Results tagged ‘ Boise Hawks Chicago Cubs ’

The only Spokaneasaurus…OTTO

otto_01.jpgWith the Spokane Indians drawing more fans than any other Northwest League franchise again this year, the throngs of fans are entertained each night by one of the more unique mascots in the NWL – Otto (pictured left, courtesy of the Spokane Indians), the Spokaneasaurus.  Yes, a Spokaneasaurus – the one and only Spokaneasaurus in the world.  Otto is very animated throughout the game and keeps the crowd entertained, along with one of the loudest on-field promoters in the league – Jaime has a great voice.

DSC02187.JPGGOTTA LOVE THE HOTEL: There was a time when the NWL teams stayed in downtown Spokane, which gave the players and staff a chance to explore Riverfront Park, the site of the 1974 World’s Fair.  However, in 2005, the team moved out to Spokane Valley, east of the ballpark to the Mirabeau Park Hotel and Convention Center – one of the top digs in the league.  Not only are the rooms spacius, but dining options for the players are close to the hotel – including Hooters, Sharis, Subway, McDonalds, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Panda Express, along with local eateries.

teriyaki.JPGSPEAKING OF FOOD: The Indians staff has really been kind to the Hawks staff and to me each day – as the coaches have received an array of food after the game – hot dogs with peppers and onions, big cheeseburgers, and chicken sandwiches, while I have had my staple of the Spokane summer, a teriyaki chicken bowl (picutred left) – one of my favorite dishes in the league and one of the healthiest.  However, for everyone to get to and from the clubhouse, one must take one of the more interesting walks in the entire league.

ROHAN HEATS UP, HIT STREAKS CONTINUE: Although the pennant chances for the Hawks took a big hit with the 6-4 loss last night to Spokane, it showcased the Boise bats.  Greg Rohan had his second-straight two-double night and has recorded four RBI in the last two games.  Bobby Wagner has at least one RBI in four-straight games and extended his hit streak to 11 with a first inning single, while Logan Watkins had his third double in two games, extending his hit streak to 16 – a season high.

WHITLOCK BACK TO PEORIA: Following the game last night, the Chicago Cubs promoted right-hander Josh Whitlock to the Peoria Chiefs for his second stint in the Midwest League this season.  Whitlock, who got off to a rocky start this season with the Hawks, had an outstadning last month of the year, allowing just two earned runs in 16 innings of work during August.

Hawks Stuff Aside, we need a speedy recovery

downs2.jpgUsually this blog is very light – talking about how the Hawks won or loss, the fun the team is having on the road, the food we get and how good or bad it is.  That part of the blog will come later – but I need to be serious for a moment.

One of the truly good guys to come through Boise over the years, Darin Downs, needs all of the prayer and support of Hawks fans.  Downsy pitched for the Hawks as a second-year pro in 2004, helping the team to the NWL pennant, winning Game 1 of the Championship Series, and went on to pitch part of 2005 and 2006 with the club.  After spending 2007 in Daytona and part of 2008 in Tennessee, he was released by the Cubs – only to be picked up by Tampa Bay, where he went 12-4 with their High-A affiliate in Port Charlotte, Fla.  Just a week ago, he was promoted to AA Montgomery.

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In just his second start at the AA level last Monday, a line drive by a Birmingham player hit Downs on the side of his head – fracturing his skull.  He was in the ICU at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham through the weekend – and according to news reports, he is slowly making a recovery.  After seeing the video of Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers sustain a similar face, it just puts a pit in my stomach to know this could happen to Downsy.  I’d ask that you send an email to Montgomery’s broadcaster, Jon Laaser at jlaaser@biscuitsbaseball.com and he should be able to get the note to Darin, his fiancee, and his family.  Lets all hope for a speedy recovery for the lefty!

DSC02192.JPGA NIGHT TO FORGET: Riding high after 12 wins in 16 games and jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, everything was pointing toward another Hawks win, however, Spokane had other ideas – rapping out a season-high 18 hits in a 14-5 wholloping of Boise.  Tommy Mendonca, the stud third-baseman out of Fresno State had four RBI, including a mammoth home run off of Robert Hernandez in the first inning.  The Hawks were their own worst enemy, leaving runners in scoring position in seven of the nine innings tonight.

IN RARE COMPANY: Logan Watkins is joining baseball’s elite this summer, extending his hit streak to 15 games with two doubles – his second 15-game hit streak of the year.  What is astounding is that he is the only player at the short-season level to accomplish the feat, and one of only four players in all of Minor League Baseball to accomplish it (including current Cubs outfielder Jake Fox and Iowa Cubs outfielder Brad Snyder).  Bobby Wagner had a homer and two RBI in the game, extending his hit streak to ten games.

DSC02189.JPGTHE GROTTO: I always thought that the Hawks should move the Hawks Nest out near the scoreboard and make it an eating area where you could get a home run ball.  Spokane has done that with their right field pavilion, the Grotto (pictured right).  Fans can sit at picnic benches, kids can play in a kids area, and it is right on top of the action – as the view is outstanding.  As you can see in the picture, where “The Black Book” sign is, will be the Indians version of the Hawks Nest, a full restaurant with views of the field – lowering the wall to just six feet, making it even more of a home run hitters paradise.

 

Martin slams door in Hawks win at Spokane

martin2.jpgTypical minor league day for the Hawks – wake-up call at 8, on the bus by 9, arrive in (blank) at 1, head to the park at 3, play a game, win, head back to hotel.

The details in between were definitely good, as Boise moved to 3-1 on the road trip with a 4-3 win over Spokane.

After jumping out to a 4-1 lead, thanks to nine hits in the first three innings, the Hawks turned the game over to the pen – especially Corey Martin (pictured left).  The kid from Western Carolina was outstanding, allowing just one walk and one hit in three innings, stranding the tying run at third in the seventh and at second in the eighth, then working a 1-2-3 ninth for the win (I had Martin with the save and Josh Lansford the win, but the official scorer said that Martin was more effective in relief – thus getting the victory). 

dugout.JPGHit streaks continued – Logan Watkins adding two more hits, his streak to 14-straight games, the sixth longest hit streak in the league this year (his 15-game streak in July was the fifth longest), while Bobby Wagner added two hits, pushing his to nine games.  The play of the night to help the win was a stellar defensive play by George Matheus (listen to the call
matheusGem.wma), who made a long, side-arm throw from deep in the hole at short to get the first out of the ninth inning.

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SPOKANE THROWS OUT THE WELCOME MAT: Always known as the gem of the Northwest League, the Spokane Indians once again outdid themselves as an organization on the opening day of the series at Avista Stadium (pictured left) – not only having a fully stocked refrigerator in the coaches office, but also feeding the team after the game – something that the fellas truly appreciated.  From my standpoint, they also took great care of me – getting me one of my favorite meals in the league teriyaki chicken and vegetables for dinner. 

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THE LONG WALK TO THE BOOTH: The opening day at Avista is always a long haul for any visiting broadcaster, as you must degociate three different flights of stairs to get to the booth, situated high atop the ballpark (pictured right).  (To see the last set of stairs and your first video look at the park, click here).  The vantage point is the best in the league – and the crowd tonight was outstanding (4,915), the second largest crowd the Hawks have played in front of during the 2009 season.

THE BACON: With the win last night, the Hawks have won 12 of their last 16 games, pulling themselves within two games of .500 with 14 games left in the season – the closest they have been to .500 since June 21…Boise will lose a pitcher tomorrow, as Su-Min Jung will leave for Korea – as Eduardo Figueroa will take his place in the rotation, starting Tuesday night.

Hawk Talk Interviews – Part 3

Fans, here is a ten-spot of Hawk Talk Interviews that I have conducted with players from mid-July to mid-August that were named Ram Tough Player of the Game the previous night.  Each of the interviews is roughly 2-to-3 minutes in length and discuss their role in the previous night’s game and a bit about their baseball journey.

Justin Bour – from July 26
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 Runey Davis – from August 14 
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D.J. Fitzgerald – from July 29 
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Brett Jackson – from July 17  jacksonHT.wma

Richard Jones – from August 12 
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Josh Lansford – from July 22  lansfordHT.wma

Corey Martin – from July 25  martinHT.wma

Trey McNutt – from August 21 
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 Logan Watkins (interview #2) – from August 17 
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 Josh Whitlock (interview #2) – from August 18
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Tough Loss in Yakima

whitenack.jpgTalk about a tough way for the Hawks to go down to defeat – battling back after being no-hit through five innings, taking a lead in the 10th, but watching the bullpen, which has been so good over the last month of the year, blow a two-run lead in a 4-3 loss to Yakima.

Was is more disheartening is the Hawks squandered a chance to pull two games under .500 and pull five games behind first-place Tri-City.  Robert Whitenack (pictured left) did his job, recording his best performance of the season, going six innings of three-hit ball, allowing just one run and one walk.

Boise tied it in the sixth on a two-out RBI single by Logan Watkins, extending his hit streak to 12, then took the lead in the 10th on a D.J. Fitzgerald RBI groundout an a Matt Williams RBI single.  But it didn’t last long, as Dionis Nunez gave up a double, sandwiched around a pair of walks, and Ryan Sontag didn’t fare much better, allowing a run on a walk, a ground out, and the winner on an RBI single.

DSC02177.JPGLET’S TALK COUNTY STADIUM: The ball park in Yakima is one of the more unique experiences in the Northwest League – starting with the behemoth of a hot dog (pictured right), which reminds me of the old “Real Men of Genius” Bud Light commercials about the creation of the foot-long hot dog – with the Yakima dog measuring 14 inches of John Morrell beef frank.  The staff (pictured below) at the barbeque pit at County Stadium has been amazing over the years – always taking great care of the visiting broadcasters (especially me) and also took great care of my family when they came to town the last time through

DSC02176.JPGFROM THE FIELD:  The dimensions of the park are quirky – although we’ll see more strange ones in Spokane later in the trip.  During batting practice today, I walked into the left-field corner to give you a birds eye few of the corner (with the 293 foot foul poul), and nearly got picked off by a Jose Guevara liner.  What you will also notice is the sloping field in right (look closely and the bottom of the wall and how the signs stay straight, but the blue portion of the wall grows, and grows and grows.

AUDIO CLIPS COMING: Tomorrow, we will post the ten latest Hawk Talk interviews with the players – ranging from mid-July to mid-August.

Hawks Double Up Yakima, Open Trip with Win

lightning.jpgA six-hour bus ride and 105 degree temperatures welcomed the Boise Hawks on the annual Western Idaho Fair trek through the Northwest League, as the Boys of Summer opened their exodus in Yakima tonight.  A potent offensive attack and a summer lightning storm (pictured left) proved to be the highlights in a 9-3 Hawks victory.

The win propels the team to a 28-31 record, the first time since June 22 that the Hawks have been three games under .500, with Boise sitting six games back of Tri-City in the standings with 17 games left.  The Hawks have now won ten of their last 13 games.

Boise had a season-high seven doubles, part of a 16 hit attack in the win.  Jae-Hoon Ha had a pair of two-run doubles, while both Jose Valdez and Hak-Ju Lee recorded three hit games.  The star, however, was on the mound, as Trey McNutt tossed three and two-thirds innings of shutout ball, allowing just one hit and striking out two.

FLASHES IN THE HILLS: Starting in about the sixth inning, a huge electrical storm gathered on top of the Yakima Ridge – about 15-20 miles east of County Stadium – in plain view over the outfield wall.  Although the Valley was in no danger to the storm, it was a spectical for all – and possibly the highlight for Bears fans.  What was nice was the wind from the storms helped cool down the muggy night.

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LOVIN THE HOTEL: For the second time in less that two weeks, I have set up shop at the Best Western Ahtanum Inn in Yakima (my room pictured to the right).  Although many of the hotels in the league are newer – they do not have the charm and personality of this mom-and-pop hotel.  The people are really friendly from the front desk staff to the cleaning staff, the room is tidely and clean, and as my son enjoyed the last trip through, they have a great courtyard and pool for everyone to use.

BEST OF COMING UP: Just as I talked about on Hawk Talk tonight, we will be starting a “Best of the NWL” segment on the blog in the days to come.  Best Stadium, Best Mascot, Best Food, Best Hotel, Best Press Box…but is there anything from the road that you want Best Of?  Respond to the blog or email me at boisehawks@yahoo.com and we can try and answer your request.

Winner in 12, hope Applebee’s is still open

matheus.jpgA game that saw its share of miscues and a great job by both team’s pitching staff, the Hawks got a 12th inning rally to defeat the Everett Aquasox, 4-3, in the longest game of the 2009 season.

After losing the first four games to the Frogs in Everett – and leading in three of the games heading into the late innings, the Hawks have rallied, winning 5-of-6 from their West Division rivals, and have now won seven of their last nine games – moving back within five games of the .500 mark.

George Matheus (pictured above) provided the heroics, lining the first pitch he saw from Brad Reid down the right field line, scoring Logan Watkins from second base.  It marked the fifth walk-off winner at home for the Hawks this season and the second in three nights.  Boise improved to 4-0 this season in extra inning games – all at home.

Thumbnail image for watkins.jpgWatkins (pictured right) had four hits in the victory – his third game with four or more hits this season, while relievers Yohan Gonzalez, Corey Martin, Dionis Nunez, and Andres Quezada combined to throw six shutout innings of relief.

TRUE AFTER PARTY: For the second time this season, the Applebee’s on Glenwood and State hosted a Boise Hawks get-together following a game, and for the second time this season, the preceding game went extra innings.  Tonight’s game was three hours and fifty minutes – forcing Applebee’s to stay open much longer than their scheduled midnight closing.

OFF DAY AT HOME: It isn’t often that the Hawks get an off-day, as only three are scheduled throughout the course of a season.  But it is even rarer that they get to spend an off-day at home in the midst of a homestand.  While the rest of the league plays tomorrow night, the Hawks and Spokane will enjoy a Sunday – whether it be fishing, floating the river, or sleeping, it will be a nice respite.  I will be enjoying a barbeque with my family at former Voice of the Hawks, Dave Hahn’s family’s home.

SpokaneIndiansLogo.pngWHO ARE THESE GUYS: It is the 15th of August and the Hawks have yet to play divisional rival, Spokane this season.  However, the two teams will get to know each other quickly, playing all 12 of their seasonal match-ups within an 18-day spread – including a six-game series at Avista Stadium during the middle portion of the Western Idaho Fair roadtrip.

THE BACON: The banged up outfield for the Hawks continues to shuffle, as D.J. Fitzgerald returned to the line-up, while Jae-Hoon Ha saw action as a DH…Fitzgerald was hampered by an ankle injury, while Ha had been sidelined with muscle soreness…Greg Rohan had the day off after leaving last night’s game after being hit in the elbow…Jose Valdez is still recovering from a hand injury sustained on Wednesday night…Richard Jones made his debut in left field, cleanly fielding one chance.

pie.jpgALUMNI REPORT: Former Hawks Chris Sigfried and David Cales were among four pitchers used by the Daytona Cubs in a no-hitter tonight agianst the Dunedin Blue Jays at Jackie Robinson Park…Sigfried tossed a perfect fifth inning, with Cales getting the final three outs in the D-Cubs first no-hitter since Kerry Wood in 1996…2002 Hawks alum Felix Pie (pictured right) became the seventh major leaguer this season to hit for the cycle, going 4-for-5 in the Orioles 16-6 victory over the Angels on Friday night…Pie completed the cycle with a triple in the ninth inning and following the game, got not one, but two shaving cream pies in the face (ala Brett Jackson).

Boise welcomes back Hawks with win

jones.jpgAfter a long eight-game road trip, a nice crowd of 2,425 fans on a Tuesday night welcomed Boise’s Boys of Summer back to the Treasure Valley, and the Hawks did not disappoint, logging 18 hits in a 13-7 victory over the Everett Aquasox.

Leading the charge was catcher Richard Jones (pictured left), who had his best game in a Boise uniform, going 4-for-5 with a double and a key three run home run (listen to the call
JonesHR.wma) to help the Hawks to the win.

fitz.jpgOther Hawks had big games – as D.J. Fitzgerald (pictured right stealing second) got the club off to a great start launching a long home run in the second inning (listen to the call
FitzgeraldHR.wma).  After Everett was able to take the lead in the third, the bullpen was stellar – as Yohan Gonzalez and Andres Quezada put up zeros in the fourth through seventh innings – with the offense coming through.  Hak-Ju Lee had an RBI single in the fourth, then a leadoff triple in the sixth – scoring the go-ahead run on a Logan Watkins fielders choice.  Bobby Wagner had three hits and two RBI, with Greg Rohan extending his hit streak to seven with a three-hit, two RBI game.

PLAYING LONGBALL: Facing the team with the most home runs in the league, the Hawks have done most of their longball damage against the Frogs, smacking six of their 13 homers this season against Everett…tonight marked just the second time this season that Boise had hit two homers in a game…conversely, the Northwest League’s HR leader, Gerardo Avila, was knocked from the game by a 90-mile per hour fastball by Jon Nagel off the batting helmet in the second inning…no word on his condition.

THE BACON: Ryan Sontag retired both left-handed hitters he faced in relief, with lefties now 0-for-24 against Sontag in 2009…each of the first eight hitters in the Hawks order had at least one hit, while the No. 9 hitter, Jose Valdez, had two walks and was aboard four times.

COMING UP: Expect a big crowd on Wednesday night for Family Feast Night, coupled with our annual Latino Night.

A win on Monday means a .500 road trip

DSC02164.JPGFrom where the team was on Thursday night to today, it is a complete 180-degree turn, as the Hawks used a couple of big innings, capitalizing on three Yakima errors to claim a 9-5 victory over the Bears – their third win in a row.

What is amazing is the fact that if the Hawks can pick up a win tomorrow night, they would head home with a 4-4 record on the road swing – which isn’t an easy thing to do in the Northwest League.

Tonight’s heroes came in different places – at the plate it was Jose Guevara and Bobby Wagner.  Guevara, who was hitting just .088 before his call-up from Mesa, had a pair of doubles, including a two-run smash in the eighth inning to push the lead to 7-2, while Wagner had a two-run double as part of a four-run fifth, then hit his second home run of the season in the ninth for insurance.  On the mound, Trey McNutt battled some control issues – two walks and two hit by pitches, but pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, followed by Corey Martin, who pitched three scoreless innings, retiring eight-straight batters at one point.

DSC02169.JPGCOUNTY STADIUM: The Hawks will make a second trip here to County Stadium (here is a look at the view from the press box) to open up the 12-game swing as the Western Idaho Fair takes over Memorial Stadium.  The park has one of the more impressive grills in the league – from Philly Cheesesteaks, to chicken, to burgers – or the 16-inch hot dogs (pictured to the right) that they sell for a dollar on Friday nights.  Last season, the grill staff made a great concoction for me – 3/4 root beer, 1/4 lemonade (doesn’t sound great, until you try it…it is pretty good).

BoomerPJ.jpgWHAT I DO BEFORE A GAME: With my family in town and an afternoon start, I had some time to kill before the game – so I decided to play with bubbles with my son, PJ, at County Stadium, which was a blast.  PJ had the play of the night, as he retrieved a foul ball off Wagner’s bat in the first inning – one more foul ball than his dad has at a game as a fan.  He then spent the rest of the night chasing around the Bears mascot, Boomer (pictured with the Safford boys).

THE BACON: Dionis Nunez allowed three runs in the ninth inning tonight, the first time in eight appearances that the right-hander had allowed a run, dating back to mid-July…Greg Rohan extended his hitting streak to a career-high six games with a single…the Iowa Cubs and Las Vegas 51s played their Road to Wrigley game at Wrigley Field today – with former Boise Hawk Blake Parker picking up the save for the I-Cubs…former Hawk, Brian Dopirak, with the 51s, went 1-for-4…the Hawks have won 7-of-8 from Yakima this season.

Headed to Yakima on a good note

Hernandez2.jpgSome early run support, some quality defense, and outstanding pitching helped the Hawks salvage the final game of their five-game series at Everett, as Boise blanked the Aquasox, 3-0.

Robert Hernandez was the story on the mound, becoming the first Boise pitcher to toss six innings this season, allowing six hits, no walks, and four strikeouts, while Dionis Nunez slammed the door shut, retiring all six men in order to pick up his fourth save.

Greg Rohan provided all of the offense the Hawks needed in the third, launching his third home run of the season to left.  Richard Jones, who had a pair of extra base hits in the win, tripled and scored on a Runey Davis sacrifice fly later in the inning.  The duo would strike again with two outs in the ninth, rapping back to back doubles.

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GLAD THEY WERE IN EVERETT: The high temperature in Everett was 66-degrees at Memorial Stadium under cloudy skies – a far cry from the weather in the Treasure Valley, which saw Boise receive nearly and inch and a half of rain over the last 36 hours – with temperatures barely reaching the 60 degree mark – the coldest August high temperature of all time.

TURN BACK THE CLOCK: Former Voice of the Hawks, Rob Simpson, who called Boise games from 1996-2000 and Idaho Steelheads games from 1996-2001, was in Everett and handled some play-by-play duties on KRKO radio with Aquasox play-by-play man, Pat Dillon.  Simpson currently works for the NHL Network and NHL.com and has league meetings over the weekend in Vancouver, B.C.

OFF TO THE PALM SPRINGS OF WASHINGTON: The Hawks will roll into Yakima midday tomorrow, and once they cross the Yakima River – they will pass the sign that reads “The Palm Springs of Washington”.  It is an oasis in the middle of a desert – with copious amounts of eating options, yet the smallest market in the Northwest League.

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