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During the inaugural season of No Rhubarb! we faithfully followed the exploits of Our Favorite Rainier, outfielder Adam Jones. Jones is in Baltimore now, on his way to what we firmly believe will be a long and excellent career. The title of Our Favorite Rainier cannot stay vacant though, and we will take the next few days to find our new favorite. This year we will let you, the reader chime in on the subject. No Rhubarb! will present the case of several players and then let you vote who you think is Our Favorite Rainier. After which we will almost certainly ignore the results and just name whomever we want anyway.

Next Up: Wladimir Balentien

The Pacific Coast League Rookie of the Year for 2007, Balentien sports both a cool name and big bat. Busting out in 2004 with a Rookie league record 16 home runs, Wlad has done nothing but hit since. In 2006 he was named the MVP of Double-A San Antonio. He made his Tacoma debut last year, winning the PCL Rookie of the Year after sporting a .291/.362/.509 line with 24 homers and 24 doubles. He made his Mariner debut late last year, jacking his first major league home run off of Cleveland's Fausto Carmona.
Three Reasons Why Wladimir Balentien is Our Favorite Rainier
1.Wladimir Balentien doesn't hit home runs, he launches moon shots.
2.Balentien always plays with flair. Some might say too much..
3.Wladimir is actually pronounced "Vladimir", which is pretty cool.
Three Reasons Why Wladimir Balentien is NOT Our Favorite Rainier
1.He strikes out. Not like just any other player. Like, a lot. Like Reggie Jackson and Rob Deer had a baby lots.
2.Remember the flair we mentioned? See here for details.
3.Like our other candidates, he might not be a Rainier for long. Corner outfielder isn't the Mariners' strong suit, and Balentien could be in Seattle for good soon.
Bonus: I don't know what is more fun: Wlad's massive walk-off home run, or this guy's reaction to it.

Pardon Our Dust

Yes, your favorite - and so far only - Tacoma Rainiers blog is undergoing some housecleaning. We aren't entirely sold on the new look, so please let us know what you think.

The dream of an undefeated season is over. The best the Rainiers can finish is a pedestrian 143-1. Our Favorite Rainier Candidate R.A. Dickey took the hill, giving up five runs - all earned - over seven innings. In the season opener the Rainiers were only able to put two runners in scoring position, but both scored. Not so good on Friday, as the Rainiers' only run was scored on a Bryan LaHair's second inning dinger. That was the only run Tacoma was able to put up, as Kirk Sarloos picked up the win for the Cats, going five innings. The Rainiers were able put up 11 hits against Sacramento pitching, with both LaHair and leftfielder Greg Norton going 3-for-4, and Jeremy Reed and Jeff Clement collected two hits apiece.

Third game of the opening series tomorrow at 7:00. Sean White takes the hill for the Rainiers against Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez, part of the River Cats' parent organization Oakland Athletics blockbuster trade of Nick Swisher, is a diminutive lefty with a power repertoire.


A new season, new mascots to make us all tremble with fear. This week, we visit Allentown, Pennsylvania, home of the absurdly named Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Formerly the Ottawa Lynxx, the IronPigs are the Triple-A affiliate of the nearby Philadelphia Phillies. It doesn't take a genius what the IronPigs mascot ended up. Meet Ferrous:

Now compare that with the logo the IronPigs sport on their caps:
The look the team is going is obvious: a pig made of iron. Notice that the logo on the cap even sports rivets. Now look again at Ferrous again. No rivets, just dark gray fur. In fact, we'll go so far as to claim Ferrous doesn't even look very pig-like. If anything, Ferrous looks like a giant bat that let himself go.
To make this mascot even weirder, "Ferrous" wasn't the name originally chosen for this furry nightmare. Originally the team selected the name "PorkChop" which seems to both make more sense and certainly rolls of the tongue easier than "Ferrous" does. That name was dropped after complaints from the Valley's Puerto Rican population. Now, it turns out that the complaints were from only one guy, but the damage was done, and this chunky ManBearPig-looking thing gets a lousy name.

The Dream of the Perfect Season lives.

Ryan Feierabend pitched six scoreless innings and outdueled River Cats starter Greg Smith to pick up the win in the Rainiers' season opener. Smith nearly matched the Rainiers' ace, giving up only two runs on six Tacoma hits. The Rainiers managed to move only two runners into scoring position, but a sac fly by Wlad Balentien in the fourth and a Yung-Chi Chen's run-scoring single in the fifth accounted for all the runs Tacoma would need. The night though, belonged to Feierabend, who struck out seven and gave up only four hits to earn the win. Cesar Jimenez pitched a dominating ninth to earn the save, and Tacoma starts the year off right.

RiveCats and Rainiers again tomorrow night at 7. R.A. Dickey and his knuckleball take on veteran Kirk Sarloos.


Inspired by Jamie - and now David Boe - we've started a FeedTacoma discussion group about how and where we can build a new Rainier ballpark. Join us, won't you?

Tacoma's new - hopefully waterfront - ballpark. How do we get it built?

ThriceAllAmerican posted some gorgeous photoshop work that places Portland's PGE Park on the Supervalu warehouse. Erik Hanberg mentioned the former Asarco Site. No Rhubarb! has always been privy to placing a park on the Hilltop, close to where baseball began in Tacoma. Still others want to tear down the Dome and rebuild there. We've had small discussions on each of those sites and in person. Here I would like to start an all-inclusive discussion, where we can lock down the best possible place, and maybe even figure out how we can afford it.

Cheney Stadium is old and - let's face it - not all that pretty. It's also a city property so Tacoma has a stake in its replacement. A waterfront park would feature views as good as any in sports, minor or major. A new ballpark would become one of the faces of the city, comparable to Union Station or the Museum of Glass. A new ballpark can and will make this city a more beautiful and livable place. So let's get it done.

The Opening Day Roster for Your Tacoma Rainiers:

PITCHERS B-THtWtBornBirthplace

Baldwin, AndyR-R6-520810-20-82Duluth, Minn.

Barzilla, PhilipL-L6-01801-25-79Houston

Cyr, EricR-L6-42102-11-79Montreal

Dickey, R.A.R-R6-322010-29-74Nashville, Tenn.

Feierabend, RyanL-L6-32288-22-85Cleveland

Huber, JonR-R6-21957-7-81Sacramento

Jimenez, CesarL-L5-1121511-12-84Cuman, Venezuela

White, SeanR-R6-42104-25-81Pullman

Woerman, JoeR-R6-322512-12-82Edmonds

Woods, JakeL-L6-12009-13-81Fresno

No Rhubarb! Says: Fairly veteran group. Dickey is the defending PCL Pitcher of the Year, Cyr is a former top prospect for the Padres. Woods, Huber and White all spent time with the Mariners in 2007. Feireabend and Dickey could turn out to be a very nice 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation.


Clement, Jeff L-R6-12158-21-83Marshaltown, Iowa

Johnson, Rob R-R6-12087-22-83Houston

No Rhubarb! Says: The more things change... The Rainiers odd time-split will continue. Clement is the stick and Johnson is the glove. Unfortunately, thanks to Alexander Joy Cartwright or Abner Doubleday or whomever designed baseball, you can't platoon that way.


Chen, Yung ChiR-R5-111707-13-83Taitung Co., Taiwan

Hulett, TugL-R5-101802-28-83Springfield, Ill.

LaHair, BryanL-R6-522011-5-82Worchester, Mass.

Navarro, OswaldoR-R6-015510-2-84Vlla De Cura, Ven.

Norton, GregB-R6-12057-6-72San Leandro Calif.

Tuiasosopo, MattR-R6-22235-10-86Bellevue

No Rhubarb! Says: Potentially a very strong mix of prospects like Tui and LaHair, and the veteran Norton, who should DH when Clement is behind the plate. Chen is a wild card. He missed most of 2007 with a shoulder injury, but posted a .339/.444/.424 line in the Arizona Fall League.


Balentien, WladimirR-R6-22157-2-84Wllemstad, Curacao

Johnson, BrentR-R6-21955-21-82Las Vegas

Reed, JeremyL-L6-02006-15-81San Dimas, Calif.

Sardinha, BronsonL-R6-12004-6-83Honolulu

No Rhubarb! Says: Balentien will be in right, at least until he joins the Mariners. Reed is almost certainly on the trading block, but until that happens, he and Sardinha - a former Yankees prospect - should share left and center.

During the inaugural season of No Rhubarb! we faithfully followed the exploits of Our Favorite Rainier, outfielder Adam Jones. Jones is in Baltimore now, on his way to what we firmly believe will be a long and excellent career. The title of Our Favorite Rainier cannot stay vacant though, and we will take the next few days to find our new favorite. This year we will let you, the reader chime in on the subject. No Rhubarb! will present the case of several players and then let you vote who you think is Our Favorite Rainier. After which we will almost certainly ignore the results and just name whomever we want anyway.

Next Up: Jeff Clement

Jeff Clement was the Mariners' first pick in the suddenly-fabled 2005 draft. Up until the draft Seattle was widely expected to choose shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, but instead opted for Clement, a lefty-hitting catcher from USC. A fabled collegian, Clement trails only Mark McGwire on the Trojans' all-time home run list. Jeff spent most of 2007 as a Rainier, splitting time at catcher with the more-defensively gifted Reed Johnson, also spending time at DH. Clement hit well last year, posting a .275/.370/.497 line with 20 homers. He made his major-league debut in September last year, clubbing two homers in only 16 at-bats. With his path to the majors jammed by Kenji Johjima, Richie Sexson and Jose Vidro, Clement returns to Tacoma. He is rated the Mariners best overall prospect by Baseball America.

Three Reasons Why Jeff Clement is Our Favorite Rainier
1.Power (20 HR) and Patience (61 BB)
2.Catchers who can hit well are rare. Like really rare. Like think of the rarest thing you can think of and go past that.
3.Adam Jones was Seattle's #1 prospect for BA last year. Karma?
Three Reasons Why Jeff Clement is NOT Our Favorite Rainier
1.Not long for Tacoma. With some better roster planning by the big club, Clement would be DHing for Seattle right now.
2.Might not be long for catcher either. Scouts worry about his slow release and actions behind the plate. A move to first base might be in the offing.
3.Power and patience is incredibly important for a hitter. Watching a batter talk pitches for extended periods is not the most exciting thing in baseball, however.

Photos courtesy of and

Media Day!

And we weren't invited! Lucky for all of us, we have a friend who was, and was nice enough to share some snaps he took.

Darren Brown just looks like a baseball man, doesn't he?

Bonus Note: Darren Brown hails from Holdenville, Oklahoma.
Extra Bonus Note: Brown is sporting the batting practice cap, and the Rainiers are one of the very few teams in baseball with a good-looking BP cap. We may have to purchase one the next time we visit.

R.A. Dickey, almost certainly answering another question about not making the Mariners.

This is what is is like to be Rainier rightfielder Wlad Balentien. The view anyway.

More photos available at the Official No Rhubarb! Flickr Pool

With only the Final Four to go, Automagic has solidified his lead. Currently sitting at 104 points, he has all four teams still alive and a commanding six point lead over PSP and Cole's Lousy Picks. We here at No Rhubarb! suffered a catastrophic weekend and slipped back to the pack. Good luck ya'll.

Well, we guess that the powers that be at the Rainiers finally put No Rhubarb! on the press release list, but this is unexpected to say the least. Full text to follow:


Schlegel Sports Group and Starfire Sports Announce Partnership

Schlegel Sports Group of Dallas, Texas and Starfire Sports of Tukwila, Washington have agreed to the framework of a deal that will move the Tacoma Rainiers, Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, to Starfire Stadium effective Opening Day 2009. In addition, the team will be known as the Tukwila Rockets effective immediately. "We feel that Tukwila, with it's location central to both Seattle and the south King County suburbs, gives us the best possible future for Triple-A Baseball in the Pacific Northwest" stated Rockets General Manager Aaron Artman.

The Rockets will play out the 2008 season in Tacoma's Cheney Stadium as scheduled while Starfire Stadium is reconfigured for baseball. Starfire Stadium, currently the home of the Seattle Sounders Women's Club, will seat approximately 9,000 for baseball, The stadium redesign, to be unveiled later in the summer, will feature a dozen luxury suites and a walkaround outfield concourse according to Starfire CEO Chris Slatt. "We fully expect the redesigned Starfire Stadium to be the preeminent minor league baseball stadium in America." stated Slatt. The stadium, which banks the Green River, will feature a centerfield plaza leading to a boat dock and feature "more amenities than you can believe" according to Artman. The suites and premium seats will feature all-you-can eat food and concierge service.

Artman did state that the move has been planned since Schlegel Sports Group's 2007 purchase of the team. Schlegel Sports bought a team in a dilapidated stadium in Tacoma" proclaimed Artman, "and neither of those is the optimum situation. We began searching for a site in King County soon upon the sale being completed, and we found that Tukwila is our personal Elysian Fields." When asked if the parent club Seattle Mariners objected to the move at all, Artman stated that the opposite was true. "The Mariners, while prizing the close location of their top farm club, were often terrified that the random street violence that plagues Tacoma would put Mariner prospects in danger. This solves that problem neatly."

According to Artman, the recently announced "alternate logo" is in truth the new Rocket logo. "We decided to leave the name and logo in Tacoma, for use in a possible Single-A or semi-pro team in the future" conceded Artman. When asked about the Rockets former home, Artman asked, "Isn't 40-some odd years in Tacoma long enough?"

Wow... Somewhere Rhubarb is weeping.

We are switching sports just briefly today, checking up on the rather horrifying world of Hockey mascots. The difference between hockey mascots and baseball ones? Hockey mascots are expected to skate. Take a moment - if you would - to imagine Rhubarb on ice skates.

Not pretty, huh?

This is Thunderbug, mascot of the NHL Tampa Bay Lightning and the Arena Football Tampa Bay Storm. Why two teams named after weather patterns would require a bug - what kind of bug we aren't certain - to serve as mascot but they do. We dunno, he's an ant perhaps? Anyway, Thunderbug does your traditional mascot things and probably does them quite well. Why then, would we switch sports and highlight him?

Because of this:

Now you will notice that this Thunderbug is a Zooperstars-style inflated plastic suit. This makes us wonder about the validity of this, but we don't care. This is awesome, and we FULLY support Rhubarb terrorizing small children.

Hat Tip to Puck That Hit, via With Leather

During the inaugural season of No Rhubarb! we faithfully followed the exploits of Our Favorite Rainier, outfielder Adam Jones. Jones is in Baltimore now, on his way to what we firmly believe will be a long and excellent career. The title of Our Favorite Rainier cannot stay vacant though, and we will take the next few days to find our new favorite. This year we will let you, the reader chime in on the subject. No Rhubarb! will present the case of several players and then let you vote who you think is Our Favorite Rainier. After which we will almost certainly ignore the results and just name whomever we want anyway.

Next Up: R.A. Dickey

Robert Alan Dickey is 33, a former first round pick of the Texas Rangers. Dickey was a sterling 38-10 in three seasons with the University of Tennessee. He made his major league debut in 2001, and spent time with the big club in parts of the 2003 - 2006 seasons. Dickey is the defending PCL Pitcher of the Year, going 13-6 with the Nashville Sounds, Triple-A club of the Milwaukee Brewers. Signed as a minor league free agent by the Minnesota Twins, he was then selected by the Mariners in the Rule 5 Draft. After not making the big league club out of spring training, Dickey was then offered back to the Twins. Minnesota then accepted the rights to minor league catcher Jair Fernandez instead.

Okay, that was more complicated than we first expected. What you kneed to know - other than he's pretty good - about R.A. Dickey: He throws the knuckleball. For those who might not know, the knuckleball is thrown with minimal spin which allows the air to push against the seams of the baseball. This will cause the ball to dip, rise, corkscrew and basically do whatever it damn well pleases. A well-thrown knuckler is difficult to hit, even more difficult to catch and damn near impossible to control. In other words, it is one of the more fun things in baseball.

Three Reasons Why R.A. Dickey is Our Favorite Rainier
1-Could be a bona fide Number One starter for the Rainiers
2-Initials are cool
3-KNUCKLEBALL! All you need to know about the knuckler comes from this quote by Hall-of-Famer Willie Stargell: "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." We don't understand it either, but who can argue with Pops?
Three Reasons Why R.A. Dickey is NOT Our Favorite Rainier
1-Might not be long for Tacoma. Dickey pitched well this spring, and should be the first guy called up to Seattle. Had Cha Seung Baek not been out of options, Dickey would be a Mariner already.
2-Not particularly thrilled with being a Rainier. No one wants to be sent to the minors, but Dickey makes a pretty good case.
3.KNUCKLEBALL! Yeah, the knuckler isn't always pretty. Jeff Clement - an other OFR candidate - could well kill himself trying to catch it.

Additional Bonus Reason: The knuckleball's origin are fairly murky, but some credit the creation of the pitch to 200-game winner Eddie Cicotte, best known for his involvement in throwing the 1919 World Series. Whether this is bad juju or special extra-good reverse juju, we leave entirely up to the reader.

Photos courtesy of and

Okay, one of the first things we did upon setting this-here blog up was to include a Google Newsreel. Set to find snippets concerning the PCL or your Tacoma Rainiers, it has helped us on occasion find stuff. Today though, the first thing showing up on the newsreel is... the Tacoma Daily Index concerning this very blog. We have - of course - clicked through to said story.

We read a story about ourselves, linked from ourselves. Yeah....

So, in closing, if the universe collapses in on itself today, it was our bad.

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