Sunday, May 31, 2009

Line of the Day

From today's boxscore, a 9-6 Seals win over the Armada:
Jamar Hill 1 AB, 2 Runs, 1 Hit 0 RBI, 4 Walks

Long Beach pitchers walked a total of 11 Seals in the game, including eight by starting pitcher Jamie Arneson in his four innings of work.

Victoria has an off day on Monday to prepare for the Orange County Flyers. The three-game set gets underway on Tuesday night at 7:05 at Royal Athletic Park.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Seals Can't Catch a Break

To quote Yogi Berra, it's deja vu all over again. The Victoria Seals are snake bitten and have dropped even deeper into the cellar after falling 6-5 on Saturday night to the Long Beach Armada.

Pedro Montero struck out to end the game in the bottom of the ninth with the potential tieing and winning runs in scoring position. This team just can't catch a break.

The Seals pulled out to a 4-0 lead by the fourth inning, but Long Beach scored four in the fifth inning and added single runs in the sixth and ninth innings to pull ahead 6-4. Chris Van Rossum singled in a run in the bottom of the ninth to close the gap to 6-5 before Montero was struck out by Armada closer Ryne Tacker. Tacker has picked up the saves in both games this weekend at RAP.

I wasn't able to get the audio stream of the Armada broadcast at to work tonight, but I did follow portions of the game pitch-by-pitch. To launch this service, go to and click on the launch LiveAction! link.

Thoughts on the Seals Home Opener

Opening night was a resounding success in spite of some obvious growing pains. We're sure that the Seals staff will figure it out over time, but some of the problems were glaring during the home opener. It almost seemed like there was no General Manager in charge. Oh wait, maybe there is no GM. The team's web site lists Roxann Bury as the Assistant GM, but no mention of a GM. A quick Google News search shows no hits on Jay Longpre, the man who was supposed to be GM, since October of 2008.

The most obvious problem on opening night was a lack of concessions staff. The wait to get a beer was greater than 30 minutes for most of the game. As you can see from the photo, it was one long line. I heard reports of people waiting almost as long to get a hot dog. Sadly, there were only two places to purchase beer and only two staff were working in each location. On top of that, they were pouring beer out of bottles and they had to re-stock the refrigerators themselves. Meanwhile, scores of employees were standing around while trying to sell T-shirts and caps.

Beers sales were cut off at the 7th inning and when I walked by the lineup there were three security guards preventing people for joining the line that had formed prior to the seventh inning. I thought to myself: "Let me get this straight -- there are a total of four people selling beer for 4,000+ baseball fans, yet they use three staff at each of the two locations to cut off beer sales?!?!?" It was almost like the team didn't want to take our money. They easily lost thousands of dollars in concession sales due to a lack of staff. Many fans simply didn't want to miss at least two innings to get a hot dog or beer.

Other problems included:
  • A public address system that wasn't loud enough -- I couldn't hear any of the player's names when they were introduced.
  • No protective screen for fans sitting behind the dugouts.
  • The same pathetic snow fence in the outfield that was used by the defunct Victoria Capitals. This fence will collapse whenever an outfielder makes contact with it.
  • No signage indicating of the distance from home plate to right, center, left or the power alleys.
  • An uninstalled video screen that was still sitting in crates.
  • The infield dirt wasn't sprayed just prior to the game, so dust was blowing around by the middle innings.
  • The concession stands were "sold out" of peanuts by game time. No peanuts at a pro ballgame?!?!
On the plus side, The turf was in pretty good shape and the logos painted on the field added a professional touch to Royal Athletic Park.

Also, Seamore the Seal was a big hit. He is clearly one of the best mascots in Victoria sports history. Marty the Marmot needs to take some pointers from Seamore (Marty, you can start by losing the diaper and that headache-inducing drum).

Pro Ball Returns to Victoria

The Seals' home opener was a resounding success on Friday night in spite of a 6-3 loss to the Long Beach Armada that dropped them to 1-7 on the season. The team drew well over 4,000 enthusiastic fans who were clearly thrilled to see the return of professional baseball to Victoria. Hundreds of fans were seated in the soccer grandstand, facing away from the action. But there was nothing that could dull the crowd's positive vibe on this night.

Isaac Hess, the feel-good story of this young season, took his bionic hip to the mound to start the game. In spite of not having command of his breaking pitch throughout the evening, Hess limited the Long Beach squad to only two earned runs in six gutsy innings. Catcher Joshua Arhart earned his minor-pro pay throughout the evening as he blocked at least eight of Hess' curve balls in the dirt.

Jamar Hill scored the Seals' first run at RAP in the second inning. In spite of picking up a pair of hits, Hill looked tentative during the game. He turned a double into a single when he stood at home plate and watched his flare fall 15 feet inside the left-field line. Hill then tried to make up for his mistake by attempting to steal second, but he was easily thrown out. He capped off his inconsistent evening with a Manny Ramirez impersonation in left, as he stood and watched shortstop Bret LeVier attempt to run down a flyball. When it was clear LeVier could not make the catch Hill sprinted to make a last-second running grab.

Seals second basemen Wilver Perez hustled throughout the evening. He beat out a routine grounder that was bobbled by Long Beach's Steve Young by running hard for the full 90 feet. He then drove a frozen rope over the left field fence for the first Seals home run at RAP.

Victorian Graham Campbell pitched two perfect innings for the Seals to keep the score close. But Armada closer Ryne Tacker slammed the door in the 9th to seal the win.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lima Time!

If my hopes are realized, 36-year-old Jose Lima will take to the mound for the Long Beach Armada in the home opener for the Victoria Seals on Friday night. Lima, a former 21-game winner with the Astros in 1999, will bring his flamboyant style to Royal Athletic Park at some point this weekend. You can be sure that it will be entertaining.

Lima had a spectacular fall from stardom over the last few seasons. His ERA in his last full season in the majors was a dismal 6.99 for the Kansas City Royals in 2005. This was the highest single-season ERA in baseball history (minimum 30 starts). His ERA when he was released by the Mets in 2006 was a whopping 9.87.

Aside from his catchphrase "It's Lima time!", Jose is perhaps best known for giving up a lot of home runs. In 2000 with the Astros, Lima gave up a league-leading 48 dingers (only two short of the all-time single-season record). You can be sure that the balls will be flying out of Royal Athletic Park when "Lima Time" returns.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Victoria Seals - Top 5 Things to Monitor

With opening day less than 48 hours away, a number of things are rattling around my head with respect to the Victoria Seals.

1. Will Victorians support the team as much as they did the Victoria Capitals?

In the abbreviated 2003 season, over 1,700 fans per game turned out to Royal Athletic Park to cheer on professional baseball's return to the Garden City. Will the team be able to draw as well this time around? Some of the teams in the Golden Baseball League have been drawing very poorly during the first week of the season, so let's hope Victoria bucks the trend. While Edmonton drew over 12,000 fans for the first three games against Victoria last week, the Calgary franchise drew only 453 fans a few nights later against the same Seals squad. Attendance information has been hard to come by, so one has to wonder if the Golden Baseball League is hiding a potential problem.

2. Will the poor (1-6) start by the Seals affect attendance?

Victoria sports fans are notorious for jumping on and off the bandwagon, depending on the team's position in the standings (see "Cougars, Victoria"). A poor start could be bad for the team's bottom line. Owners Darren and Russ Parker must be at least a little worried after the team's horrendous start.

3. Will the Seals find someone who can pitch?

With 42 runs in their first seven games, the team has been hitting the ball extremely well. Unfortunately, the Seals pitching staff has given up a whopping 71 runs in those games. If the pitching woes continue, Manager Darrell Evans will be in for one long summer.

4. How will the renovations to Royal Athletic Park be received?

Will the $400,000 USD video screen actually work? Will it show timely replays or will it be used to show endless advertising? The Victoria Salmon Kings must be green with envy after they "cheaped out" on their 1970's-style scoreboard.

5. Will the Seals' mascot, Seamore, be better than Marty the Marmot?

Of this I can be sure: he can be no worse than Marty. For one thing, he won't be wearing a diaper.

See you at the ballyard!

Welcome to My Blog on the Victoria Seals

I am a baseball fanatic who lives in Victoria, BC. I must say, I was thrilled to learn last fall that professional baseball was returning to Victoria. I'll be following this fledgling team, the Victoria Seals of the Golden Baseball League, fairly closely this year. So I thought that I'd turn my observations on the team into a blog.

It's clear by now, with the home opener set for this Friday, that the team will be getting quite a bit of play in the local media. The owners, Russ and Darren Parker, obviously know what they are doing and have done a good job getting the local media involved in promoting the team. However, I'll be writing about some of the things that you won't see in the T-C, including some critical comments when necessary.

Be warned, I'm opinionated and I'm not easily swayed by facts. I also worked for a minor-league team for one glorious season.

Feedback is welcome, but keep it constructive please.