Back to the USA, Chirinos to the Bigs
The Hawks closed out the Canadian portion of the current eight-game road trip with a pair of weird ball games – a rain-shortened 6-2 loss to Vancouver, followed by the fastest game in the Northwest League this season, a 1-0 loss in just 118 minutes.
The rain-game was interesting from the standpoint that the field at Nat Bailey Stadium was in much poorer shape than what we saw last year in the infamous “Forfeit Game” in Everett – standing water on the warning track all around the field, though the outfield was not as much of a lake as it was a year ago. It was the first time I’d been in a weather-shortened game since a game in Vancouver in 2003.
The next afternoon the Hawks got a great start from Willengton Cruz, going a season-best 5 2/3 innings, striking out eight, but big Steve McQuail launched a second inning homer to provide the only offense in the game. Boise hit balls hard all afternoon – right at C’s players. As Mark Johnson said on the pregame show, at least we got one win against the AA team (Vancouver) – since the C’s have a much, much older team than Boise.
FINAL LOOKS IN CANADA: The kids park at Nat Bailey has been improved once again in 2011 – adding not one, but four bouncy areas for the children in Vancouver. An obstacle course, a true bounce house, an inflatable slide, a speed pitch, and a hitting cage all for the kids, while the best barbeque pit and beer garden awaits adults on the first-base side.
RECORD TIME AGAIN: Bob Grimes must have a way with all customs agents – as it was a breeze coming back across the US-Canadian border. The Hawks trainer hopped off the bus and talked with the guard – the bus pulled, we departed, went through customs, and were away in just 17 minutes…last year, I think we spent 17 minutes waiting for an agent to tell us what to do.
THE SCENIC ROUTE: Instead of taking the typical drive down to Seattle, over Snoqualmie Pass, and over to Spokane – the team decided to take a more scenic drive, traversing the state on US-2 – across Stevens Pass, seeing raging rapids on the Wenatchee River and some of the most beautiful country in central Washington. The team arrived in Spokane at just after midnight.
WELCOME TO THE SHOW ROBBY: Following a 16-inning marathon against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday night baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays called up former Boise Hawk Robinson Chirinos to replace Jose Lobaton, who was injured in the game. Robby, who played for the Hawks in the 2002 NWL championship season, became the 87th former Boise player to play in the Major Leagues. He becomes the 13th player off that team alone to play in MLB joining Rich Hill, Ricky Nolasco, Clay Rapada, Andy Sisco, JK Ryu, Ryan O’Malley, Geovany Soto, Felix Pie, Randy Wells, Micah Hoffpauir, and Ronny Cedeno.
MORE FROM SPOKANE: We’ll take a look at the trip in Spokane tomorrow – hoping for at least one day with warm temperatures, instead of the rain that hampered the team in Vancouver.