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:

formula

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.

Topping Ceremony

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

Crane

Beams are now going into place for the deck structure.

Beam

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.

Deck

A bonus: More shade at Raley Field now too!

Shade

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.

Exterior

3-HIGH-RES4-HIGH-RES

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.

hat Trick

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

Sweatshirts UA sweatshirtWomens sweatshirts

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

Kids

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!

Former River Cats/Giants

In our 15 years in Sacramento, hundreds of players have worn our uniform. Of those hundreds of players, 33 have also played for our new MLB affiliate–the San Francisco Giants.

The most notable of those names is 2002 Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito. In his only season with the River Cats (2000), Zito made 18 starts to the dune of a 3.19 ERA including 91 strikeouts and 45 walks in 101.2 innings of work. After winning the Cy Young award with the A’s in 2002, Zito signed a seven-year deal with the San Francisco Giants, eventually helping the club win two World Series titles in 2010 and 2012.

Another big-time player to play for both the River Cats and Giants is Tim Hudson. Huddy, who made one rehab start for Sacramento 2004, signed a two-year deal with the Giants prior to the 2014 season. In his lone River Cats start, he tossed three innings on two hits and two earned runs with two walks and three strikeouts.

Current Giants closer Santiago Casilla (formerly known as Jairo Garcia) has appeared in 105 games for Sacramento in his career. He has a 3.98 ERA and 28 saves in 122.2 innings of work in those games. Additionally, Keith Foulke played briefly for the River Cats and Giants, eventually going on to win the 2004 World Series with the Boston Red Sox.

Here’s the complete list of players to have played for both the River Cats and Giants. The list is currently 33 names long. How big will it be after the 2015 season? We’ll set the over/under at 50.

Position players (10):

Alberto Castillo

Doug Clark

Steve Decker

Jesus Guzman

Brandon Hicks

Justin Knoedler

Todd Linden

David McCarty

Scott McClain

F.P. Santangelo

Pitchers (23):

Jeremy Accardo

Travis Blackley

Santiago Casilla

Vinne Chulk

Rich DeLucia

Keith Foulke

Chad Gaudin

Dan Giese

Wayne Gomes

Tim Hudson

Justin Knoedler

Guillermo Moscoso

Dan Otero

Brandon Puffer

Chris Ray

Scott Service

Erick Threets

Brett Tomko

Merkin Valdez

Jerome Williams

Jay Witasick

Jamey Wright

Barry Zito

Barry Zito Zito

Johnny Doskow – On the Road

Hi. My name is Johnny Doskow and I do the radio play-by-play with the Sacramento River Cats. I am about to embark on my 15th season with the River Cats and I wanted to share some thoughts on this blog about my travels and experiences in baseball.

People like to ask the minor league broadcasters about their favorite cities and ballparks and although I am partial to Raley Field, I will share with you my top 5 favorite cities to travel to in the Coast League.

  • Memphis

There is nothing quite like Beale Street for music and food. Blues City Café and Gus’ Famous Chicken are two of my personal favorites. We only go there every other year for four days so I make sure that I feast on ribs and chicken while we are there. In 2009 I was fortunate enough to go on a tour of Sun Studios, where Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash both recorded albums.

  • Las Vegas

We stay downtown and not on the strip, but I have never not enjoyed going to Vegas during the season. Despite the hot weather at times and the high scoring games at Cashman Field, this city never gets old to me. I love the fact that it never closes and there are a number of places to eat after the games and always something going on.

  • New Orleans

I love the French Quarter and really enjoy walking it during the day or after the game at night.  The music is amazing and the people-watching on Bourbon Street is second to none.  I enjoy the folks in the Big Easy and my brother came out to see me this summer there and we had a ball.   I wish we were able to see it more than once every two years.    Great city.

  • Nashville

Nashville is another city that I wish we were able to get to more than once every two years. The downtown area is incredible and you meet people from all over the country when you go there. I have been to the country music hall of fame but have not been to the Johnny Cash museum as of yet but plan to in the future. This is another city with outstanding restaurants.

  • ­Iowa

Do not sleep on Des Moines, Iowa. Phenomenal town. Maybe it is the fact that I started my career in Iowa, but I do have a soft spot in my heart for Iowa and specifically Des Moines. Don’t knock it until you have been there. I love to explore the downtowns of these cities and this could be my favorite. We used to stay walking distance from the ballpark and that made it even better as you could walk to the ballpark. I hope they move the hotel back to downtown again. Zombie Burger is a place to eat and the shakes there are ridiculously good.

Giant News

It’s official! The Sacramento River Cats are now the Triple-A affiliate for the San Francisco Giants!!

We are ecstatic to partner with the seven-time World Series Champs to give Sacramento-area sports fans what they’ve been clamoring for: more #SFGiants!

The change was announced Friday morning at a press conference at Raley Field that was attended by River Cats president Jeff Savage, Giants VP & Assistant General Manager Chip Maxson, Dusty Baker, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, former Giants pitcher Jim Barr, and every Sacramento-area media outlet.

From the River Cats perspective, the move was made for the fans, as an overwhelming majority of Sacramento-area sports fans are San Francisco Giants fans.

“We appreciate the 15 successful years we’ve had with the Oakland Athletics,” said River Cats President Jeff Savage, “and we’re grateful for the tremendous support that the region has shown us. Our mission here at Raley Field has always been, and always will be, giving the Sacramento community the best fan experience possible. We’re extremely excited to join the Giants family, and can’t wait for our 2015 home opener on April 9.”

From the Giants perspective, the move made sense in several respects: Raley Field is one of the premier facilities in minor league baseball, and its proximity to San Francisco is unmatched at this level.

“Sacramento is a great baseball town and the area has traditionally produced top baseball talent for the Major Leagues.  Our affiliation with the River Cats provides us with an outstanding player development environment, and we are excited about the opportunity to work with our young players at Raley Field,” said Giants Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Sabean.

It’s a new era here at Raley Field. Don’t miss it!IMG_4995  IMG_5044 IMG_5049 IMG_5058 IMG_5065 IMG_5103

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