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There are few things more fun than independent league baseball. Independent leagues –minor league teams not affiliated with major league organizations – are wilder and weirder than the minors. The ultimate indy success story is that of the St. Paul Saints. Partially owned by Bill Murray, run by the man who gave the world Disco Demolition Night, featuring a pig that delivered baseballs and a nun giving massages, the Saints early-nineties success spawned two pretty good books (Slouching Toward Fargo and Rebel Baseball) and dozens of imitators. Independent leagues appear (and disappear) almost every year.

As you might expect, the indy leagues are a haven for bad mascots. Take the Kansas City T-Bones for example. You might think that coming up with a mascot for team basically named after dinner would be difficult, but you'd be wrong. The T-Bones are represented by Sizzle the Bull. Naming the mascot after the noise his flesh makes while on the grill? A masterstroke. Never miss the opportunity to remind the children how horrible a mascot can be, and just knowing that dad wants to slap that big red belly on the grill does the trick.

Photo Courtesy of

We questioned the wisdom of this second photo, this veritable police lineup of the damned. The giant inflatable race car driver is Victor E. Lane, mascot of the Kansas Sppedway. Sizzle we now know and love. The others? I don't know, and I don't want to.

Photo Courtesy of Kansas Speedway

A beautiful late-spring night, a 1-1 tie, extra innings... it would be hard to top the opener of this homestand. But a Rainier win might help. Tucson took the lead in the second on Jamie D'Antona's sixth homer. Tacoma tied in the eighth on Bryan LaHair's single scoring Jeremy Reed. The score stayed 1-1 until the twelfth when Sidewinder Danny Richar doubled home Donnie Sadler and Jeff Salazar.

If the rest of the series is this much fun, Tacoma fans are in for a treat. Fireworks night Friday at 7:05.


The Rainiers managed a two-spot in the ninth and a single run in the tenth to avoid the sweep by the hated Portland Beavers. Our Favorite Rainier's RBI single in the ninth scored Oswaldo Navarro and Ronnie Prettyman doubled home Jeff Clement to put the Rainiers ahead in the tenth. After some shaky bullpen work the past few games – weeks really – Julio Mateo pitched a perfect tenth to earn the win.

The road trip is over, the Rainiers finish 2-5 on the weeklong jaunt and now come home for a quick four game set against Tuscon. First pitch at 7:05.


No, this is not last nights post. The Rainiers June Gloom continued, as they dropped their second in a row to Portland by an identical score of 6-5. The Rainiers are 2-9 for the month and currently sport the only winning percentage under .400 in the PCL.


The bullpen was blameless this time around. Starter Juan Done gave up all six runs in four innings. The only bright spot for Tacoma was the continued brilliance of Our Favorite Rainier. He really should be Our Second-Favorite Mariner by now, but enjoy him while you can.

Second favorite? Yes, we are Ichiro People.

The series – and this long, ugly road trip – end tomorrow night at 7:05.


We'd like to apologize: Apparently blogspot ate last night's wrap-up. We were under the impression that didn't happen anymore. We fully expect an apology from Google and several hundred stock options.

We are fully aware we're dreaming.

On to tonight, the first game between the Rainiers and the hated Portland Beavers. Well, not really hated, but we think it would be very, very cool if we could get a Pacific Northwest Rivalry going. Not much chance, but we enjoy tilting at our particular windmills.

Unfortunately, the Rainiers stumbled in Portland, losing by a single run. Of course, after getting obliterated three of the previous four night, losing a close one might not be so bad. Justin Lehr survived six rickety innings and turned the game over to the bullpen with a four run lead.

Silly pitcher, your a Tacoma Rainier; no lead is safe. Lefty Jamie Cerda took over and managed to record zero outs while giving up five earned runs. Portland reliever Royce Ring – who really should be a porn star with that name – vultured his third win of the year after pitching 1 and 1/3.

The rivalry continues tomorrow night at 7:05.


This is no longer entertaining. The Rainiers came closer than the previous tries, but lost again in Colorado Springs. Ryan Feierabend couldn't save Tacoma. He managed six innings, but it wasn't enough.

The Rainiers have given up 46 runs on 54 hits in three games. Tacoma has, at 25-38, the worst record in the PCL.

Please, just make it stop. The series wraps Sunday – Thank God – with Jorge Campillo (4-4, 3.74) against Jorge DePaula (5-1, 4.07).


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