Life in Spokane

AvistaRainThings here in the Spokane Valley are about to get a little draining today, as the Boise Hawks will play their first doubleheader since the 2007 season against the Spokane Indians.

As you can see from the pictures, there was a reason why Thursday’s game at Avista Stadium was postponed – in fact, if you look closely behind second base, you can see a mud puddle that formed in the outfield grass.

One needs to give some kudos to the grounds crew at the yard for getting the diamond playable for Friday night’s game – though they had to do some mound-scaping in the second inning after both Yohander Mendez and Paul Blackburn struggled with mud in their spikes in the opening frame.

However, at least for me – it comes down to having a tarp.  When you have arguably the biggest (and one of the best) facility in the Northwest League, you need to have a tarp.  It may only be used once a year, but the money the franchise lost out in ticket and concession sales from the rain out pales in comparison to purchasing a tarp that not only would have saved that game (since the rain turned to a drizzle around 8 p.m. that night), but future games as well.

MirabeauHOTEL – Year in and year out, the Mirabeau Park Hotel and Convention Center ranks among the top stops in the NWL for all broadcasters.  The sprawling hotel has my room this trip literally in the back-40 – as I am closer to Walmart than the front desk, but it is a huge room and the only thing missing is a refrigerator (so I have to keep ice on hand or else my water bottle stays warm).  It is one of the few NWL hotels with a restaurant on property – with the Max Restaurant having the best happy hour menu around (have been a fan of their sliders on homemade buns, with a red pepper aioli for years, along with fries topped with garlic, balsamic vinegar, and feta cheese).

ISSUES – I apologize to the fans in Boise for the quality of our radio broadcasts, as a non-dedicated phone line at Avista Stadium has forced me to use a different set of radio gear.  Typically, we use equipment that sends digital quality audio – which provides crystal clear sound to fans on KTIK, however, the phone line does not allow that equipment to connect to the Cumulus studio.  Therefore, I have “borrowed” my radio gear from the College of Idaho (which I use to call basketball games during the winter) to get us on the air – but it makes the broadcast sound like it is coming out of a tin can.

Hamann2FRIDAY NIGHT – Another great effort by the pitching staff, as Paul Blackburn worked around his own throwing error in the second inning that plated the lone Spokane run, retiring the final eight batters in order.  He has walked just one man, allowed four hits, and struck out 12 in his first 10 innings in Boise.  Carlos Martinez, the big-burly Cuban, kept the Indians off-balance for three innings, mixing a low-90s fastball with a devastating change up.  And Mike Hamann slammed the door – throwing 15 pitches, 13 for strikes, in picking up the save.  The Hawks used the long ball – and I mean LONG BALL, to win, as Kevin Encarnacion tried to hit the lights in right field with his moonshot, and Yasiel Balaguert’s home run ball wanted to either go to Home Depot or Costco, it was hit so far.  Was impressed by both rookies – Jacob Hannemann plays the game hard and I thought Cael Brockmeyer called a great game behind the plate (and gunned out his first base-stealer by five feet).

ABOUT THE DOUBLE HEADER – Skipper Gary Van Tol made a change to the pitching rotation for tonight, trying to keep the arms on a typical schedule.  Loiger Padron will get the start in the opener, while Orbandy Rodriguez will make a spot-start for Game 2.  The one thing that benefits the Hawks was the off day due to the rain out, giving the pitchers who saw action on Tuesday/Wednesday an extra day of rest.  Duane Underwood will now pitch Sunday afternoon, with Trey Lang tossing the series finale.

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