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Gaylord Perry Honored, 2015 Brings Big Changes for River Cats

Story and photos by Ben Barber
Posted: 5/1/2015

Gaylord Perry Talks to Reporters
Gaylord Perry talks about his career.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento River Cats season is officially underway. It is the first year of the much anticipated association with Major League Baseball’s World Champion San Francisco Giants. The River Cats spent the majority of the summer making improvements throughout Raley Field, helping both players and fans.

Season ticket holders will now have the luxury of the Legacy Club, a 5,000 square foot renovation to the suite level on the third base side. It features a full bar with a wide variety of California wines and a microbrew made specifically for the River Cats by Rubicon Brewing company called RBI IPA. If the life size LED screen casting the game isn’t impressive enough, then guests can stroll around the balcony to see a stunning view overlooking the field and the Sacramento skyline.

Fans were also treated to an appearance by Gaylord Perry, who was being honored with an induction into the Pacific Coast League (PCL) Hall of Fame. He only played four seasons before moving up to the majors, where he continued his career for 22 years. While in the minors, he achieved the Pitcher of the Year title and helped lead the Tacoma Giants to a PCL championship.

Jeff Savage and Gaylord Perry with Certificate
Jeff Savage presents Gaylord Perry with the PCL Hall of Fame Certificate.

Perry was known for his spitball and lackadaisical attitude towards having the upper hand on batters. While in the Majors, he was caught with an emery board in his back pocket to scuff up the ball. In an era before center field cameras and close ups on pitchers, baseball was a very different game.

Also as part of the new affiliation are some exciting events planned for the future, such as Star Wars Night on July 10th. The event was started by the San Francisco Giants, who celebrate the cultural phenomena of Star Wars that started in the Bay Area.

With ticket sales up 1200% in comparison to last year, Sacramento baseball fans may have a tricky time getting in to see not only the upgrades, but the world class baseball that comes along with being associated with the San Francisco Giants. Roster names include multiple world champions that’ll have the town star struck.

River Cats Set Season High with Seven Runs in Win

Posted: 4/17/2015

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WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento River Cats wrapped up their first series of the season with a 7-2 win last Sunday afternoon against the Bees. The offense rolled behind strong showings from Brandon Hicks and Guillermo Quiroz while Jake Dunning led the team on the mound, posting six solid innings.

The River Cats jumped ahead first, scoring three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. With one out in the inning, Adam Duvall crushed his second home run of the season to the opposite field, giving the team a 1-0 lead. The River Cats would add on in the inning, as Hicks singled, Brett Jackson doubled, and Quiroz singled to score both runners and extend the lead to three.

The Bees would counter, however, tagging River Cats starter Jake Dunning (1-0, 3.00) for two on a two-run home run by catcher Jett Bandy. They would be the only runs the Bees would get and Dunning would end his 2015 debut throwing six two-run innings while striking out three and walking two.

The River Cats added to their lead with a two-run sixth and a two-run eighth. Hicks had his third of four hits of the afternoon in the sixth, knocking in Duvall. Jarrett Parker would score next on an RBI groundout by Brett Jackson. In the eighth, Hicks shot his fourth hit of the day into centerfield. After a passed ball, Quiroz hit his second two-RBI single of the day. Hicks ended the day 4-4 with two runs and an RBI. Quiroz went 2-4 with four RBIs.

Bees starter Alex Sanabia lasted 5.0 innings and gave up five earned runs on eight hits. The River Cats’ twelve hits were their second highest total of the season, one behind the 13 hits they complied in Saturday’s 18-inning epic. Their seven runs are a season high.

The bullpen continued to be excellent, as Juan Gutierrez and Michael Broadway combined for three shutdown innings, allowing only two hits—both singles—and striking out four. After four games, the River Cats lead the league in ERA (1.80) and innings pitched (45) and are fourth in WHIP (1.04).

Source: Sacramento River Cats

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River Cats 2015 Opening Day Roster

Posted: 4/10/2015

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento River Cats announced the 2015 Opening Day roster. The River Cats opened their 16th season in Sacramento with eight players who have spent time with the affiliate San Francisco Giants, including three with 2014 postseason experience.

The River Cats roster was headlined by local talent Andrew Susac (catcher) and John Bowker (infielder), as well as postseason contributors Juan Perez (outfielder) and Hunter Strickland (right-handed pitcher). Susac, Perez, and Strickland all made appearances in San Francisco’s 2014 World Championship run and started their seasons in Sacramento. The three players combined for 26 games played in October.

The River Cats will be led by manager Bob Mariano, who enters his fourth season as manager, although his first with Sacramento. In his previous three seasons with the Fresno Grizzlies, Mariano managed big-leaguers Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Pablo Sandoval, and others. Hitting coach Andy Skeels, pitching coach Dwight Bernard, athletic trainer James Petra, and strength and conditioning coach Brad Lawson made up the rest of Sacramento’s on-field staff.

Full 2015 Sacramento River Cats Roster

Pitchers (13 + 1 DL)
Heston, Chris
Blach, Tyson
Dunning, Jake
Turley, Nikolas
Coello, Robert
Lara, Brauli
Strickland, Hunter
Hall, Cody
Broadway, Michael
Bochy, Brett
Okert, Steven
Rapada, Clayton
Partch, Curtis
Gutierrez, JC (DL)
Catchers (2 + 1 DL)
Susac, Andrew
Quiroz, Guillermo
Brown, Trevor (DL)
Infielders (6)
Bowker, John
Duvall, Adam
Cedeno, Ronny
Triunfel, Carlos
Ciriaco, Juan
Hicks, Brandon
Outfielders (4)
Jackson, Brett
Perez, Juan
Parker, Jarret
Ford, Darren

The River Cats opened their season at home on Thursday, April 9th against the Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). For more information, please call (916) 371-HITS or visit

Source: Sacramento River Cats

Derby Madness Takes Over at Sacramento State University

By Anne Stokes

Posted: 3/20/2015

Annie Reksic Blocks Blue Crush
Capitol Punisher jammer Blue Crush (#11, right in star helmet) attempts to pass Folsom Prison Bruiser blocker Annie Reksic (#10) during the exposition roller derby match at Sacramento State.
Photos by Anne Stokes

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Sac City Rollers teamed up with Sacramento State University’s Women’s Resource Center and UNIQUE Programs on the evening of Thursday, March 12th, bringing their hard-hitting style of entertainment to campus. The free event featured the Capitol Punishers and Folsom Prison Bruisers competing against each other in an exposition match in celebration of March’s Women’s HerStory month.

“The reason we brought [Derby Madness] here in the first place was to expose Sac State students to these kind of events, because it’s not something usually on college campuses,” explained Zenia LaPorte, Sacramento State University Assistant Director for Programs and Marketing “It’s definitely a fun, action-packed event, and the crowd definitely gets into it. It’s a good time.”

Second-year communications student Andrea Arango, who attended Thursday night with her friends, had never seen a roller derby match before but quickly caught on to the game’s rules. “I’ve never seen something like this! I was like, a roller derby? Are we going to go and see people roller skate in circles? But it’s more than that,” she said. “I would say if you’re open to learning and seeing new things, you should definitely go. Have an open mind. I decided to go this year just to see what it’s about and I’m glad I came.”

“It’s always fun playing here at Sac State,” said Aleitha Burns, who has skated under the moniker “Aleithal Weapon” for the past seven years. “We get a lot of new fans, a lot of volunteers. It’s an opportunity for us to just play roller derby without the high pressure of sanctioning and rankings and the competitive nature. But of course we’re all athletes, so our competitiveness comes out.”

The game itself is a fast-paced, full-contact team sport in which 10 athletes at a time compete to out maneuver each other and score the most points. “There are two basic positions in women’s roller derby,” explained Burns. “There are the blockers, they make up the pack, and then the other position is the jammer. Essentially, the goal is for the jammer to get through the pack. The jammers score every time they successfully make it through the pack. So the pack is simultaneously playing offense to help their jammer through and defense to stop the opposing jammer. Jammers score points for every blocker from the opposing team they pass.”

Skater Bird Dog Works to Pass Foxy Knoxy in a Roller Derby Demonstration Match
Capitol Punisher blocker Foxy Knoxy (#777, inside right) blocks Folsom Prison Bruiser jammer Bird Dog (#415, in the star helmet) as she attempts to pass the pack and score during the exposition match at Sacramento State. Jammers score points for every opposing blocker they pass while blockers simultaneously obstruct opposing jammers while clearing the way for their own team’s jammer.

Founded in 2006, the Sac City Rollers was Sacramento’s first women’s flat track roller derby team. The team is comprised of two interleague teams, the Capitol Punishers and the Folsom Prison Bruisers, who compete together on an international level. “We play against our local teams here in California; we also have played against teams from Canada, we’ve played against teams from Scotland, [and] we’ve played against teams from Michigan,’ explained Burns. “In two weeks we have our first tournament [of the season]; it’s called the Dust Devil in Tuscan, Arizona, where we’ll be playing against a team from New Hampshire. Tournaments give us an opportunity to play teams from a larger range.”

The team is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, raising hundreds of dollars each bout for local charities, culminating in their annual Red Red Holiday Invitational tournament each December, the proceeds of which benefit the Sacramento Food Bank. “We have raised thousands of dollars over the last nine seasons for the Sacramento Food Bank,” said Burns, adding that “every game that we have, we pick a local charity to raise money for. All the proceeds from our raffle prizes all goes directly to a charity. At each bout we raise a couple hundred dollars for various charities.”

Burns, who is a middle school science teacher, is one of over 100 women and girls who make up the Sac City Rollers. Athletes come from a variety of backgrounds, from stay-at-home mothers to laboratory scientists, and range in age from as young as 18 to women in their mid-40s, who commit to working out at least three to four days a week for two to three hours at a time. According to Burns, however, the benefits reach well beyond just staying in shape: “I’ve gotten a whole group of friends that I know will always have my back no matter what happens.”

The Sac City Roller’s next match against the Auburn Outlaws is slated for March 21st at The Rink in Sacramento. If you think you may have what it takes to be a Capitol Punisher or Folsom Prison Bruiser, tryouts will be held on Sunday, June 7th. For more information, visit

Dirty Hippie Knows Stretching Before a Workout is Important
Folsom Prison Bruiser Dirty Hippie (#1LUV) stretches out pre-game at Derby Madness, the exposition match at Sacramento State’s University Union Ballroom.
Aleithal Weapon Zooms Around the Track
Capitol Punisher jammer Aleithal Weapon (#713, at left), known off the rink as teacher Aleitha Burns, scores points as she passes the pack of Folsom Bruisers during Derby Madness. “I grew up roller skating, I was a rink-rat. Every Friday, Saturday night I was at the roller skating rink. I got my first kiss on skates,” she admits. “So when I heard about roller derby, I thought ‘hey, why not?’ I like full-contact sports, I love roller skating, and try outs were happening in a few weeks. So I went to tryouts and have never looked back seven seasons later, from a rookie all the way to our All-Stars.”


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River Cats Release 2015 Promotions Schedule

Posted: 2/13/2015

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento River Cats have released their promotions schedule for the 2015 season which will include 21 fireworks displays and five giveaways featuring prizes from the Giants ball-club.

The giveaways for the 72-game home schedule include a Giants World Championship replica ring (May 1st), a Giants World Champions t-shirt (My 22nd), a Hunter Pence bobblehead figure (June 19th) a Giants world Champions banner (July 31st), and a 2014 Postseason MVP Madison Bumgarner bobblehead (August 21st).

The River Cats will be playing at home for five major holidays in 2015 including Mother’s Day (May 10th), Memorial Day (May 25th), Father’s Day (June 21st), Independence Eve (July 3rd), and Labor Day (September 7th). Each holiday game will offer a ticket and picnic option for those fans looking to celebrate at the ballpark.

The team will also celebrate local military personnel and first responders on multiple nights including Salute to Armed Forces (May 9th), Salute to First Responders (June 20th), and a doubleheader with the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (July 11th).

The River Cats will be wearing special themed jerseys for five games this season featuring snow leopard jerseys on Zoo Night (April 25th), “Sacramentones” jerseys for a Pitch Perfect tribute (May 27th), patriotic stars and stripes jerseys (July 3rd), Legends of the Hidden Temple gameshow jerseys for a 90s throwback night (August 15th), and California Bear Republic flag jerseys for the final fireworks show of the year (September 5th).

Other highlighted ballpark promotions include Tour de Cat bicycle ride (April 11th), Princess and Pirate Night (May 23rd), Bark in the Ballpark (May 24th), Dinger’s Birthday Celebration (June 7th), Star Wars Night (July 10th), Faith and Family Night (July 31st), and Fan Appreciation Night (September 6th).

Daily, value-oriented promotions of note also fill the 2015 calendar with Cache Creek Monday Bingo, Toyota Family Value Tuesdays with $1 hot dogs and desserts, Wireless Wednesday, Miller Lite Thirsty Thursday with $2 beers, Sutter Health Saturday Fireworks, and K-LOVE Sunday Fun-day with player autographs and Kids Run the Bases postgame.

Single-game tickets go on sale at 12 p.m. on Sunday, March 8th at the Round Table Pizza Ticket Office at Raley Field. There will be a special online only presale, beginning Wednesday, March 4th at 10 a.m. For an updated list of promotions, visit or stop by the River Cats’ front office. Promotions and dates are always subject to change.

Source: Sacramento River Cats

Bob Mariano
Bob Mariano will take the helm as the River Cats’ sixth manager since their inaugural season in Sacramento in 2000.
Photo courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats

River Cats Announce 2015 Manager and Field Staff

Posted: 1/30/2015

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA - The Sacramento River Cats have announced their field staff in conjunction with their inaugural season as the San Francisco Giants’ Triple-A affiliate in 2015.

Bob Mariano will take the helm as the River Cats’ sixth manager since their inaugural season in Sacramento in 2000. During his previous six seasons as the Giants’ Triple-A skipper, Mariano has managed several big league stars such as Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, and Pablo Sandoval. During this past season he managed Joe Panik, Travis Ishikawa, and Roseville native Andrew Susac.

Prior to managing in Fresno, Mariano has served as skipper for Single-A Advanced Vero Beach (Dodgers) of the Florida State League in 2001, the Pacific Coast League’s Tucson Toros (Brewers) in 1997, and the California League’s Stockton Ports (Brewers) in 1995.

Mariano has been with the San Francisco Giants organization since 2005, serving as a coordinator of minor league hitting instruction for the Giants farm system from 2005-2011 before beginning his managerial career in 2012. Mariano previously served as a minor league hitting instructor with the Los Angeles Dodgers (2002-04) and in roles with the Baltimore Orioles (1985-86), New York Yankees (1988-92), Milwaukee Brewers (1993-97), and Arizona Diamondbacks (1998-2000).

The Phoenix, Arizona native also managed in the Italian Baseball Federation (Anzio, 1987) and Australian Baseball Federation (Newport, 1987). The former utility player spent seven seasons in the minors with the Yankees (1980-82) and Orioles (1983-86). He originally signed with the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 1980.

Andy Skeels will assume the role of hitting coach for the River Cats in 2015. Skeels was also hitting coach for the Savannah Sand Gnats (2000, 02-04), Brevard County Manatees (2004-05), and Augusta GreenJackets (2006-07). In six seasons (2008-13) as a manager in the San Francisco Giants’ organization with Augusta, Richmond, and San Jose, Skeels went 497-342 winning more games and with a higher winning percentage (.592) than any manager in the minor leagues and led Augusta to the South Atlantic League title in 2008. Skeels managed from 2002, 08-13, and owns a career managerial record of 525-374 (.584).

The New Zealand native was the first-ever New Zealand born player to be drafted by a Major League organization and had the honor of managing the New Zealand national team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, leading them to the championship game against Taiwan. He played at the University of Arkansas before being selected by the San Diego Padres in the seventh round of the 1987 amateur draft and playing in the minors from 1987-2001, briefly reaching Triple-A.

Dwight Bernard will serve as pitching coach for the River Cats in 2015. Previously, he has been a pitching coach and instructor for nine different organizations from 1986-2014, including stints with the Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Milwaukee Brewers organizations. The Mount Vernon, Illinois native was drafted by the New York Mets in the second round of the 1974 amateur draft and reached the majors with the club in 1978, spending most of that year in the Mets bullpen. He was traded to Milwaukee and in 1982 pitched an inning in Game 6 of the World Series vs. St. Louis. However, he was released by the Brewers the following spring. He spent 1983 and 1984 in the Houston Astros farm system and ended his career with the Baltimore Orioles in 1985.

James Petra will enter his seventh consecutive season in the Giants’ organization and his first as athletic trainer in Sacramento. The 2004 University of Connecticut graduate spent the 2014 season in Fresno after being with Double-A Richmond for two seasons (2012-13), and both Augusta (2009) and San Jose (2010-11) for one season each. Prior to the Giants, he spent 2007-08 as the assistant athletic trainer and head strength and conditioning coach for the Bowie Baysox, a Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.

Brad Lawson will start his fourth season in the Giants organization as the strength and conditioning coach. Entering his seventh season in professional baseball, he previously worked for the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals after earning a degree in kinesiology and education from the University of New Brunswick in Canada. He currently resides in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

Pablo Lopez will round out the River Cats staff for 2015 as the clubhouse manager. Lopez has spent 18 full seasons in clubhouse management positions both at the major- and minor-league level since 1996 and has been with the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate since 2011. Lopez has worked for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Oakland Athletics, and San Jose Giants. He has also assisted in Arizona spring training operations for various clubs. Lopez is a native of Santa Clara and was raised in San Jose.

Source: Sacramento River Cats

River Cats Valentine’s Day Packs On Sale

Posted: 1/30/2015

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA - With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, fans can make a memory for that special baseball fan in their life with two unique Sacramento River Cats Valentine’s Day packs.

For only $100, the Dinger Gram package includes two Senate-level ticket vouchers and a merchandise basket that includes a hat, picture frame, Dinger signed baseball, seat cushion, River Cats 2015 calendar, and Jelly Belly candies. This package will be delivered personally by the River Cats’ mascot Dinger.

With seven holidays in the month of February (Super Bowl, Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, Pitchers & Catchers Report Day, Presidents Day, Mardi Gras, and Chinese New Year), fans can also purchase a special Sweetheart holiday ticket package for the River Cats’ 2015 season. The packs include vouchers to all seven holidays during the River Cats season including Opening Day, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Dinger’s Birthday, July 3rd, and Labor Day and are available in Assembly ($70) or Senate ($105) seating levels.

Deliveries can be scheduled for Thursday, February 12th; Friday, February 13th; or Saturday, February 14th and should be within a 30-mile radius of Raley Field. Delivery orders should be received by Tuesday, February 10th to ensure time for scheduling.

The Dinger Grams are available for purchase by calling the On Deck Shop team store at (916) 376-4796 or visiting the store, which is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. The Sweetheart holiday packs are available for purchase online at and over the phone at (916) 371-HITS (4487).

The Sacramento River Cats are the Triple-A affiliate of the 2014 World Champion San Francisco Giants. The team plays at Raley Field in West Sacramento, consistently voted one of the top ballparks in America. River Cats season tickets, mini-plans, and flex plans can be purchased for the 2015 season by calling the River Cats ticket hotline at (916) 371-HITS (4487). For more information about the River Cats, visit For information on other events at Raley Field, visit

Source: Sacramento River Cats


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