Never let it be said that Boise fans are heartless.
Hawks fans have a tradition of passing around a hat whenever a Boise pitcher strikes out the side.
During a June 19-21 home series against Eugene, the fans filled the hat with nearly $500 for the hospital expenses of Emeralds bus driver John Bunker.
Bunker suffered a heart attack in his motel room a short time after the Emeralds arrived in Boise on June 19. Bunker knew what was happening and called 911 for help.
Bunker’s heart surgery required six bypasses. His recovery was swift, however, as he attended Eugene’s July 2 home game against Boise.
“It was fabulous,” Bunker said about the Hawks fans’ gift. “My heart goes out to those people. They’ll never know how much that money came in handy.”
Portland Rockies fans could learn a few things from Boise’s. When the Spokane Indians play in Portland the next five days, they may require hard hats under their baseball caps.
Everett outfielders complained that Portland fans pelted them with assorted knickknacks during a June 28-30 series. The debris included nails, coins, dollar bills, peanuts, popcorn and promotional visors.
The worst offenders watch the game from the “Rock Pile,” bleacher seats in left and left-center.
Love me tender
Portland management may turn a blind eye to “Rock Pile” hooliganism, but it’s obsessed with ways to promote the Rockies’ double dose of Elvis. As noted last week, Elvis Pena and Elvis Jimenez hit back-to-back in the Portland lineup.
Before a home game last week against Everett, the other seven Rockies starters ran on to the field after being introduced. The Elvises were escorted to their positions by a limousine. The fancy car then deposited at home plate an Elvis impersonator, who gyrated his way through the Star-Spangled Banner.
One-man wrecking crew
Eugene leadoff hitter George Lombard annihilated two catchers last week.
Last Sunday, against Yakima, Lombard plowed into Bears catcher A.J. Walkanoff on a play at the plate. Walkanoff tore thumb ligaments in his throwing hand while trying to break his fall.
Lombard, a former high school All-American running back, contributed more fireworks on July 4. He bowled over Boise catcher Danny Alzualde on a play at home. Alzualde sprained his right ankle and spent the rest of the series on crutches.
Around the league
In his two starts at home, Boise hurler Kekoa Dafun has allowed one hit and no runs in 8-1/3 innings. He has struck out 10. During two road starts, he gave up 19 hits and 12 earned runs in 6-1/3 innings. … Everett manager Orlando Gomez occasionally spices up practices by defying players to hit bottle caps with broomsticks. Hank Aaron employed the same methods, Gomez claims. … One week ago, Eugene was 4-11 with a .205 batting average. The Emeralds entered Saturday’s game against Boise with 10-12 with a batting average nearing .250. The difference, the Emeralds insist, is pointers from Atlanta Braves roving hitting instructor Leon Roberts, who emphasized mental preparation over mechanics in a June 28 visit.
Lefty Jason Brester, San Francisco’s second-round selection in last month’s amateur draft, is on his way to Bellingham. Brester, of Burlington Edison (Wash.) High, was 8-2 with a 0.21 ERA during his senior year. By signing, he save up a scholarship to the University of Washington. … Through Friday, Portland is 8-2 at home, 8-3 on the road and 10-1 against the Southern Division. Southern Oregon is 8-2 vs. the Northern Division (4-1 vs. Spokane) and 1-10 against the South. … Spokane batters have a league-worst 2.19 strikeouts per walk. … Everett’s Jose Amado leads the league in homers, doubles, extra-base hits and slugging percentage.
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