Thursday, July 19, 2012

My experience at the Everett AquaSox game

By Kshell

This weekend for the first time in my life I went and saw the Everett AquaSox in person. The reason I saw this short season single A team was the Mariners #3 draft pick overall Mike Zunino was set to make his pro debut. The AquaSox are a short drive for me so I decided to go check out our single A affiliate up in Everett. With the Seattle Mariners struggling and the Tacoma Rainiers probably too far of a drive for me to make consistently I'll probably be attending more AquaSox games which by far as the best mascot I've seen. The atmosphere at these games are fun and for a single A ball park I really enjoyed it. A dream of mine was to have a single A team play in my hometown of Longview, Washington. Since I've moved I'll just enjoy the AquaSox instead. In this particular game the AquaSox were taking on the Tri-City Dust Devils(Colorado Rockies affiliate) in what was going to be Mike Zunino's pro debut set for July 13th, 2012 on a Friday. As is usually the case in this state the weather played a factor for me as the game on Friday night was rained out. It was a shame as I would miss Zunino's pro debut as the tickets for my section were sold out on Saturday. I exchanged my tickets on Sunday for root beer float day instead.

For $6 you can drink all the root beer floats that you would like. I had three root beer floats for this game as relievers Mark Bordonaro(25th round pick 2012 draft) and Marcos Reyna(43rd round pick 2011 draft) signed my cup. The root beer floats were pretty tasty and it was nice talking to the players. They enjoyed it up here in Everett like I pointed out to them some single A teams are in the middle of nowhere at least Everett you can still have somewhat of a night life being close to Seattle. Unlike the rainy day on Friday the weather on Sunday was beautiful and my cup that was signed is now hanging on my shelf. For the guys down in single A they are still years away from the major leagues. They are still enjoying the game and having fun. They haven't quite gone through the grind of this being work which was refreshing to see in talking with the players before the game. Eventually some will move on to higher levels, few to the major leagues. While for most of these guys they'll never reach the majors that is just the harsh reality. Playing professional baseball is still fun and I'm glad to see these guys are enjoying themselves. Also the root beer floats I fully endorse that giveaway especially on a nice sunny July game. After I had my first one though it was time to watch the game as our AquaSox were ready to take on the Tri-City Dust Devils.

With the game started I was interested in seeing the Mariners 3rd pick overall Mike Zunino out of Florida. I also curious to see former Praire High School and Washington State Cougar Taylor Ard play. The picture to my right is of Ard and I felt he had a good day at the plate. In his first at bat he worked the count full before ripping a double down the third base line for a stand up double. He fouled out away some two pitch strikes which was nice to see him stay alive at the plate. In his second at bat Ard had the count in his favor as the pitcher fell behind 3-0 and after throwing Ard back to back strikes it was full count once again. Ard this time grounded out weakly to shortstop for the out. In his third at bat in the 7th Ard worked the count to 2-1 in his favor before flying out to right center field on a good swing. Overall I liked Ard's three at bats as I was impressed with his eye. I liked Ard's swings at the plate and someday he could be a nice player for this organization. The only problem I have with Ard is he is right handed and to date doesn't appear to have great power up until now. He has plenty of ways to go such as everyone on this club. Mainly I was impressed with Ard's at bats and the former Cougar is trying to be another productive Cougar first baseman for the Mariners like John Olerud was.

The main reason I went to the AquaSox game in the first place was to see prized prospect Mike Zunino. Zunino who was the third pick overall this past draft in 2012 out of the University of Florida. Zunino the previous day in the double header had a double his first at bat and since this game has homered three times in two games. In this particular game Zunino had a mixed result as he batted 5th and was DH all weekend. The first at-bat he saw just two pitches before grounding out. What I liked what right when he came to the dugout due to my seats I saw him telling the coach what the pitch was and the location showing he knew what it was just missed it. In his second at-bat he led the inning off with a base hit to center which was a rope. He had a good swing on the ball and it was a good solid base hit. His third at bat was a rough one as he struck out on a pitch in the dirt. I don't care if you are the #3 pick overall the draft or drafted in the 40th round you are going to have at-bats that makes you look silly. Overall I liked what little I saw of Zunino and hopefully his future in Seattle someday is very bright. The Mariners haven't had a catcher since Dan Wilson and the hope is Zunino can be that guy.

My experience at the AquaSox game was great. Like I said even though we lost 7-0 the AquaSox are still in first place in the Northwest League. It was nice to see the future of this franchise compete at the minor league league level. More importantly with the Mariners being so down it was nice to go to a baseball game and enjoy myself. I didn't care about the score as I cared more about having fun and just watching some good ole baseball being played. That was the most important part of my trip is that it was a fun game and the future appears bright for our Seattle Mariners. I hope someday to see some of these guys at Safeco Field in the next coming years!

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