Las Vegas 51's End Four Game Series Against Rainiers
As I sat in the Club Level Restaurant, biting the top of my pink pen and flipping through stat pages trying to get back into the groove of writing something that might be of interest, I look to my left and notice what seemed to be something made of a license plate. I flip through the pages a bit more and make note that Catcher J.P. Arencibia is playing phenomenally well this season.
Photo Courtesy of LV51's
I raise an eyebrow and take note that he’s hit 20 or more home runs consecutively over the last three seasons, and was recently named Topps PCL Player of the Month in June and PCL Player of the Week on July 5th. I also make note that he leads all of minor league baseball in home runs and his count is at 28 for the season. He’s also recently back from the PCL All-Star game. Needless to say, I’m pretty impressed. I also take note that the Rainiers also have Mike Sweeney on their roster, currently in Triple-A on Major League Rehab Assignment due to a lower back injury. Wait, I hear the familiar old crack of the bat and I look up, it’s the top of the fourth inning, Tacoma’s Winfree homers off Perez, and with that Halman scores, Tacoma 4, Las Vegas 1. I lose focus for a second and stare back at the license plate thingy-mer-bob.
Seeing that this box-like purse was fashioned from Washington license plates, it got my attention even more than the ball game in front of my laptop. At this point, I look over across the field and I see Aaron Mathews fly one out to center field… One out. I raise my voice a bit and ask the woman seated next to me if she happens to be from Tacoma. To my pleasant surprise, it turns out that despite her Northwestern bauble she’s actually from Las Vegas.
“One second, I’m really not trying to be rude, I’m worried about my Dad. He’s old, he has these really big and clunky shoes on, I’m afraid he might fall on his way back here,” she tells me in a sweet and concerned voice.
I’m awed at her sincerity, which honestly can be quite a rarity here in Las Vegas and as she kindly moves her things from the seat immediately adjacent to her, I sit as we both search the room for her father.
As I outstretch my hand and introduce myself, I meet Sandy Zoroya, a five-year Las Vegas native originally from Nebraska.
“There he his now,” she exclaims, as she points to her father who is slowly making his way down the small stairway toward us.
Ted Zoroya is a sweet and soft-spoken gentleman who, in his eighties, holds an air of grace that only men who have seen so much seem to have. The Zoroyas have been attending 51’s games since 2005.
“I love baseball,” says the Nebraska native. “I have two adult sons and have been attending games since I was a cheerleader in high school. Dad’s getting older and I thought that coming to the games would be something we could do together. It’s really fun.”
And as we all look to the field and at the scoreboard, she adds, “Of course, I like it better when we win.”
Spoken like a true fan.
And a scoreless fifth inning brought me the pleasure of meeting two members of a wonderful family.
I settle back into my seat and try to focus on the game at hand… It’s the top of the sixth and I wonder if the 51’s can make it back from their deficit as they trailed Tacoma 4-1. I wonder where Cosmo is currently wandering about and I make a note to myself that sometime this season I absolutely have to take a picture with that funky little alien. Now where was I? Oh yes, the baseball game.
Top of the sixth… After advancing to second on a balk by left-handed pitcher Luis Perez, Tacoma second baseman Dustin Ackley scores on a double by center fielder Greg Halman. Halman scores on a single by right fielder David Winfree. It would be the last run scored in the sixth by the Rainiers. The 51’s managed a double play followed by a ground out to close. Score now? Tacoma 6, Las Vegas, 1.
Las Vegas didn’t do much legwork in closing the gap at the bottom of the sixth. Oh well, one can still hope can’t she? I wonder where Sandy and Ted have gone, but I’ve collected my things and wandered into the confines of the Press Box adjacent to the restaurant. Wherever they are I’m sure they’re having a good time. Deep in my mind I find it endearing that even in their adult years they can find father and daughter time. Baseball truly is America’s favorite pastime. 51’s first baseman Brett Wallace hit his 22nd double of the season. After advancing to third on a ground out by teammate Arencibia, Wallace scored on a line drive single to left field by third baseman Brad Emaus, Tacoma 6, Las Vegas, 2.
It’s the top of the seventh and I look out onto the concourse. It’s the ever so popular Dollar Beer Thursday at Cashman Field. Scores of fans line up as vendors pour the Bud and Budlight into the clear plastic cups. Pitcher change, 51’s right-handed pitcher Steven Register replaces Luis Perez. Register is brand new to the Blue Jay organization and brand new to the Las Vegas 51’s. Interestingly enough, Register was drafted by the Rockies in 2004 and claimed off waivers by the Phillies in 2009. After being invited to Spring Training earlier this year, Register signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays bringing him to Sin City and to the seventh inning to replace Perez.
Seventh Inning Stretch time… Peanuts, Crackerjacks, you know, the good old, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” song. It was a scoreless seventh. The eighth inning comes and goes, each team scores a run. Tacoma 7, Las Vegas 3. Top of the ninth, after Tacoma’s Mangini and Tuiasosopo strike out swinging, Designated Hitter Brad Nelson doubles on a fly ball to center field and scores after a single by teammate Adam Moore. The 51’s now trail 8-3.
I hear an announcement about the attendance of the game. 4,203 fans came to Cashman that night.
Bottom of the ninth, with the score 8-3 with two outs, people remained. Great thing about baseball, you never know what will happen. I look out onto the field… Jarrett Hoffpauir advances to second base on a defensive indifference and Manny Mayorson walks. I’m wondering where Sandy and Ted are and a crazy thought enters my mind. Brett Wallace is on deck with J.P. Arencibia in the hole. It’s two outs at the bottom of the ninth. We’re four runs down, but the two best batters on the team are up with two men on base. My crazy thought? I had hope. And even though Wallace grounded out to end the game, I left a little smug and with a tiny bit of peace in my heart. Its nice to know sometimes that the simple things still exist. That for some people, baseball still is America’s Favorite Pasttime and that even in the midst of Sin City values like hope and family still exist.
Thursday’s game brought the close to a four game homestand against the Rainiers where the 51’s left lacking 8-4 leaving the series tied at two games a piece. The Rainiers currently lead the Pacific Northern Division of the PCL 55-43.
The 51’s continue their eight game homestand against the Portland Beavers throughout the weekend and ending at Cashman on Monday, July 26, 2010. All games begin at 7:05pm. For more information, please visit www.lv51.com