Category: Baseball Stadiums

Taking a Walker to Arizona

Taking a Walker to Arizona

Taijaun’s taking a walk; he isn’t coming back.

On Wednesday, November 23, Mariners General Manager Jerry DiPoto sent Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte to Arizona in exchange for Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger and Zac Curtis. I’m not sad to see Walker leave.

For years, Walker was dubbed the Prince of Seattle. The right hander was supposed to be the protege to King Felix Hernandez. He played like a dunce.

Walker was drafted 43rd overall in 2010 amature draft out of Yupaica High School. He made a start in 2013, five more in 2014 before becoming a part of the rotation in 2015. In his first full seasons in the majors, Walker hasn’t had an earned run average under four.

How long does a player have unlimited potential, until they don’t? Walker showed above average velocity while working his way to the majors. Last season, he lost it. The fastball went from 95 miles per hour, down to 93. Hitters took advantage of it, as Walker gave up 129 knocks in just 25 starts. Over his career, He’s allowed more hits than strikeouts. Is he really capable of being a team’s ace? Doesn’t look like it.

Mariners fans should be rejoicing in this move made by DiPoto. Walker hasn’t shown signs of becoming the guy the pundits thought he could be. He spent time on the disabled list in June last season. He spent time in Triple-A last season. Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. was always tweaking his delivery. 

Walker is only 24 years old, and will be when takes the mound in a Diamondback uniform next year. There is time for him to figure it out, but will he in Arizona?  I doubt it.

According to ESPN’s park factors, Arizona is the second best baseball stadium for hitters in the Major Leagues. Chase Field in Arizona featured a plus rating for hitters in home runs, singles, doubles, triples and walks. Almost every outcome a hitter can have, is in their favor in the Grand Canyon State.

With the core of the Seattle Mariner’s being in the prime of their career, Taijuan Walker doesn’t belong on a team. He can not help a team right now, and that’s what the M’s need to do.

There will be times when Mariners fance grimace when they see that he struck out 12 over eight innings of shutout ball. The bad far outweighs the good. Until then, Taijuan’s taking a walk and he’s leaving for good.

Day One in Cooperstown

Day One in Cooperstown

In January, I was asked if I would be willing to go to Cooperstown New York, to umpire in a youth baseball tournament. Without hesitating, I took advantage of the opportunity. The first thing that needed to take place, was getting to Cooperstown Dreams Park.

I am 21 years old, so I can’t rent a car. My age means that I would have had to make the trip with somebody. I asked my dad to come with me. Dad has made the trip. We won’t be staying together during the week, but traveling across the country with him has been enjoyable so far.

We took off from Seattle at 6 p.m. on Thursday night. Our flight took off for Salt Lake City, Utah. Having live TV in the headrest of the seat in front of you is a luxury I was happy to have. The toughest part of the trip, was the landing. I believe the ground snuck up on the pilot, as the wheels hit the pavement aggressively. The plane landed in Utah at 9 p.m. local time.

After a two hour layover, we took off towards Boston. The plane went wheels up at 11:50. The ride was turbulent, so much so that in flight service was hardly provided. Sleeping wasn’t an option, so I struggled through a USC documentary, sports center, and other tv shows. The plane landed at 6 a.m. eastern time.

The journey wasn’t complete, as our final destination was in New York. We rented a car, and pointed the car west. I was excited to see the city of Boston but our route took use on Ted Williams Tunnel. As you can imagine, the Tunnel took us under the city. I caught a glimpse of Fenway Park, but it wasn’t much.

Tolls. The only toll I’m used to paying is the Tacoma Narrows toll. On interstate  93, we encountered several tolls. The fee wasn’t much, but it happened often enough to annoy a pair of tourist such as ourselves.

Four hours after landing in Boston, we arrived at my dads hotel. It didn’t have the same name as was listed previous, which was a little nerve racking. Dad committed to staying here for the week. The hotel is about 40 minutes out from the facilities.

After a nap, or sleeping, however you would categorize it, we went to check in at the park. On arrival, we were awe struck at the sight of it all. The park features 22 ball fields, dorms for players and umpires and a cafeteria. We were allowed to drive down to the umpire bunks, and get all of my equipment in a living space.

We met a handful of the other umpires. Most of my peers are retired and make CDP their home for the summer. The facility holds a tournament for 13 straight weeks.

While signing in, I learned a little bit about what I would be doing for the week. Umpires work with the same people, on the same field all week long. They gave me tow umpire shirts, a jacket, an undershirt, a hat, a water bottle, two baseballs and a bag full of pins.

Pins. Each team brings their own pins, and the kids trade, trade, trade and trade. As I was moving in, thousands of kids were asking other kids to trade their pins. It’s a sight to behold.

The first two days of the trip are complete. Work begins tomorrow, but I’m ready for it. I’m happy to be here, and can’t wait to see what the week has in store.

Pretty Neat Confines in Pittsburg

Pretty Neat Confines in Pittsburg

The Mariners played a short two game series against the Pittsburg Pirates. Inter-league play provides fans the opportunities to watch their team play teams they don’t normally see. It also allows fans to see different ballparks on TV. PNC Park in Pittsburg is the most beautiful baseball stadium in America.

The dimensions of the infield are standard across all baseball stadiums.  The paths to home plate from each dugout create a unique look. The logo behind home place is simple, but affective. The natural grass surface is classic.

No outfield is the same across baseball.  Down the left field line is 325 feet from home plate. The short six feet tall wall creates the opportunity for home run robbing catches to be made. The wall grows to 10 feet in left center field. The power alley  is 389 feet from the plate, and at its deepest point, left center is 410 feet away from the plate. The bullpens are hidden in that power alley.

Dead center field is 399 feet from home. Just beyond the center field wall, the team name Pirates is spelled out in shrubbery. It’s tough to see in the picture above, but it looks great on TV.

Down the right field line is 320 feet from home plate. The right field wall is 21 feet high in honor of Roberto Clemente who wore number 21. A league wide scoreboard is located on that wall. The Wall drops down in right center field, and is 375 feet from home.

The outside of the ballpark is as beautiful as the inside. The Allegheny River sits behind the right field wall, and is a landing spot for several home runs a year. Roberto Clemente bridge can be seen from the plate. The city skyline lies in the background.

If I had my way, I would have been in Pittsburg for the final game of the short two game series between the M’s and the Bucs. Inter-league play provides a chance to see teams and ballparks that fans don’t normally see. PNC Park is the first ballpark I would like to visit.