Tag Archives: baseball

There’s nothing like pee-wee baseball

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 5, 2014 —

  Note: For the past few weeks I’ve been going over to a little hidden-away baseball diamond at Southport Elementary School to watch two of my grandsons practice with their teammates for their upcoming West Sacramento Little League season. Their team, called the Raptors, is being coached by my son-in-law and oldest son, which should turn out to be a hoot in itself, and watching them work really hard to get the Raptors all squared away for Opening Day suddenly reminded of the following column, which was penned almost 20 years ago:

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

The coming of spring in the Sacramento Valley means different things to different people. To the sun worshiper, it means that endless months of depressing rain and white skin are almost over; to allergy-sufferers, it means it’s time to start sneezing and blowing your nose again; to the lover of gardening, it’s time to prepare the soil for all that glorious plant growth that is just around the corner; and to the local parent of young boys, it’s time to try and find a way out of being their Little League baseball manager or coach.

This year, however, my youngest son, Kyle, has talked me into signing up to manage his pee-wee baseball team (the Reds) in the West Sacramento Little League. His argument was simple and effective. Since I had managed his older brother’s pee-wee teams, I owed him.

“If you’re the manager, Dad,” he said with deep conviction, “I’ll get to be the pitcher!”

“But it doesn’t exactly work that way, Kyle,” I tried to explain. “Plus in pee-wees, there is no pitcher. Everyone hits off of a tee.”

“Right,” said my son, obviously starting to question just what kind of manager I was going to be if I didn’t even know that you need a pitcher to play baseball.

“Kyle,” I said, “to tell you the truth, I’m a little burned out on Little League baseball coaching. Maybe you could wait another year? You’re only six, you know.”

“But Dad,” he said with his most pathetic voice, “that’s what you said last year.” Then he looked up at me with those big brown eyes of his and a facial expression that left no doubt he was thinking those awful words which all parents fear: “You love my brothers (or sisters) more than me!”

So, once again, it was time to break out the fluff balls and undersized mitts and prepare my ears for that awful aluminum “clink” of the bat. Thankfully, by the time I had called all twelve of the Reds and told them about their first practice, I was beginning to feel some of the old fun and excitement which pee-wee baseball brings out in almost everyone who participates. And with all the phone calls completed, I sat back for a few minutes and tried to remember some of the things required of a successful pee-wee manager.

First, you have to be really good at tying double-knots. Pee-wees are, for the most part, six and seven year olds, and almost all of them will show up for every practice (and the majority of their games) with at least one shoe untied.

Second, you have to be great at finding things. Pee-wees lose their hats, their bats, their gloves, their snack-bar money, and even their parents from time to time.

Third, you have to be able to anticipate potty breaks. This can usually be done by noticing how the players on my team are standing. If they are squirming, holding their legs tightly together, and making funny faces, you need to get them over to the bathroom ASAP!

Fourth, you have to be accomplished at being able to talk some sweet, unsuspecting soul into being the team mother. She is the person who has to, among many other things, organize the team float for the Opening Day parade, get other busy mothers to work in the snack bar, and collect all the money from the candy sale. This person always ends up being a saint in my eyes.

Fifth, you have to be able to quickly establish a set of often-repeated rules, the most important being that only one pee-wee at a time (the hitter) can have a bat in his or her hands. There is simply nothing quite as frightening as watching five or six eager young pee-wees with baseball bats in their hands warming up for batting practice in the same area at the same time.

Sixth, you have to be able to cheerfully accept the fact that the attention span for a perfectly normal pee-wee is approximately 30 seconds, and  on warm, sunny afternoons with interesting-looking puffy white clouds floating above them, even that number drops dramatically.

Seventh, you have to have energetic adult base coaches with loud and distinctive voices. Pee-wees love to get on base and race around the diamond, but they’re not always sure just when to take off or what direction to go. A good base coach can get them pretty skilled at running to first base instead of third when they hit the ball, but only a great one can organize things from that point on.

And finally, and maybe most important of all, you have to be able to make all the team’s parents and grandparents truly believe that pee-wee baseball isn’t the big show, and that it’s not about winning and losing, but rather riding around in a homemade float on Opening Day, free after-the-game popcorn and snow cones from the snack bar, pizza parties with teammates, good sportsmanship, and learning to love the game.

“Dad,” said my six-year old son as he wound himself up in front of me in his new Reds baseball jersey and released his best imaginary fastball, “you know what?”

“What, Kyle?”

“The Reds are going to kick butt!”

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

 

New park honors local athlete, judge: Jerome Barry played pro baseball in the early days

The new park boasts an organic-looking climbing structure, seen in the foreground above. The light-blue ground surface is soft rubber. To the left, beyond a fence, are rail cars on a local rail spur. Beyond the play surface is the control room for the water tank (background). Notice the three “portholes” looking into the mechanics of the pumps inside the control room. (News-Ledger photo)

The new park boasts an organic-looking climbing structure, seen in the foreground above.
The light-blue ground surface is soft rubber. To the left, beyond a fence, are rail cars on a local rail spur.
Beyond the play surface is the control room for the water tank (background). Notice the three “portholes” looking into the mechanics of the pumps inside the control room.
(News-Ledger photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 26, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

On Friday, the City of West Sacramento will host a double grand opening, celebrating both a neighborhood park and a water tank station in the Bridge District. The twin public facilities are located at 809 Ballpark Drive, alongside the Ironworks subdivision and close to Raley Field.

“It’s a ‘neighborhood’ park,” said recreation superintendent Andre Pichly. “It has some play structures, swing sets and a very interactive climbing structure that’s geared toward kids about age 8 to 14. The structure has a lot of ropes, aluminum and climbing ladders – it’s probably the most unique climbing structure in our park system.”

The climbing  is located over a forgiving surface made of recycled rubber.

Nearby is a smaller climbing structure for the little ones, and a couple of little “spinning cups” that kids can sit in and twirl. There’s also a lattice-covered picnic area.

The park is right next to the control building for the city water tank. The wing-roofed control building has a couple of water pumps inside. The building and the water tank are both secured from public access, but the outside wall of the pump building has an unusual amenity:

“It has a couple of portholes in it, so kids – or anyone – can look in and see the mechanics of the thing,” reported Pichly.

The new park is known as the Jerome D. Barry Park.

The new park boasts an organic-looking climbing structure, seen in the foreground above. The light-blue ground surface is soft rubber. To the left, beyond a fence, are rail cars on a local rail spur. Beyond the play surface is the control room for the water tank (background). Notice the three “portholes” looking into the mechanics of the pumps inside the control room. (News-Ledger photo)

The new park boasts an organic-looking climbing structure, seen in the foreground above.
The light-blue ground surface is soft rubber. To the left, beyond a fence, are rail cars on a local rail spur.
Beyond the play surface is the control room for the water tank (background). Notice the three “portholes” looking into the mechanics of the pumps inside the control room.
(News-Ledger photo)

Barry was an accomplished local  baseball player who pitched for professional and semi-pro teams. He was also a rower with the Riverside Boat Club. Son of a pair of Irish immigrants, he grew up in the city’s old northern Washington township and served as a local justice of the peace from 1913-1925.

The 3.2 million gallon water tank was finished about a year ago. Tanks like this one serve as a “pitcher of water” for the city, reported the City’s Drew Gidlof last year.

“As water is taken in at the river, and treated and prepared for consumers, it is disseminated to various strategic points in the city,” he told the News-Ledger in 2013. “As the residents turn on their faucets, the water comes from their designated facility.”

The new tank is meant to help meet peak demand in the Bridge District and the Washington area near the ‘ziggurat’ building.

The park takes up about 1.5 acres, and the water facility a couple more acres, according to city sources. The water tank facility was budgeted at about $5.25 million, with funds chipped in by the state, the former local redevelopment agency, and local property owners. The park was budgeted at about $545,000, funded by developer impact fees in West Sacramento.

The public is welcome to the grand opening ceremony Friday at 10 a.m. (Feb. 28).

 

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

 

River Cats hiring for the 2014 season

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — WEDNESDAY, JAN. 6, 2014 —

The Sacramento River Cats announced today they are hiring for 150-200 seasonal positions in the upcoming 2014 baseball season at Raley Field.

The club—which is entering its 15th season in Sacramento—is hiring clean team members, emergency medical technicians, ushers, “Kids Corner” representatives, Merlino’s Freeze workers, and several other seasonal positions. In addition to the seasonal positions, the River Cats are also looking to fill full-time positions in several departments including ticket sales and corporate partnerships.

The first River Cats home game of the season is set for Friday, April 11, at 7:05 p.m. when the Salt Lake Bees—Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim—come to town.

Those interested in applying are asked to visit rivercats.com for more information. Click here for a direct link to the list of available jobs.

  Do you like what you see here?

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  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

 

West Sacramento couple weds at the ballpark — between innings

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 21, 2013 —

The Raley Field scoreboard on Saturday bore a very personal message for a West Sac couple’s special night (photo courtesy of Ric Shaw)

The Raley Field scoreboard on Saturday bore a very personal message for a West Sac couple’s special night
(photo courtesy of Ric Shaw)

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

“Dinger” gave away the bride.

That was just one unique thing about the marriage of West Sacramento natives Jalena Rusaw and Alan Slape, who made their vows during a 60-second ceremony between innings at Saturday’s River Cats game.

“Alan and I were engaged in June, 2013,” the bride told the News-Ledger. “I told him we could get married sometime next year as I was too busy working a full-time job, attending grad school, and completing my practicum as a marriage family therapist-trainee.”

The couple are season ticket holders to the minor league River Cats, who play at Raley Field in their hometown.

And so:

“Later that week we attended a ‘Cats game and he had the thought of having our wedding during a game,” added Rusaw. “I gave him only three requests – I wanted to wear a dress, my girls and mom needed to attend, and more importantly, it had to be memorable. The rest was in his hands.”

“Needless to say, we had a beautiful wedding,” she said. “The River Cats’ ‘groove crew’ dressed up in tuxes and red dresses for the occasion.”

Newlyweds Jalena  Rusaw and Alan Slape at Raley Field  (Photo by Ric Shaw)

Newlyweds Jalena
Rusaw and Alan Slape at Raley Field
(Photo by Ric Shaw)

Wedding-related events popped up between innings, as the ‘Cats dealt with the visiting Tucson Padres.

“We had a cupcake give-away as we cut our cake, tossed the bouquet from the (balcony) suite, rode in the hot dog cart with a ‘just married’ sign, and danced our first dance on the field after the game.”

The wedding party wore red tennis-style shoes – a nice contrast with the lush green turf at Raley Field.

“It was a very memorable evening,” summed up the bride with some understatement.

As for the River Cats? They beat Tucson, 11-5.

 

  Do you like what you see here?

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  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Brothers take different paths to UCD

salazar brothersFROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 10, 2013 —

West Sacramento’s Chris Salazar graduated this spring from UC Davis with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering — with honors. The 22-year old earned a full academic ride in the school’s master’s program in structural engineering.

His path to UCD took him from River City High School, through Sacramento City College.

Brother Guillermo, 18, has taken a different path to the same school. The three time Little League all-star and graduate of Rio Americano wasn’t initially accepted to UC Davis as a college freshman. But his pitching and hitting caught the attention of the university’s baseball coaches — and that, along with his academic record, earned him a spot among the Division I Aggies.

Guillermo Salazar will be an undergrad at UC Davis this year as his brother, Chris, enters the same school’s master’s degree program. This year’s UCD baseball team press guide will feature Guillermo Salazar and a listing of his hometown — West Sacramento.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Go to River Cats game & support local foster children

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 10, 2013

Attend the River Cats game on July 13 and support local Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) programs, which help represent children in foster care situations. For tickets, go to www.rivercats.com/fundraisers, selected CASA YOLO, and use the offer code: “Child.” Tickets are $10-22, and may be printed on your computer.

For more information on Yolo CASA, visit www.yolocasa.org.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Typing ‘Rivercats’ may cost you a buck

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE —

With baseball season getting underway, we just received this missive from the front office of the Sacramento River Cats here in West Sacramento. No doubt, there’s a degree of “tongue in cheek” going on here. The press release follows:

“You’ve been warned: the moniker ‘River Cats’ is comprised of two words, with a capital ‘R’ and a capital ‘C.’ Effective immediately, all members of the local and national media, River Cats corporate partners, full- or part-time River Cats staff, and season, flex, and mini-plan ticket holders will be fined $1 for spelling ‘River Cats’ incorrectly.

“All money collected will go to the River Cats Foundation, which has contributed more than $1.5 million in cash and $16.2 million in in-kind donations to the greater Sacramento community since 2000.

“The Sacramento River Cats franchise is one of the most well-known teams in professional baseball, in spite of the relative obscurity of river cats themselves (apologies to Dinger). However, even after 11 division championships, four PCL championships, and two Triple-A National Championships, the name is consistently misrepresented at the local and national level.

“For clarification, the following are incorrect iterations of the name ‘River Cats,’ and therefore subject to the $1 fine:

— Rivercats

— RiverCats

— rivercats

— river cats

” Twitter mentions, text messages, and handwritten notes are the lone exceptions to this mandate. Intra- and interoffice email correspondences to and from River Cats staff are subject to the fine, as are television graphics, print media references, and Facebook posts.

“Any questions or complaints regarding this new policy can be directed to the River Cats media relations department.”

Copyright News-Ledger (note: that’s not “news ledger”) 2013