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This is not a giant rat. This is not a giant rat. This is not a giant rat. This is not a giant rat. This is not a giant rat. This is not a giant rat. This is not a giant rat. This is not a giant rat. This is not a giant rat. This is not a giant rat. This is not a giant rat

Okay, it's a giant rat.

Actually, it only looks like a giant rat. This is actually Chatter the squirrel and mascot of the Class-A Visalia Oaks. We would like to point out to very nice and disturbing details from this picture. You can see for yourself the overall horror of this giant rat creature, but now, focus on the small stuff.

1-The sleeves of the costume must not be quite long enough, because we can see the wrist of whatever unlucky soul has to wear this thing.

2-Chatter's giant, freaky, unblinking eyes are shaded like acorns. We don't know what this means, but it will haunt our dreams.

Photo courtesy of Paul M. Photography

Adam Jones is back in the show. While this move is about three months too late for Mariner fans, we in Tacoma will surely miss him. The Mariners are being tightlipped about his role with the team, but anyone who's followed Adam knows he should be in the Seattle outfield every day. Hey Adam, you're joining a team in the midst of a pennant race and apparently some of the vets aren't that happy to see you. The Mariner blogosphere is pretty thrilled though.

No pressure.

Now, the post of Our Favorite Rainier is officially open. Wlad Balentien? Kameron Mickolio? Watch this space...

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: Memphis Redbirds

The City: Memphis, Tennessee

The Affiliation: St. Louis Cardinals

The Website:

The Ballpark: AutoZone Park. Commonly described as “one-third a major league park”, AutoZone Park was the most expensive minor-league baseball park ever built when it opened in 2000. Rainier voice Mike Curto has stated on the air that this is his favorite PCL park.

The History: Like New Orleans, Memphis was a longtime member of the Southern Association. The Memphis Chickasaws (or Chicks usually) were members up until the circuit's collapse in the early sixties. Later the Memphis Blues competed in both the Texas League and the Southern League. Triple-A baseball came to Memphis for the first time in 1998 with the arrival of the Redbirds.

The Name: Chickasaws? C'mon...

The Prospects: Memphis is all about Rick Ankiel. If it weren't for the amazing story of Josh Hamilton playing for the Reds after years lost to substance abuse, Ankiel would be the comeback story of 2007. Once heralded as the second coming of Steve Carlton, Ankiel made his major league debut at 20 and pitched the entire 2000 season in the Cardinal rotation. A surprise choice to start the first game of the NLCS against Atlanta, his start was a disaster, as Ankiel became the first pitcher since 1890 to throw five wild pitches in one inning. After that, his career fell of a cliff. An apparent victim of Steve Blass Disease, he would eventually bottom out a Johnson City, the lowest rung on the Cardinal minor league ladder. In 54 innings he threw 10 wild pitches and walked 49 batters. Following Tommy John surgery, Ankiel made a comeback. As an outfielder. Always a tremendous athlete and fine hitting pitcher, Ankiel has worked his way back up through the Cardinal system at center, and he currently leads the PCL in homers.

The Ownership: There is none, actually. The Redbirds are actually considered a charitable organization, and any profits the team makes go toward baseball's very worthy RBI and STRIPE programs.

The Schedule Quirk: The Redbirds are a skip team for Tacoma this season. Memphis comes to Tacoma this year, but the Rainiers won't see AutoZone Park until 2008.

Hey, lookee here, the Rainiers pitched themselves a shutout! Jorge Campillo started and went the first five. Jake Woods went the final four innings and notched his first save of the season. Nick Green tripled and scored on Jeremy Reed's sacrifice fly in the first, and Tacoma takes three out of four against the RedHawks.

The Rainiers come home for a nice long eight-game homestand starting tomorrow against Memphis.


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