Diving right in:
The unbeaten Kitsap BlueJackets, rained out Monday at Walla Walla, play a West Coast League baseball doubleheader today. First game starts at 5 p.m. Walla Walla Sweets. Ya gotta like that nickname. Can’t be many teams named after an onion.
Speaking of nicknames, what do you think of the Joliet Slammers? The mascot of the Frontier League club in Illinois? J.L. Bird. Joliet, of course, is a prison town. One of the suggested names for the team was the Joliet Jakes, in honor of the John Belushi character in the “Blues Brothers” movie. Couldn’t do it because the name is copyrighted.
Another of my favorite nicknames also has a prison theme. The Deer Lodge Wardens. I lived in that Montana city for a spell, and there was a time when I wanted to grow up to be a Warden.
Fueled by Vitamin R and maybe some other stuff, I remember sitting in the garage with a buddy, knocking around possible names for the baseball team in Seattle that would eventually be called the Mariners. We came up with, we thought, the perfect name. The year was 1976 and everybody was going to be celebrating the Bi-Centennial of our country. And what could be more American than having the Red, White and Blue Sox in the American League? Yep, the Seattle Blue Sox. I still can’t figure out why I didn’t win the name-the-team contest.
And, just in case you didn’t know, the BlueJackets aren’t named after some native bird. BlueJacket is a tern for an enlisted sailor in the Navy. The Bluejackets’ Manual is the also the basic handbook for U.S. Navy personnel. And the Bremerton BlueJackets were a minor league baseball team that played in the Class B Western International League from 1947-49. Home field? Roosevelt Field. Every time I drive by that concrete parking lot next to the Warren Avenue Bridge I think of Roosevelt Field.
You gotta favorite team nickname? C’mon, let’s hear it.
Baltimore’s Jason Hammel (6-2, 3.,06 ERA) will seek his seventh win Tuesday when the South Kitsap grad pitches against Jon Lester and the Red Sox. Hammel suggested that Toronto was stealing signs in his last outing, a 4-1 loss to the Blue Jays. Hammel, 29, beat the Red Sox earlier in the season.
Willie Bloomquist is hitting .349 (15-for-43) over his last 10 games, raising his average to .283. The Diamondbacks shortstop has been caught stealing seven times in 11 attempts, but that won’t stop the Port Orchard native from being aggressive on the base paths.
Cleveland outfielder Aaron Cunningham, the third SK grad currently in the major leagues, has appeared in 42 games, but is hitting .200 in just 60 at bats for the Indians. He’s 2-for-13 in his last 10 games, three of them starts. The Johnny Damon experiment’s not working out for the Indians, so maybe there’s a chance Cunningham will get more regular at-bats during the second half of the season.
In the minors:
Todd Linden got a day off after a 1-for-19 stretch and responded with a 2-for-3 night on Monday for Triple-A Fresno, a San Francisco farm club. The veteran from Central Kitsap is hitting .267 and leads the Grizzlies with 37 RBIs. … Outfielder Drew Vettleson from Silverdale is hitting .271 with 4 home runs and 22 RBIs in 55 games for the Bowling Green Hot Rods of the Class A Midwest League. The Hot Rods are a Tampa Bay affiliate. Seattle teammates Joshua Sale, an outfielder hitting .368 in 20 games, and shortstop Ryan Brett (.322, 5 HRs) will play in the Midwest League All-Star team … Poulsbo’s Jared Prince is hitting .214, but has five home runs for the Double-A Frisco Roughriders of the Texas League. The Rangers’ farmhand has played in 44 games.
Catcher Clint Coulter from Union High in Camas was the state’s highest pick, going 27th overall to the Milwaukee Brewers. He was considered the Pacific NW’s top player.
Other state picks so far: RHP Mitch Gueller, W.F. West (Chehalis), 55th overall (1st Rd, compensation round), Philadelphia; RHP Adrian Sampson, Bellevue College (formerly Bellevue CC), 166th overall (5th round), Pittsburgh; OF Andrew Pullin, Centralia HS, 188th overall (5th round), Philadelphia.