Can We Leave Eugene Yet?
It’s sad when one of my favorite stops in the Northwest League is starting to slip quickly down the list – but Eugene is starting to draw the ire that I’ve had for Salem ever since I starting doing this in 2003.
Not sure what has happened over the years, but there was something with the Ems that has changed since they decided to cross the Willamette River from their days at Civic Stadium and now “sharing” PK Park with the Oregon Ducks.
Yes, the press box is outstanding – even with air conditioning…but the Ducks mandate that the booth remains at 70 degrees, regardless of the weather, with the AC vents underneath your workspace (no chance I’ll ever – or any broadcaster, will wear khaki shorts in Eugene). You are landlocked in the booth and there is no communication as to scoring decisions (not even on the scoreboard/videoboard), no communications for defensive changes – you are on your own as if you are at a high school game. At Civic, there was a small window where the broadcasters could see the scorer for decisions and for errors, they would quickly dim the lights.
I feel more for the Hawks than anything else. I talked yesterday about the “new” clubhouse and the nearly 15 minute one-way walk. What I didn’t realize until yesterday was that the coaching staff are basically in a lockerroom – no desk for Gary Van Tol to do his pregame work (welcome to the club, skip), no place for the laptops for postgame reports, and for two nights in a row, no post game meal for the staff (guess Eugene’s clubbie doesn’t want a tip?). Even worse is the condition for first-year trainer, Jonathan Fierro – as there isn’t a training room. When the team got to Eugene on Friday, the Ems were scrambling for a table or two for the training supplies to just be stored on, let alone a table for treatments/training. The frustrating part of it all is a stone’s throw away is U of O’s training room that probably rivals the best of the best big league training rooms.
ON TO THE POSITIVES: How about the Hawks pitching staff! Despite the tough 1-0 loss last night to the Ems, it was as dominating effort by Boise pitchers in a long while. Paul Blackburn made his short-season debut and was nearly unhittable, retiring 15-of-16 men, including eight strikeouts. Corbin Hoffner pitched to contact, retiring all nine men he faced in his Boise debut. Unfortunately, Tyler Bremer left a 2-2 pitch over the plate that Henry Charles hit over the wall to end the game. Hawks pitchers have struck out 20 and walked just one man in 17 innings, allowing just six hits.
LOOKING AHEAD: Salem-Keizer took over first-place in the NWL South with a second-straight win over Hillsboro, winning 8-4 last night. Everett leads the North, having taken a pair of 6-4 victories over Spokane.