Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson

Taking the Fifth
April 25, 2012, 16:53
Filed under: Uncategorized

I arrived safely at the ballpark last night well before first pitch, though groggy from lack of sleep and swimming in anxiety about the really terrific opportunity I would have later to share the home radio broadcast booth with T-Pad’s broadcaster, Tim Hagerty.  Unlike in my days as an usher or ticket taker, this evening’s “work” was definitely making me nervous!  I’d spent most of the day talking to myself…which sounds (and probably WAS) a little weird!  But I was trying to prep my brain on baseball topics: players past and present, memorable moments as an usher, the great 2006 Sidewinder’s Championship season, the difference between affiliated and independent baseball (in terms of play on the field) and how cool it was to see local kid Tom Wilhelmsen plucked from the independent Tucson Toros into the affiliated Mariners farm system, about our current team’s woes in the early season (specifically about Matt Clark as he continues to struggle), about “little guy” players (GM Mike Feder and Tim had spoken the night before about what a great sparkplug player OF Daniel Robertson is…and that reminded me of former Tucson Sidewinder Andy Green, who played with all his heart and never fully got the major league recognition he deserved), about similarities between former T-Pad Anthony Rizzo and former Sidewinder – current San Diego Padre – Carlos Quentin, about how most of our current team came en masse from last year’s AA San Antonio Missions team, blah blah blah…  I made a few notes, but even that wasn’t enough to quiet the self-talk in my head.  I had no idea what Tim would want to talk about during my fifth inning stretch as his “color” commentator, and nothing I could do in preparation eased that uncertainty.

Well, nervous as I was, I was still able to down a tasty cheeseburger (pretty rare when I don’t want to eat…as anyone who knows me can tell you) and settle in to watch the pregame activities and enjoy a perfect evening in this desert ballpark.  After a day where the mercury stopped at 96 degrees, the temperature at first pitch was 89 – dry, clear, and with a light breeze.  These are the nights where you feel absolutely blessed to be enjoying a game out under the stars!  I was pleased to see that a fair-sized crowd joined me in enjoying the evening – the announced attendance was for over 2,200 fans; very decent for a Tuesday/school night, I think!

I’d been given a ticket for a seat in section 116, just to the left side of home plate.  Excellent seat, though it was hard to thoroughly enjoy it.  Not only was I nervous, but the game was quite possibly the worst-pitched affair I’ve ever seen in person…  Tucson’s starter, Matt Palmer, who actually has a WIN in the season, got shellacked in the first inning.  Manager Terry Kennedy pulled Matt after he’d gotten one out, five runs were already in, and the bases were loaded.  This was killing me!  I’d told all my family and friends (around the country) to listen to THIS game.  Besides, at this rate, the fifth inning would probably roll around at 10pm…and I had commitments the next day…  Sigh!   All seven runs the Salt Lake Bees scored in the first were charged to Palmer.  Bees’ starter, Trevor Bell, shuts Tucson down one-two-three in the bottom frame.  Eddie Kunz, who replaced Palmer in the first, shuts the Bees down in the top of the second, and then it was Bell’s turn to have a mound meltdown in the bottom of that inning.  He suddenly lost a feel for the zone, and ended up allowing Tucson to score five runs (four earned) before HE was pulled after only two outs.  BOTH starters out of the game by the end of two!  The good news, of course, was that now Tucson was in a much more comfortable position, down only two – five to seven – at the end of two.  Neither team scored in the third and I started my trek toward the radio booth.  Tim had suggested I come up to the booth in the fourth inning to check things out and then call the fifth inning, so I used the third to prepare myself for the trip upstairs.  I checked in at Guest Relations, got instructions from Norma, and wandered over to the elevator and up to the Observation Level of Kino Stadium…found the right door…took a deep breath…and quietly entered.  It’s strange to walk into a room and find yourself facing a man who is speaking out loud to himself!  Of course, Tim was really speaking to a fan base spread out locally on Radio Tejano 1600 and across the world via the internet, but still the image struck me as humorous.  I took a seat and took in the magnificent view from the home radio booth.  From up there it almost looks like you’re on top of the field and our good lighting at Kino makes everything clear as day.  The only spot on the field you can’t see from up there is the far right field corner, where fair meets foul.  I vowed to myself to go easy on Tim in the future when he doesn’t immediately make a call on balls out into that “dead zone.”  He simply can’t see that area.

The Bees got another two runs in the fourth…nothing for the T-Pads in the bottom.  And then I WAS ON!  Tim introduced me and before you knew it, the leadoff batter for the Bees, Doug Deeds, took the first pitch he saw deep for a solo homer!  It looked like I might be a bad omen for the home team!  Fortunately, that was all the Bees got in the fifth – and Tucson even turned in a run of their own during my stint in the booth, when LA Angels pitcher Bobby Cassevah (with the Bees on a major league rehab assignment) allowed three consecutive singles, followed by a force out by Vince Belnome which scored Everth Cabrera.  And all the while, Tim and I are talking baseball  I was tickled that he asked about my blog after saying that he’d enjoyed it for its positive take on the team.  To be sure, I can’t recount much of our chat – but once I relaxed I found it both natural and fun to be “on radio.”  I even found that it was simpler than I’d thought (most of the time) to be sure to stop talking when Tim needed to call the result of a pitch or play on the field!  Good time, for sure!  But how’d it sound “out there?”

Hear for yourself! Guest “Color Commentary”

After the fifth inning was done and a picture taken to memorialize the occasion, I left Tim to talk to himself out loud and went out into the stands to seek input from the one fan friend of mine who always listens to the radio broadcast while watching the game live.  “Did I sound really stupid?” I wondered.  She said I was “great.”  And on that note I left the ballpark for home, listening to Tim call the game as the Bees cruised through the later innings to a crushing 16 to 6 victory over my home team…  The 2012 Tucson Padres have yet to win or even split a series – but neither have they been swept.  Let us, however, sweep these Bees aside for awhile…they’ve been particularly hard on us this week!

Transactions and Injury Report.  No new news to report.

On The Road Again…   Tucson is off today and will travel to Sacramento tomorrow to face the River Cats (Athletics AAA affiliate) for four games there.  They’ll have another off-day on April 30th and return home for two three-game series at Kino Stadium.  Tuesday May 1st through Thursday May 3rd versus the Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners AAA affiliate); Friday May 4th through Sunday May 6th versus Sacramento.  Remember, even away games are broadcast on Radio Tejano 1600 this season – and, as always, you can follow each and every game via the internet off the Tucson Padres’ website.  Tim does an amazing job calling the games; tune in and support your hometown team!

(Disclaimer – This posting has not been reviewed/approved by Pima County, the City of Tucson, the Tucson Padres, Tucson AAA Baseball, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, PCL, MiLB, MLB, National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Tucson Baseball LLC, or any other baseball official and represents the views and biases of the author alone)


8 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Delightful writing, wish I’d heard the inning but went to bed Really Early after a sushi afternoon. Thanks!

Comment by Thomas Ervin

Thank you for the kind words, Tom!

Comment by windersblog

Way to go, Melinda! Anyway to hear a recording? The hour was bad here in GMT+2.

Comment by foodlovelanguage

My brother – listening off the internet in CA – made an mp3 recording that I’m trying to post to my blog…so far without success. But I’ll keep trying! (And yes, I was fairly sure you wouldn’t be getting up in the middle of the night to listen LIVE!)

Comment by windersblog

Thanks for posting the audio link; I think they should hire you–you sounded like an expert!

Comment by Marsha Dean

Glad you enjoyed that, Marsha! It was such fun!

Comment by windersblog

When will you announce again? They should have you on full-time!

Comment by Joe

Don’t I wish!

Comment by windersblog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: