Military Homecoming at Raley Field

As the holidays are quickly approaching, it makes us think about our loved ones both near and far. Last week, Raley Field had the pleasure of welcoming, reuniting, and honoring a Navy veteran returning from a deployment. For the first time in eight months, DC1 (SW) Michael Warren was able to see his wife, Nicole, and kids, Jakob and Kevin, in person. The best part was that the kids had no clue they would be seeing their dad that day.

Having returned from deployment the day before, his lovely wife set up a great surprise meeting for the kids. Starting off the day, Nicole, Jakob, Kevin, and a few other family members headed to Raley Field for a private tour of Raley Field with Mike on the Mic.

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Meanwhile, Michael waited in the River Cats Clubhouse for his family to come through the doors at the end of the tour. With the help of the San Francisco Giants organization, Jakob and Kevin entered the clubhouse to find Giants/River Cats swag . While they were distracted with their new merchandise, their dad comes from behind to give them the surprise of a lifetime. This amazing homecoming ended with some catch on the field with their dad.

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Needless to say the reuniting moments that followed were tear-jerking, heart-warming memories that will last a lifetime for all who witnessed. We are so glad that we could be a part of such a wonderful and rewarding experience.

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On behalf of the River Cats and Raley Field, welcome home DC1 (SW) Michael Warren and thank you for your services.

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*Thank you to the Giants organization for providing merchandise to make this moment that much more special.

Mike on the Off-Season. Where does the Entertainment MC go when baseball season ends?

Hey River Cats fans! Mike on the Mic here!

If you have been to a River Cats game in the last four baseball seasons, then you have seen the work that I do during games, running all over Raley Field conducting games, trivia challenges and promotions. It is my job, along with our outstanding Cat Crew, to keep the energy up and put smiles on the faces of the thousands of fans who visit Raley Field during each game.  As our season was coming to an end this last September, a handful of fans asked me what I will be doing to keep busy this off-season. I figured I would take this opportunity to give a little peak into the off-season of your favorite (and only!) River Cats MC!

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As light hearted and goofy as my work is that I do during games, my off-season work is a little bit more serious, but just as much fun! If you were too look at my business card, it would describe me as the “Community Outreach Coordinator and In-Game Entertainment MC”. The MC part actually comes second. I work for the River Cats all year round and am only the MC for the 72+ home games here at Raley Field. For the rest of the year, I am working diligently to lead our community outreach efforts. I do this in a number of ways; assemblies, speaking/hosting engagements and Cats Care events.

On average, I will speak to approximately 100 schools in the Sacramento area every year. I visit a few high schools every year, primarily for career days to discuss job opportunities in sports and how to properly prepare yourself with education to be as successful as you can be. I will also visit a handful of middle schools, mostly to discuss the importance of making good choices, how to prepare yourself for the hard work in high school, and the value of that hard work in preparation for college. The majority of my assemblies are for elementary schools. I speak to the students about what it means to be Triple-A, but not minor league baseball. How is that for a riddle? How can one speak about Triple-A and NOT talk about minor league baseball?! The Triple-A that I speak to the students about is the three A’s of success; Attitude, Attendance and Academics. I admit, I do use a few examples from minor league baseball to demonstrate the importance of working hard at these three things. I primarily speak from personal experience with a few stories as well as sharing stories about successful people like Jackie Robinson in order to educate the students on the value of a positive attitude, good attendance and working hard in school to succeed in academics. I absolutely LOVE performing these assemblies. These assemblies are at zero cost to the schools. If you are connected to a school and would like to bring in the Triple-A program, please contact Eddie Eixenberger at eeixenberger@rivercats.com (public schools) or Joey Van Cleave at jvancleave@rivercats.com (private schools).

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I have the pleasure of speaking to many adult groups as well. Throughout the year, I will be the keynote speaker for Rotary organizations, fundraisers for little leagues and as the event MC for a variety of different charities and non-profit organizations. Over this last year, I have MC’d a great variety of events! Everything from The Sacramento Moustache Run benefiting the American Cancer Society to the Miss Placer County pageant and the Annual Corn Dog Eating Competition at the Sacramento County Fair. If you would be interested in having me as an MC or Host for an event, please feel free to email me at MikeontheMic@rivercats.com and we will see what we can do!

One of my favorite things about the River Cats is the commitment to the community. We recently launched a new community support initiative called Cats Care. The purpose of Cats Care is to give our employees and fans an opportunity to work together in a variety of different ways to support the community. Since its inception, Cats Care has supplied volunteers to help with a variety of 5k runs for charity, participated in The Great American River Clean Up helping to beautify Discovery Park, and most recently, helped distribute food at The Sacramento Food Bank and Family Service’s Turkey Distribution Event. If you would like to participate as a member of Cats Care or request volunteers for a charitable event, please email me at mikeonthemic@rivercats.com and we will help to the best of our abilities.

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Aside from these wonderful responsibilities, you can often find me with our street team at fun events all over the Sacramento area and enjoying the company of fellow River Cats fans and employees at one of our Thirsty Thursday events downtown. For info on any of the above mentioned activities, feel free to shoot over an email!

Thank you to all of you who have made my time with the River Cats the best summers of my life, and I look forward to seeing you all next season! Go Cats!

Sincerely,

Mike on the Mic

The answers you have been waiting for (’09 Trivia)

The time as come for the answers to be revealed. I know you all were waiting on the edge of your seats for this. I hope you had as much fun figuring out the answers as I did creating this trivia quiz. I threw you all for a loop with number 5 with an error in his current career, but you all can read below to find that out. Enjoy!

1) Jeff Baisley is from Florida and attended Land O’ Lakes High School. His dad was a legendary coach there and they ended up naming the high school baseball field after him.


2) Eric Patterson played 2B and some OF with the River Cats in 2009 and is famously stole home in a game that year at Raley Field. His brother played with the Chicago Cubs and he actually came up through the Cubs system originally.


3) Cliff Pennington was the starting SS for the River Cats for much of the year in 2009 and was a former 1st round pick of the A’s. He is now 30 and plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He played my collegiate baseball at Texas A & M.

4) Anthony Recker caught for most of the year with the River Cats in 09 and did a little DHing as well. He is now the backup catcher for the New York Mets and he married former homegrown lefty Brad Kilby’s cousin.


5) Brad Kilby is the homegrown lefty from Elk Grove. It was a thrill to pitch for the River Cats as he attended River Cats games when he was in high school and college. He made his big league debut on September 2nd, 2009. *After coaching baseball at Franklin High School for a year, he is now the Pitching Coach at Cosumnes River College.


6) Sean Doolittle played the outfield, first base, and DH’d for a bit the first part of 2009. He became a pitcher, making the conversion in 2011 and worked his way to the big leagues in 2012. He is now an all-star closer and at one point in 2014, he had walked one and struck out 63 batters.

7) Chris Denorfia could have made millions being a voiceover specialist as he has the gift of a “movie trailer voice”. Instead, he is now a major league baseball player and with the San Diego Padres over the last several years he has put up good numbers as an everyday outfielder in the big leagues. He finished 2014 with the Seattle Mariners. He was the River Cats center fielder and right fielder in 2009.


8) Tommy Everidge played some first base and was the designated hitter at times in 2009. He made his big league debut at Fenway Park on July 28th that year starting at first base for the Oakland A’s.

So how did you all do? Perfect score? 50/50? I’m sure you did great! Thanks for playing along

Sacramento River Cats Trivia Time (2009)

Let’s go back 5 ½ years ago to 2009 and test your River Cats knowledge. I am trusting you to not go to the internet to get your answers. I will have all of the correct answers in my next blog. Good luck!

Match the statements with the correct player (Answers will be in the next blog)

1) – I am from Florida and attended Land O’ Lakes High School. My dad was a legendary coach there and they ended up naming the high school baseball field after him. Who am I?
2) – I played 2B and some OF with the River Cats in 2009 and I famously stole home in a game that year at Raley Field. My brother played with the Chicago Cubs and I actually came up through the Cubs system originally. Who am I?
3)- I was the starting SS for the River Cats for much of the year in 2009 and I am a former 1st round pick of the A’s. I am now 30 and play for the Arizona Diamondbacks. I played my collegiate baseball at Texas A & M. Who am I?
4- I caught for most of the year with the River Cats in 09 and did a little DHing as well. I am now the backup catcher for the New York Mets and I married former homegrown lefty Brad Kilby’s cousin. Who am I?
5) – I am the homegrown lefty from Elk Grove. It was a thrill to pitch for the River Cats as I attended River Cats games when I was in high school and college. I made my big league debut on September 2nd, 2009. I am now coaching baseball at Franklin High School. Who am I?
6) – I played the outfield, first base, and I DH’d for a bit the first part of 2009. I became a pitcher, making the conversion in 2011 and worked my way to the big leagues in 2012. I am now an all-star closer and at one point in 2014, I had walked one and struck out 63 batters. Who am I?
7) – I could have made millions being a voiceover specialist as I have the gift of a “movie trailer voice”. Instead, I am now a major league baseball player and with the San Diego Padres over the last several years I have put up good numbers as an everyday outfielder in the big leagues. I finished 2014 with the Seattle Mariners. I was the River Cats center fielder and right fielder in 2009. Who am I?
8) – I played some first base and was the designated hitter at times in 2009. I made my big league debut at Fenway Park on July 28th that year starting at first base for the Oakland A’s. Who am I?

Relax and take yourself back to 2009. I will have the answers for you in the next blog.

Park Factors 101

You may have heard of the terms “hitter’s park” and “pitcher’s park” being used to describe ballparks both in the PCL and MLB. These terms are used to indicate that some parks tend to feature games with more runs, while others tend to suppress offense. This is because unlike in most sports, baseball’s playing field is not standardized. Plus, the differing climates and altitudes also affect play (for example, the thin, dry air of Colorado helps balls fly farther, while the sea-level humid air of San Francisco supresses hits).

Measuring a ballpark’s offensive or defensive inclinations is called Park Factors. Park Factors uses a simple mathematical formula to calculate the relative amount of offense a ballpark has in comparison to the rest of the league. This is the one ESPN uses to calculate MLB ballpark factors:

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And here’s why it works.

The formula combines all the runs scored at the home ballpark and divides it by number of games, which comes out to the average (the mean) total number of runs scored in each game.

It also combines all the runs scored in games played by that ballpark’s team away from that park and divides it by the number of games, which comes out to the average total number of runs scored in each away game. Since those games feature the same players that also played at the home ballpark, the only variable that changes is the ballpark. By dividing the two, you are level with a number that indicates if more or fewer runs are scored at the home ballpark than at all other ballparks in the league.

If the home ballpark is perfectly average, the Park Factor is 1.000, meaning that the average number of runs scored at the home ballpark is the same as the average number of runs scored at all the other ballparks.

If the home ballpark is a “hitter’s park,” the Park Factor is above 1.000, which means a higher than average number of runs is scored at the home ballpark.

If the home ballpark is a “pitcher’s park,” the Park Factor is below 1.000, which means fewer runs are scored at that park than other parks on average.

This formula can work for any counting statistic: hits, doubles, triples, home runs, and so on, just by replacing “runs.” The Park Factor for each statistic changes because some parks’ dimensions encourage certain types of hits, such as AT&T Park’s infamous Triple’s Alley.

Here is ESPN’s list of MLB Park Factors for 2014. If you don’t quite feel like clicking on that link, just know that our MLB affiliate San Francisco Giants play in a pitcher’s park. AT&T Park’s Park Factor is .920 (25th overall), with a Home Run Park Factor of .677 (dead last).

Of course, playing in a pitcher’s park is nothing new to River Cats fans. Here are the Raley Field Park Factors for 2014:

Runs: .728

Hits: .846

Home runs: .681

That means in each of the main three offensive categories, Raley Field allows fewer than the PCL average. This doesn’t mean that games lack runs, however – the PCL is one of the highest scoring leagues in North America. It just means that Raley Field will help the ace pitching prospects the Giants are notorious for developing.

How It’s Made: Theme Night Jerseys

One of the more unique aspects of minor league sports is the theme night jersey. Eschewing their normal colors and logos, for one night a team can honor the military, be R2-D2, or raise money for breast cancer awareness. One minor league hockey team even honored Seinfeld’s famous puffy shirt episode. They’re some of the most anticipated nights on the schedule.

A lot of work goes behind the scenes to produce these specialty jerseys. To illustrate the process of creating one, we’ll take you through how we created last season’s Social Media Night jersey.

The process begins far in advance of the night itself. It begins the previous season, when the themes nights are thought of and planned. After the theme nights are decided upon, we choose a few that we think could have really awesome specialty jerseys that could raise money for some great causes. One night was Social Media Night, held on August 13.

Once an idea has been decided upon, details start getting hashed out. We knew it had to tie in closely with social media, and we wanted our players’ Twitter handles to be on the back.With those two guides, the design process started.

First, a more solid theme was hammered down. We knew that it was “Social Media,” but that could be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or some amaglam of all of them and more. Guided by the knowledge that the Twitter handles were going to be in place of the standard nameplates, we settled on Twitter-themed jerseys.

The next step was the graphic design equivalent of throwing everything at a wall and seeing what sticks. Lots ofdesigns were created, most of them not very good, in an effort to find a good idea.

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After the “@RiverCats” logo was chosen as the main point of the jersey, the rest of the jersey was designed around it. With the predilection for hashtags being apparent in the logo concepts, we decided to bring the hashtags into the sleeves.

To balance out the slanted “River Cats” logo, we added the Verified logo. And rather than throwing out the logo that evoked Twitter’s old “t” logo, we used that as a sleeve patch. We finished off the jersey with the nameplates, using the internet’s official font: Impact. This concept was sent to the printer for their edits.

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Finally, we got the final version from the printer, who makes color and pattern edits that perfects the jersey. The entire process, from first deciding to create a jersey to actually getting the jersey to give to the players, takes almost an entire year. It’s a long process, but it’s worth it, don’t you think?

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Yes, that means we are in the process of creating a slew of specialty jerseys right now, to go with theme nights old and new. But we’re not giving any hints… yet.

Exciting update of the new Western Health Advantage Legacy Club

Construction on the new Western Health Advantage Legacy Club continues at Raley Field this offseason.

Fans came down to the ballpark all last week to sign the steel beam for the Topping Out ceremony.

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DesCor Builders’ cranes have been working all week setting the columns to extend the suite level.

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Beams are now going into place for the deck structure.

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The indoor/outdoor area will feature a private bar, as well as inside and outside seating for dinner. Fans who have a Western Health Advantage Legacy Club Membership receive access to the club as well as an all-you-can-eat menu to every River Cats home game.

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A bonus: More shade at Raley Field now too!

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The Western Health Advantage Legacy Club is the brand new all-inclusive area reserved exclusively for Sacramento River Cats Members. This 5,000 square foot area is located on the third base side of Raley Field on the suite level.

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For more information on how you can get your Western Health Advantage Legacy Club Membership, email us at tickets@rivercats.com or call 916-371-HITS (4487).

Your Shopping Addiction Fix

The On Deck Shop at Raley Field just received a shipment of San Francisco Giants gear, just in time for Game 6 of the World Series tonight!

The official Giants World Series fitted cap is available in sizes ranging from 6 7/8 to 7 1/2. WS hats

The River Cats are also selling camo team apparel with proceeds benefiting Operation Hat Trick – an organization that generates awareness, support, and funding for the recovery of America’s wounded warriors, both active service members and veterans.

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Giants Under Armor sweatshirts in both men’s and women’s sizes are in high demand as the seasons turn to fall. 

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Children’s apparel includes River Cats, Giants, and Giants 2015 World Series gear for the littlest fan in your life.

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The On Deck Shop at Raley Field is open Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. during the off-season.  Also, visit the On Deck Shop online store at www.ondeckshoponline.com.

2015 Roster Possibilities Pt. 1: Andrew Susac

With the 2014 Major League postseason still underway, it’s tough to tell which players will be calling Raley Field home in 2015.

That won’t stop us from trying, though.

The first player we’ll look at is Roseville native and Jesuit grad Andrew Susac. After being selected in the 16th round of the 2009 first-year player draft by the Philadelphia Phillies, Susac chose not to sign and instead enrolled at Oregon State University. The decision paid off when Susac was drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft by the San Francisco Giants.

He began his MiLB career in San Jose in 2012, working his way up to Double-A Richmond in 2013 and eventually made it all the way to the big leagues in 2014. Susac held his own at the highest level, hitting .273 with a .326 on-base percentage and a .466 slugging percentage in 88 at-bats spanning 35 games played with San Francisco.

Before making his big league debut May 22, Susac played 63 games at the Triple-A level, clubbing 10 home runs in 213 at-bats. Four of those games took place at Raley Field, and included two two-hit performances.

As a catcher, Susac made the Giants’ NLDS roster. With Buster Posey making more and more starts at first base for San Francisco, it’s likely that Susac will begin the 2015 season behind the plate at AT&T Park. If, however, he doesn’t begin the year in the bigs, he’s sure to be wowing River Cats fans right here in Sacramento before returning to the show.

PCL Affilate Shuffle

It’s been a busy offseason in the Pacific Coast League with six teams changing Major League affiliations. You already know that we’re now affiliated with the San Francisco Giants, but what other changes were made, and how will it affect the River Cats moving forward?

In Sacramento’s division (the Pacific Northern Division), the Fresno Grizzlies are now affiliated with the Houston Astros. The good news is that Tony DeFrancesco (Sacramento’s manager for seven seasons and Houston’s current Triple-A manager) will make eight visits to the Capitol City this season. The bad news is that Houston’s Triple-A club could be stacked in 2015 with as many as 10 former first-round draft picks. The other two teams in the division (Tacoma/Seattle and Reno/Arizona) did not change affiliations.

In the Pacific Southern Division, the Albuquerque Isotopes are now the Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies after previously being affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers. El Paso, Salt Lake, and Las Vegas all re-signed with the San Diego Padres, Los Angles Angels of Anaheim, and New York Mets respectively.

The PCL’s American Conference saw three affiliation changes. The Oakland Athletics Triple-A squad will now call Nashville home and will visit Sacramento on May 25-28. The Oklahoma City RedHawks are now the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Colorado Springs Sky Sox will now feature players and coaches from the Milwaukee Brewers organization.

2015 promises to be one of the most interesting seasons in River Cats history. Buckle up!

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