Seventy scheduled games. Nine innings every matchup. Over 50 outs to be recorded each time out. There’s hundreds- nay, thousands- of remarkable memories that’ll be made as we usher in the 7th decade of Tacoma Rainiers baseball at Cheney Stadium. For our first impossible challenge of the new year, we boiled down five months of summer splendor into 20 can’t-miss moments that are worth the price of admission this season. In no particular order, here are 20 randomly awesome things to get excited about for the 2020 Rainiers season.
1. R Opening Night (April 9)
Ok, this one is in particular order because it’s first and foremost on the calendar. There’s an energy and anticipation that only comes once a year, and in our opinion, Opening Night should be a National Holiday. Let’s close the schools, the post offices, and make sure we’re all hunkered into our favorite seat at R House, cool drink in-hand, surrounded by our 7,000 favorite people.
2. Dancing with “The Fun Squad”
When “The Fun Squad” climbs onto the dugouts, get outta your seat and on your feet. Whether you can keep a beat or have two left feet, this is the time to stretch ‘em out and get jiggy with it. Trust us, subpar dance moves with strangers are far less embarrassing than being that person whose face gets plastered on the videoboard while sitting motionless in their seat with a get-off-my-lawn face during a performance from Epic Sax Gorilla. So come on and shake it up, baby. Twist and shout.
3. K9 Innings (Sunday, July 12)
Knick knack paddy whack, give your dog a day out at Cheney Stadium in 2020. This is your pup’s once-a-season opportunity to take in nine innings with other canines and strut their stuff confidently through the concourse. For dogs bringing their owners, please make sure all humans are on their best behavior. No barking, no biting.
4. A Bob Robertson sighting
With all that takes place on the field and around the stadium, it’s important to remember that there’s a living LEGEND that’s called this place home since the beginning. Bob Robertson is R Beloved Broadcaster who has been gracing the airwaves since his Hall of Fame career began seven decades ago. While Bob doesn’t make his way to the yard for every game, it’s always a treat for Cheney Stadium goers, Wazzu Cougars, and sports fans everywhere to see the iconic announcer making his way to the Bob Robertson Broadcast Booth.
5. Logan Gilbert’s fastball
Last year, Logan Gilbert climbed from Single-A West Virginia to Double-A Arkansas and used his plus fastball to mow down hitters at every level. The lanky 22-year-old punched out 165 hitters in only 135 innings, and surrendered less than one baserunner per inning pitched. The dude was already touching 97 mph as a collegiate pitcher in the Cape Cod Baseball League. If this power righty suits up for your Rainiers in 2020, buckle up, there are going to be strikeouts aplenty at R House.
6. Going 5-for-5 on This or That
If you’re not familiar with Cheney Stadium’s favorite game show, let us be the first to welcome you to planet Earth. Five questions. No margin for error. It’s not easy to win this 50/50 trivia contest, but ace Casey’s exam and you’ll be headed home with an incredible prize pack which may or may not be highlighted by a highly sought-after This or That t-shirt. Any questions?
7. Devouring the “Best Dog in Baseball” under the bright lights
If food doesn’t make it onto your top-20 list of coming to a ballgame, check yourself. There’s more options at R House than you could ever fit in a stomach in one go, but when a hot dog is bold enough to earn the honor of “Best Dog in Baseball” it’s certainly worth giving a go. A grilled all beef frank, stone ground mustard and delectable caramelized onions? Dude, c’mon now.
Check out our other food options here and make your way around the concourse before settling on the most important decision of your ballpark-going experience. What to eat.
8. Getting your favorite player’s autograph
Your choice Rainiers player could be a flamethrower who leads the PCL in strikeouts. Or he’s a slugger who punishes Coors Light Landing in BP. When you get that chance to say ‘hey’ and secure his John Hancock on a fresh white baseball, it’s a cool moment. Maybe it’s your chance at meeting a future Hall of Famer. It’s that claim to fame that you can proudly display in your home or office, so when you look at it 10, 20, 50 years from now, you can say ‘I knew him when…”
9. The Return of Copa de la Diversión
We’re pumped about participating in Minor League Baseball’s Copa de la Diversión initiative again in 2020. For five games throughout the season, the boys will play as La Familia de Tacoma, celebrating Latin culture in the South Sound and around the globe. This year, we’re busting out a revamped logo and fresh uniforms for these five fiestas, and we’ll drop the rest of our logos and merch in March.
10. Jarred Kelenic doing literally anything baseball related
Speaking of 2020, outfielder and Mariners top prospect Jarred Kelenic is coming off a season where he clobbered over 20 home runs and stole 20 bases. The guy flat out rakes. Baserunners won’t dare ignore his glove and arm either, and this five-tool stud could be donning the ‘R’ sooner than later. ESPN’s MLB insider Jeff Passan recently wrote about the electric prospect: “He’s really good. And he should be ready [for the Majors] midseason, if not sooner.” Get ready, Tacoma. He’s legit.
11. The Fire Place
It’s good to warm your bones. R Bar. The Fire Place. We’re talking about the hottest spot in Tacoma’s crown jewel. Get a picture-perfect view of the game from the third base line with the flames simmering at your back. When The Fire Place is roasting, you’ll want to stay under those Cheney Stadium lights, drink in-hand, until the sun rises over Rainier.
12. Getting on the big screen while living your best life
See No. 3.
Simply put, it’s R biggest game of the year. Hands down. And in 2020 it’s on a Friday. So we’ll combine R Friday Night Fireworks show with the best and brightest fireworks display of the season. If our math adds up, that’s a whole lotta fireworks. Red white and blue galore, let’s celebrate Independence Day Eve in South Sound style.
14. Your first sip of a $2 beer on Thirsty Thursday
We’ve got 10 Thursday home games on the schedule in 2020, which means double-digit contests with $2 Coors Light. But that first one, oh that first one that you’ve longed for since August, that’s the one that hits a little bit different. As those first suds of the season hit your lips, they’re saying, “goodbye winter. And hello, baseball.”
15. TMW you realize you haven’t taken your phone out of your pocket all game
Now hold on just a minute. It’s the sixth inning and you haven’t checked how many likes you got on that last post?? Ah… it feels so refreshing. You’ve been eating, drinking, making conversation with friends and strangers alike, you know… really social networking, and all you need in life is right here in front of you. You didn’t do it for the ‘gram. You’re just doing it.
16. Any game against the El Paso Chihuahuas
The Rainiers and Chihuahuas go head-to-head 16 times each season, and last year was as competitive as it gets. 8-8 overall. 4-4 at home. 4-4 on the road. Three walk-off wins at Cheney Stadium (including the first two home games of the season and a Chris Mariscal 10th inning grand slam), one extra innings victory on the road, and five one-run games. If all you want is a good game, circle these eight home contests on your 2020 calendar, Tacoma.
17. The first day game with no sleeves necessary
Nothing compares to an early afternoon first pitch when you get settled into your seat and realize you’re a little toastier than you were expecting. You shed that jacket, hike up your sleeves, and you can’t help but crack a grin because for the first time in 2020, you’re basking in sunlight and watching baseball on a warm spring day. FYI, we’ve got 17 day games lined up in 2020, with the first on Sunday, April 12 (1:35 p.m. PT).
18. Salute to Armed Forces Day (Sunday, June 14)
We dedicate this annual event to the men and women who have fought, and those still fighting, for American freedom. Salute to Armed Forces Day is your opportunity to come out and give the standing ovation that active duty military and veterans deserve. Show your appreciation to the local heroes who keep us safe and allow us to crack a cold one under the sun at a Rainiers game.
New to Cheney Stadium this year is R Military Family Plan, available for just $300. Learn more at WeRTacoma.com/Military.
19. Witnessing someone’s first Rainiers game
You might’ve been too young to know what was happening. Maybe you were a kid who knew for certain you would be a big leaguer someday and had no backup plan. Who knows, maybe you were a lifelong fan who craved that first whiff of fresh cut grass for decades. Regardless, when you come to Cheney Stadium, it’s someone’s very first baseball game, and it’s awesome to see every time. The sights, sounds and smells of the game marry to create an unforgettable memory. Taking it all in for the first time, at any age, is incredible.
20. High-fiving Rhubarb the Reindeer
He’s the man. Well, he’s technically the Reindeer. But he’s the face of the franchise. He’s the knight in furry armor. He is THE Rhubarb the Reindeer. And sharing a friendly high-five with the flyest mascot in the league puts the cherry on top of a great day at the ballpark. Just beware, Rhu has been known to pull a few hijinks from time to time. Don’t turn your back on our antlered hooligan.
So, there you have it. Twenty reasons to get jazzed about the 2020 season of Tacoma Rainiers baseball. If you want to make sure you don’t miss a single one, email firstname.lastname@example.org for season ticket options. You can also visit TacomaRainiers.com to see the full schedule, along with season ticket and hospitality options for the upcoming campaign. April 9 will be here before you can even think of 20 more reasons to be here for R Opening Night, so check back in soon to learn when single-game tickets will go on-sale.
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