Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Yakima Bears 5, Tri-City Dust Devils 3

September 1, 2008

The city of Yakima, Washington was a ghost town on Labor Day. Even some of the wineries were closed on a Monday of a three-day holiday weekend. They must have known what they were doing. The kid at Wineglass Cellars said we were the first touristy types to happen by in quite a while that afternoon. But were the crowds thin because the wineries were closed, or were the wineries closed because the crowds were thin? We had all afternoon to make the major trek from Pasco to Yakima, and managed to find enough open wineries in between to stretch out the trip and amuse ourselves (and re-stock the cellar a bit, thank goodness!) Still, we rolled into Yakima around 5 p.m. before a seven o'clock game, and we were hungry. Alack and alas, there were precious few eateries open. Weisenheimer is not a real businessman, but I've got to figure that if I were in the hospitality business, I'd try to be open on a holiday Monday.

Finally we managed to find a place that was not fast food and still open. As Gasperetti's was shuttered, the best we could do was the Depot Restaurant, which is in the old train depot in downtown Yakima. The food was decent but unremarkable. At least they had a nice list of local wines, some of which we'd run across on our way into town.

The ghost town tale extended to the baseball game between the Yakima Bears and the Tri-City Dust Devils as well. The announced number of tickets sold for the contest was 1,536. If there were more than 500 people at the ballpark, then I'm your aunt Tillie.

Yakima County Stadium is kind of cool. For one thing, it's not named for an insurance company or credit union. For another, it has some interesting dimensions: just 293 feet down the lines, though it gets deeper in a hurry, especially down the left field line, where it goes to 340 no more than 20-25 feet from the line. While the actual scoreboard was on the blink, the giant video screen was functional. Norm Johnson, a candidate for State Representative, had a video commercial on the board at one point between innings. I don't really recall any political ads sponsoring games before. One other ad at the ballpark was for someplace called Bi-Mart, advertised as "The right fit for the Northwest." I thought that was rather enlightened.

A few other ballpark notes: The Yakima mascot, Boomer the Bear, wasn't very active. Maybe he is already ready to hibernate. The stadium also had a best and worst. They had the best vendor of the Weisenheimer 2008 ballpark tour. He was once heard to holler, "You can run away now, but eventually you're going to have to come to grips with the fact that you need some peanuts." Freud would be proud! They had the absolutely worst rendition of Take Me Out to the Ball Game in the history of the song. They brought a bunch of kids out to sing in the middle of the seventh. This is well and good so far as it goes, but they were off key, off beat, and off the charts horrible. Aren't they teaching music in the schools over there?

The game
Those of you sick souls following closely may have noticed that Yakima and Tri-City also played yesterday, but in Pasco, not Yakima. The two natural rivals, separated by less that 70 miles (call it the I-82 series) closed out the Northwest League schedule with six games against each other: One in Pasco, one in Yakima, another in Pasco, two more in Yakima, and the finale in the Tri-Cities. The Labor Day game, the fourth of the sixth, was won by the Bears 5-3 in front of the home "crowd." The Dust Devils scored a run in the top of the first inning to take an early lead, but the Yakima came back with three in the bottom of the first and led the rest of the way. Shortstop Justin Parker struck the key blow for Yakima in the first, a tie-breaking two-out, two-run triple. Tri-City made a couple of errors that helped the Bears score two more in the fifth to go up 5-1.

The Devils made a game of it, scoring two in the seventh, with the help of an error, to pull within 5-3. They put the tying runs on in the ninth thanks to a couple of walks by Yakima hurler Jordan Meaker, but couldn't bring them in, leaving the win for the home team, again.

A couple of pieces of free advice for Tri-City. The pale yellow lettering on the road gray uniforms just wasn't working for Weisenheimer. They need unis that are more legible. Also, given the success of the Tampa Bay club of the American League this year after they dropped the "Devil" from their name and became, simply, the Rays, I believe the Dust Devils should drop all demonic references and simply become the Tri-City Dust for next season.

You're welcome!

Box score


Anonymous said...

Thanks for linking to me!

-Alice's Astro Info

Holly G said...

Put a Wenatchee Apple Sox game on your summer 2009 itinerary. It looks like Northwest Public Radio will be hosting "NWPR" nights in Wenatchee, Yakima, and Tri-Cities next summer. COOL!