If the Rainiers looked a little sluggish last night in their 4-3 loss to Salt Lake before a sold-out crowd at Cheney Stadium, they have a solid excuse.
Play-by-play man Mike Curto gives a vivid description of their brutal journey from Fresno to Tacoma in his Off-Mic blog. The headline says it all: Worst travel day in 10 years.
As a veteran of some awful travel delays, I feel their pain. The Rainers’ day on Friday began with a 5 a.m. wakeup call in Fresno, where they had played a night game on Thursday, and ended with them starting their game in Tacoma 56 minutes late because they were just getting into town. In between was a nine-hour prison sentence in the cramped Fresno airport waiting for a plane to take them home.
My favorite part is Curto’s description of the frantic bus rise from Sea-Tac to Cheney Stadium after finally landing in Seattle:
Then, off we went at 6:00 from Sea-Tac to Tacoma on a Friday afternoon down I-5. A traffic nightmare. We were bumper-to-bumper in gridlock until we got to the bottom of the hill when a police escort (!!!) picked up our team bus and led us through Fife, the Highway 16 construction-zone interchange, and past the gameday traffic into Cheney Stadium. Our bus driver was a monster, getting into the spirit of the police escort and hauling ass past pulled-over vehicles with the guys on the team hollering encouragement – I think he really enjoyed it.
We pulled up to Cheney Stadium at 6:45 and were greeted by a dozen staffers ready to unload equipment and get the team ready to play. We started up at 8:00 – as soon as we could; guys had to unpack, dress and stretch – and off we went.
Check that: My favorite part is the picture of Daren Brown trying to get some shut-eye in the Fresno airport. Scroll to the bottom to see that. As Curto says, this man managed in the major leagues last year.