Sunday, August 10, 2014

It's not goodbye, it's see you later...

Sunday at RAP we watched the 2014 HarbourCats leave the field for the last time as a group. The way they did it was spectacular - a ninth inning come from behind 7-6 victory, perfectly encapsulating the season. Kelly Norris-Jones led off with a hit - a rocket to third base that raised his season average to an even .300! Kelly has been on fire - remember a few weeks ago he was hitting .053. After that, John Grimsley and Griffin Andreychuck set the table, and Alex Degoti - the freshly dubbed "Mr. Harbourcat" - drove them both in with a double. Hunter Mercado-Hood then played the hero he has been all season long, driving in Alex for the game winning and season ending run. The team poured onto the field to mob Hunter, and every fan in the place stood for the full handshake line applauding their home-town heroes. It doesn't get any better than that at the end does it?
The final handshake of 2014

Many of the appreciative crowd gathered on the field after the game to say goodbye to the young men who have brightened our summer, and have given us something to cheer and jeer. Home town heroes, fan favourites, and new found friends said goodbye to their fans and teammates, starting in style with a heartfelt thank you to all of the host families. 

Alex Rogers helps Danny Collier stay cool on the bench Sunday
To a person, the 2014 Cats speak nothing but positives about the city, the fans, the organization. One gets the impression that they will miss us as much as we will miss them. Many leave tomorrow for their homes to spend a couple weeks with family before school starts. Several more are spending an extra day here to enjoy time with their host families, and another day in the paradise we get to call home every day. 

Sunday put a bow on a season that excelled at bringing a community out to the park. Victoria easily won the attendance race in the WCL this year, getting over 42,000 bodies to the park this year. The organization stepped it up big-time this year, and brought a more professional presentation and welcoming experience to life at RAP, even games that were not great games to watch, were fun to experience. 

There will be the usual dissecting of the season, and GM Jim Swan is already planning for next year - including negotiating with players and placement coaches to get some favourite players back, and working with the city on more park improvements. 

Bob Miller says goodbye to Victoria
After the game, a press conference was held to announce that head coach Bob Miller would not be returning. Reasons cited included his needing to dedicate more time this year to his "job number one" at Cuesta College, due to some staff changes in that program. Coaching a WCL team doesn't start in June on day 1 of the season, but all year long as he works with college placement reps and players to get us on-field talent. The HarbourCats will begin immediately looking for a new head coach, at which time they will likely evaluate the rest of the coaching staff. If I was a betting man, I'd say we will see a whole new staff next year. 

So although the season has officially ended, the fun seems to be starting all over again.  Keep the blog in your favourites - we will have season wrap ups, news on the post-season conferences, coverage of the WCL playoffs, and maybe a couple of surprises in store. Thanks for reading us all season, keep reading through the summer! 

Only 306 days until opening night!

1 comment:

  1. We have lost two coaches in two years. The general theme is they don't have time to coach the HarbourCats, so you have to ask the question is it time for a full time coach? I believe Wenatchee & Corvallis have full time coaches?