1. The Fans
The be-all and end-all for why we love coming to the park every day. It’s you. Cheney Stadium is a historic park and incredible venue to enjoy America’s pastime, but without the people of the Pacific NW filling it, at the end of the day, it’s just another place.
2. The Fires of Cheney
There’s something kind of magical about that fireplace tucked up over third base. We’d be naive if we didn’t admit that April and May baseball can be on the cold and damp side, but few things prove you’re a true Tacoman like huddling up at The Fire Place and cheering for the home team.
3. Foul Balls
The absolute scramble. The sound of the crowd when a great catch is made, bobbled, or takes a weird bounce off the stairway. Few moments in a baseball game are as unpredictable as a foul ball into the South Sound stands.
4. Third Base Sunsets
Once summer hits, you can expect to look over the first base grandstand and see a gorgeous display in the sky that reminds you why you’re lucky to call the South Sound home. A handful of games every year, though, the sunset hits just right making for a magical backdrop and one of those evenings that buries itself in your heart and mind forever.
5. Spinning Records
Baseball and music. They’re a match made in heaven and a relationship we don’t take lightly. We blast vinyl records of every genre and era at R House, and with our summer speakers quiet for the first time in as long as we can remember, we’re missing the days of cranking it up to 10.
6. The 253 Breeze
Even on the hottest days, there’s a mystical breeze that blows through our concourse making Cheney Stadium feel more like an island paradise than coastal American city. Catch that wind on the wrong day and it might even make you stumble. It’s also been known to cause outfielders fits in the early months of the season.
7. Game Day Staff
From the kid handing you your program when you first arrive to loveable ushers like Chester and Pat, these passionate people from all walks of life are the glue to our Cheney Stadium experience. We could sure use a smile from some of our We R Tacoma friends and family right about now and can’t wait until a day we’re all reunited.
8. PCL Bomb-Fests
You know the type of game we’re talking about. Some loaded team from Fresno or El Paso trots into town boasting some jacked up prospects and all of a sudden, we’re off to the races. Five or six homeruns later and we’re looking at a 14-12 game in the 8th More often than not, the Rainiers rise to the occasion and win out.
9. The Best Dog in Baseball
This mustardy masterpiece would hit extra hard right about now but raise your hand if you’re missing ballpark food in general. We’d give a toe to be double fisting a cold one and a burger, chicken strips, plate of barbeque, or bowl of chowder right now. Summer just doesn’t feel complete without it.
10. Thirsty Thursdays
$2 beers, sunshine, and an already raucous stadium turns the dial up a notch on Thursday nights. We like to go up in R Bar right around last call and just feel the vibe. Without fail, it’s a sea of smiling faces who have had a good time for cheap on a Thursday night in Tacoma.
11. Mascot Antics
Rhubarb, Polar Boy, Disco Beaver, The Dog Squad, ESG, and more. Minor League Baseball’s known for mascot fun, but there’s something special about our band of misfits here in the 253. You never know what’s next, and with that kind of spontaneity, every inning break in the action is a can’t miss opportunity for controlled chaos in Cheneyville.
12. Walking in the Gates
This is your moment of Zen. That feeling like you’ve arrived, and now it’s time to leave all troubles and worries at the gates for nine innings of fun. We’ll take your ticket, here’s your program. Welcome to our little slice of paradise on the corners of 19th & Tyler.
13. Hat Giveaways
We’re used to seeing R hats all around town and at the park. Like, everywhere we go. But, there’s something kind of satisfying about looking into the crowd on a giveaway night and seeing the entire crowd in the same one. We’re always on the same team here at R House, but there’s a visual aspect to a sea of the same headgear that really carries the point home.
14. Lampin’ on the Mezz Deck
This is just a guilty pleasure, really. One of the most sought-after spots for Summit Club members, this is the perfect spot to take advantage, as it’s shady, right behind home plate, and home to the best bar tender in Cheneyville, Miss Judy.
15. Berm Life
Our little piece of the prairie. The dwellers of the berm and those fortunate enough to call it home for nine innings are a special breed. They’re laying down, chatting, rolling around, and living life like they’re picnicking in Wright Park, except they’re at Cheney Stadium and there’s a baseball game going on a few hundred feet away. It’s kind of trippy, man. You wouldn’t understand unless you’ve lived it.
16. Wiffle Ball Home Run Derbies
It’s a way of life for hundreds of kids in Tacoma. Their parents took them to a Rainiers game, and that’s all good and fine, but they post up in our still new wiffle ball field and just swing away for hours. Another example of the many ecosystems happening at any given time at R House. The game within the game, really.
17. R Drone
That high tech robot on wings of ours takes off on a packed night at Cheney Stadium and it really puts in perspective how cool it is that 7,000 strangers can gather in one place and root for the same team and city. It gives us chills every time.
18. Sunday Afternoons
If South Sound Baseball up and died, Sundays at Cheney Stadium would be heaven. They’re almost always perfect weather, the vibe is full Americana, and more often than not, the home team sneaks out a win in exciting fashion. Sundays at Cheney Stadium are most certainly our staff’s collective happy place.
19. Curto on the Radio
Whether you’re at home, in the car, or walking the concourse of Cheney Stadium, that voice of our broadcaster Mike Curto tells you baseball is happening, summers in swing, and today is as good a day as any to be alive and a Rainiers fan to boot.
We’re going to high-five again someday, right? It feels like a lifetime ago that a good play in the field or a big hit prompted slapping of the hands with strangers, friends, and family alike. We liked that tradition and look forward to its resuming when appropriate and safe to do so.
Now we’re not saying we condone yelling, shrieking, whooping, or chiding opposing players who are just trying to do their jobs, but when our fans heckle in a creative and humorous way, we can’t help but laugh. It’s part of the game. Heckle away. Just be nice about it.
22. Home Runs
The swing. The sound. The fireworks. A bomb over the left field wall, or even one that sneaks over the short porch in right. We’ll take a Rainiers dinger any way you can dial it up. Stick that feeling right into our veins. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
23. R City Pride
It’s the feeling that floats in the air and envelops every Rainiers game. We’re proud of where Tacoma has been and where it’s going. It’s a palpable love for this place we call home that other cities in Washington, down the coast, and around the country marvel at and it’s something we feel lucky to play host and give a platform to.
24. A Packed R House: Those days and nights where there’s not an empty seat in the house, the crowd’s at full throat, and the energy is keyed. Those are nights where it’s a little more fun to be a fan and be a player. The stuff baseball dreams are made of. We can’t get enough.
25. Tossing T-shirts
We’ll level with you. It’s not really about the shirt. It’s about something hurtling in the air, blindly into a sea of people, reaching up and grabbing it. It doesn’t matter if that shirts got a Rainiers logo on it or a drawing of a chicken skateboarding, that’s a free shirt. You bet your behind you’ll wear it with pride.
26. The 7th Inning Stretch
A widely held ritual we do right at Cheney Stadium. We get up, we sing the old song, and then something powerful happens. We get loud, we dance, and we give it our all. After all, that sitting, drinking, and eating calls for a little bit of exercise.
Whether it’s a stud on the rise, a former great, or a guy on his way through to Double-A, does it really matter? Getting an autograph from a pro ball player is the best, and few places in the country are as easy to snag a John Hancock from one as Cheney Stadium is. Get up close to that rail. Ask politely. More often than not, the answer is yes.
28. The Lights
Those historic Cheney Stadium towers brought over from Seals Stadium have illuminated a lot of memories over the years. The moment when a summer night gets a little too dark and it’s time to fire up the lights is one that will be a little different in seasons to come, as the team just installed new energy efficient LEDs that are going to make every little detail of Rainiers baseball that more vivid.
29. Epic Sax Gorilla
A rally cry. An anthem. A moment of shared joy. When that ape hits that horn, it hits different. We can’t explain it, and we won’t try to. Just clap along, own it, and lose yourself to the dance.
30. Messy Kids
You know the type. A kid who has just finished off two things of cotton candy, half a hot dog, and a 12 oz. Pepsi. They’re wearing about half of it on their face, around their mouth, and their hands are sticky? It’s kind of impressive, really. We can’t fault them for having fun, and we sure do miss the youthful energy of the younger Rainiers fans running around R House.
From Felix Hernandez to Robinson Cano, we’ve had some absolute ballers come through Cheneyville over the last couple of years, and it’s always a ton of fun to watch the energy of the park get turned up a notch. You never know who’s going to be rolling through the Rainiers lineup, and that’s a bonus of being a fan.
32. Rhubarb’s Flag
Commemorating the start of each and every home game, our beloved reindeer darting out of the dugout and proudly waving his flag is a symbol that’s almost time to play ball. The next time its furled fabric catches wind will be the moment we are all reunited and back watching the game we love in our favorite home away from home.
33. The Drag
We really just miss watching the Cheney Stadium Grounds Crew in general. Their ritual of combing the infield dirt a few times a game is like a reset for the field of play. All that has happened before is now settled, the unease in the soil has been put to rest, and now play may resume. Forgive us, there’s something kind of spiritual about the work of a bunch of men who methodically care for grass that makes us wax poetic.
34. Hot Prospects
The beacons of hope. The reason that we all care about what’s happening at the Triple-A level. We’re pretty used to saying “wait until next year” here in the Pacific NW, and without young stud players those words would be hollow. We cheer for these guys, wish them the best, but we hope we don’t see them for long as they make their way to play and stay at the major league level.
35. The Ceremonial First Pitch
We never claimed to be angels. The mischievous side of us loves to bear witness to the great equalizer that is the Ceremonial First Pitch. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Super Intendent, CEO, some dentist, or Miss Tacoma, here’s a ball, go toe the rubber. It’s 60 feet 6 inches to home plate. Good luck, Godspeed, and may the chips lie where they lie.
Oh, to the great catharsis found in shaking your tail feather. On those hot perfect Cheney Stadium nights, when the team’s winning and the air is hot, our fans bust a groove like none other. That’s when R House is really rocking and it’s something that sticks to your bones. As much as anything, we miss dancing with you, Tacoma.
Always Together. We R Tacoma.
About the Tacoma Rainiers
The Tacoma Rainiers are the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. Tacoma has been a member of the Pacific Coast League since Cheney Stadium opened in 1960, and has been a Mariners affiliate since establishing the Rainiers moniker in 1995.
The most up-to-date news and notes about the Tacoma Rainiers and Cheney Stadium can be found at WeRTacoma.com, or by following the Rainiers on Twitter (@RainiersLand), Instagram (@tacomarainiers) and liking the team on Facebook.
We R Tacoma Team Store
The We R Tacoma Team Store is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT, and is always available online. Grab your Rainiers gear, your Defiance ‘fit, and follow the team store on Instagram and Twitter.
More information on social distancing and how to prevent the spread of Covid-19 can be found at Tacoma-Pierce County Health. The most up-to-date information on how COVID-19 is affecting events at Cheney Stadium can be found here.