Posts Tagged ‘Tucson Saguaros’


McCovey Chronicles reports that the best broadcasting team in baseball will be back in 2020: Kruk & Kuip, Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper, will be back this coming season and probably thereafter. I hope that they’ll go on until they, or I, drop. As Brian Murphy put it on McCovey Chronicles, “we get to enjoy two friends just talking baseball for a little while longer.” Both of them were better-than-average major leaguers with a dry sense of humor, and their friendship is almost palpable. Their broadcasts feel like you’re sitting in your living room talking baseball with two friends who are more knowledgeable than you. Not in a condescending way, but just knowledgeable, and funny.

Probably the best baseball comment I ever heard was one Kuiper (the play-by-play man) made ten or fifteen years ago. The count was 3 and 2, and the batter fouled a ball off the back of the plate. It hit the catcher square in the balls. He went rigid and toppled over, in agony. After maybe 10 or15 seconds of dead air, as the catcher writhed, Kuiper said, deadpan — despite the count — “One strike, two balls.”

The other bit of good news is that the second-best MLB broadcasting team will be back next season, Jon Miller and Mike Flemming, on the radio side of the Giants. They’re well worth listening to.

Even when the Giants are halfway (I hope) through a rebuild, and will almost certainly suck, coming in well under.500.

Tune ’em in and enjoy.

* * *

Sour Grapes Department: There’s no longer Spring Training baseball in Tucson. It’s all up the freeway to the north in the hellhole known as “Phoenix.” Seats there for Spring Training games — yes, Spring Training — commonly go for as much as $50, and they’re often sold out.

Here, the Pecos League (independent — Tucson Saguaros, and other teams in AZ, TX, NM, CA, and Mexico) starts in May, and box seats are $7.50. Yes, $7.50, with dollar-beer nights every Thursday. The ball is roughly somewhere between high A and low AA, and is fun to watch — guys playing for the sheer joy of it or in a last attempt to catch on with an MLB organization.

I know which I’ll pay to see: obscenely high prices for near-meaningless Spring Training games a horrible drive and a hundred miles up I-10 or a couple months later the homegrown product.

Hope to see you at some Saguaros games. I guarantee it’ll be fun. Maybe 105 at game time (just before sunset), but fun nonetheless.

 


Over the last week I’ve seen two Pecos League playoff games; I’ll be seeing another tomorrow. The league has teams in Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.

I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun at games, including the 1987 NL playoffs in SF and the All Star Game in the Kingdome in Seattle (whenever that was).

The ball is pretty good. Probably about AA. During the first game, the worst things I saw were a runner going from first to third stepping in the middle of second base (rather than clipping the inside corner), and a reliever nonchalanting a throw to first, and barely making an out. Other than that, it was pretty clean, other than an error on the other team’s SS where he just dropped the ball

The play is surprisingly good. During the first game, the Sagauro’s catcher, Jesse Baker, gunned down two would-be base stealers — quick release, gun for an arm, perfect throw. In the game I just saw, he almost threw out another, but for the runner dislodging the ball.

What makes it all so much fun is that the players are doing it because they love it — and  for the chance to be noticed by a scout from one of the MLB teams. They get paid almost nothing, and stay with “host families” while the team is in town.

The owners? It’s a mom-and-pop operation. Last week during the second round of playoffs (attendance maybe 600), a friend and I were there drinking overpriced beer (the tickets were cheap — $7.50 for  seats ten rows behind third base), and started talking with the “mom” of “mom and pop,” who was selling tickets in the stands for balls, caps, T-shirts, and jerseys.

A couple of minutes in, she said “Excuse me. I want to see this. Tyler’s pitching.”  That left us mystified. My pal Leo asked her, “Who’s Tyler?”

“Oh. He stays with us during the season.”

What will, I hope, be the final game of the Pecos League championship series will take place tomorrow night here in Tucson (the Sauguaros won 11-6 tonight), at the white elephant (Kino Stadium — don’t get me started) down on Ajo. If the Saguaros lose, there’ ll be another game Friday night.

If you’re in town or nearby, come on down. You’ll have fun.