Around the Foghorn @ Sacramento River Cats Home Opener
An absolutely gorgeous day out on the diamond in Sacramento as the River Cats finally play in front of their home crowd. The opener, which featured the River Cats wearing the new Sactown jerseys, also featured a stiff wind blowing out to right an hour before the game.
The game, which was played at the same time as the big club was facing Clayton Kershaw down south, pitted two teams that were involved and in a sweep just less than a week ago. And it was the River Cats who were swept.
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As fans filed in, Raley Field turned into a study on how to throw a minor league baseball party.
One thing is certain, the end of the Sacramento Kings season does not mean the end to professional sports. In fact, with the dramatic difference in pricing for seats, many more fans are able to see these professional athletes, and they are much more accessible.
The most interesting thing is many of these players are soon going to be just as popular as the players who are soon going to be playing in the downtown arena.
This isn’t an attempt to disparage the community services that players from the Kings take part in. But the approach-ability of an athlete can be the difference in a young fan becoming a life-long one.
It took just a few games out at Candlestick Park to realize how much baseball was in my blood. Sometimes it just takes one time. It is important for an organization and its players to understand that it is on display at all times. And the River Cats organization definitely gets that. And it shows.
Everyone is friendly, and the marriage between the Giants and River Cats has had a huge effect on the clout that the team carries in the Sacramento area. Unlike the Kings, who sometimes seem to feel like cousin Oliver to the Golden State Warriors’ Brady Bunch cast, the River Cats affiliation with the Giants sets into stone a world-class relationship between two world-class organizations and areas. I get it, the Kings compete with the Warriors for fans. It was never so between the two baseball clubs, but the combination tightens that fan bond.
As do programs like the Junior Giants.
With the Giants selling out every game, Raley Field provides fans a great opportunity to see quality baseball at a fraction of the price and commute from the Sacramento area.
With the quality team that the Giants have provided to the rest of the organization, the wins should stay pretty consistent. But in the minor leagues, there is always going to be roster turnover. What a team needs to do in that situation, is make it a good time out every time. And that is precisely what the River Cats organization does.
On the field in the opener, Sacramento starter Matt Lujan gave up a lead off double and a subsequent run in the first. But the River Cats came back in the 2nd after two singles (by Grant Green and Juan Ciriaco) and then former Giant OF Darren Ford (2-4) hit a slow chopper that couldn’t be handled by the Bees first baseman and two unearned runs scored, making it 2-1.
But it ended up being Nick Buss day at Raley Field as he went 2-5 with two home runs and three of the four RBI’s. Grant Green had two hits, and Conor Gillaspie homered and is seeing the ball well. Lujan did battle back after the first inning and pitched into the sixth in the 4-3 loss.
Some quick observations from the stands. It looks like Jarrett Parker is pressing a bit. Gillaspie will be with the Giants sometime this year, and you may see Green as well. Jake Dunning threw two scoreless innings. Mac Williamson was called up along with Derek Law prior to the game. Former Giants first baseman (and current hitting coach) Damon Minor was the acting manager. Manager Jose Alguacil flew back to Venezuela, due to the passing of his father. Minor will continue to run the show in Alguacil’s absence.
But in hindsight, the outcome of the game was secondary to the fun atmosphere and pageantry created by the River Cats. See you, Around the Foghorn.