Monday, August 24, 2009

Thoughts on the Seals' Final Homestand

A lot has happened since the Seals opened the season at home on May 29th. Almost 94,000 fans have come out to Royal Athletic Park this summer to watch some highly entertaining baseball. It wasn't always pretty, but people almost always went home satisfied -- it is pretty clear that the fans get great value for their money at a Seals game. Spending $12 on a General Admission ticket to see the Seals is a bargain compared to having to shell out $22 for the Salmon Kings. Plus you get to sit in the sun and enjoy the great outdoors.

The atmosphere at RAP has improved significantly since the May 29th opener. The team has made a number of minor tweaks (e.g. improved sound, more up-to-date music, a screen to protect fans from line drives hit foul, etc.) and the new scoreboard is a huge benefit to fans. The crowd has also become more energetic, perhaps partly because because of by the video board. Fans have even been more aggressive at catching foul balls (it was odd watching fans run out of the way of a lazy pop-up in the early part of the season). On Saturday night I witnessed a teenager with a glove make a lovely stab of a screaming liner hit into the stands. As is typical of the great fans in Victoria, a lusty cheer was offered up for the sure-handed youngster.

Now how many days until the 2010 home opener?

Seal Blubber Bits
  • Bret LeVier won some serious style points in my books on Saturday night. The Seals shortstop hiked up his pant legs and showed off some pretty cool socks. These babies weren't the Victoria Seals standard plain blue socks either. I had to snap a photo of these beauties (see the picture on the right). My guess is that they are a holdover from his days in the Boston Red Sox organization. In any event, LeVier had one of his best games of the season on Saturday night.
  • In addition to adding names to the back of the Seals home jerseys next season, I'd be ordering a bunch of the Bret LeVier socks as well.
  • The Jamar Hill Lid Watch concluded this weekend with Jamar's "Hill" sticker still sitting on the back of his batting helmet. That cracks me up.
  • The Josh Arhart pirate jokes were taken to a new level this weekend. Since the beginning of the season, fans have been chanting "Arrrrrrrr!" when Arhart is announced and steps into the batter's box. The photo of Arhart that is displayed on the video board was recently doctored to show an eye patch over his left eye. Then on Sunday, when he stepped into the box for one of his at-bats, the entire Seals bench was seen sporting eye patches.
  • Chris VanRossum was spotted on the Seals bench this weekend still wearing a cast on his right arm. It is pretty classy for the team to keep him around, given that he was injured a month ago and won't be seeing any more action this season. Let's hope the trio of Hill, VanRossum and Pedroza is back patrolling the outfield at RAP next summer.