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Every so often, one hears baseball players, managers, announcers and analysts talk about the long grind that is the baseball season. It's a hell of a haul, they'll say. A marathon, not a sprint. You have to be physically and mentally prepared for the grueling life of a baseball season.
Now, before this year I had a distinction reaction to these sentiments:
What a bunch of crybabies.
Stop bitching, will you? You guys have the coolest job in the world. Either you're out on the field playing catch or up in the press box scrutinizing the spin on a curveball. It's not a marathon. It's not a test of endurance. You want a marathon? Work for a couple years behind the counter at a fast food joint. Take orders from surly patrons all day. That's a marathon. That's endurance.
Then this year hit. My esteemed editor, Matt ‘I can still throw a 75 MPH fastball' Driscoll, asked if I had any interest in covering the Rainiers. Nothing serious, he said. Just some musings and random snippets about the team. Keep it light. Poke fun.
Oh, I don't know, Matt. I guess I can sit at home and listen to Rainiers games while sipping beer. I guess I can write a couple hundred words on the team. Sure, I can joke about Minor League ballplayers. The Rainiers still have that fish guy, right?
Then the season started. Right out of the gate I was feeling fresh. I was confident. I had dreams of the Rainiers Minute sparking a readership surge in the Weekly Volcano. What's that, Matt? A raise for all of the hard baseball writing I've been doing? Well sure, but only if you think it's warranted.
How long did that good feeling last? How long before I realized writing about baseball, even in the cockeyed fashion like I do, is hard?
It took fifty-two games before the shiny prestige of baseball writer wore off. Fifty-two games before I realized, "Damn, this stuff is hard." The games just keep coming. The wins and losses keep piling up. And unfortunately, one doesn't find many easy targets for humor transferred to the team midseason.
It took fifty-two out of 140-some-odd games before I realized this baseball stuff is a marathon. That long before I gained a newfound respect for the players like Mike Carp and Josh Bard and announcer Mike Curto.
Baseball's still nothing like cleaning the grease trap at Arby's; but a marathon nonetheless.
Random thoughts ...
-The Rainiers (23-29) split a four game road series against the red-hot Las Vegas 51s. After losing the first two games, the Rainiers came thundering back, winning 10-6 and 8-5, respectively.
-We realize the irony of calling the 51s red-hot. But hey, they're damn good. Hot, too. Game time temperature for the first game in the series was ninety-one degrees.
-The Rainiers' pitchers failed to find much luck down in the desert. Over four games, the team gave up thirty six runs. In the second game of the series, Rainiers' starter Chaz Roe went three and a third innings while giving up thirteen hits and nine earned runs. For those not too familiar with baseball, or how an ERA is calculated, be certain this was not a good outing.
-Dustin Ackley is really starting to perform. Blogger Jay Yencich named him last week's Rainier Hitter of the Week. This is great for the both Ackley and the team, but inevitably brings the up the question, "When will Ackley head to the M's?"
The Rainiers hope to continue the recent success at Cheney tonight against the Reno Aces. Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger will take the mound against Reno's Kevin Mulvey. And if there's anything to break me out of my damn-this-is-hard funk, it's a knuckleballer on the mound. Anything can happen.
LINK: The Rainiers Minute collection