bello started off the 10th inning by making his hit and taking out the first baseman in the process of trying to reach safely. He didn’t succeed, and it looked like it hurt. Terry Serrano took a walk. Dwight Britton grounded into a double play.
With Shawn Sanford throwing for the Volcanoes, Robbie Anston led the charge in the bottom of the 11th inning with a single pushed over third base. Kevin Mailloux was the man of the hour, however, with a walkoff double. And everyone rejoiced.
As I post this, the Mariners are playing the Tigers in Detroit, and thanks to a three-run homer by Russell Branyan, are currently 3-1 in the top of the 5th inning. I’d love to have a Mariners win today before we head over to some friends’ house on Lake Union to go char up some meat and watch things explode, but if the only win I get this weekend is the Everett AquaSox, I will most definitely be OK with that, too.
Conor should have his post up on ProBallNW pretty soon, and it will likely focus more on the scouting aspects of the game, with some of the video I took last night.
Happy 4th of July, everyone!