After Spokane and Everett were rained out of Wednesday night’s scheduled first game of Northwest League’s Northern Division series, the teams ran into a little bit of a problem. Both Spokane’s Avista Field and Everett Memorial Field had previously scheduled events that would have prevented the teams from continuing their series at either traditional site.
Mariners farm director Andy McKay was already on site for a scheduled announcement of Seattle re-upping its Player Development Contract with Everett for four more years, so he and executives from Everett and Spokane put their heads together to try to come up with a solution. One option was a doubleheader at Spokane, but that meant a sweep by either side would have cost Everett a shot at a playoff home game.
After sifting through some more ideas, they found a way to make everybody happy. After Game One on Thursday at Spokane, the series found a new home for Game Two. It still means Everett could wind up without a home game, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone unhappy with the way things played out.
“(Wednesday) night we had the rain situation and, working through the different scenarios--Spokane had an issue with their field where it was not available for one or two of the days involved, Everett was not available (Friday) night because of a high school football game on the adjacent football field--so as all the different scenarios were playing out, the idea we came up with was, well, Safeco Field could be available, as was Tacoma, our Triple-A affiliate,” McKay explained. “To everyone’s surprise, the Safeco thing was kind of easy. A couple of phone calls, and ‘Yeah, sounds fine, let’s try to do it.'”
So with that, the idea was formed and on Thursday was confirmed: Two teams of short-season players, some of whom are in the first pro season, will get the opportunity on Friday to play on a major league field. The game will start at 7:15 Pacific Time. Game Three, if necessary, will move back to Everett, which is just 20 minutes or away from Seattle.
"Friday night is a fantastic opportunity to see the AquaSox playing on the field of their dreams, we cannot thank the Mariners enough for this amazing opportunity," AquaSox general manager Danny Tetzlaff said in a statement released by the team late on Thursday. "We look forward to a thrilling night of Northwest League playoff baseball."
The players, too, were not surprisingly thrilled at the consequences of a simple day of rain in the Pacific Northwest.
“That was a pretty loud roar,” McKay said. “They were obviously more than excited. What an experience to get to play in a postseason game in their first year of pro baseball in a major league park. I’m really happy for those players to get to experience that.”
As we mentioned in this week’s version of The List, there are four teams preparing to rebrand and change their names for the 2017 season: The New Orleans Zephyrs, the Binghamton Mets, the Brevard County Manatees (which are moving to Kissimmee, Fla., as well) and the Staten Island Yankees. The first three had already unveiled their finalists. Staten Island followed suit on Thursday when it released a list of five choices for next season’s moniker.
Fans will have the next two weeks to vote on whom they’d like to watch play in the future at Richmond County Bank Ballpark. Here are the five choices, with explanations from the team’s website.
Bridge Trolls: Commemorates the iconic bridges that connect Staten Island, while embracing the kind of wacky names Minor League Baseball is known for.
Heroes: honors the civil servants and military personnel of Staten Island and New York who work tirelessly to uphold our American values.
Killer Bees: pays tribute to Staten Island’s musical and cultural impact. Fans will be “buzzing” over (the) bee-themed promotions.
Pizza Rats: Like Staten Islanders and New Yorkers, these natives are tenacious, enterprising and know where to find the best food in the city.
Rock Pigeons: Another animal synonymous with the city, the Rock Pigeons celebrates Staten Island--known by locals as “The Rock.”
All of this means that in 2017, the minor league landscape could feature teams named the Stud Muffins (Binghamton), King Cakes (New Orleans), Fire Frogs (Brevard County/Kissimmee) and Pizza Rats.
SunTrust To Open With Yankees
The Braves announced on Twitter on Thursday that their new home, SunTrust Park, will play host to its first game on March 31, 2017, when the Yankees will be in town for a post-Grapefruit League exhibition game. SunTrust will replace Turner Field, which closes after this season after just 20 years.
The Yankees and Braves also opened Turner Field together with an exhibition game, on March 29, 1997, roughly six months after the same two clubs closed Fulton County Stadium with a Yankees win over the Braves in Game Five of the 1996 World Series.