Sunday Afternoon in the Shadows of the Olympics
There is something about playing afternoon ball games that I enjoy – as does the coaching staff for the Hawks. When I read “This Day in Baseball History” each night on the broadcast, the talk about the first night games in the late 1930s harkon back to the days when afternoon games were all there was.
I think about how Wrigley Field kept the lights away until 1988 and how when I was growing up, it was the last of the afternoon League Championship Series games in the afternoon (I still remember hearing the call of Ozzie Smith’s homer at Busch Stadium to win the pennant for the Cardinals).
It was the third day game of the year for the Hawks – and we’ll have one more on Tuesday. Vancouver thrives on the afternoon games and the fans come out in droves for their “Nooners”. In fact, the C’s decided to play up the “Green” card this year – as most of the NWL teams have this season, having an entire “Green” series against Everett, three straight weekday day games, which would have been sweet.
One of the things that make the Sunday games for Vancouver is that they serve A&W root beer floats (the owners of the C’s own A&W’s in the city) for a $1 – with the procedes going to charity. It is the best $1 investment in the league…especially on a warm summer afternoon (if only we had that in Boise on the 100-degree nights). I also love seeing the A&W Bear and Bob Brown Bear (the C’s cute mascot) hanging out on Sunday’s.
WHERE DID THE CURLING GO: Sitting adjacent to Nat Bailey Stadium is one of the venues that played a big part of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, the Vancouver Olympic Centre – which played host to the curling championships. A year ago, I was able to sneak into the building to watch as they were putting together the finishing touches to the facility – but in 2010, I could not get close to the rink – as major rennovations are on-going again, as it does not look anything like the building everyone saw on television.
Following the Winter Games (as Vancouver also hosted the Paralympic Winter Games as well), the City of Vancouver began to convert the facility into a Legacy Design, something that the entire community will be able to use. The first thing that opened earlier in the year was a pair of huge swimming pools – one a 50-meter lap pool with a swim and dive tank (including a movable floor), an outdoor pool that seems to be packed all times of the day (even when the temperatures are in the 60s), and a huge fitness center.
Under construction is converting the arena that held the curling event (which held upwards of 6,000 fans a night) into a multipurpose facility. A full-sized ice rink (NHL regulation size) along with enough ice for eight sheets of curling will be constructed – but along with it, a true community center – including a full-size gymnasium, arts and crafts rooms, aerobics rooms, and the housing of the Vancouver Park Board’s main offices.
GAME NOTES: Both Alvaro Ramirez and Pierre LePage logged multi-hit games and the duo, who lead the Northwest League in hitting, added to their totals…Ramirez has 26 multi-hit games this season, with LePage right behind him with 23…speaking of LePage, he was credited with an RBI groundout in the eighth inning, which pulled the Hawks within 4-3. On the play, Vancouver manager Rick Magnante questioned the umpire crew as to whether or not the ball might have hit LePage on the foot (but the call was upheld)…when I asked the UConn product as to whether it hit him on the foot, he said no – it hit me on the shin…
ROSTER CAROUSEL CONTINUES: After arriving in Vancouver on Friday night after spending a month in Peoria, right-hander Danny Keefe’s stay north of the border will last four days…Keefe has been promoted back to Peoria – and should be back in the Midwest League in time for the Chiefs game tomorrow night in Clinton, Iowa, one of 21 former Hawks on the Peoria roster.