Thursday, May 05, 2011

Farm Report: Tacoma Rainiers vs. Portland Beavers Tucson Padres

Last night I went to my first Pacific Coast League game since last year's last-ever Portland Beavers game, and my first Tacoma Rainiers game since a Rainiers-Beavers tilt last July. In the meantime, the Rainiers won the PCL championship, while the Beavers moved to Tucson and became the Padres (the Rainiers' opponent last night). But I was mainly interested in seeing Cheney Stadium for the first time following its major off-season renovation.

For starters, the exterior is totally different -- the new luxury suites make it appear more like an office building than a ballpark. But it definitely looks better than it used to, and I especially dig these Native American-styled salmon sculptures around the outside...

The renovated concourse is far nicer, and I'm glad the time capsule is still on the premises...

In the stands, the overhang is much smaller, providing a lot less shelter. Otherwise, the interior changes aren't as dramatic. The old concrete bowl feels a bit modernized with all its new seats, but looking out on the field, Cheney is more or less the same....

The Ben Cheney statue still sits in the stands, in a small section preserving some of Cheney's old wooden seats...

However, I suspect some finishing touches are still on the way. Like, it's weird that there aren't the usual ads plastered all over the luxury suites and press box (not that I'm complaining), and the concrete dugouts aren't even painted. Here, Rhubarb entertains on the Padres' bare dugout during the seventh-inning stretch...

Rhubarb and later I bumped fists.

I ate a Rainier Dog and bought a Rainiers cap and picked up a Rainiers schedule for my collection, featuring future Mariner second baseman Dustin Ackley...

Ackley contributed a grand slam to Tacoma's come-from-behind 7-6 win. Also, Mariner Franklin Gutierrez played DH, on a rehab assignment following his recent struggles with irritable bowel syndrome.

Nice to see that the Padres still have many of the Beavers from last year (Luis Durango, Luis Perdomo, Will Inman, etc.), as well as the same manager, Terry Kennedy. They'll stay in Arizona through 2012, after which they move to their permanent home in Escondido, California, playing in a new ballpark near my dad's house.

Final note: on the drive to Tacoma and back I listened to former Beaver radio guy Rich Burk's Pastime Radio, where I got to hear what it'd sound like if he traveled back in time to call game three of the 1947 World Series. Nice to listen to Rich's play-by-play again (albeit for an ersatz broadcast), along with his newfound, post-Beavers perspective. Be careful what you wish for.
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2 Comments:

At 7:04 AM, May 06, 2011 , Blogger Kim Thompson said...

Hey, thanks for the write up. I still need to get out there. I saw the last game there before they tore it shreds last year.

 
At 7:05 AM, May 06, 2011 , Blogger Kim Thompson said...

Hey, thanks for the write up. Still need to get out there. I was there for the very last game in the old stadium before they tore it to bits.

 

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