Unless you’re living under a rock, don’t care about minor league baseball (this year, I can’t fathom that, but to each their own), or have completely written off all things Mariners this season, you’re well aware by now that both the Everett AquaSox and Tacoma Rainiers won their games last night. Not just any games, but determining games. For the ‘Sox, it means that they’ve secured the championship and trophy of the NorthWest League. Conor was there last night, and has a story about it over on ProBallNW. I was trying to listen to a crackly, interference-ridden broadcast on 1380AM, and heard Pat Dillon‘s call. All that really matters is what happened afterward, which was described on radio, but is also fun to watch happen (video credit to Conor, who was apparently trying to keep from screaming like a girl in the press box when the final strike came down):
The Rainiers, meanwhile, were busy at SafeCo taking the Rivercats to school. I understand that ‘Cat Tommy Everidge misjudged how many strikes there were in an inning, throwing the ball to the crowd after two, which awarded the Rainiers a run. Eventually, they won 4-1, so I wouldn’t completely blame Everidge for the loss, but it was probably an uncomfortable bus ride home. I also hear that Josh Lueke pitched a scoreless 9th inning to nail it down. The Rainiers are now back-to-back PCL champions, and advance to the finals in Memphis, to play against the Redbirds in a best-of-five series. I may try and give radio a shot during this one, but 850AM comes in extremely weakly here for some reason, and I can never hear Mike Curto over static and what sounds like other music creeping in.
The purpose of this post, however, is not to talk about games, but to give massive thanks to the people in the AquaSox organization who made it possible for me (and Conor) to sit up in the press box and watch, take photos and video, and write about the games we went to this year.
When Pat invited me to sit in the box via Twitter DM, my first inclination was to think he was playing some sort of joke, or that he had contacted the wrong person (in fact, I think my response to him might have been something to the effect of “For real?!”), but mostly that it was way too good to be true. Sure enough, he was serious, and during the Mother’s Day game in May, wound up sitting with Conor, myself, and Jessica in the bleachers. He and Conor got along swimmingly, so I asked Pat later if Conor could join me, since ProBall is a little more into the minors than the big club. After one time sitting up there, we were both hooked. We met Tyler Krochmal, a media relations intern, who helped us get set up and in the booth and does the game recaps for the ‘Sox press releases, and Katie Crawford, the marketing director, who spends most of her time during games player/kid/Webbly-herding, and is responsible for the “Meet Your AquaSox” videos. All of them have been more than accommodating and friendly, and have made us feel at home. In fact, everyone in the booth has been well tolerant of our presence there, and I cannot thank them enough. Being able to come up and watch the AquaSox has made the Mariners a little more bearable for me, and being able to have the laptop and camera hooked up during games has made game posts so much easier than taking notes and photos then trying to put it all online. Because of their hospitality, I now know that press boxes are, in fact, much colder than the rest of the stadium (always wear socks), I have some insight as to how the PA announcer and readerboard operator work with each other, and some more behind-the-scenes stuff that I never really thought about, but was interesting to hear and see how it all comes together smoothly for the crowd. Being on the field for batting practice was also pretty cool, though I felt like I was treading on some sort of holy ground. I know, it’s weird, sue me. Also, thanks to Willy Kesler, the ‘Sox Twitter equivalent to Ryan Rowland-Smith; I think he’s made a lot of fans a little more comfortable with approaching the game and the players, and has definitely won some fans over to the ‘Sox as a team. Good luck with winter ball this year, and hope you come back better and stronger next season.
So congratulations to the Everett AquaSox for taking the NWL, their first title since 1985, and thanks to Pat, Tyler, Katie, and everyone else who made the games a little more educational and fun for me. Let’s do it again next year.