Tuesday, July 16, 2013

1st Place?

ZF back at it. What's six months between blog posts?! Many thanks to others who have posted in my stead.

Last night, I spent the first hour of the game with dedicated city and stadium officials testing (again) the sound levels that come from Borleske Stadium during a Sweets game. (Little known fact: a motorcycle or diesel engine on Rt. 12 creates a higher decibel reading in the surrounding neighborhood than the sound effects from a Sweets game! Who knew?). I also was wearing a Wally Szczerbiak jersey from his Sonics days (it was Halloween Night at the ballpark and I was in character), so it was simply an odd way to start the night.
Wally is in Walla Walla.

As I was feeling a bit frustrated that I looked ridiculous and that I had missed the first part of the game, I settled in to the 4th inning (glad to see that we had the lead), and picked up slowly on the fact that our pitcher, Drew Christina (a Walla Walla native) was in the midst of a no-hitter. The temperature was perfect, the crowd small but lively and into the game, and everyone was smiling. I started to think further - we are in first place! At the time, it was 1/2 game over Wenatchee, and ultimately, Wenatchee would go on to win and pick that 1/2 game back up (creating a tie), but the fact still remained that more than half-way through the season, we were sitting in a position that we had worked 3+ years to be in: the ability to control our own destiny in regards to the playoffs after July 15. I smiled.

So what if the crowds are too small, or that people call when the forecast is a 15% chance of an isolated thunderstorm over some random wheat field in Dayton (no, we are not canceling the game...)? Who cares? We are in first place - the plan that we put in place to build the team to compete for a championship is coming to fruition. The loyal fans - there are a lot of them - that come regularly and smile are there smiling. The "heat" that seems to be a common complaint in town cools off to a perfect 79 degrees with a breeze by the 2nd inning, and then we are in heaven. We have the best hot dog in the league (I know - I've tasted them in each park). So, all things considered - it's great.

Here is the proof.
And we are in first place.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Corvallis Road Trip

By: Mason Robinson
Voice of the Sweets

With as well as this Sweets team has been playing lately, two straight losses just feels... Weird. This ball club bounces back after a loss pretty well, so tonight's 9-6 defeat left me personally a little deflated.

As I set up my broadcast equipment before the game Friday, I realized that the sting of defeat has been so spread out this year, it's like we (read: Sweets fans) don't know what losing is like. And that is AWESOME. It gives this club so much positive self-identity to see itself as winners (or as Scott Silva calls it: "legit"). The last three times Walla Walla has lost a game before Thursday's opening defeat, the Sweets came right back to win three straight. So hopefully Saturday will see the club back in the win column before we pack the bus for home.

As for the city of Corvallis, OR, itself -- it's nice. I wandered down the street from the hotel to a Mexican restaurant at lunchtime (as a Texan, who has thoroughly enjoyed a variety of quality Mexican foods, you know I had to see what this place had to offer). Alas, they are closed on Fridays. Weird, right? I know.

So I ordered a sandwich. Boring, right?

Pitching coach Mark Michaud has been eager to do battle on his new travel-sized chess set, so he and Assistant Coach Rob Holtzinger found time to enjoy a game of chess down by the river that flows next to the hotel. Michaud was proud of his two victories over "Holtzie." I'm happy for him too -- he had to redeem himself after I beat him (and Holtzinger) on the bus Thursday morning while we drove through northern Oregon.

The rest of the ball club has done its normal thing, splitting up to work out or find a spot to eat. I tagged along with Jonathan Harris tonight to find some food... But everything closes early around here, something we both found odd for a college town. (Mind you that early in this sense is 10:15 at night). So we found ourselves at McDonald's. Not our first choice, but we were too starved to wait around for a pizza.

It's been a pleasure meeting a good number of the Sweets' family members up in Corvallis as well. Kramer Lindell's parents, Jarod Gonzales's dad, and Mike Paulson's granddad, all came by the booth to say hello, and shake my hand.

And now it's time for my eyelids to shake hands with each other as well. As players often say: the great thing about baseball is getting to come back to the park the next day and try it again. Hope you'll join me to see how it turns out tomorrow. Until then -- so long for now!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Oh, Canada....

Mason Robinson here - voice of the Sweets, and I know you folks would love to have some of the updates you might not otherwise get while I chat away on the air watching the team play. So I'll post occasional updates on the sights, sounds and shenanigans I might not mention the broadcast to update you on the goings-on of what this team is up to on the road.

And the first note: Victoria, B.C., is an absolutely beautiful place. I mean it's awesome. We jumped off the bus around 11:00 this morning and were told "go have fun." So off we went. First thing we passed was the legislature building (think Wayne Manor meets Wrigley Field meets the Statue of Liberty). A majestic government office made of stone with domed roofs and a gorgeous public lawn for folks to roam about. The 50-foot tall totem pole was a nice touch out front as well. The roofs are made of copper but have long been rusted over, giving that familiar light green accent to the building, with a statue of Queen Victoria out front.

As a group we all strolled over a short bridge into a bustling downtown with shops galore -- I'm talking ice cream shops, local leather dealers, cigar vendors, souvenir t-shirt stores, men's and women's boutiques, Irish Pubs, and of course, everyone's favorite -- the shirtless guy with a cowboy hat, singing his heart out with his six-string guitar and a collection of lose change.

The group split up to do.... whatever it is guys do with two hours of free time in a foreign country. I tagged along with a few of the pitching staff to grab a bite to eat before we went looking at some of the shops around town (I am in need of a new pair of running shoes). We had no luck, but that ice cream shop was calling our names... So you know we had to get two scoops in a waffle cone.

Time actually flew by today and we ended up trotting back to the bus, but not before a good laugh at the "Paper Mache" Man posing for pictures, covered in white paint, scaring the occasional unsuspecting passerby. There was a magic show as well, but we could see all of his trick coming -- which is quite boring once the thrill is gone -- and made our final trip past the legislature building and rode to the hotel.

Now it's time to play some ball! Last night was a great win -- one in which the Sweets were in total control, especially in that three-run 9th inning.

Hope you enjoyed an inside perspective into what the guys are doing up here in beautiful British Columbia. Tune into the game tonight for some more quality baseball!