Three Names You Should Know

These are the players you’ll want to know before they arrive in Sacramento 

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In baseball, it can be hard to know which minor leaguers to keep an eye just because there are so many of them. It can be hard to keep track of players as they move around from league to league, level to level, and we’re here to help. We’ve picked three players who spent 2016 with the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels that we think you should know before they take the field by the river in West Sacramento.

Christian Arroyo, INF – Richmond Flying Squirrels

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Chances are you’re already familiar with Flying Squirrels infielder Christian Arroyo. But in case you aren’t, here’s the deal. He was drafted in the first round (25th overall) by the San Francisco Giants in the 2013 June Amateur Draft. In a move that many saw as too bold, the Giants took the 18-year-old Arroyo straight out of high school and two-to-three rounds ahead of where most teams projected him.

“With a high school kid, you’re never really sure what you’re getting,” said Shane Turner, Director of Player Development for the San Francisco Giants, of Arroyo. “But he has matured mentally and physically and I think he’s going to be even stronger than maybe we first thought.”

In his first three-plus years of professional baseball, Arroyo has done nothing but impress, hitting .300 across four different levels. He has been invited to the big league Spring Training camp twice, posting a .538 Spring average (14-for-26) with two home runs and seven RBI. In 2016, the versatile infielder started the shift to 3B while hitting .274 with 36 doubles. With the rate Arroyo has already risen through the system, it’s likely he’ll don a River Cats jersey before too long.

Tyler Beede, RHP – Richmond Flying Squirrels

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If you don’t know Tyler Beede, here’s the skinny: First-round draft pick (twice!), College World Series champion, and number two overall prospect in the Giants system.

Beede was drafted by the Giants in the first round (14th overall) of the 2014 June Amateur Draft. Beede was drafted four years prior, also in the first round (as the 21st pick) by the Toronto Blue Jays, but passed up on the opportunity to attend Vanderbilt and play college baseball.

That decision led him to the 2014 College World Series, where the hard-throwing right-hander helped his team capture the 2014 title. His shining moment came in the Nashville Regional when he struck out a career-high 14 in eight innings against Xavier. Fun fact: current prospect Dansby Swanson, ranked sixth in baseball, was Beede’s teammate on that Championship club.

With just under two seasons of professional ball under his belt, Beede has already moved up to Double-A. He spent just half a season with San Jose (Class A Advanced), posting a 2.24 ERA in 52.1 innings of work. In his first full year at Double-A, Beede went 8-7 with a 2.81 ERA and a 2.55 K:BB ratio, including 3-1 with a 1.58 ERA in his final seven starts.

Ray Black, RHP – Richmond Flying Squirrels

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Aroldis Chapman. Noah Syndergaard. Nathan Eovaldi. Kelvin Herrera. Ray Black?

You better believe it. Just like all the guys listed before him. Ray Black brings a serious heater to the backend of any bullpen. The right-handed hurler was clocked at 104 mph in an Arizona Fall League in 2015 and has touched 100 to 101 miles per hour consistently throughout his minor league career.

Black was drafted in 2011 by San Francisco as the 237 overall pick (7th round) despite posting mediocre numbers while at the University of Pittsburgh. Shortly after signing with the Giants, Black underwent labrum surgery and missed the next two seasons completely.

Just 25, Black hasn’t drawn notable attention because of that labrum surgery and a string of other notable injuries dating back to high school, including Tommy John surgery, a broken hand, and more. Because of that, his inning count is also still quite low at 78 through five seasons. If he can continue to stay healthy – he made 35 appearances for Richmond last season – it’s safe to say this fireball will find his way to West Sacramento sooner than later.

 

There you have it. Three names that you can almost certainly expect to see at Raley Field for the 2017 season. Now you can tell all your friends that you knew first as you drop knowledge about favorite soon-to-be River Cats.

River Cats 2016 Walk Up Songs

Get ready to rock! We have your 2016 River Cats walk-up jams right here in one convenient playlist. Get pumped!

Gorkys Hernandez: “Lejos De Aqui” – Farruko

Kelby Tomlinson: “Soul on Fire” – Third Day, All Sons & Daughters

Travis Ishikawa: “Again” – Fetty Wap

Andrew Susac: “Feel Good Drag” – Amberlin

Ryan Lollis: “Tops Drop” – Fat Pat

Miguel Olivo: “One More Road to Cross” – DMX

Austin Slater: “Overload” – The Chainsmokers

Juan Ciriaco: “Creere” – Tercer Cielo

Austin Fleet: “Closer” – Kings of Leon

Ty Blach: “Your Grace is Enough” – Matt Maher

Chris Stratton: “Brother” – NEEDTOBREATHE

Jake Dunning: “Forgot About Dre” – Dr. Dre, Eminem

Matt Lujan: “Closer to the Sun” – Slightly Stoopid

Sergio Romo: “El Mechon” – Banda Sinaloense MS de Sergio Lizarrage

Clayton Blackburn: “Stockyards” – Casey Donahew Band

Hunter Pence: “My Boo” – Ghost Town DJs

Hunter Pence: “First Class” – Henry Jackman

Hunter Pence: “Is She With You?” – Hans Zimmer

Ramiro Pena: “El Aferrado” – Julion Alvarez

Mitch Delfino: “Amarillo Sky” – Jason Aldean

Jarrett Parker: “Jubel” – Klingande

Mac Williamson: “Who’s With Me” – Flo Rida

Bonus Track: “Nick Punto” – The Minnesota Sports Band

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack

Who knew the author of a ballpark staple was such a hopeless romantic.

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We don’t know about you, but one thing we love every night at Raley Field is the seventh inning stretch. Grab a soda, catch a giveaway, but most importantly of all, sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

The song is synonymous with the stretch. It’s at every ballgame in every stadium. And Raley Field is no exception.

 

Chances are though, you’ve never actually thought about where the song came from. And if you have, you probably figure “Hey, someone really liked baseball and wrote a song.”

What you probably didn’t know was that this famous song arose in 1908 from a girl-nearly-rejects-the-guy moment. Jack Norworth was simply riding the subway train when an ad that said “Baseball Today at the Polo Grounds” caught his eye.

original take me out to the ballgameInspired, Norworth jotted down the infamous lyrics – which can be found at Cooperstown at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In the original lyrics, Katie’s beau rings her up to take her out on a date. He thought a good show might be nice. Katie however, said no.

In fact, she had a better idea. She would go with him on one condition – he had to take her out to a ball game.

And thus a classic was born. The words were set to music by Albert Von Tilzer and the first recording was sung by Edward Meeker.

Here are the lyrics from 1908:

Katie Casey was baseball mad,
Had the fever and had it bad.
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev’ry soul
Katie blew.
On a Saturday her young beau
Called to see if she’d like to go
To see a show, but Miss Kate said “No,
I’ll tell you what you can do:”

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don’t care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win, it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.

Katie Casey saw all the games,
Knew the players by their first names.
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along,
Good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Katie Casey knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don’t care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win, it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.

Katie Casey obviously had her priorities straight.

 

The 15-year gap

Two different eras, one common passion.olivo blackburn headshots

It’s understood in baseball – as in most sports – that you’ll be able to find a varied amount of both young talent and veteran experience. The Sacramento River Cats are no exception.

The oldest player on the River Cats roster is veteran catcher Miguel Olivo, born in 1978. Earlier this season, he was behind the plate, catching for one of the youngest members of the team, Giants #10 Propsect Clayton Blackburn, born in 1993.

That’s a 15-year gap. A lot sure has changed in those 15 years.

olivo white soxOlivo was born on July 15, 1978 in Villa Vasquez, Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic. He made his major league debut with the Chicago White Sox on September 15, 2002 at the age of 24 and in his first taste of the show, he went 1-for-2 with a home run )off Andy Pettitte!) and three RBI. Blackburn was just nine years old.

Blackburn was born on January 6, 1993 in Amarillo, Texas. He made his mark in the organization last season, earning the title of Pacific Coast League ERA champion with a 2.85 mark. The Giants No. 10 prospect was recalled by San Francisco on May 12, but did not make his debut. It’s possible that Blackburn could make his way back at some point this season.

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High-school throwback

That means Olivo was 14 years, 5 months, and 22 days old when Blackburn was born. And Blackburn was 9 years, 8 months, and 9 days old when Olivo made his major league debut.

That’s nearly a 15 year difference in age and if Blackburn makes his debut in 2016, a 14 year gap between debuts.

A lot changes in a decade and a half. 

Take for example the price of gas. When Olivo was born in 1978, the average cost for a gallon of gas was $0.63 cents. When Blackburn was born, it was $1.16. When Olivo made his debut, it was $1.35. While Blackburn has yet to make his debut, if it happens in 2016, you can expect to find the average cost of gas at $2.27 (just not anywhere in California).

politicsOr look into how politics have changed. In 1978, Jimmy Carter was president. In 1993, two weeks after Blackburn was born, Bill Clinton was inaugurated at president. And today? Well, we’ll leave today’s politics out of it.

Thankfully technology has undergone some major updates, as well. When Olivo was born, the Illinois Bell Company has recently introduced first ever Cellular Mobile Phone System. When Blackburn was born, the World Wide Web was created at CERN and the Pentium microprocessor was introduced by Intel. Most importantly, in 2002, Apple introduced the second generation iPod that held 4,000 songs and the “super innovative” iMac G4.

grease gifWe may be biased, but the pop culture of 1978 is something to be missed. Popular movies included Grease and Saturday Night fever. People were listening to the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, and the Bee Gees with hits like “Stayin Alive.”

The Nineties though, receive an applause for their movies. In 1993, Blackburn’s family was probably watching Jurassic Park or Schindler’s List. His mom might have been watching Sleepless in Seattle. And a baby Blackburn could have been watching Mrs. Doubtfire.  

In Texas, the Blackburn family was likely listening to country star Garth Brooks. Or secretly belting out Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” in the shower.

The greatest transition though, would be the change from this in 1978:

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To this in the 90s:

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While neither style may suit either of them anymore, we can all agree that, despite the years between, them, both look real good in that Sactown jersey every Friday night.

Sneak Peak: Ty Blach Interview

Get an early look at our upcoming The Inside Pitch interview with All-Star Ty Blach

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The Portugal and Wales game is just underway when we dial up Ty Blach. So first things first, of course.

Soccer fan, Ty?

“No, not really,” he answers casually. “It’s exciting to watch, but I’m not really invested either way.”

After a second, he adds “Plus, in Fresno, there’s not much else going on anyway.”

He’s watching the match from his hotel room in Fresno where the River Cats are a few hours away from starting the third game of their three-game set against their intrastate rivals.

Blach won’t pitch in the series, but that’s because he just wrapped up a dominating 10-strikeout performance at home against the Albuquerque Isotopes. His start before that? A nine-inning, complete-game shutout against the hot-hitting Las Vegas 51s in Las Vegas. Combined, the left-hander tossed 16 innings with a 1.13 ERA, 16 strikeouts, and not a single walk.

Those numbers were good enough to net Blach the Pacific Coast League’s Pitcher of the Week award for June 27 – July 3. It’s his second time receiving the award with the River Cats, the last one coming for the week of August 17 – 23 of last season.

Blach tossed his first nine-inning complete-game shutout of Triple-A during that week. Sensing a theme?

“I guess so,” Blach says, laughing. “I hadn’t thought of that.”

Complete game shutouts aren’t necessarily new for Blach, who has four of them – one of which was a seven inning effort as a part of a double-header – in his four year career. Is there anything different about those games? Is there a point where, as a pitcher, you start thinking “I can go all the way in this one”?

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See the rest of our interview with Ty Blach in our upcoming edition of The Inside Pitch, available at all River Cats games starting July 22!

We The Fans: Walk Up Music

You voted and asked for some old-time classics. We couldn’t be more proud.

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We gave you four choices for opponents’ walk up music and you let us know which one you wanted. While the music of the 90’s, 80’s and 70’s all put up good showings, 35% of you voted for the Golden Oldies.

Just for you, here are all of the oldies used for the Isotopes hitters in tonight’s “We The Fans” game.

Rock on, old timers. Rock on.

New ‘Cats in town

New faces fill out the River Cats roster halfway through the season

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The River Cast roster, like any Triple-A roster, experiences quite a few changes throughout the course of the season. A little over halfway through the season, Sacramento has already made 107 transactions. In the past 48 hours alone, there have been nine different moves, meaning there are more than a few new faces on the team. We thought we’d help break it down and introduce you to each.

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Oropesa, Richmond 2015

INF Ricky Oropesa (#35) was transferred from Double-A Richmond and added to the River Cats’ 25-man roster today, Thursday, 6/30. In 68 games for the Flying Squirrels this season, Oropesa hit .219 (51-for-233) with eight doubles, nine home runs, and 31 RBI. He’s always possessed above average power, and hit a career-best 17 home runs in 2015 with the Double-A Richmond Squirrels. This is the first time that the left-handed slugger has appeared at the Triple-A level in his five seasons of professional ball. He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 draft, following first round pick Joe Panik and second rounder Andrew Susac. You may have heard of them.

Next up is INF Ali Castillo (#49), who like Oropesa, was transferred from Double-A Richmond and added to the River Cats 25-man roster. So far this season, Castillo hit .317 (63-for-220) with nine doubles, three triples, and six stolen bases in 66 games for the Flying Squirrels. He’s got nine Minor League seasons under his belt, but just 20 games played at the Triple-A level (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 2015). He joined the Giants organization after signing a minor league deal in December of 2015. Prior to that, the 26-year-old infielder had spent seven seasons in the New York Yankees organization. In 2013, Castillo was named the Eastern League Playoffs MVP after going 8-for-21 (.381) with two doubles, a triple, a home run, six RBI, and four runs scored.

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Rogers, Richmond 2016

Also coming from Richmond is RHP Tyler Rogers (#48), who was transferred from Double-A and added to the River Cats 25-man roster. The right-handed reliever has a very unique submarine delivery and had made 35 appearances for the Flying Squirrels, posting an ERA of 0.77, with 10 saves, 24 strikeouts, and 8 walks.Rogers was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 10th round of the 2013 First Year Player draft and will be making his Triple-A debut in what is his fourth season of professional baseball.

The last Richmond transplant (for now!) is INF/OF Myles Schroder (#19) was transferred from Double-A Richmond and added to the River Cats 25-man roster. Schroder was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 27th (824 overall) round of the 2007 Draft. He’s played at least 100 games in every season since 2014 and, even more impressive, has played at least 10 games at every position during his six-year Minor League career. Over the last two seasons, Schroder has hit .252 with seven home runs, 32 RBI, and 14 stolen bases in 109 games with Richmond.

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Denorfia, Chicago Cubs 2015

Returning to Sacramento after a six-year journey through the Majors is OF Chris Denorfia (#55), who was reinstated from the Sacramento Disabled List and added to the active 25-man roster. The 35-year-old vet signed with the San Francisco Giants as a minor league free agent in June of this season, starting his year with the AZL Giants. In 2015, appeared in 103 games with the Chicago Cubs, hitting .269 (57-for-212) with 3 home runs and 18 RBI. Has spent parts of 10 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Reds, Athletics, Padres, Mariners, and Cubs. Denorfia played 152 games with the River Cats between the 2008 and 2009 seasons, hitting .280 with 31 doubles, 11 home runs, 69 RBI, and 20 stolen bases.

 

 

Series Preview: River Cats expect fireworks against Isotopes

Sacramento looks to continue hot streak against slumping Albuquerque

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The Sacramento River Cats (33-47) are looking to set off some fireworks this Independence Day Weekend as they face off against the Colorado Rockies Triple-A affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes (31-48), losers of 12-straight games.

Scouting the Teams

Albuquerque currently sits 15 games behind El Paso in the Pacific Southern Division and during their 12-game losing streak, have been outscored 51-25. During the month of June, Albuquerque has an 8-19 record while hitting .245 as a team with a 4.34 team ERA. Coming into Raley Field this weekend, the Isotopes are currently hitting a league-low .233 as a team on the road while they’re 3.96 team ERA on the road is third best in the league.

In Sacramento’s most recent win over the Las Vegas 51s, outfielder Ryan Lollis was the only starter from the opening day lineup. The River Cats pitching staff will be eager to leave the hitter-friendly ballpark in Las Vegas and get home to improve upon their a team ERA of 3.54, fifth-best in the league. At the dish, River Cats hitters haven’t found as much success, hitting .262 as a team, ninth in the league. Sacramento comes in with an 11-16 record so far this month and will be seeking their fourth home series win this weekend.

Players to Watch

The Sacramento offense starts from the top, literally, as leadoff man and centerfielder Gorkys Hernandez has been on a tear of late. The River Cats’ lone 2016 All-Star, Hernandez is hitting .469 (15-for-32) with nine runs and eight RBIs over his last 10 games. Sacramento shortstop Rando Moreno has impressed of late as well, hitting .333 (12-for-36) over his last 10 games while driving in three runs and scoring six. Left-hander Ty Blach is coming off a complete game shutout against the Las Vegas 51s and is 2-0 in his two starts with a 3.75 ERA against the Isotopes

The 19th ranked prospect in the Rockies organization, Jordan Patterson is hitting .444 (4-for-9) over his last three games and is hitting .500 in his four games against Sacramento this season. Fellow outfielder Stephen Cardullo has been a mainstay for Albuquerque this season, as he currently leads the team in RBIs (40), home runs (11), and runs scored (44). Undeterred by the team’s offensive futility during their 12-game losing streak is left-hander Harrison Musgrave, a highly-touted pitching prospect. Over his last two starts, the southpaw is 0-2 despite allowing three runs over 13 innings while striking out 10.

Matchup History

The River Cats and Isotopes have split their first eight games this year. As a team, Sacramento is hitting .270 against the ‘Topes while the pitching staff has a team ERA of 3.86. All-time, the River Cats hold a 53-32 series advantage. Sacramento faces Albuquerque once more in New Mexico August 3-6.

Probable Pitchers

Thursday, June 30 (7:05 p.m. PT): RHP Joan Gregorio (1-4, 5.59) vs. RHP Jeff Hoffman (4-5, 3.49)
Friday, July 1 (7:05 p.m. PT): RHP Clayton Blackburn (5-5, 4.50) vs. LHP Kyle Freeland (0-1, 6.00)
Saturday, July 2 (1:05 p.m. PT): TBA vs. RHP Shane Carle (3-6, 5.65)
Sunday, July 3 (12:05 p.m. (PT): LHP Ty Blach (7-5, 4.23) vs. LHP Harrison Musgrave (3-5, 4.20)

Series Preview: River Cats host Rainiers

River Cats look to continue success against Rainiers

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The Sacramento River Cats (39-31) will host the Tacoma Rainiers (39-31), the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, for the last four games of their 12-game homestand. It will be AL-style baseball at Raley Field as the River Cats try to improve on their 6-18 mark against American League teams. Of those six wins, three came against Tacoma in their only road series win so far this year. The Rainiers currently sit tied with the Reno Aces for first place in the Pacific Northern division with the River Cats 11 games back.

Scouting the Teams

The Tacoma Rainiers have not been the same team away from the Pacific Northwest, as they hold a 15-20 record on the road. The Rainiers come into West Sacramento 4-6 in their last 10 and 9-10 so far this month. Tacoma’s strong suit is their pitching staff, as they currently rank first in the PCL in fewest walks allowed (172) and have the third lowest team ERA (3.91). Offensively, they sit in the middle of the pack, ranking seventh in team batting average (.272), sixth in home runs (63), and eighth in stolen bases (52).

The Sacramento River Cats will look to build off their series win over the El Paso Chihuahuas, as they attempt to gain ground on first-place Tacoma. The Sacramento staff, who boast the third best team ERA this month (3.79), have pitched sensationally in the friendly confines of Raley Field, registering a 3.38 ERA. Despite scoring 27 runs in the eight games so far this homestand, the River Cats bats average just .232 at home. Overall, they have the third fewest runs scored in the PCL (301) and third fewest walks (207). On the year, Sacramento has stranded 507 runners on base, second only to their prior opponent (El Paso 541).

Players to Watch

Right fielder Stefen Romero has been a stalwart for the Rainiers this season, hitting .326 (10th in the PCL) with four triples and has not committed an error in his 321 innings played this year. His running mate, catcher Mike Zunino, leads the team in home runs (14, tied for third in the PCL) and RBI (45). Shortstop Chris Taylor is hitting .400 over his last nine games with four runs scored and eight RBI. Taking the hill tonight for Tacoma will be left-hander Brad Mills, who over his last two starts, is 1-0 with seven runs allowed in 11 2/3 innings pitched. He will be followed on Wednesday night by Joe Wieland, who owns a 7.52 ERA in 12 starts this season, and has a 13.21 ERA on the road.

On the mound tonight for the River Cats is veteran right-hander Chris Heston, who in four home starts, possesses a 2.00 ERA. Thursday night’s game will feature southpaw sensation Adalberto Mejia, making his second start for Sacramento. In his first start, Mejia went seven scoreless innings, not allowing a walk while striking eight. Centerfielder Gorkys Hernadez, who is tied for the most games played in the PCL this season (68), has been a key contributor over the last five games, hitting .333 with three runs scored and two RBI. In the four game series against Tacoma earlier this season, catcher Andrew Susac hit .267 with four RBI, two runs scored, and a homer.

Matchup History

The River Cats’ only road series win came Apirl 23-26 against the Rainiers, in which they outscored them 20-16. Sacramento has yet to beat an AL affiliate at home as they currently are 0-8 when using designated hitters at Raley Field. Along with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, the Tacoma Rainiers are the only other team against who the River Cats have a winning record. All time, Sacramento leads the series 132-112.

Probable Pitchers

Tues, June 21 (7:05 p.m.): RHP Chris Heston (1-8, 3.96) vs. LHP Brad Mills (3-1, 5.20)
Weds, June 22 (7:05 p.m.): LHP Ty Blach (6-4, 4.41) vs. RHP Joe Wieland (5-4, 7.52)
Thurs, June 23 (7:05 p.m.): LHP Adalberto Mejia (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Zach Lee (7-5, 4.89)
Fri, June 24 (7:05 p.m.): RHP Joan Gregorio (1-4 6.54) vs. RHP Jarrett Grube (0-0, 3.52)

Player Interview – Mitch Delfino

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River Cats broadcaster Johnny Doskow with Mitch Delfino

Johnny Doskow: Great to talk with first baseman Mitch Delfino. You were a part of some history at the University of California Berkeley. Nobody was sure if Cal was going to have baseball. Can you take us through how that?

Mitch Delfino: That was an unbelievable year. It was a rollercoaster of emotions all year long. We found out our program’s been cut. Everybody has to go look at different schools and go on recruiting trips during the fall while were getting prepared to play the season. I think only two guys ended up leaving that year. Everybody wanted to stick it out. The last season together. We made a run and went to the College World Series. Unbelievable experience. And they raised 10 million dollars and reinstated the program. It was an amazing year.

 JD: Amazing. You and Jeff Kent. He took a liking to you. He took an interest to you. You guys had a friendship. Can you talk about that a little bit?

MD: The first time I got to meet him was a couple years ago at spring training. I was in big league camp and got to work with him a little bit. We worked on some defensive things. We talked about the whole Cal relationship. Great guy.

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JD: This must be big for you – growing up in Cloverdale, growing up being a Giants fan, and being drafted by the Giants. Take us through draft day and what that was like.

MD: It was amazing. I was at one of my buddy’s houses and it was after the college season was over. I wasn’t even listening to the draft and ended up finding out through a bunch of texts. Everyone was congratulating me. It was just amazing getting drafted by the team I grew up watching. I was at a lot of those games where Barry Bonds was breaking records. I’ve been a big Giants fan my whole life. It was pretty unbelievable to get a chance to hopefully play for them one day.

JD: I know this is your first year at Triple-A. You seem comfortable at the plate. What has been the adjustment like going from Double-A to Triple-A.

MD: The biggest adjustment for me was not playing every day. Throughout my career so far I have been an every day player. Right now at Triple-A almost everybody has been up to the big leagues. A lot of big league guys are on our roster.  So I am trying to stay mentally prepared every day. You don’t know when you’re going to get a pinch hit at bat, you don’t know when you’re going to come in on a double switch, and then those days when you do get to start, trying to keep that rhythm going and trying to execute when you get it there so you can hopefully stay in there.

JD: That’s a very smart approach. Because when you get to the big leagues for the first time, there’s a good chance that you will come off the bench. And you have to be prepared for that chance.

MD: Absolutely. I’m hoping that this year definitely gets me prepared for that next step. Like I said, not playing every day, and getting in there for those pinch hits at bats. Because most guys when you get up to the big leagues, you’re not playing every day. That’s just not how it works. So I definitely think this will help better prepare me for that.