Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Oh the thinks I can think...

The Victoria HarbourCats and Cowlitz Black Bears entered tonight's game with identical 16-20 records with both teams needing a Flash Gordon-like run to the finish line for any hope of a post-season birth. The 'Cats sent Mikey Wright to the mound and (yawn) he had another stellar outing, scattering five hits over his six innings of work and picking up the "W" in a 'Cats 6-0 victory. He did walk four and only strike out one but come on, this is yet another quality start for Mr. Wright. Carson Schneider came on in relief and held the Bears at bay to preserve the win.

And at the plate, Victoria hammered out fourteen hits - many of them of the clutch variety - with the stand-out being Nathan Lukes who was three for five with three RBI's. Every HarbourCat starter except catcher Aaron Barnett had at least one hit and that is the consistency throughout the line-up that makes a good ball club. So good starting pitching, good relief, solid and clutch hitting...very nice!

And as we head to the home stretch of the season, it's now time again to take a break from the everyday analysis between the white lines, step back and throw out some very random observations about the whole HarbourCat experience this year, both on and off the field. You may agree with some, disagree with others, but - to psuedo-steal a phrase from Dr. Seuss - here are some of "The Thinks I can think":

1) After what happened at the All Star game yesterday I will probably jinx us, but how awesome is Victoria summer weather? Two years and no rain-outs? Sure we have had some cool nights (always when the longer games occur!) but Vic-town has been showing her ankles once again this summer. If you haven't been to a game, get out here! If you have, then get out there again!

2) Bear with me on this one...Victoria has three of the top pitchers in the league if you look at ERA, WHIP, strikeouts, etc. in Mikey Wright, Logan Lombana and Alex Rogers. They also arguably have three of the top ten hitters in the league in Hunter Mercado-Hood, Gabe Clark and Nathan Lukes, as well as three other guys hitting above .300. So why are they four games below .500 instead of a league leader? What is so broken that they are not challenging for a division lead with these team leaders, or at least a wildcard spot?? I know there has been some sketchy relief and lack of clutch hitting but with those team leaders I'm at a loss for why their record isn't better.

3) Harvey's off-season conditioning program is really not helping as he continuously gets worked over on the bases by much younger opponents. That said, his strength and conditioning has improved for him to be able to bounce back very quickly from the senseless beatdown that he took a few games ago. No IR for le Gros Chat - you still da' man, Harv!

4) Overall, I love the promotions this year - the wackier the better. Elvis night was great (especially when the ump cut him off), the "K" batter is awkward, but funny (for us!), the dizzy bat race is still fun (until the inevitable lawsuit comes when someone falls in the dugout), fireworks rock, bobbleheads were an awesome addition, the record for first ceremonial pitches was amazing for community spirit and the list goes on. Next year, I'm hoping for even wackier - see here for an example.

5) But the remote car race is a train wreck and it has to go. Not only do the cars only work about half the time, but people can't operate them properly and running them on the infield is a joke. Players should not have to warily look around to avoid being slammed in the ankle (it would hurt!) while they warm up. I say keep it on the sidelines or better yet, just wave the white flag on this one.

6) Alex "A-Rog" Rogers. Ten day guy. Now an All Star and one of the anchors of the staff. That story just tells itself.

7) Bin 4 burgers rocks my and - judging by the line-up every night - everybody else's world as well. Great choice for a concession. Great taste, great care taken to prepare each burger individually instead of pre-making them. I will wait. Goes best with one of those awesome Spinnakers beers. It's certainly not a chore to eat out at the yard, especially now that I can eat on the old Group Deck and watch the game too. Nice job all around.

8) Have you ever seen so many high choppers as this year at the RAP? When I was down on the field throwing my gas in the ceremonial first pitch day, I noticed that the infield dirt near home was rock hard. Take a look at batters trying to "dig in" - no holes there. I'm wondering if this was done on purpose like the old Baltimore chop from the 1890's as the 'Cats try to exploit some of their speed (a la Wyler Smith)? Conspiracy theory, or fact?

9) Let's let the seventh inning stretch just play out as it should - fans sing a rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and they stretch their legs and ample bellies. No one should be talking over it. No yoga. No back health advice. Next thing you know we'll be singing "OK! Blue Jays!". Some traditions are just meant to stay as they have been for many years.

10) Is it the Kolsch, or is the left field fair pole...I mean foul pole...leaning in slightly, also swaying in the breeze? Would make for an interesting call some night.

11) Sound effects and use of the video scoreboard is much better this year that last. From the rambling Family Guy monologues to the Ferris Bueller and Liza Minnelli blurbs to the awesome intro video (vs. the cheesy "Garden City" intro of last year) it's just an all-round improvement.

12) That said, I see they can do live video but can we have replays? If no replays, can we update the static stats of the 'Cat players each at bat/game? And how about just a static shot of visiting teams so we know who they are as they come up? Or a line-up card to show where they are in the order? I don't get why this can't be done.

13) And while I'm asking for things, I don't know how many times I watch a pitcher fire a heater and look around for the radar gun posting. I think that kind of a gun is legal even in Canada.

14) The "K" guys in right field rule! Keep it up lads (lasses?)!!

15) Attendance remains good, so no sophomore jinx or fickle fans. Let's keep it up so baseball remains a Victoria mainstay. The new seats are really comfortable - trust me on that one!

16) Finally, please...I beseech anyone...can we fix the clock above the scoreboard? We got Bubba's urinal fixed, but we have had to look at the wrong time for two years now. I KNOW it takes more than 15 minutes to play a baseball game. Great Scott!

Any more you can think of? Anyone? Anyone.......Bueller?

For reference, here is the similar post from last year which was taken much earlier in the season.


  1. Re: Point #6...just in case that story does not tell itself and in a bit of shameless self-promotion, please feel free to direct your readers to my feature article on Mr. Rogers from a couple of weeks ago....well deserved for one of our Island boys!...http://www.independentsportsnews.com/british-columbia/vancouver-island/nanaimo-s-alex-rogers-quietly-becoming-top-cat

    Also, the K guys in right field need to learn that called third strikes get a backwards K!

    1. Thanks Christian. Hopefully the "K" guys read this and we'll be seeing backwards "K"'s sometime soon. I still think it is cool that someone is actually doing the "K" thing!