Opponent: Spokane Indians
When: 7:05 p.m.
Where: Everett Memorial Stadium
Radio: KRKO (1380 AM)
Probable starters: Everett left-hander Nick Czyz (0-1, 1.50 ERA) vs. Spokane right-hander Matt Thompson (0-0, 0.00)
So far Pat Filippone likes what he sees.
Filippone, who became the team president when the AquaSox underwent an ownership change during the offseason, is in town for Everett’s first home series, and he expressed approval at the progress of the transition.
“I’m very impressed,” said Filippone, who is based in Stockton, Calif. “I think Tom (Backemeyer, who was installed as executive vice president in charge of day-to-day operations) and his group have done a great job. It’s been two great crowds (Tuesday and Wednesday), the ballpark looks great and the fans have been very responsive to the new things we’ve done.”
The most visible change the new ownership group has initiated, the addition of a video board at Everett Memorial Stadium, has yet to be implemented. The Sox ran into some red tape, but an agreement was eventually reached with the city and the video board is expected to be in place by early August.
But that’s just one change that’s been made. A greater emphasis has been put on ticket sales, while at the ballpark there’s a new between-innings entertainment program, as well as the ability to accept credit cards at the concession stand.
“We like to focus a lot on the community,” Filippone said when discussing the changes. “The Silver Sluggers Club (for seniors) and the Kids Club are new things that have started off well. The game day program, I really believe in giving a free program with the roster to the fans, so they can be more engaged with the team. And the video board will be great once it gets up.”
Sox majority owner Tom Volpe also made a brief appearance, taking in Tuesday’s home opener. Following the game he headed to California before returning to his home in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Coincidence? One can be forgiven for thinking Everett Memorial Stadium fell into the Twilight Zone Wednesday night.
Wednesday night Everett took a 6-0 lead before eventually losing to Spokane 18-9.
Exactly seven years to the day earlier the mirror image occurred. On June 24, 2002, the Sox fell behind 6-0 to the same Spokane Indians in a game at Everett Memorial Stadium before rallying to win 9-8.
Everett’s starting pitcher in that game, who staked the Indians to a 6-0 lead? None other then current Sox pitching coach Rich Dorman.
That wasn’t the only unusual aspect to Wednesday’s game. The Northwest League is renown for its lengthy games. Yet despite the fact that 27 runs were scored, Wednesday’s game was completed is less than three hours, clocking in at 2:59.
There was one familiar name missing from the Indians’ annual trip to Everett. Legendary radio broadcaster Bob Robertson is taking a leave of absence this summer as he spends time with his wife, Joanne, while she recovers from health issues.
Robertson is a fixture of Northwest sports broadcasting. He’s a member of the College Football Hall of Fame for his work with Washington State University, and he’s been the voice of the Indians since 1999.
Bob Castle is filling in for Robertson this summer.