Wednesday, June 29, 2011

50 plus years of grooming tomorrow's stars

Among the shadows of Mount Rainer in Tacoma, Washington, the crack of a baseball bat and the smell of freshly cut grass has been no stranger to the locals. For more 50 years consecutive years, Tacoma has played host to AAA baseball. Presently, The Tacoma Rainers, who get there name from the afore mentioned 14,000 plus foot elevated mountain, call the city home. The Rainers franchise, is currently affiliated with their seventh big league club. Before being linked to the geographically compatible Seattle Mariners, the club was paired with the Athletics, Indians, Yankees, Twins, Cubs, and Giants in reverse chronology. Regardless of the affiliation over the seasons, the club has been a member of the Pacific Coast League, playing in the Norhern Division. Tacoma's history of baseball, however, didn't originate a mere half century ago. Starting way back in 1904, Tacoma had a club known as the Tigers, who played to a first place finish in both halves of their first season. Accordingly, the club won the cities first ever Pacific Coast League title. A mere half season later, affiliated baseball left Washington State until its much anticipated return in 1960. During its current string of teams which have played in the city, the club has called Cheney Stadium home. The park, which was opened in 1960 upon the arrival of the club, has gone through multiple renovations to bring it up to respectable standards based on present day technology. In it's current form, the stadium can seat 9,600 fans at capacity. As if the 50 year history and survival of the club isn't enough to testify for the love the locals have for their club, the original structure was erected in a mere 42 days in order to begin play in time for the inaugural season. That my friends, is commitment and passion. Over the years, some big name players have made stops in Tacoma. Some of which are: Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, Jose Canseco, and Mark McGwire. The cap shown above, and current logo seen, was first used last season in 2010. The fitted, has a navy brim, navy crown, and a capital "T" for Tacoma in front of a snow capped silhouette of Mt. Rainer. This is a great cap, which I hope to acquire on my trip to Washington, later this summer. As if the cap isn't nice enough to just pick up strictly based off looks, the history discussed in today's post hopefully gives you some added incentive to appreciate the team. The cap can be found on under "Tacoma Rainers", or on the team website HERE. Until next time, keep exploring the world of baseball. There's always something new to learn.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The next great "Roman" leader begins his journey

Growing up as kids, most of us either played many summers of little league baseball or softball, with aspirations of one day potentially making it to the big leagues. We all had high hopes of hitting the game winning homer, or pitching a no hitter while playing in our back yards; but reality set in for most of us...Key word: MOST of us. Today's post is in honor of someone who I grew up with, who actually made it through the trials and tribulations of High School, Collegiate, and Cape Cod League baseball to realize the ultimate dream. That person is Tom La Stella. After years of practice and determination, he finally was granted a chance at greatness. Following two season where he lit it up for The Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers, in the Big South Conference, La Stella was named 2011 player of the year and drew national attention. During this years MLB Draft, La Stella was taken in the 8th round, by the Atlanta Braves. He has been assigned to the Rome Braves, who's cap is shown above. The Rome Braves play in the South Atlantic League's Southern Division. The Club, which is part of the Class A level of minor league baseball, have been in the SAL since 2003. The Braves have won one division and league title in their inaugural season in Rome. The Rome Braves play at State Mutual Stadium, a 5,000 plus capacity park in Rome, Georgia which features identical dimension of the parent clubs' Turner Field. The Rome Braves claim many MLB roster members to their on field alumni. Some of these players are: Jason Heyward, Jeff Francoeur, Tommy Hanson, Brian McCann, Jo-Jo Reyes, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The clubs lack of league titles may be an attribution to the great development of the players they draft. If you can't keep these great players down, you're roster in A ball will develop some holes subsequently. The cap shown above is the Home On-Field New Era Cap of the Rome Braves, and can be found on on It features a Braves red brim, a navy brim, and the Roman-esque pillar with an R and a ball flying across from left to right. This is a special cap to me, due to it being the first professional cap worn by an old friend of mine; hopefully you all like it as well. On that note, I wish my my friend good luck in his trip to "The Show". I know it will only be a matter of time.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fear The Deer

In an effort to shoot a "what's up?" to one of my friends who's away for the summer working in the baseball world, today the blog features the team that serves as his employer. The State College Spikes, who have been an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates since the beginning of the '07 season, have had 28 seasons of history as a franchise. The team has has multiple cities to call home in the past, those of which are: Newark, Hamilton, Glens Falls, and most previously Augusta, New Jersey as part of the Cardinals organization. The Spikes, who play in the Pinckney Division of the New York-Penn League of Minor League Baseball, host their home games at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. MFaLP for short, is a 6,006 fan capacity ballpark (including standing room) in University Park, Pennsylvania which also hosts all Penn State Nittany Lion baseball games. The Spikes are managed by former minor-leaguer Dave Turgeon, who most recently served as an assistant coach on the Virginia Tech Hokies staff. Some notable Spikes that have ascended the ranks all the way to "The Show" are Brendan Ryan and Jason Motte, who are both alumni from the Cardinal affiliate days, and most recently Daniel Moskos and Tony Watson who both made their Major League debuts this season for the Swinging Buccos of Pittsburgh; Additionally, Zach Duke made a brief appearance on a rehab assignment while with the Pirates in 2007. The cap, shown above, is the official road cap of the club which I found at Lids HERE. It features a navy crown and brim, with a male deer or buck front and center staring with eyes of determination. Also, the alternate and home fitted caps, along with other on-field wear can be found at the Spikes official team store HERE. The Spikes are a team of little history in Pennsylvania, but great potential of success. Due to the continually prized draft picks the Pirates seem to be continually racking up, the club is bound for glory in the near future.