By Nick Patterson Herald writer
EVERETT — When the Everett AquaSox depart Wednesday for their five-game road trip to face the Eugene Emeralds, they’ll do so without their leader.
Everett manager Dave Valle is taking a brief leave of absence from the team in order to attend his son’s wedding. He’ll manage the final game of Everett’s eight-game homestand Tuesday night. Then when the team boards the bus for Eugene on Wednesday, he’ll be boarding a plane for Cartagena, Colombia.
The eldest of Valle’s three children, the 28-year-old David, is the first of Valle’s offspring to wed. So, not surprisingly, Valle is a proud father.
“It feels great,” Valle said. “I can’t wait for grandkids, actually. Even though I have 30 kids now here in Everett, I’m waiting for some babies to arrive.
“I’m very proud,” Valle added. “He got a good one, they’re in love, and now the work just starts. The wedding is just the start of the relationship.”
The reason why the wedding is in Colombia is that David’s wife-to-be, Daynais, is a native of the country, and Cartagena is her hometown.
Valle has been to Colombia before, having played winter ball in the city of Barranquilla one year during his minor-league playing days. But this will be his first opportunity to see the country as a traveler. His stay won’t be long — he’s returning to Everett on Sunday — but he’s still excited about the opportunity to be a tourist.
“It’s going to be in the old city, the old walled city, right there in Cartagena,” Valle said. “It’s a beautiful country, a beautiful city and I’m really looking forward to it.”
While Valle is gone Jim Pankovits, the Seattle Mariners’ minor-league infield coordinator, is joining the team to take over the managerial duties. Pankovits has plenty of minor-league managing experience, having managed Seattle’s double-A team, the Jackson Generals of the Southern League, from 2011-13, as well as managing in the Houston Astros system in 1995-99 and 2006-10. He’ll take the reins during the five-game series at Eugene, which runs into the three-day Northwest League All-Star break. Valle will be back in charge for Everett’s three-game series at Spokane, which begins Aug. 7.
This isn’t the first time this season the Sox have been without a member of the coaching staff. Hitting coach Mike Davis wasn’t able to join the team until three weeks into the season because he was dealing with a family matter. Pitching coach Nasusel Cabrera, who’s from the Dominican Republic, was unable to join the team when it traveled to Vancouver from July 11-13 because of paperwork snafus with regards to his visa. And bench coach Andy Bottin has missed time because of health issues.