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After yesterday's 12-0 demolition by Tucson, we wrote that "You could watch this game for a hundred years and not see a bigger beat down than this".

Except that the very same night the Lake Elsinore Storm managed to beat Lancaster 30-0.


If you reach a score that would be a blowout in football, you've accomplished something.

You could watch this game for a hundred years and not see a bigger beat down than this. It is one thing to give up 23 hits. It's another to be the victim of a five hit shutout. Both of 'em together? Well, batten down the hatches kiddies, it's gonna get ugly. Brad Thomas was killed in his second start this year, giving up seven runs in three innings. In desperation the Rainiers turned back to The Jim Parque Experiment, but he was wracked for 12 hits (12 hits? Seriously?) in 3 1/3. Sean Green, Jamie Cerda and Jon Huber eventually stopped the bleeding, but really. You know the old line about closing the barn door after various animals escape? Well, on Friday night the damned barn burned down.

More fun tomorrow at 1:35. Yusmeiro Petit (3-3, 6.97) against Jorge Campillo (2-4, 4.72).


Update: Turns out this was the Chickadee's first visit to Cheney. Unfortunately baseball is a very superstitious sport, so if the Rainiers get obliterated the next time she visits, it probably means it's her fault. Just warning you Chick.

We really aren't sure if anything can top the past two weeks. Zooperstars and BirdZerk are such lunatic creations that we actually considered retiring this feature. But then we though, what would we do on a Thursday night? And we must admit, finding bizarre mascots is an awful lot of fun. And unending, we've yet to find a minor league team without one.

This week we touch on a team that we confess an irrational affection for, the Southern League Montgomery Biscuits. The Double A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, the Biscuits... well, they're called the Biscuits, what more do you need? We believe that a giant walking biscuit would be great, but we don't get it. Make no mistake, the club's identity revolves around the biscuit, the logo looking like a buttermilk biscuit with a pat of butter for a tongue and giant googley eyes. But they don't use that as a mascot. Frankly, we here at No Rhubarb! are flabbergasted.

Instead, the folks in Montgomery are treated to – as stated on the team website - “seven feet of biscuit lovin' beast”. Big Mo is a large orange creature that looks like what might happen if an armadillo and an elephant mated during a nuclear test. It's hideous really, and again make us wonder why the good people of Montgomery don't just have a giant walking biscuit.

Photo courtesy of

A Slight Sidebar We realize that we have a lead on what could be the crowning glory of this little feature. Mike Curto – Voice of Your Tacoma Rainiers – advised us via USS Mariner of the Long Beach Barracudas mascot, which Mike described as “Satan wrapped in tinfoil". Unfortunately, despite the vast resources of this site (Me and Google) we are unable to locate much info about said Barracudas. If a picture of this creature exists, we must find it.

We should start this out with a clich̩ about home-cooking. Let's not and say we did. In the first of a four-game set against Tucson, the Rainiers put a four-spot up in the second inning and never looked back. Our Favorite Rainier hit his fifth home and drove in four. Bryan LaHair and Wladimir Balentien picked up Ribbies as did a very unexpected source. Ronnie Prettyman Рhitting an even .200 with West Tenn before being called up Рdrove in a run and improved his average to .364. Jake Woods pitched his best game of the year, going seven scoreless to pick up the win.

Same two teams tomorrow at 6:05 for Fireworks Night. Brad Thomas (1-2, 6.30) gets the start for Tacoma, and Dustin Nippert (0-1, 11.57) takes the hill for Tucson.


The modern-day Pacific Coast League is a massive enterprise consisting of 16 teams stretching from Tacoma and Portland in the Pacific Northwest to New Orleans of the Deep South. These are the teams our hometown nine will face throughout the long season. You must know the enemy!

The Team: Omaha Royals

The Location: Omaha, Nebraska

The MLB Affiliation: Kansas City Royals

The Website:

The Ballpark: Rosenblatt Stadium. Longtime home of the College World Series, this aging ballpark is simply too big for minor league club. At 24,000 capacity, Rosenblatt works well for the CWS, but not for the Royals, who are pushing for a new ballpark.

The History: The Omaha Royals were a Triple-A expansion team in 1969, affiliated with the major league expansion Kansas City Royals. They have been affiliated ever since. Nice and easy, especially when considering some of the longtime franchises.

The Name: Using the same name as the team's MLB affiliate is seriously irritating. Why not make a choice that reflects the local area of the team? Apparently the good people of Omaha would disagree. In 1999 the team changed to the “Golden Spikes” referencing the Golden Spike that finished the Transcontinental Railroad (of which Omaha has always been a hub) and the Golden Spikes Award, given to the top amateur baseball player in America. The idea lasted only until 2002. They like the name Royals apparently.

The Prospects: The O-Royals sport one of baseballs' best hitting prospects (fielding, not so much) in outfielder Billy Butler. Except that Butler has recently been called up to Kansas City.

Special Added Bonus: They don't use recorded music at Rosenblatt Stadium. We love them for this.

Starters for tomorrow's game against Tucson - the first of an eight-game homestand - have been announced. Jake Woods (0-3, 6.75) for the Rainiers against the Sidewinders' Evan McLane (3-2, 4.58) Help for the bullpen has arrived as well. Byron Embry's suspension is up and Ryan Rowland-Smith and Sean Green have arrived from Seattle.

The weather has been perfect for baseball the past few days; hope we can continue that.

Perhaps the bullpen needs a little work? On Sunday, the Rainiers were up 16-0... and gave up nine runs. They held on to win 19-9. Monday, the Rainiers were up 12-7 in the eighth, only to see rookie reliever Drew Fiorenza give up six runs on eight consecutive hits. Tacoma lost that one 13-12. On Tuesday the Rainiers led 4-3 before giving up six and losing 9-5.

The off-day Wednesday cannot come at a better time.

Monday Box, Tuesday Box

The modern-day Pacific Coast League is a massive enterprise consisting of 16 teams stretching from Tacoma and Portland in the Pacific Northwest to New Orleans of the Deep South. These are the teams our hometown nine will face throughout the long season. You must know the enemy!

The Team: Tucson Sidewinders

The Location: Tucson, Arizona

The MLB Affiliation: Arizona Diamondbacks

The Website:

The Ballpark: Tucson Electric Park. The springtime home of both the Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox, the “Pride of Prima County” is a spring training ballpark first, and a PCL park second.

The History: Tuscon was the home of a team in the Arizona State League – which itself spent time as the Arizona-Texas League, Arizona-Mexico League and the Southwestern International League – off and on from 1915 to 1958. During the '58 season that league went out of business for good. The PCL moved to Tucson when the Seattle Angels were pushed out by the Major League Pilots in 1969. The Toros were the affiliate of several teams, but when the expansion Diamondbacks brought the major leagues to Arizona, the Toros were replaced – in a weirdly arcane way – by the Sidewinders. The Tucson Toros moved to Fresno and became the Grizzlies. The Phoenix Firebirds – pushed out by the D-Backs – moved and became the Tucson Toros for one season. However, the owner of the Firebirds (and most of the front office staff) moved to Fresno with the Toros-turned-Grizzlies. The owner of the former Toros stuck with the former Firebirds franchise, but renamed that team the Sidewinders.

There will be a quiz later.

The Prospects: The Sidewinders are the defending PCL Champions and Triple A Champions. Much of the young talent from the squad – Carlos Quentin, Stephen Drew and the like – are with Arizona now.

The third of a four-game series tonight with the Isotopes. After the off-the-field concerns of the past couple posts, lets just revel in an evening in the rare air Albuquerque, where the first team to 20 wins. USS Mariner is running a Rainier game thread and Rainier voice Mike Curto made an early appearance. Follow along, won't you?

The wrap-up will be late, probably posted tomorrow morning. We are heading to Tacoma General tonight for what is called a Sleep Study. The wife apparently has a problem with the fact that I don't always breathe at night. Wish me luck.

Commenter “Ben Cheney” - back from the dead, apparently- has some disquieting thoughts about the Reno situation:

Rainier fans can all but help pack up the gear, as the team won't be here in 2009 if funding is not found for a complete overhaul of Cheney Stadium.

2.5M additional funding from the state is not going to get this done. Cheney overhaul is a 30 million dollar endeavor, 15 hard must be public money, with 15 more in private investment. Private money could pose a problem without a valid plan of profitablility, unless the money comes from entities that simply donate for the good of the overall community.

There have been several articles and stories involving this development, and here is a glance of what the said, and who the players are.

Schlegel Group - Quietly meeting with Dallas city officials regarding a new ballpark being built there and scheduled to open in 2009.

The Texas Rangers have final say in that market, and normally would not consider a AAA team so close to Arlington. However, a deal with Schlegel would involve Real Estate development projects in or around the stadium site, and current Schlegel group VP Bob McCall was the president/GM of the Frisco AA team of the Rangers. The format there would be one of multiple investment opportunities, cross marketing, and proximity for call up to the parent club from AAA.

Reno/Sparks - Lead group has secured a initial agreement to purchase an undisclosed AAA team. Most consider the club to be the Tucson Sidewinders, as they have been quietly marketed for sale the past 2-3 years prior to winning the PCL crown in 2006.

1. Schlegel group moves the Rainiers after the 2008 season, sign Player Development contract with Texas Rangers.

The Padres sign Player Development contract with Reno/Sparks.

The Mariners sign Player Development contract with Portland, (great cross marketing opportunity, short call up traval to Safeco).

The Diamondbacks sign Player Development contract with Oklahoma (Rangers former AAA club). Or, there could be multiple affilation changes after these moves.

2. Schlegel sells the Rainiers. Purchases the Tucson Sidewinders. Moves the Sidewinders to Dallas. Sign Player Development contract with Texas Rangers.

Reno/Sparks group purchases the Rainiers, moves franchise to Reno/Sparks. Sign Player Development contract with the Padres.

Mariners sign Player Development contract with Portland, Oregon ownership.

Diamondbacks sign Player Development contract with Oklahoma or other city based on potential affiliation changes.

Bottom line is simple. Cheney Stadium goes through a complete renovation, or Tacoma's 47 year run in the PCL is history.

If that happens, the best we can all hope for is short season A ball in the Northwest League.

In the meantime, Cheney is a great place to watch a ballgame and spend the summer. Let's all enjoy it while it's still here!
Now, I don’t entirely agree with everything here. I still say that Nashville - thanks to their ongoing stadium debacle - is the more likely team to be moved, but multiple moves are certainly possible. This Reno thing has pushed a issue onto the table - that of Cheney Stadium and it’s drawbacks - much earlier in the season than I had hoped. Ben Cheney’s ultimate point is correct: Cheney Stadium requires a full-on makeover, and if that doesn’t happen, the Rainiers certainly could move and do so sooner than later.

So, how exactly do we come up with the $30-50 million a new or renovated park would require?

Reno, Nevada - the self-proclaimed “Biggest Little City in the World” - is this much closer to landing an existing PCL team. If this were six months ago, the Rainiers would be number one on the list of possibilities; as it is they qualify as number three. According to the story in the Reno Gazette-Journal, a New York-based ownership group has contracted to purchase and move an unknown team to Reno. A new stadium would be built and finished by 2009. The new ownership group - which includes current Indiana Pacer owner Herb Simon - has a confidentiality agreement with the current owners of the unknown team, and that won’t be released until the deal is finalized.

So who is it? No Rhubarb! runs down the suspects.

1. Nashville Sounds The Sounds currently play in the aging and somewhat dilapidated Herschel Greer Stadium, famous for the guitar-shaped scoreboard. After talks for a new riverfront stadium fell through, the Sounds are the runaway leader for team most likely to move.

2. Las Vegas 51s Las Vegas just seems like an odd place to put a minor-league team, while Vegas seems to be concentrating on attracting a major league team (probably basketball, but the Florida Marlins are always looking for a new home), the 51s seem like a neglected stepchild. Cashman Field doesn’t measure up to the revenue a new Reno park could generate.

3. Tacoma Rainiers Again, if this were 9 months ago - before the Schlegel Sports Group took over - the Rainiers would be the leader in this group. While we love Cheney Stadium, it is the oldest non-renovated park in the PCL. PGE Park in Portland and Isotopes Park in Albuquerque are built over the bones of older parks, but both have been completely rebuilt. We would like to think that Schlegel is committed to the South Sound, but they would be nuts not to listen to Reno.

The Rest:Omaha Royals (problems with Rosenblatt Stadium, but the team is a Nebraska landmark); Tucson Sidewinders (the team never really recovered from the major league D’Backs and the switch between Toros and Sidewinders); New Orleans Zephyrs (Zephyr Park is fairly new and very nice, but everything in New Orleans has to be considered questionable)
This is nothing but speculation, we have no inside information. Do we think the Rainiers are going to move? No, but the fact remains that Cheney Stadium doesn’t measure up to other PCL ballparks. It will need to be renovated or replaced before too long

Not every day you can win giving up nine runs. Not every day you play in the rare air of Albuquerque. Our Favorite Rainier had a day, going 3-6 with two homers. Wladimir Balentien hit his ninth homer, Mike Morse had three hits. Hell, every Rainier had at least one.

Things like that happen when score 19 on 21 hits. Jason Mackintosh registers his first Triple A win, going 4 1/3 in relief of Jorge Campillo. More fun at Isotopes Park tomorrow at 5:35. Rainier ace Justin Lehr (4-0, 2.55) takes the hill against The Great Unknown. In other words, the Isotopes haven't announced.


What we said yesterday: A combination of bandbox ballpark and hot, dry high-altitude air make for the possibility of extra offense.

Today: Between the two teams we saw 15 runs, 28 hits and 7 different pitchers used.

Baseball in Albuquerque is fun. They go again tomorrow at 12:35. Jorge Campillo (2-4, 3.35) and Ricardo Rodriguez (1-2, 6.48) try to survive an afternoon game in Isotopes Park.


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