A great start to the second half for the 66ers this week, ending tied for first place. We opened up the second half in Bakersfield. The field is a historic field that was built decades ago, and it showed its age. Playing at home at Credit Union Park is fun because it looks new and the fans are usually in abundance. The Blaze’s field, although historic, was difficult to get excited to play in. It was around 110 degrees on the field at the start of the games, and the field was dusty—for lack of a better term. Every time you moved or ran there would be a cloud of dust that filled the hot air. Nevertheless, we played well and won two of three.
After our first win, we joked in the locker room that we were the best team in the league because we were undefeated. Now, 1-0 may not be a dominating record, but it is technically without a loss so we were happy. We left after the final game to make the three-hour bus ride home, which seemed short next to the seven-hour ride we had going out to Stockton last week. A movie and some cards later and we were already home. Once we arrived for our three-game series against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, we wanted to make sure we kept winning to give ourselves a shot in the second half, something we didn’t do the first half. Staying ahead of the other teams is much easier than trying to make up ground all season long. We had a good time playing the three-game homestand against Rancho.
The All-Star break, which lasted four days, started after the series was over so we all were enjoying our last couple games before we got some time off. We only had two guys on the All-Star team, so for the rest of us it was a time to recuperate and spend time with our families or friends. Some guys are traveling to the beach, some to Las Vegas, or some are going home to see their families. I am actually typing this brief article on the plane heading back to Florida to see my family.
The time off is nice to get refreshed and ready to go for the second half. The games themselves aren’t very draining but the day-in/day-out grind with very few off days is a bit taxing. Hopefully everyone will be rested up when we get back to playing on Thursday and we can continue or winning ways for the rest of the season.
Tommy Giles plays for the Inland Empire 66ers—the advanced-A affiliate for the Los Angeles Dodgers.