This is Bobby the Bobblehead. Bobby's getting so excited for the upcoming season, he can barely contain himself. He's running all over Humboldt County during the month of May, hiding some little goodies for a few lucky Crabs fans to find.
Here on the North Coast, it's no secret that the Crabs experience is pretty fantastic (if we do say so ourselves — and we do), but it's always a bit of a thrill when we get some exposure beyond the Redwood Curtain.
Well on Jeopardy on Tuesday, Feb. 16, a Contestant named Zach Binney told host Alex Trebek that he and his friends travel the country during the summer in search of baseball fun, and that in all his travels, the very best experience he's had was right here in our little ballpark!
Well folks, it's official. The Crabs are the best. #jeopardy #GoCrabsGo #LifeAsACrab
As it turns out, Binney and two friends write a blog called "Scrappy Journeymen With Heart Who Blog the Right Way," and on Sunday, July 6, 2014, the trio visited Humboldt and took in a game. They threw out the first pitch(es), had themselves a generally good time, and then wrote about it. You can read the whole thing here, but below are a couple of highlights.
"At high noon, we heard a jarring emergency siren, but no one around seemed to notice. We learned that it signals fire and tsunami warnings and has to be tested once a day, always at noon. At Crabs games, though, it has unofficial status as the moment it’s legal to buy beer. We think all cities should have beer alarms."
"The announcer booth was the Don Terbush Announcer Booth 1949-1994. 45 years calling games in Arcata, CA is an achievement any of us would be proud to have on our resume."
"Examples of (the band's) shenanigans included “Ole” for mound meetings, “Na-na-na-na BAT BOY” for the batboy, Sportscenter theme after a great double play, Chicken Dance during an intentional walk, Wild Thing after two non-intentional walks, frequent requests for a Freeway Ball, and numerous others. The director even seemed to have a whiteboard that listed specific songs for specific game situations. Due to their presence and enthusiasm, we didn’t hear a minute of canned music for the entire duration of the game."
And finally, their conclusion and score:
Conclusion: 68.5 on our completely arbitrary scale. It’s slightly inflated due to the first pitch, but this was a really fun game regardless. The crowd and band really make the experience and push it on par with San Rafael. The Pacifics may have a slight edge in creativity, but the Humboldt area clearly takes a lot of pride in this team and it’s infectious as all hell. 9.5/10
ARCATA (Aug. 3, 2015) — What else is there to say but, “Wow”?
An unforgettable 2015 season of Humboldt Crabs baseball is now officially in the books, and what a season it was. The Crabs finished with a stellar 41-9 record, and put the icing on their tasty cake by rolling to the championship of the inaugural Humboldt Invitational Tournament with a perfect 5-0 record.
“This team, they’re just outstanding, said a tired-but-beaming Tyson Fisher after the final out was recorded. “What they’ve done this summer is truly remarkable. You set goals and this team took those goals seriously.”
One of those goals was to finish the season with fewer than 10 losses, and that goal seemed in serious jeopardy when the team suffered its seventh loss on July 5. But the team reeled off a 21-2 run to end the season and accomplished the impressive feat.
“They know what it takes,” said Fisher. “The way that they approached the game here every single day, it’s awesome what they accomplished this summer. We had a solid group of guys that we could count on each and every day they were in the lineup to give us their best.”
And perhaps they were at their very best during the tournament run. The Crabs opened up the tournament against the Pacific Union Financial Capitalists, aka the Pufcaps, a powerful young team that had beaten the Crabs twice in 2014.
The Pufcaps jumped out to an early lead 3-0 lead, but the Crabs, as they’ve proven all year, had no issues playing from behind. They got on the board when big Bobby Schuman uncorked his first – but not his last – homer of the season in the fourth.
They added two more runs in the sixth but were still trailing 4-3 heading into the eighth. That changed quickly when Allen Smoot doubled and Ben Petersen hammered a towering shot onto U.S. 101 to give the Crabs their first lead of the game.
The lead was short-lived, however, as the Pufcaps answered with a tying home run in the bottom of the frame, sending the game into extra innings.
In the 11th inning the Pufcaps got generous, giving the Crabs the gift of two errors, and they took advantage, scoring four times to build a 9-5 lead. That was enough to survive a Pufcaps rally in the bottom half, and the Crabs hung on for a hard-earned 9-7 win.
The Crabs cruised through the rest of round-robin play on Friday and Saturday, getting stellar starting pitching from Tyler Bennett, who struck out a season-high 14 batters in eight innings in a 13-1 victory over the Solano Mudcats on Friday, and Donald Robinson, who shut down the Auburn Wildcats for seven innings in a 6-0 win on Saturday. Oh, and Schuman homered both Friday and Saturday, and Smoot extended his hitting streak to 31 games.
That earned the Crabs the top seed going into Sunday’s elimination portion of the tournament. And the first “victory” for the Crabs on Sunday came before they even took the field, as the Pufcaps, widely expected to breeze past the Wildcats in their 2-3 matchup, were completely stifled by Auburn pitcher Jacob Call, managing only an unearned run in a 3-1 loss.
The Crabs then took the field against the Mudcats, and once again, stellar starting pitching led the way. Justin Mullins threw a complete game in his final start of the summer to earn his fifth win and set up a championship showdown with Auburn.
In the finale, Fisher handed the ball to their ace and Pitcher of the Year, Drew Weston. And as usual, Weston dominated, allowing just one run over seven innings. The offense, meanwhile, did its thing, scoring four runs in the fifth and five in the sixth to break open the game and put the place into party mode. Perhaps the only thing that went wrong all day was the end of Smoot’s amazing hitting streak when he put up an 0-fer in the first game.
But all that did was give the crowd a chance to stand and acknowledge the season for the ages that Smoot had in Humboldt. He set all-time Crabs records with 85 hits, 57 RBIs and 27 doubles, and batted .447, making the decision to give him the MVP award possibly the easiest in Fisher’s baseball career.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Fisher said of Smoot’s season. “The guy was just unreal all summer long. I’ve never seen a hit streak like that, never seen a summer like that, never seen a season like that, period. Not only is this team one of the greatest in Crabs history, I feel like, but Smoot has definitely had one of the best summers in Crabs history, there’s no doubt about it.”
Once the game was over and the dog pile on the infield had been untangled, all that was left was awards and goodbyes. As mentioned above, Smoot was MVP and Weston was the Pitcher of the Year. The other award, the Heinig/Morsching Memorial Coaches’ Award, was shared by Blake Edmonson, who played both pitcher and outfield, and Beau Bozett, the second-year leadoff hitter who sparked the Crabs’ offense all year long both on the field and with his infectious enthusiasm in the dugout.
And so Season 71 is done, and it was a season that will be remembered forever by the Crabs family. See you next year!
• Tournament Wrap Up by Danny Penza of the Times-Standard Sports Depart, click here.
ARCATA (July 27, 2015) — Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Allen Smoot doubles in a run to give the Crabs an early lead and extend his hitting streak.
That was the play-by-play in the first inning on both Saturday, July 25 and Sunday the 26th, as the Crabs took two of three from the Healdsburg Prune Packers on the last weekend of the 2015 regular season.
“The guy’s unreal,” said manager Tyson Fisher. “He’s having just an incredible summer. He’s a very even-keeled guy; he’s a great teammate, he works his butt off just like all the great ones do, and he’s just been outstanding for us all summer, getting timely hits and big hits.”
The Crabs first baseman now has a 26-game hitting streak, 24 doubles, and a sparkling .437 average. Even in the Crabs’ only loss of the week, Friday’s opener against Healdburg, Smoot went 3-for-4 and scored the team’s only run.
That loss came at the hands of Healdsburg starter Torgen Soderland, who confounded the Crabs over six shutout innings. Only Smoot’s unearned run in the ninth prevented the team from being shut out for the first time all summer.
But you can’t keep an offense like that down for long. Helped out by a very porous Prune Packers defense, the Crabs counterpunched with a 16-3 victory on Saturday night, then took the series with a tidy, hard-earned 5-1 win on Sunday.
“Our guys did what they needed to do,” said Fisher. “Obviously Friday Healdsburg came and beat us, they beat us pretty handily, and our guys bounced back Saturday and Sunday to get the W’s and win the series, with their backs up against the wall. It says a lot about the team and what these guys are made of. I couldn’t be happier.”
On Saturday night, all they really had to do was take what the Prune Packers gave them. And what they gave them was 10 extra outs. Those 10 extra outs resulted in 10 unearned Crabs runs, which was more than enough with Justin Mullins on the hill. Mullins had one rough inning in the third when Healdsburg scored three runs to briefly tie the game but otherwise cruised through six innings to earn his fourth win.
On Sunday, on a spectacular Humboldt summer afternoon, Fisher gave the ball to Donald Robinson, and in what Fisher called “the biggest Sunday game that we’ve had all season,” Robinson delivered his best performance of the season.
“Donald was outstanding, best start he’s had all summer for us,” said Fisher. “We needed a big start, and it was a big outing for him – six strong and he was really locating pitches I think the best that he’s been all summer.”
And the team behind him was stellar as well. The defense turned two slick double plays – one actually started by Robinson – and the offense cashed in on its chances. Smoot doubled in a run in the first and drove in the Crabs second run with a sacrifice fly in the third, and Brad Pluschkell drove home two runners from third with less than two outs, one one grounder and one on a sac fly.
All of which please Fisher to no end.
“For the guys to put on the show that they did,” he said, “it might have been our best game that we played all summer.”
And what a time to have it – as they head toward the season-ending Humboldt Invitational Tournament.
“Going into this final week, we’ll have some momentum, have some confidence” said Fisher. “Our bats are back to where we need to be.”
After one last midweek series, against the Bay Area Tides on Tuesday and Wednesday, the four-team tournament begins Thursday. It’s a round-robin style format Thursday through Saturday, and then the teams will be seeded based on those games for elimination games starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday (the Crabs will play at 2 p.m. regardless of the seeding). The winners of Sunday’s first two games play for the championship at 6 p.m.
Below is the full tournament schedule:
Thursday, July 30
2 p.m. - Auburn Wildcats vs. Solano Mudcats 7 p.m. - PUF Capitalists vs. Humboldt Crabs
Friday, July 31
2 p.m. - Auburn Wildcats vs. PUF Capitalists 7 p.m. - Solano Mudcats vs. Humboldt Crabs
Saturday, Aug. 1 2 p.m. - PUF Capitalists vs. Solano Mudcats 7 p.m. - Auburn Wildcats vs. Humboldt Crabs
Sunday, Aug. 2 10 a.m. - Elimination Game 1 2 p.m. - Elimination Game 2 (Crabs vs. TBD) 6 p.m. - Championship Game
• Game story by the local newspaper, the Times-Standard, click here.
• News Ch. 2 Crabs Corner, click here.
Humboldt Invitational Tournament: July 30-Aug 2 | Season passes and leftover ten strip tickets will be honored for the tournament. One ticket gets you into both games for the day. Get a Crabs stamp at the front gate to go in and out.
ARCATA (July 20, 2015) — A funny thing about baseball: Some days everything goes your way; other days nothing does.
The Crabs’ series against the Redding Colt 45s was a perfect example of all-or-nothing baseball, as the Crabs routed the visiting 45s 8-1 on Friday, July 17 and 17-1 on Saturday the 18th to push their winning streak to 10 games, then dropped Sunday’s finale 8-2 in a game that seemed destined to go Redding’s way from the start.
In the first inning, Cooper Brunner’s diving attempt to snag a sinking liner off the bat of Kyle Hoffman came up short, and the ball skipped by him for an RBI-triple. Hoffman scored on the play when the throw to third sailed out of play near the Crabs dugout, putting the home team in an early 3-0 hole.
In the second, Bobby Schuman hit what appeared to be his first homer of the season off the Pepsi ad under the scoreboard where the fence dips down, but the men in blue ruled it had bounced off the yellow piping atop the fence and hadn’t actually left the yard.
Schuman would score two batters later, but it was just one of the signs that maybe it wasn’t their day. Another came a short time later when a Crabs player shot a ball off the left field wall right around the foul pole, and was initially ruled to be fair and a double, but after a discussion was overturned, likely correctly.
In reality though, it wasn’t just the breaks on this day, at least not in the eyes of manager Tyson Fisher.
“I think that the tempo was completely different than (Saturday) night, that’s a big aspect for this team,” He said. ”We want the pace of the game to be quick, and I think that played a part (Sunday). We seemed a little lazy, it was a lazy Sunday, and offensively we just weren’t very good.”
But, he added, “it’s hard to get down on this group when we just rattled off 10 in a row. The main message is, ‘hey we gotta start a new one.’”
And he’s right. Clunkers happen, but they shouldn’t make one forget how dominant the team had been during the win streak. As alluded to earlier, the Crabs had outscored the 45s 25-2 in the first two games of the series.
On Friday night, Drew Weston did what Drew Weston has been doing all summer, twirling a complete game to complement an offense that pounded out 13 hits, seven of which came from the top three in the batting order.
Not to be outdone by Weston, Justin Mullins struck out 11 in seven innings on Saturday, allowing only a first-inning home run. And the offense outdid itself, to the tune of 17 runs on 16 hits.
Earlier in the week, the Crabs had swept a two-game series against Bercovich Baseball. On Tuesday, July 14, Humboldt put up two separate 8-spots as they set the season high-water mark for runs in a 22-8 win. Blake Edmonson hit a three-run homer and Dillon Kelley had four RBIs to lead the offense.
Edmonson homered again on Wednesday the 15th as part of a four-hit night. Brunner, Brad Pluschkell and Allen Smoot – who is currently riding a 22-game hitting streak – each delivered two hits as the Crabs won 13-4.
So obviously, there’s not a lot to be down about after one loss, given how many good things preceded it. And another 10-game winning streak would just about get them to Fisher’s preseason goal of less than 10 losses.
• Sunday's game story from the local newspaper, click here.
Humboldt Invitational Tournament: July 30-Aug 2 | The Crabs take on the Solano Mudcats, the Pacific Capitalist, and the Auburn Wildcats in a round robin tournament for bragging rights. Season passes and leftover ten strip tickets will be honored for the tournament. One ticket gets you into both games for the day. Get a Crabs stamp at the front gate to go in and out. Click here for schedule.
ARCATA (July 17) — The Humboldt Crabs are pleased to announce our Hall of Fame Class of 2015. They will be officially inducted at the game on Saturday, July 18.
Fred Papini (1945-1966) ~ Douglas Clayton (1948-1952) Billy Olsen (1967) ~ Lute Barnes (1967) Paul Ziegler (1977-1981) ~ Shane Turner (1982-1983) Scott Eskra (1995) ~ Joe Gerber (1997-1998) Nick Giacone (2003-2004)