River Cats Unveil All-New Sactown Uniforms
by editor Rick Cabral
WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento River Cats today unveiled their new “Sactown” alternate
uniform, which will debut during the 2016 season.
The uniform, which includes an alternate jersey and hat, draws inspiration from both Sacramento’s
and San Francisco’s iconic bridges, as well as from both cities’ baseball history, according to the
'Cats mews release.
In keeping with the Giants’ tradition, the River Cats will wear the new orange Sactown jerseys for
all Friday home games as an ongoing effort to bridge the two organizations.
The orange and charcoal uniforms will make their River Cats debut on Wednesday, March 30
for the team’s exhibition game against the San Francisco Giants. The jersey, which was designed
in-house by long time River Cats graphic designer Mike Villarreal, combines both Sacramento’s Tower
Bridge and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, further bringing together the River Cats with their
Major League affiliate, the San Francisco Giants.
“We had a chance to make something totally new, and we wanted to do something that would capture
the Sac pride and feeling,” Villarreal said of the jersey design. “Obviously it has a Giants
influence with the colors and the bridge, but our focus was on making something unique to Sac that
people would be proud to wear.”
Something new is right.
Just the use of the slang city term “Sactown” will be a novel addition for the hometown ‘Cats (who
are actually based in West Sacramento). Also the cap is a major departure from previous logos, and
reminds one that we should expect many “bombs” on Friday nights, as the S-A-C could
be misconstrued as the government’s Strategic Air Command team .
(Just kidding--West Sac airspace is totally safe!)
T-shirt versions of the Sactown jerseys are currently available at the On Deck Shop at Raley Field
and the replica jerseys and Sactown hats will be on sale soon.
Despite Down Season, Giants
Place 3 Among Top 10 Defenders
San Francisco shortstop
Brandon Crawford led all National League players—and all shortstops in the
major leagues—in the final SABR Defensive Index rankings for the 2015 regular
The Giants placed three
players in the Top 10 among National Leaguers in this sabermetric defensive
The SABR Defensive Index (SDI) is used to help select the winners of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award®
and Rawlings Platinum Glove Award™, presented by SABR, the Society for American Baseball
Crawford’s mark of 16.8
topped all National League players with Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado second with a 13.2
mark, followed by Miami shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria with a 11.6 score.
Tampa Bay center fielder Kevin Kiermaier led all players by a wide margin with a
Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado finished second in the American League with a 12.4
This is the final in-season update of the SDI rankings (through games to September 13) and
includes all 2015 qualifiers who will appear on the Rawlings Gold Glove Award ballot sent to
managers and coaches.
Giant first baseman Brandon Belt finished third among National Leaguers—and tops
among all at that position—with a 11.1 score. San Francisco catcher Buster Posey’s
9.7 mark led all NL catchers, and placed him seventh overall in the NL.
To date, Crawford has made just 13 errors for a .979 fielding percentage, career bests in both
categories for the fifth-year player. The 28-year-old player was elected to his first All-Star
game this season.
The SABR Defensive Index draws on and aggregates two types of existing
defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those
collected from play-by-play accounts.
The three metrics representing batted ball data include Defensive Runs Saved from Baseball
Info Solutions, Ultimate Zone Rating developed by noted sabermetrician Mitchel Lichtman, and
Runs Effectively Defended based on STATS Zone Rating and built by SABR Defensive Committee
member Chris Dial. The two metrics included in the SDI originating from play-by-play data are
Defensive Regression Analysis, created by committee member Michael Humphreys, and Total
The SABR Defensive Index accounts for approximately 25 percent of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award
selection process that was added to the votes from the managers and coaches.
(Compiled from SABR News Release)
'CATS PITCHER BLACH EARNS MINOR LEAGUE GOLD GLOVE
Sacramento right-handed pitcher Ty Blach posted a perfect fielding percentage to earn Minor League
Baseball's Rawlings Gold Glove award at his position.
Starting 27 games for the River Cats
Blach defended 53 chance opportunities without an error over 165.1
A third-year pro, Blach was selected out of Creighton University by San Francisco in the
fifth round of the 2012 amateur draft. He was the only player in the Giants minor league
organization this season to garner a Gold Glove award.
After almost a 50-year hiatus, Minor League Baseball resumed the prestigious Rawlings Gold Glove
awards in 2011.
ZEN MASTER ZITO
COMES FULL CIRCLE
Realizes Dream to Pitch Once More on MLB Mound
feel-good story at O.co Coliseum today, former A’s teammates Barry Zito and Tim Hudson matched
up on the mound as the Athletics hosted the Giants. That the Giants won 14-10 was
insignificant in a disappointing follow-up year to their glorious 2014 World Championship
even the Zito-Hudson face-off was anti-climactic, as by the third inning both pitchers were out
of the game and in their respective dugouts for what likely is the final time either will pitch
in that ballpark. The same setting where the Athletics’ Big Three (Hudson, Mark Mulder and Zito)
led the A’s to four-straight division titles from 2000-2003.
Sacramento became the A’s Triple-A franchise in 2000, Hudson (and soon after Mulder)
were pitching for the parent club in Oakland. But Zito was one of the original River Cats,
notching an 8-5 record through the summer (In fact, he and Adam Piatt were the two 'Cats
representatives at the Raley Field groundbreaking). Zito was one we rooted for so we
could claim “one of our own” had reached the big leagues.
River Cats’ season ticket holder who split his package with three other parties, I had
the misfortune of not seeing Barry Zito pitch at Raley Field until what turned out to be his
final game in Sacramento. The buzz around the stadium was that this would be Zito’s last minor
league outing and it proved true.
week later on July 22, I had the pleasure of watching Zito make his major league debut at the
Coliseum against the Angels of Anaheim.
left hander whipped out that magical, looping 12-6 curve ball that mesmerized the Angels
for four innings. But in the fifth, they loaded the bases with no out and the mashers coming up.
Zito proceeded to fan the hulking Mo Vaughn looking, then struck out slugger Tim Salmon and
lefty Garrett Anderson swinging to retire the side.
Zito charged back to the home
dugout with a thunderous ovation by A’s fans ringing in his ears. They had found the
third link in the Big Three. He finished the season 7-4 with an impressive 2.34 earned run
years later, Zito had a breakout season for the Athletics, going 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA. He won
the American League Cy Young Award, beating out Pedro Martinez who was at his zenith with Boston
en route to a Hall of Fame career.
that was Zito’s high point as well (individually speaking).
2006, the Athletics returned to the playoffs as Zito posted a 16-10 season in the final year of
his contract. But Oakland’s frugal general manager Billy Beane reconciled himself to the obvious
fact he couldn’t afford to resign the left-handed 3-time All-Star with 101 victories.
Zito signed with San Francisco for $126 million over seven years; at that time the richest
contract for a pitcher in baseball. In 2010, the Giants left Zito off the playoff register, but
Barry earned praise for the way he handled the demotion. Plus, he earned a ring for the SFGiants
first-ever World Series crown. Two years later that loyalty was rewarded and Zito pitched
lights out, conquering the Cardinals in Game Five of the NLCS.
good measure he earned a victory in that year's World Series against Detroit.
afternoon, Zito's mid-80s' fastball velocity reminded one of a high school pitcher
(but he was never about gas; it was his ability to miss bats, plus zen-like approach to the
game.). But you’ve got to give him this.
not playing in 2014, Zito still retained the dream of pitching again in the major leagues.
So this spring Oakland signed him to a minor league deal. He labored all season for their
Triple-A affiliate, going 8-7 with a 3.46 ERA for the Nashville Sounds.
But today the former Cy Young winner
attained his final diamond dream and was fortunate enough to have done in concert with
former Big Three teammate Tim Hudson (one of the classiest guys in baseball), as the two sailed
off in the sunset with ovations still ringing in their ears from the appreciative Coliseum
It marked the end of an era in Bay Area
Bos Cool On Way to NL Wild Card Playoff
Chris Bosio (Cordova High / Sacramento City College) appeared on the MLB.tv program High
Heat this morning just prior to the Chicago Cubs opener of a three-game series with the
To begin the day, the Bucs were 3.5 games ahead of Chicago in the National League Wild Card
race, and this weekend's series may prove whether the Cubbies can catch Pittsburgh for the coveted
top spot in the the Wild Card race, which yields home-field advantage in the sudden-death
Asked how he planned to handle the pitching staff in these final 10 games Bosio calmly replied
"Everybody in a uniform has to be available (to pitch). It's all hands on deck, whatever it takes
to win a game.
"We're playing every game to win. That's the difference with what we had in the
Bosio spoke admiringly of first-year skipper Joe Maddon, whose club has improved its winning
percentage this year by .135, leading all major league teams in turn-around over
Bosio is in his fourth season as the Cubs' pitching coach and this marks the fourth major
league staff on which he has served.
In 11 big league seasons with Milwaukee and Seattle, he posted a 94-93 record with a 3.96 earned
run average. While pitching for the Mariners in 1993, Bosio tossed a no-hitter against
After retirement in the late 1990s, Bosio
returned home and operated a baseball faciliity in El Dorodo Hills, while also providing
instruction and coaching of youth travel teams.
Then he began a collegiate coaching career,
which transitioned to the professional ranks.
One afternoon at Raley Field,
with Nashville in town and the Sounds manager tossed out of the game, Bosio--the pitching
coach-- had assumed the reins. The Sounds were murdering the ball that afternoon, while the 'Cats
meekly licked their paws in a poor performance. At one point, with the stadium crowd in a hush,
a spectator yelled out, "Hey, Bos! What did you feed your hitters this
After a slight hestiation, Bosio's voice boomed
from the visitor's dugout, 'Beer!"
Concluding the High Heat interview, Bosio offered "
I really believe our best baseball is still coming."
~ ~ ~
Game Update: Pirates 3, Cubs 2
Jon Lester and Gerrit Cole battled through 7 innings at Wrigley Field this afternoon, but the
Pirates' pitching was a smidge better to take the first of a three-game series,
Cole (18-8) allowed four hits, one earned run and struck out eight while posting the win. Lester
(10-12), who began the season as Chicago's ace, tossed a strong outing, allowing five hits, 2 ER,
while fanning six.
Pittsburgh improved to 94-60, while Chicago dropped to 89-64 and now trail in the Wild Card
race by 4.5 games with nine to play.
Leon Lee Leads Sacramento
Into the Great West
By Editor Rick
The city of Sacramento has
seen its fair share of teams and leagues over the 150+ years they’ve been playing baseball in
the Capital City.
Next summer that list will
grow, with today’s announcement that Sacramento has been awarded a franchise and in 2016 will be
a founding member of the Great West League.
The Great West League will
be a high-level collegiate summer wood-bat program, that the organizers hope one
day will rival the Cape Cod League, America’s elite summer wood-bat program.
Ken Wilson and Leon Lee at today's announcement
that Sacramento will field a team in the new Great West League in 2016.
The local franchise will be led by Sacramento’s “Mr.
Baseball,” Leon Lee, who starred in the Japanese League from 1978 to 1987. His
partner and main investor is Vujadin Jovic, a former NBA agent who represented Vlade Divac (the
Kings’ new General Manager) and other Eastern European basketball stars.
Wilson, the Great West League president, was on hand to make the announcement in
concert with Lee at The Limelight Bar and Restaurant, Sacramento’s newest
sports establishment with a baseball theme. Wilson said Sacramento is the fifth franchise, and
he hopes to announce a sixth team later this week.
“We’re thrilled to be
getting a GWL franchise here in Sacramento,” Lee said today, “this is really a big thing for
baseball fans in Sacramento.”
International Baseball Association LLC—admittedly is behind, as they have yet to hire a general
manager and operational and marketing staff. More importantly, they’re unsure where the team
will play next season. Lee and his group have been negotiating with the city of Sacramento with
big plans to renovate Renfree Field, once home to semi-professional and amateur baseball
beginning in 1968.
But that announcement is
for another time.
Wilson, who is affiliated
with the Portland Pickles franchise, said the GWL has been brewing since 2013. “We wanted to do
it right, with a solid foundation.” Along with Wilson—longtime major league broadcaster for the
Mariners, Angels, White Sox, Cardinals and Oakland A’s, and a former league official of the
rival West Coast League summer program—will be Pat Gillick, long-time Philadelphia Phillies
executive who will run the Chico Heat. Other teams in the GWL include the Lodi Crushers and
Marysville Gold Sox, which has operated a successful program in the Horizon Summer
Wilson says the key to his
new league is “community support and corporate sponsorship.” He believes fans will support the
GWL because the quality talent level will rival comparable for-profit enterprises across the
United States, like the Cape Cod League. “Our league will be run like a minor league baseball
operation,” Wilson said.
When asked if Lee would
recruit local collegiate players, he said that he could field a top caliber team today with the
talent coming out of Sacramento. Lee should know.
The Grant High star was one
of Sacramento’s top prospects in 1971 and played seven seasons in the Cardinals farm system. He
then joined brother Leron Lee in Japan, and the Lee’s became “the Bash Brothers” of the Orient,
slugging homers and driving in runs with eye-popping ferocity.
After his playing career
was over, Leon Lee also coached and managed in the Japanese League, where he served as a
consultant to the film producers of the movie, “Mr. Baseball,” starring Tom Selleck. Hence,
Lee’s appellation “Sacramento’s ‘Mr. Baseball.’”
Lee and partners Eddie
Cervantes and Larry Wolfe have run a baseball academy for youth up to age 18, and Cervantes and
Lee also ran a summer-league program based in Lodi. So, Leon Lee is extremely well grounded
in amateur baseball in the Sacramento region.
Oh, and his son Derrek Lee
(El Camino High) enjoyed a 15-year career in the major leagues.
Finally, for the past two
seasons Lee also has served as color analyst for the Sacramento River Cats' home games, pairing
up with long-time play-by-play man, Johnny Doskow.
Stay tuned for more details
on the Great West League’s newest franchise.
~ ~ ~
Pollman and Madrigal Tabbed All-WCL in Summer League Action
Speaking of the rival West Coast League...
Gunnar Pollman, Sacramento State's junior catcher, and Nick
Madrigal, (Elk Grove High) incoming freshman shortstop at Oregon State University, were
selected First Team All-West Coast League, the NorthWest collegiate summer
Pollman, who caught for Klamath Falls, batted .314 with 10 doubles, two home runs and 11 runs
batted in over 27 games.
Madrigal, fresh off the Sac-Joaquin Division I championship, hit .303 with nine doubles, two
triples and 20 RBI for the Corvallis Knights, where he also stole a team-leading 40
~ ~ ~
Finally, speaking of town-ball entries, Winters' baseball historian Tom Crisp has come out with a
new book titled "The $1,000 Elimination League--A 1915 Sacramento Valley
Crisp's blurb reads:
One hundred years ago Sacramento found itself without a
professional baseball team to occupy Buffalo Park. The civic leaders and baseball men of Sacramento
came up with the “$1,000 Elimination League” to satisfy the baseball “bugs” and to give the young
talent of Northern California a chance to show their skills. With no entry fee and prize money of
$1,000 the league attracted 22 teams, with about half from Sacramento and the other half from small
towns from Chico down to Lodi.
On Tuesday, September 29th Crisp willgive a presentation on this topic at the Winters Library at
6:30 p.m. The book, priced at $25, will be on sale at the meeting.