There have been some miserable nights in the Northwest League over the years, but nothing compares to last night in Spokane. Gametime temperatures in the 40s, rain, and wind blowing at 15-25 miles per hour throughout – with an open-air pressbox that doesn’t have heaters.
I remember a game in Spokane in August 2004 – which was a night like yesterday (though it was in the 60s, not the 40s) in which Darin Downs helped the Hawks to a 1-0 win, starting an eight-game win streak on the Western Idaho Fair road trip that helped the team to the NWL East Division pennant. I remember a few rainy nights in Vancouver, when all the windows in the press box were closed and the crowd microphone was funneled through a hole (that usually has a wasp net in it) to the backstop screen. And one can’t forget the infamous night in Everett during the 2010 season when Jody Davis pulled the Hawks off the field after Ryan Cuneo slipped on the warning track after a two-hour rain delay – eventually forfeiting the game to the Aquasox.
MEMORIES OF THE COLD: Trainer Bob Grimes reminisced about days early in the season at AAA when he was with the Iowa Cubs – recalling a game in Calgary in which the infield dirt was frozen for a day game, forcing a freeze delay for two hours. He also recalled a game in Omaha to start a season in which he got to the park on a cloudy day, then looked outside and saw snow falling – forcing the postponement, with nine inches of snow blanketing Des Moines by the time the team made the trip down I-80. Skipper Mark Johnson recalled when he was playing for the Tucson Sidewinders and they opened the PCL season in Colorado Springs – with all four games of the series postponed due to snow.
THE BAD: The Hawks offensive attack, as Boise had only a few good at-bats on the night, mustering a trio of hits (though a trio of highlight-reel plays by the Spokane defense didn’t help). Hayden Simpson hurt his own cause in both the seventh and eighth, throwing away a pickoff move in both frames – leading to an unearned run in the eighth.