Kevin C. gets to Tacoma (finally)

Saturday afternoon turned out to be a bit of a nightmare getting to the ballpark in Tacoma. This is my first trip to the great Northwest and when
Interstate-5 got shut down because of an accident I was left to my own devices.
I had to make my way from Seattle to Tacoma using a map from Hertz while listening
to the radio for traffic updates. The 25-minute trip took almost two hours but I
made it and was able to get a sit down with Tacoma outfielder Wladimir
Balentien.
 
He proved to be a nice guy. He was frank and honest and I?m hoping he gets a
call from the Mariners over the weekend when the rosters expand. While I enjoyed
my time with Balentien I can?t say the same about my time in Cheney Stadium. The
place is more than a bit run down and doesn?t have any ambiance whatsoever.
Having spent time in Albuquerque, Toledo and Oklahoma City, this Triple-A
ballpark was a let down. This club needs some new digs.
 
Team owner Nick Lachey was also supposed to take batting practice but that
got washed away, thankfully, with a late afternoon shower. Nothing like a faux
celebrity sighting to get my blood boiling. The Rainiers were giving away Lachey
jerseys that day but after BP was canceled, several female fans left in a bit of
snit, complaining they wouldn?t get to see Lachey. Though he showed up later
than expected, he did show up and threw out the first pitch. A Rainiers?
official said he wasn?t going to be speaking with the media. And I even shaved.
 
I got up early Sunday morning for the drive up I-5 to Vancouver and I can?t
tell you when I?ve seen more beautiful country. What a drive. I enjoyed my tour
through Utah two years ago but this one takes over as my favorite among all my
travels for MiLB.com. San Diego used to be my favorite city on the road but
that?s been replaced with Seattle, a fact only added to by the drive.
 
The border checkpoint was a bit of a bore. I was in line for 45 minutes
before I got to the checkpoint. Once over the border I was surprised to see a
llama farm right next to the highway. That was interesting.
 
The ride up to Vancouver was brief and I got lost in the city. I had heard
so much about this city from so many people but honestly, I liked Seattle
better. While the scenery around the city and the harbor is stunning, the
architecture in the city itself is a bit too industrial and European for my
taste.
 
Anyway, we?re headed over to Nat Bailey Stadium on Sunday so I?ll be back.

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