Monday, September 8, 2008

Boise Hawks 1, Spokane Indians 0

August 30, 2008

It was refreshing to drive up to Boise Memorial Stadium in Boise, Idaho and actually find some truth in advertising. "Feed the Economy!" blared the sign on the grandstand. "BUY HAWKS TICKETS NOW!" The sign also features a little kid stuffing his gob with a hot dog, and a big old arrow pointing down to the box office, just in case there was any confusion about where to buy the Hawks tickets. We were there to feed the economy, and did a darn fine job of it.

I hadn't seen the sign, so I bought my tickets in advance, on-line, using this Internet thing that I'm sure you've heard about. This seemed prudent. I didn't really want to spend an entire day driving from beautiful West Seattle to pretty-attractive-in-a-different-sort-of-way Boise only to find the game was sold out because The Chicken was there. This is fine. Throughout the Weisenheimer 2008 minor league baseball tour I've purchased all of the tickets on-line. What irked me, just the slightest bit, was that Boise didn't offer me the option to simply pick up my tickets at will-call, a fairly easy option offered by every other club on the tour. (Weisenheimer likes will call. Being a naturally forgetful sort, I'd have been somewhere around LaGrande, Oregon, and asked my sweetie, the scorer, "Hey, do you have the tickets?" There's no going back at that point.) No, Boise insisted that I print my tickets at home. OK, fine... but they STILL dinged me for the couple of bucks for a CONVENIENCE charge. Whose convenience, I ask? All was well; I printed them at home and didn't forget to bring them. But WTF?

Otherwise, our experience with the Boise Hawks was grand. Just moments after entering the ballpark we were greeted by a very enthusiastic gentleman who shook my hand, exclaimed he was president of the booster club, was glad to see me, and was really pleased that, "We clinched the pennant yesterday." It took me a few moments to figure out that he was the head of the Spokane Indians boosters, and the greeting was because I was wearing my Indians cap (purchased in the Lilac City in the dark days before Weisenheimer became a blog) and that, by happenstance, the Hawks were hosting the Spokanes on this August evening. I love the Indians when I'm there, but in baseball you root, root, root for the home team.

A few other notes about Boise Memorial Stadium:

They need cup holders. The problem of where to put your beer is compounded by the fact that, when you're blogging about the game, suddenly you also have to juggle notebook, camera, and writing implement in addition to your hot dog, peanuts, and brew.

The seats are uncomfortable, especially for one of such girth as Weisenheimer who has been on a 10-hour drive earlier in the day.

There were a couple of Butt-Heads sitting behind us, but no Beavises. Huh-huh. Huh.

Humphrey the Hawk is a pretty good mascot, and he patted my sweetie, the scorer, on the head, which was a first she didn't seem to appreciate all that much. The skunk from "Stinker's," which is, apparently, a gas/convenience store in the Boise area and a sponsor of the night's game, was also in attendance.

The game
Weisenheimer has seen, estimating conservatively, 1,000 baseball games in his lifetime. (They pile up when you're covering the games or living at the park when bleacher seats are $1.50.) In that time, the only no-hitter I've seen happened in a seven-inning A-ball game in Everett sometime in the late 80s. I saw Nolan Ryan throw a one-hitter against the Mariners in June of '89, but this wasn't a suspenseful one-hitter: Harold Reynolds led off the bottom of the first with a single, stole second, went to third on an error, and scored on a sacrifice fly by number-three hitter Greg "Pee Wee" Briley (which ought to be a sure sign that the M's of that year were just as pathetic as the current version that used to bat Jose Vidro cleanup.) That was that, as Ryan fanned 11.

On this night in Boise the Spokane nine didn't manage a hit until there were two out in the seventh, when ninth-place-hitting left fielder Edward Martinez dunked a single to left against Bubba O'Donnell. Curiously, O'Donnell was the second pitcher for the Hawks, starter Jeff Beliveau going 4 1/3, fanning eight, walking three, and allowing no hits before calling it a night. The single by Martinez was the only safety for Spokane, possibly feeling the after-effects of their pennant-clinching effort and celebration of the previous evening, and starting the "scrubs," if such a distinction is necessary in short-season A-ball.

In short, it was close. The Martinez single was the only hit Spokane was to record, and Weisenheimer and his sweetie, the scorer, have still never seen a no-hitter togehter. (We must note at this juncture that, according to the league officials in the ballpark on this day, Spokane got two hits, Martinez being inexplicably given a single on a routine grounder that was muffed by Boise third sacker David Macias in the second inning. The scorer, who clearly has some work to do if s/he hopes to advance to AA, also blew a call in the sixth, giving Boise's Sean Hoolebeke a single on a play that clearly was deserving of an error.) By the time of the one real hit Boise had the game well in hand, having put a singleton up on the board in the second, when Hoorelbeke led off with a walk, advanced to third on a one-out single by Dwayne Kemp, and scored on catcher Pat Mahoney's grounder to first. Boise got nine hits, including two each by Macias and Hoorelbeke.

Spokane starter Martin Perez pitched admirably, though he never retired the Hawks in order. Perez worked seven innings and scattered nine hits, walking just one while fanning seven. The Indians stranded 10 runners, no mean feat when you get just one hit. They did work six walks, had a couple of guys hit by pitches, and Boise made one error. But they didn't get a guy to third until the ninth, when shortstop Edward Koncel walked with one out, took second on a wild pitch and third on a grounder to first. But he died there when third sacker Jacob Kaase grounded to second.

Box score

1 comment:

Sweetie the Scorer said...

Great game. Gorgeous setting. Least favorite stadium for actual seating and comfort. Obviously designed by the same folks who design airplane seating. Plain bleachers would have been MUCH better. But what a beautiful landscape.