We made it!
Nineteen months, over 600 days, and we finally have baseball back at Cheney Stadium. Hopefully you can make it out to the ballpark – if not tonight, perhaps this weekend. My understanding is that there are seats available for tonight, as our allowed capacity was increased just two days ago. Ticket information is at the bottom of this post.
OK, let’s talk about baseball!
Tonight marks the first-ever game managed by former Rainiers player Kristopher Negron. Negron retired as a player after the 2019 season – a season in which he played for Tacoma until August, when he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers and finished the year in the major leagues. We wish him the best of luck, while hoping that it doesn’t take him too long to notch his first career victory. Tonight would be nice, Kris. No pressure!
Tacoma’s lineup should be pretty good, at least to my eye. Heralded prospect Jarred Kelenic will get all of the attention at the start of the season, and the Rainiers have plenty of solid bats around him.
Veteran Triple-A hitters Sam Travis and Jack Mayfield both have major league experience and a track record of hitting at this level. Jantzen Witte hit .277 in the pitcher-friendly International League when he last played in 2019. We can expect Eric Filia to hit for a solid average and reach base often. Jack Reinheimer is a reliable veteran Triple-A middle infielder. Outfielder Dillon Thomas put up solid numbers in Double-A two years ago and has earned a shot at this level. Braden Bishop should provide a lot more with the bat getting regular play for Tacoma than we have seen in his brief and sporadic appearances for the Mariners.
Then we have switch-hitting catcher Cal Raleigh, the biggest position player on the team and a guy who has a lot of power in his bat. Raleigh was the Mariners third round draft pick in 2018 out of Florida State, and he’s coming off a 29-homer season in 2019. Like Kelenic, he spent the summer of 2020 at the Mariners Alternate Training Site getting lots of reps with more advanced players. Unlike Kelenic, he is expected to spend much of the season with Tacoma.
I think this lineup is going to produce some runs. Tonight we get to find out.
TODAY: El Paso (0-0) at Tacoma (0-0), 7:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: San Diego Padres.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Edwin Rodriguez.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 0-0.
PITCHERS: LHP Daniel Camarena (0-0, 0.00) at RHP Paul Sewald (0-0, 0.00)
Sewald – a career reliever – gets the opening day nod for the Rainiers. He’s pitched in 375 career games between the minors and the majors, and every single one has come out of the bullpen. His last start came in his senior year of college, at the University of San Diego in 2012.
It wasn’t the Mariners plan for Sewald to make the opening day start for Tacoma, but the big league club has had three injuries to starting pitchers, causing them to call up the guys who would have been in Tacoma’s starting rotation.
As a result, the Rainiers will have a few “bullpen days” during the first week of the season until reinforcements arrive and things settle down. Since it’s the start of the season and everyone is relatively rested, it should be OK for a few days.
Two veteran pitchers were just signed yesterday and joined the club: former White Sox and Angels left-handed starter Hector Santiago, and ex-A’s reliever Ryan Dull. There may be more on the way.
PROSPECT SHOWDOWN: the one true starting pitcher on Tacoma’s roster is highly-regarded prospect Logan Gilbert, who will make his Triple-A debut on Friday night. El Paso also has a highly-ranked prospect making his Triple-A debut on Friday night: left-hander MacKenzie Gore. That’s going to be an interesting battle.
OPPONENT NEWS: Gore is the top prospect on the Chihuahuas, but catcher Luis Campusano and infielder Tucupita Marcano are also well-regarded young players. El Paso has former Rainiers Patrick Kivlehan, John Andreoli, and Parker Markel.
BROADCAST: All games will be broadcast free on a live audio stream which is available right here.
As in the past, a streaming HD telecast is available through MiLB.TV. It’s a subscription service, but it’s just a one-time payment and it gets you thousands of games from all levels of the minor leagues, including all 120 Tacoma Rainiers games home and away. That same link above has details on how to get it if you scroll down the page – there’s even a discount code.
Unfortunately, there is no traditional terrestrial radio station carrying the games at this time.
TRIPLE-A WEST SCOREBOARD: Follow all league games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.
STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:
- We’ll start with a Rainiers roster breakdown from The News Tribune.
- The Seattle Times has a story on the Rainiers with quotes from the big three prospects who are so close to the major leagues.
- Times columnist Larry Stone has a story on the return of minor league baseball to the Pacific Northwest.
- Here’s a news story on the Rainiers plan to implement the latest Covid safety guidelines and allow vaccinated fans to sit together in special sections.
- The News Tribune has its own story from Tuesday’s workout, and also a photo gallery. The players sound excited to actually be on a team and play a competitive game in front of actual fans!
- The TNT also has a feature on new Rainiers skipper Kristopher Negron.
- Excellent in-depth story from Corey Brock on former Rainiers first baseman D.J. Peterson, although you have to be a subscriber to The Athletic to read it.
- In a remarkable story, outfielder Drew Robinson has recovered from a suicide attempt and made the Sacramento roster. The defending Triple-A National Champion River Cats come to Tacoma in June – here’s the full list of players.
- Willie Mays turns 90 today. ESPN has an article on his overall greatness.
Listen to every home and away Tacoma Rainiers game for free HERE. You can also download the MiLB First Pitch app for a free and easy one-click listening experience at home, work or in your car. Watch an HD video broadcast of every game with an MiLB.TV subscription. Use code: RAINIERS to save $10 on an annual subscription.
We R Tacoma
About the Tacoma Rainiers
The Tacoma Rainiers are the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. The Rainiers are a member of the Triple-A West, which begins its inaugural season on May 6, 2021. Tacoma has been a Mariners affiliate since establishing the Rainiers moniker in 1995.
Single game tickets through May 11 are now available. Purchase tickets in either vaccinated (must show proof of vaccine at gates) or non-vaccinated sections. Find more information and purchase single game tickets here. Questions regarding season tickets can be directed to Tickets@WeRTacoma.com.
The most up-to-date news and notes about the Tacoma Rainiers and Cheney Stadium can be found at WeRTacoma.com, or by following the Rainiers on Twitter (@RainiersLand), Instagram (@tacomarainiers) and liking the team on Facebook.
We R Tacoma Team Store
The We R Tacoma Team Store is currently open Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (non-game days) or until the end of the game on home game days. Team Store purchases can also be made online 24/7. Grab your Rainiers gear, your Defiance ‘fit, and follow the team store on Instagram and Twitter.