Tag Archives: seattle mariners affiliates’ ballparks

Alliant Energy Field, Clinton, Iowa

Alliant Energy Field, Clinton, IOWA

Number of states: 22
States to go:  28

Number of games: 1
First game:  April 5, 2007 (Clinton LumberKings 8, Swing of the Quad Cities 4)

(Click on any image to see a larger version.)

Michelle and I did a Midwest swing to start the 2007 season–the fourth year in a row I’d done some

Spring Break minor-league travel…and the first year that I’ve done said travel in northern, rather than Southern, climes.  Just my luck:  my year would coincide with a massive Arctic batch of air covering the entire Midwest.  It cancelled one game on the trip–the game in Appleton, Wisconsin.  But they got opening night in in Clinton, and my wife and I bundled up to see.

Were it not for minor league baseball, I would not have ever heard of

Clinton, a county-seat sized town on the Mississippi.  Alliant Energy Field does reasonably well in the is-there-any-question-where-you-are test, since it’s close enough to the river that I could see a steamboat past the outfield fence.  It also features a decent view of the county courthouse (which sits kitty-corner from the ballpark, across home plate) and some factory belching out a massive amount of smoke.

I want to cut the good people of Clinton a little bit of slack, since it was such a cold night.  But it was opening night, and I therefore was quite disappointed in the turnout…almost nobody made the trip out.  When one considers that the opposing team was the Swing of the Quad Cities, just about a half hour down the road, there should have been

considerably more people.

Of course, the folks at Alliant Energy Field weren’t doing too much to draw the people in.  Outside of the mascot, Louie the LumberKing running about, there was very little excitement in the ballpark–and on a night like this with baseball as poor as we were watching (nine errors…these were not only less-talented ballplayers, they were rusty less-talented ballplayers), a little something more to get us cooking would have been nice, even if it were merely some ushers talking to us a little bit.

Alliant Energy Field has an interesting history–it’s just that spectators have to look for it.  A plaque

informs us that the then-Riverview Stadium was opened in 1937 as a WPA project.  So why does it feel so antiseptic and charmless now?  Is it the bizarrely-scary note that Community Service Workers (are these charming volunteers or those serving work-release sentences) appear to check in at an office inside the ballpark?  (Do they sell concessions?)  Is it that I’m bothered that a ballpark originally constructed in part to give work to desperate Depression-era workers, is now being pimped out to a sponsor (it appears that metal “Alliant Energy Field” plates have been affixed over places where the old “Riverview Stadium” names had been etched in stone)?  Is it the antiseptic metal bleachers that have been added in the intervening years throughout the ballpark?  I don’t know, but I wasn’t thrilled with it.

The line of the night goes, as usual, to my wife.  She wasn’t a fan of Louie the Lumberking, Clinton’s mascot.  Instead of a Lumberjack, she felt Louie looked like “the Burger King king’s porn star brother.”  Good assessment?  I leave that up to the reader.


Looking back, this might be the second-coldest night on which I’ve ever seen a game. 

(I recall my game in Wichita being a lot worse.)  But my wife and I got through it all right, simply because we were prepared.  I might have been the only person in America who bought long underwear in preparation for my Spring Break.  The only problem I have with the cold night is how to score.  Michelle (who started her own scorebook on this trip…cool!) wore driving gloves.  I didn’t want to spend money on driving gloves…I wasn’t confident they’d keep me warm, and I was scared that my handwriting wouldn’t be up to snuff.  I brought ski gloves, and spent the game looking like a snow bunny version of one-gloved-wonder Michael Jackson.

So, on the whole, I can’t tell if it was actually the ballpark or a convergence of events that came together (subpar baseball on a really cold night), but I can’t say I was terribly impressed with Alliant Energy Field.  I do hope to head back to Iowa, however…as the Swing of the Quad Cities’ ballpark in Davenport looked absolutely gorgeous as we drove by.

BALLPARK SCORE:

Regional feel:  7/10
Not bad here–hard by the river and within viewing distance of a local landmark.

Charm:  2.5/5
I bet an old ballpark like this could be presented better, but I got very little out of Alliant Energy Field in this department.

Spectacle:  3/5
At this low level of ball, they could have stepped it up just a touch.

Team mascot/name:  3/5


Louie and me.  In the picture, the photographer is shaking from the cold and I am in the process of telling Louie that we think he looks like a porn star.  Is there a huge Iowa lumber industry that I’m unaware of?  I’ll assume yes, and think that the name is good.  But Louie?  I’m unimpressed

Aesthetics:  3/5
Not too special, but I liked being able to see boats go by.

Pavilion area:  3/5
A bit of a nice area wrapped around the left-field foul pole, but otherwise, nothing special.

Scoreability:  3/5

Fans:  1/5
Yes, it was cold, but for opening night, this was simply a sad turnout–both small and surly.

Intangibles:  1/5
Not a banner night.  Just didn’t click with me.

TOTAL:  26.5/50

BASEBALL STUFF I’VE SEEN HERE:

Mauro Gomez’s first-inning three-run home run gives the LumberKings a lead they never give up.

Grant Gerrard gathers three hits.

John Whittleman walks four times…but I’ll always remember him for dropping a pop to third that–and I don’t say this lightly or often–I likely would have been able to catch.  (Of course, I never would have made the team, but that’s another issue.)  It’s one of two errors for Whittleman, four for Clinton, and nine…nine…in the game.

(Written April 2007.)

Stater Bros. Stadium, Adelanto, California

Stater Bros. Stadium, Adelanto, CALIFORNIA

Number of states:  still 13
States to go:  37

First game:  April 8, 2006 (Inland Empire 66ers 9, High Desert Mavericks 0)

(Stater Bros. Stadium has since been renamed Mavericks Stadium.)

(Click on any image to view a larger version.)

It ain’t an Iowa cornfield, but Stater Bros. Stadium might as well be.  After a long drive, way past the very last L.A. suburb, well into the desert, way past an exit on I-15 and out of visual contact with anywhere that it looks like someone could live, there’s a ballpark that springs up quite literally out of nowhere.

Obviously, there has to be someone around to go to the ballgames, and in this case, the ballpark lies 10-20 miles from the reasonably-populated towns of

Hesperia and Apple Valley.  The ballpark itself is a few miles down the road from the much-smaller town of Adelanto.  But those who are driving up from the L.A. area will never see those towns.  It’s possible to drive into the desert, watch a California League game, and then drive home without being in a city of any size.  And I love that experience.

In such an atmosphere, the ballpark can’t help but pass the “is there any question where you are” test.  The High Desert Mavericks are clearly in the desert.  The ballpark is surrounded by scrub and sand. 

Between the outfield wall and the backing fence lies a stretch of sand.  The only other building visible is the adjacent Bravo Burgers.  On a clear night (as almost all of them are in the desert), it’s amazingly dark and quiet.  It was fantastic.  There’s nothing to be seen or heard in the world but a baseball game…and that is a great way to spend any day.

When one is surrounded by baseball, it’s good to be surrounded in a place where baseball is valued.  The folks at Stater Bros. Stadium have done a good job celebrating their team.  They have an “alumnus of the night,” who they announce on the radio over the PA, and have a write-up of their recent

exploits in the minors.  The columns around the pavilion are covered with the opening day lineups for every season in High Desert’s recent history.  The 1999 team here has already had 3 starters make the majors…not too shabby for High A ball.  There are ushers who will bring you your food or drink in all sections–not just for the high rollers–so nobody needs to miss a pitch.  When I see things like this, I can’t help but compare Stater Bros. Stadium with The Diamond at Lake Elsinore, the other ballpark I saw on this trip.  Where Lake Elsinore had so much non-baseball related stuff going on the baseball seemed incidental, at High Desert, the baseball was central.  Indeed, it was essential.  Kids actually watched the game at High Desert. Each ballpark had a grassy area by the right field foul pole.  While at Lake Elsinore there were kids whaling on each other, at High Desert, most of the kids actually watched the game, and only a very few rolled around on the grass and pounded on each other.  Parks that value baseball can get people to enjoy it.

The park is a little bit nondescript, but that feels appropriate given the sparse surroundings.  The tan brick matches the desert–all the more reason to focus on the baseball.  People can enjoy a meal at the Hard Ball Cafe, at least until the Hard Rock Cafe’s lawyers get wind of it.  The stadium also features what must be the most austere skyboxes ever constructed:

My good time at the ballpark was enhanced by the fact that the Mavericks were playing a Mariners affiliate, the Inland Empire 66-ers.  I’d seen many of

these players play at Everett, and it was nice to see them up a couple of levels.  It was also nice to see them win so handily.  It was cold, and while 1386 people made it to the game (not bad, considering where we were), not many stuck around.  I moved from seat to seat to keep warm, and I finally settled a little ways behind the Inland Empire dugout.  I guess there’s no clubhouse or locker room under the stadium, because 66er players kept walking up the aisle between the seats and the grass to get to a room upstairs.  I stayed there to take pictures after the game, and to watch one of the guys say hi to what appeared to be a new girlfriend.  I felt like a little bit of a doofus taking pictures of the guys, and few of them came out, but it still was fun to watch them all walk by like that.

After the game, put your car’s radio on scan.  I was able to pick up the last parts of baseball broadcasts originating in Denver and Seattle.  There are benefits to being in the middle of nowhere for baseball fans.

Then, as throughout the night, I felt completely immersed in baseball, and it is to the credit of the people at Stater Bros. Stadium.  I can certainly see a day where they no longer feel it’s financially viable to play ball in the middle of nowhere, but I hope it isn’t soon.  It’s a tremendous place to see a baseball game, simply because there’s nothing else in sight.

BALLPARK SCORE:

Regional feel:  9/10
Tremendous here.

Charm:  3.5/5
The ballpark is quite charming to me, although it could show a little more personality.

Spectacle: 3/5
Could do a hair more here, given the level of ball.

Team mascot/name:  3/5


Wooly Bully and me–in this photo, Wooly is the better-looking one.  The name “Mavericks” is fine, appropriate and local. but the name “Wooly Bully” is taken, I’m afraid.

Aesthetics:  4.5/5
Striking.

Pavilion area:  4.5/5
Very nice here…a lot of Mavericks history, and all of it within view of the field.

Scoreability:  3.5/5
Some minor slip-ups.

Fans:  4/5
I give them credit for being baseball-focused, for dealing with the cold well, and for getting all the way out to the ballpark to begin with.

Intangibles:  4.5/5
I couldn’t stop smiling in thrilled disbelief that this place even exists.  It has a real Field of Dreams vibe about it

TOTAL:  39.5/50

BASEBALL STUFF I’VE SEEN HERE:

Robert Rohrbaugh is the pitching star, striking out 6 in 5 2/3 innings.  Three relievers finish a 7-hit shutout.

Yung-Chi Chen has four hits, including two doubles, along with a stolen base and two runs batted in.

Paul and Michelle’s Love And Baseball Rehearsal Dinner Extravaganza

Paul and Michelle’s Love And Baseball Rehearsal Dinner Extravaganza

Everett Memorial Stadium, Everett, WASHINGTON
Number of states:  still 11
States to go:  39

July 29, 2005 (Tri-City Dust Devils 9, Everett AquaSox 3)

After proposing to my wife (just after visiting Vancouver’s Nat Bailey Stadium), we had 11 months to set up our wedding weekend.  Now, as I have told you, there was never any question:  the wedding was not going to take place at a ballpark, just as the proposal wasn’t.  But we wanted minor league baseball to be a part of our weekend. Baseball was central to our relationship.

How you ask?  Well, let me quote the minister at our wedding:  “Dear friends, we are gathered here today, in the company of friends and loved ones, ready to celebrate the marriage of Michelle and Paul…because of the infield fly rule.”  Who else can say their marriage is a direct result of the infield fly rule?  I bet none.


everettrehearsalal

Michelle and I wait on the field for our pre-game activities with Al, an AquaSox worker.

Michelle and I dated for a while back in 1997.  During that time, I took her to a Mariners game at the Kingdome.  I taught her the ins and outs of the infield fly rule.  She thought I was nuts.  We broke up (not because of that).  Four years later, Michelle had coincidentally gotten a job with the Tri-City Dust Devils.  She was a moderately big baseball fan, but not quite as intense as those who worked in baseball her whole life.  However, Michelle found that her knowledge of the infield fly rule gave her credibility in the wild world of sports.  She also found she was all alone in Kennewick, Washington, and thinking of me.  She wrote me a letter.

Meanwhile, I was writing these pages for the first time–on the major league side.  In the process, I was thinking of how cool Michelle was.  I was also worried–I had heard through very indirect channels that Michelle had gotten married and

no images were found

had become very sick, perhaps even died.  I remarked on that on the Kingdome page!  So when Michelle wrote me, I actually wrote back “Glad to hear you’re alive!”  Weird.  I took my sweet time popping the question…and three and a half years later, we were celebrating at Everett.

All Michelle and I wanted was to get a few seats and a chicken dinner.  But the group sales representative we worked with at the AquaSox must not get a tremendous amount of rehearsal dinners.  She went crazy-nuts and was thrilled to work with us!  Right off the bat, she said:  “Of course, someone from your party would need to throw out a first pitch that night, and we’d want to get your guests in the game for some of our onfield promotions!”

We were thrilled.  But then we were concerned.

If anything was going to break up our marriage before it got started, it would be an argument over which of us got to throw out the first pitch.  So Michelle emailed to ask if we could have two first pitches–one for each of us.  We got the following response:  “I will reserve TWO first pitches as well (unless one of you would rather sing the national anthem J)”  Weird emoticon–I think it means she was being sarcastic.  But singing the National Anthem at a ballgame is one of my lifelong dreams.  I called her from work the second I saw the email and asked if she was serious.  She asked this:  “Can you sing?”  Yes, I can.  Then, this:  “Are you going to go Roseanne or Janet Jackson on me?” I’m too patriotic to do the former and not chesty enough to do the latter.  “Okay.  You’re on.”

Thus it came to pass that Michelle walked the red carpet to deliver the first pitch of the game (well, one of about a half-dozen “first” pitches).  We practiced for months…Michelle wanted to throw from the rubber and didn’t want it to bounce.  When we started practicing in the spring, she could only get the ball about 45

feet.  But the practice paid off.  Michelle threw from the mound, just in front of the rubber.  The ball made it to catcher J.B. Tucker on the fly–and out of the six first pitches, hers was the only one not to bounce.  When she walked up to have her picture taken with Mr. Tucker, Michelle was going to say “This is my last night as a single gal!”  I had even authorized a quick tryst at home plate, but Michelle chickened out and said nothing.  Your loss, J.B. Tucker.

Next up: the National Anthem.  I had worked on it for several days.  The big question:  do I go up the fourth on the word “Free”?  If I start in the right key, I can pull that off.  I had made other decisions beyond any shadow of a doubt:  I would go with a fairly slow tempo (hey, this is my moment, I want it to last).  I would slow down just a hair at the end of every quatrain.  I would smile on “That our flag was still there,” thus giving the line the warmth it deserves.  And then, if it felt right, I’d go up the fourth.  It all worked out, except maybe going up the fourth.  I hit the note all right, but had trouble getting off it (there was a minor glitch at the end of the note–I noticed, but nobody else said they did).

In any event, the best part was the cheering from my friends and family.  My buddy J.J. snapped this picture, which happens to be one of my favorite pictures of all time.  It’s me singing, but more importantly, it’s nearly everyone I love in the world in the top four rows of the first full section from the left.  All of my buddies and family are looking off at the flag–except for my mom and dad, who are looking down at me.

Things went on from there.  Michelle was the “Sweetheart of the Game” for the second time (and at the second stadium) in a month. 

My Uncle Rick won a hundred bucks in a remote-control car race when he totally T-boned his opponent.  My nephew Henry tried to throw plastic fish into a net his dad was holding…but unfortunately, he threw the fishes over his shoulder–north–while his dad was standing east of him.  My new father-in-law had to decide whether to take an AquaSox cap or “what’s in the car” (which, the PA guy said, is a Mark Goodson/Bill Todman production distributed by KingWorld).  He took the car, and was rewarded with a $50 gift certificate.  Our friend Monika guessed the movie trivia question right (“Some Like It Hot”).  Some younger guests got to run around the bases, one of them in a race against Webbly.  And, to top it all off, the night ended with fireworks!

As those fireworks died off, we had all enjoyed the perfect rehearsal dinner.  It was a celebration of baseball, and of Michelle and I, to be sure.  But it turned out to be a huge party and celebration of all of our friends and family as well.  The fireworks were an absolutely perfect way to finish off the evening–it felt like they were for Michelle and me, and a thank you to everyone for heading out.  Our only big worry was that the game would be so fun that it would eclipse the ceremony and reception the next day.  It didn’t.  The game was exactly what we wanted to launch us into our wedding, and our marriage.


BASEBALL STUFF WE SAW THAT NIGHT:

The Dust Devils’ Jason van Kooten and James Sweeney were the batting stars.  van Kooten had a double and a triple, and both van Kooten and Sweeney had two RBI.

Cheney Stadium, Tacoma, Washington

Cheney Stadium, Tacoma, WASHINGTON

Number of states: Still 4
States to go: 46
Number of games: 5 (1 before quest began)
First game in quest:  July 1, 2004 (Tacoma Rainiers 7, Portland Beavers 6)
Most recent game: July 20, 2015 (Salt Lake Bees 8, Tacoma Rainiers 2)

(Click any image to see a larger version.)

In the Puget Sound region, Tacoma is the butt of a number of jokes.  Its industrialization, crime problems, and, simply put, aesthetic unattractiveness lead stuffy, rich Seattleites to refer to “the aroma of Tacoma.”  This stereotyping led me to expect that Cheney Stadium, the AAA ballpark in Tacoma,

wouldn’t be a great place.  I was wrong.  Cheney Stadium is a fine place to watch a ballgame, and even better when watched with enthusiastic seven- and nine-year-old nephews.

It’s easier to teach youngsters to score than one might think.  My then-eight-year-old nephew did a fine job scoring a Mariners/Orioles game I took him to.  It was a pitchers’ duel, which made it easier…very few baserunners to follow around the bases, which is the tricky part of basic scoring.  So at the Tacoma game, I worked on the six-year-old.  We started with the very basics…color in runs when they’re scored, and a K means a strikeout.  Soon enough, David was working with me.  He started by filling in the runs that were scored.  He worked intently, like this was the world’s smallest coloring book.  Adorable.  He then  wrote in a few K’s for me.  This, also, was cute.  It’s a challenge for a six-year-old to write small enough to fit into the scoring box.  David concentrated so hard on writing the K that he actually came close to scraping through the page.  

The ballpark itself has surprising charm.  It’s fairly old, and the age shows well.  The pavilion area was  excellent–it included loads of minor-league promotions such as an opportunity to take kids’ pictures on top of horses (this would be the only time to date I’ve seen horses in a minor-league park).  I was a little bit bothered by the number of people in the beer garden.  The beer garden is in the pavilion, which means that

you can’t see the game from there.  And it was absolutely packed.  I’ve got nothing against enjoying beer at a baseball game, but why enjoy beer at a baseball game if you’re not going to watch the baseball game?  Why not just go to a bar?

A fine sense of Tacoma baseball history is on display in the pavilion–a number of plaques for big names in Tacoma baseball history (I remember Matty Alou), but most tellingly, a lovely mural.  The mural is of a dugout with a player wearing the uniform for each of the teams in  Tacoma history.  I was quite pleased and impressed.  So much nicer than the usual cinderblock wall left blank!  Additionally, they have reserved one of their better seats for a sculpture of Mr. Cheney, the bigwig in Tacoma baseball history for whom the field was named.  Not only is he there in the front row of back section, but there’s a bronzed sculpted scorecard by his feet and even some sculpted peanut shells on the ground around him.  I can’t think of a better tribute for a baseball lover than to be set down in a good seat to enjoy and score baseball

for eternity.

BALLPARK SCORE:

Regional feel:  7.5/10
Good sense of Tacoma history, Mt. Rainier on the scoreboard, and evergreen trees beyond the field.  Too bad it’s in a nondescript semi-suburban location.

Charm:  4.5/5
Cheney Stadium manages to feel legitimately old without being ancient or kitschy-retro.

Spectacle: 4/5
Pretty good.  Not too much–feels about right for AAA ball.

Team mascot/name:  3.5/5


Rhubarb is a silly name.  A moose should have a proboscis bigger than his.  The name Rainiers is fantastic–beautiful, local, majestic.

Aesthetics:  3.5/5
The ballpark was quite lovely, but there was almost zero in the way of views beyond merely trees.

Pavilion area:  5/5
Quite good–loads of activity, lineups, and the like.

Scoreability:  3.5/5
Nice use of scoreboard, but failed to give information on some borderline scoring decisions.

Fans:  5/5
How can I possibly vote against my sister and her family?

Intangibles:  4/5
A good ballgame and a lot of fun with the folks.  I’ll be back.

TOTAL:  40.5/50

BASEBALL STUFF I’VE SEEN HERE:

The first game for Jeremy Reed in the Mariners’ organization after the M’s gave up Freddy Garcia to get him.  He goes two for four with a two-run home run.

A.J. Zapp hits a pair of homers for Tacoma.

Portland’s Xavier Nady also homered just a few days before getting called up to the Padres.

In 2007, I see Salt Lake’s Joe Saunders for the second time in two weeks.  He impresses, going 7 strong innings and striking out 7.

Salt Lake blows a 4-0 lead in 2007 before winning on Brandon Wood’s 9th-inning single.

A delightful experience in a pair of games in 2015 led to one of my favorite moments ever at a ballpark.  Our family went to a game in May that year, and my son Steven, who was 6, did his usual trick of writingStevenautograph down the lineups before the game. A Rainiers photographer spotted it and took several photos. When I asked when they’d be used, he said that a shot like that looked like a cover shot for a future version of the program.  Sure enough, the Rainiers were nice enough to notify me when he would be on the cover, and we headed back up there to get about a zillion copies.

In the pregame, the Rainiers’ Shawn O’Malley was giving autographs on the concourse. Steven went up to get one.  Steven told O’Malley (and everyone else he saw at the ballpark) that he was on the cover of the program. O’Malley’s response has made me a permanent fan of his.  He said “Well, I should be asking for YOUR autograph.”  He then had an usher grab him a copy of the program…and thus it came to be that a professional baseball player asked for my son’s autograph.

 

(Written July 2004.  Updated April 2016.)

Everett Memorial Stadium, Everett, Washington

Everett Memorial Stadium, Everett, WASHINGTON

Number of states: still 2
States to go:  48
Number of games: 13 since quest (about 5 before)
First game in quest:  July 28, 2003 (Everett AquaSox 4, Tri-City Dust Devils 2)
Most recent game:  August 14, 2011 (Everett AquaSox 6, Tri-City Dust Devils 3)

Everett Memorial stadium is my “home” minor league park.  It is about 40 minutes from my place, and Safeco Field is both closer and major league…so my local baseball budget is pretty well filled with the M’s.  Still, I make it up for a game or two a year.  They’re always enjoyable–so unabashedly minor league.  It’s fun.

There’s one word I think of when I think of “unabashedly minor league,” and that is PROMOTIONS.  I knew we were in for a treat when they announced the umpires’ names and said “The umpires tonight are brought to you by Everett Optometry clinic.  Everett Optometry Clinic is not responsible for any missed calls.”  Stupid.  Corny.  Still, kinda funny, even though I normally hate ref/ump

jokes.  And there was some sort of promotion in between every half inning of the entire game except for two or three.  Plus, any patron who buys a program can select for which promotions he or she can be considered!  They have a massive list of every promotion they do every night, and by checking off items on the list, you put yourself in the running for said contest/promotion.  On the night I graded this stadium, I declared myself eligible for about a dozen contests and promotions.  Through five and a half innings, my name wasn’t called, but then:  WOW!  I was the contestant in the Grand Slam Inning Contest!  If the AquaSox hit a grand slam in the sixth inning, I win $5000!  What a wonderful feeling of anticipation…and very, very short-lived.  The bottom of the sixth lasted exactly five pitches.  (Apparently the M’s are not teaching their minor leaguers plate discipline.)  Brian Lentz popped the first pitch to right.  Bryan LaHair grounded his first pitch to first.  And Mike Cox watched a whole two pitches go by before flying to right.  Oh, well–no five grand for me.  But at least I got to hear my name.

This is a ballpark that’s worth getting to early.  Inside the gates are lots of places for kids to jump around, a few wandering mascots, some music, and a football-field sized grassy area in which to play catch or settle in to have a pre-game picnic.  There was also a prominently-displayed lineup board, where I saw something for the first time.  Check out the difference between the elderly fan on the left, who is writing the lineups in a scorebook, and the fan on the right, who is–swear to God–programming the lineups into a Palm Pilot.


Only in Microsoftland!  I’m sure this will grow more common down the line, but man, I sure hope I never make that switch.

Two mascots.  Webbly the frog is awesome, but Frank the Frank is what it’s all about.  A giant walking hot dog slingshotting T-shirts at patrons!  (I can’t be the only one who thinks of Maude Flanders when this happens, can I?)  So while I’m impressed with both the quality and the quantity of mascots, there’s one fairly severe problem:  accessibility.  Neither mascot stepped off the field of play and into the stands even once.  No hugs, no high fives, no direct interaction at all.  This is completely unacceptable at the single-A level!  Even major-league mascots will get into the stands, frequently to all levels of the stadium.  With only a couple thousand fans on hand and two mascots, each person in the stands needs to be personally greeted.  This highly disappointing shortcoming hurts the score.

Still, however, a fine ballpark and a fun experience every time I go.  The problems here are easily fixed…with some work on the grass and some mascots in the stands, I may change the score later on.

BIG UPDATE:  Michelle and I enjoyed our wedding rehearsal dinner at Everett Memorial Stadium in 2005.  Click here for all the fun!

BALLPARK SCORE:

Regional feel:  7/10
Espresso stands and a view of Mt. Baker.

Charm:  4/5
Mostly quite sweet.

Spectacle: 4/5
Constant, clever, wonderful, and I could have won $5000…but never interferes with the game.  That said, the score is hurt because mascots never leave the field.

Team mascot/name:  4.5/5


Frank on the left, Webbly on the right.  Multiple mascots, and Frank is a fine idea.

Aesthetics:  3.5/5
Nice overall.  It’s a bit of a strain to see the mountains, and metal bleachers aren’t pretty.

Pavilion area:  5/5
Huge areas of grass to play catch or have a picnic.  Outstanding.

Scoreability:  4/5
Nice job by the PA guy, but there needs to be an “At Bat” notation on the scoreboard.

Fans:  4/5

Intangibles:  5/5
This score has gone up since my first visit–as Everett will always have a place in my heart for hosting my rehearsal dinner.

TOTAL:  37/50

BASEBALL STUFF I’VE SEEN HERE:

Four Dust Devil errors–three by shortstop Jonathan Swearingen–play a role in all 4 AquaSox runs.

A funny mental error by the AquaSox’s Josh Ellison.  He’s called safe after sliding into second on a fielder’s choice…he beat the throw.  But I guess he didn’t think so much of his speed…he definitely didn’t think to look at the umpire, because he moseyed right on towards his dugout and was tagged out in the consequent rundown.  (To be fair, I’ve seen a similar error in person by a major leaguer…Quinton McCracken thought an out on a teammate’s rundown was the third when it was the second.  He stepped off second base, and Ken Griffey Jr. snuck in behind him to tag him out for the third out of the inning for the Mariners.  It turned out to be a 7-2-4-6-8 double play.)  So chin up, Josh…happens to everyone.  I guess.

A horrible 19-9 win by the Yakima Bears over Everett, which I mention for one reason only:  All nine of Yakima’s starters finished the game with at least one run, hit, AND RBI.  That’s right…there were no zeroes in the traditional box score.

BRANDON CASHMAN, bay-bee!  Set a Northwest League record (and the Northwest League has been around for 50 years!) by hitting four homers for Spokane in an 18-9 victory over Everett in 2004.  He also tied the record for RBIs with 9.  I’m keeping my eye open and hoping this wasn’t an anomaly.  (January 2007:  It was.  He peaked at low-A ball and is now out of the affiliated minors.)

In 2005, I saw Yakima’s Brandon Burgess hit a home run–notable because I was sitting next to his grandparents.  That was awesome.

Salem-Keizer’s Adam Cowart looked nearly unhittable in short-season A…his ERA was under 1 late in the season when he gave up two hits in 6 innings with 7 strikeouts.  His delivery was bizarre…I swear it looked like he was, um, taking a dump.  He crouches down to a Jeff Bagwell crouch, then pitches…and nobody in the Northwest League could hit it.  Another guy to keep an eye on.  He was fun to watch.

A hilarious 20-7 loss to the Vancouver Canadians at the end of the 2006 season.  Vancouver scored runs in every inning except the fifth; Everett scored all 7 of its runs in the fifth.

(Written August 2003.  Updated August 2009.)