Saturday, May 22, 2010

A golden opening night at RAP

Jason Kershner throws the first pitch of the 2010 Seals season

Bret Boone is a man of his word. At Thursday's media day, your faithful bloggers had an extended conversation with Boone on his thoughts about coaching third base. His goal this season? Be aggressive on the base paths. He wants guys going first to third on singles. He wants guys scoring from second on hits - he says it makes people better hitters if they know you're busting your ass to score for you. Boone figures he'll get some guys thrown out at the plate by 10 feet at times, but in the long run the strategy will work given the quality of fielding in the Golden League. Friday night, he put that philosophy to work early and often as the Seals opened their second season at RAP.

Leading off the second inning, after Terrance McClain delivered the first hit of 2010 with a solid single, Brian Rios hits one to the outfield and Boo
ne gives T-Mac the all-clear for 3rd base. Josh Arhart then hit a medium depth fly ball to left, and Boone gives T-Mac the green light to tag and score the Seals first run. Boone was right - the throw was a bit off, and a well timed slide beat the throw.

The third inning saw more of the same. After a Sean Smith 2-out single, Wilver Perez hits a ball off the Camosun sign in right-center and stretched it into a triple with a close play at the bag. After the ball gets away from the Maui infielder, Perez jumps up and scampers home, barely beating the tag for what turns out to be the winning run.

In the fifth inning, Eric Pringle and Sean Smith execute a perfect double steal to put two runners in scoring position. The Seals finished the game with 4 steals.

Meanwhile over at third base, Boone stands with arms crossed, and a look of satisfaction on his face. With the seals in the field the next inning, Boone walks past us, leans in with a grin and says "How we looking so far boys"? Pretty good Mr. Boone, pretty good.

Seal Blubber Bits on game 1

  • Victoria native Charlie Strandlund had a busy night, although he didn't play. Charlie was called upon to coach first base all night, and did a good job of not going anywhere near the drawn coaches box (why they still draw that box I have no idea - nobody ever stands in it!).
  • Attendance was excellent as expected, with the grandstand and bleacher seats pretty much filled to capacity. The crowd was appreciative, noisy, and in good spirits. There were many leis seen in the crowd as well, a nice touch to welcome the Maui franchise to Victoria, and to the Golden League.
  • Barely in our seats at the start of the game, and what shows up beside us, but a beer man! Yes the age-old sounds of baseball hawkers is alive at RAP. "Ice cold Beer, Cider" or "Popcorn" could be heard throughout the game as they walked the aisles. Another great addition to the baseball experience.
  • Top of the first inning, Maui catcher Phil Avlas gets the first hit in Na Koa Ikaika history with a solid single to the gap in right.
  • The Seals sported their new "3rd jersey", a variation on last year's popular dark blue pullover style. Expect to see these jersey quite a bit this year, as the players prefer these over the more traditional white home jersey. If you're wondering, its the game's starting pitcher who chooses which jersey the team wears on any given day...
  • You can't talk uniforms without mentioning the Maui jerseys... The jerseys themselves are an impressive black with red, green, and yellow trim which is quite striking. The issue is the pants. Bright white pants with a four inch red stripe covered with triangles running down each side. Nasty pants that bring back thoughts of old Houston Astro's unis from the 70s.

More Photos from Friday night's game...

Seals 2B Wilver Perez and the new third Jersey

Maui catcher Phil Avlas at first after his historic first hit in franchise history

Victoria Native Charlie Strandlund between innings

The Seals continue their home stand against the Maui warriors with games Saturday (7:00), Sunday (1:30), Monday (7:00), and Tuesday (7:00).