Life in Tri-Cities…
I could spend the entire time bashing the ninth inning collapse by the Hawks tonight, as the squad squandered a 5-2 lead with three outs to go, as Bo Bowman’s two-run walk-off single gave Tri-City the improbable win.
But instead, I will give fans the inside look at life here in the Tri-Cities (Richland, Pasco, Kennewick) and at Gesa Stadium (see Gesa Stadium up close during tonight’s national anthem)- one of the more improved ball parks and franchises in the entire Northwest League.
It starts with the team hotel, the Red Lion Columbia Center in Kennewick, a stone’s throw from the Toyota Center, where the Tri-City Fever AF2 team and the Tri-City Americans WHL hockey team plays. The beds are comfy, they have a nice fitness center, and a big pool that was the first pool my son has ever set feet in. Near the Red Lion are countless eateries – Red Robin, Applebees, Sharis, KFC, Taco Bell, Quiznos, Carl’s Junior, Red Lobster – along with a shopping mall, all within a two block radius.
Even better is the fact that Tri-City is the closest team in the NWL to Boise, allowing Hawks fans to make the trek to Washington, including the Lothrop family (pictured) – who are the host family for first-baseman Greg Rohan.
We talked about the sun-shade at Gesa Stadium last night, but since the Brett Brothers purchased the team a few years ago, the organization has developed into one of the better clubs in the league. Last year, a new and improved Dusty the Dust Devil (pictured below) roams the park during the game – and has one of
the more impressive introductions in the league (right up there with Humphrey coming in on the Ram Tough pick-up), as Dusty is introduced each night before the team, running onto the field with a big Tri-City flag – reminiscent of a football intro.
Along with Dusty is their in-game promoter, Eric the Peanut Guy – who actually sells Cracker Jacks between the time he handles the on-field chaos.
In the past, it was hot dogs for the broadcaster each night – but I received a monster pulled pork sandwich tonight (pictured below) – something not great for my diet, but it was money…which begins to push Tri-City food up towards the Philly sandwich in Yakima and the Teriyaki Bowls in Spokane (which we’ll get to sample later in the year).
THE BACON – The Hawks were three outs away from ending a four-game losing streak to Tri-City – thanks to fabulous relief work from Dionis Nunez and Miguel Sierra, who combined to toss five and two-thirds innings of shutout ball…the Hawks stole a season-high four bases, including two each from Hak-Ju Lee and Jose Valdez…Kevin Clark scored the winning run on Bowman’s walk-off hit by bowling over Boise catcher, Alvaro Sosa, ala Pete Rose in the All-Star game during the 1970s.
NOTES: Corey Martin will now wear #25 and Matt Williams will wear #9…Su-Min Jung was lifted from tonight’s game with pain in his throwing shoulder after two and a third innings…he tried to throw a warm-up pitch after the training staff attended to him, but doubled over in pain…according to trainer Dan Golden, Jung will be evaluated by team doctors when the club arrives back in Boise on Saturday…also on the injury front, Matt Cerda is expected to be put on the 7-Day DL (minor league version of the disabled list) and will be sent to the Cubs Spring Training site in Mesa, Ariz., with a possible broken hamate bone in his hand…according to Golden, Cerda will not be able to swing a bat for up to three weeks…the blown save by Yohan Gonzalez tonight was his second of the season – as he has not given up a run in three appearances against the rest of the league, but allowed nine earned runs in two appearances vs. Tri-City…seven of George Matheus’ eight RBI this season are against the Dust Devils.