The season opens for the three professional baseball teams about which Sacramento cares most – San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics and Sacramento River Cats – beginning April 6. What the season portends for each varies as they adjust to significant changes.
But as Ernest Lawrence Thayer wrote in “Casey at the Bat,” hope … “springs eternal.”
All three teams have made-over rosters, the Giants’ coming after a third World Series championship in five seasons; the A’s following a promise-laden year that ended in disappointment; the River Cats’ determined by Triple-A realities and their changing of affiliation from the A’s to the Giants.
But when “Play Ball” is called, what matters will be the next pitch, the next run, the next game – and for fans, where to follow it all and how much that might cost.
Here’s a rundown:
SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS
League: Pacific Coast League (AAA), Pacific Northern Division
Home venue: Raley Field, 400 Ballpark Drive, West Sacramento
First game: April 9 vs. Salt Lake City Bees, 7 p.m. It is the start of a season-opening eight-game homestand. Tap here for the complete regular-season schedule.
Tickets: Prices are slightly higher for opening day and special days, starting with $12 for unreserved seating on a grass hill beyond right field and rising to $37 for reserved seating, depending on location. Generally, prices range from $10 to $35. Suites are available, as is seating in the Solon Club above the right-field stands. Tap here for availability and complete pricing information. Parking options, including some free parking, have been expanded.
Radio coverage: ESPN (1320 AM). All 144 regular-season game and all playoff games will be broadcast.
Announcer: Play-by-play is done by Johnny Doskow, who has been the River Cats’ radio man since the team came to Sacramento in 2000.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
League: MLB National League, Western Division
Home venue: AT&T Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco
First game: April 6 at the Arizona Diamondbacks, 7:10 p.m.
First home game: April 13 vs. the Colorado Rockies, 1:35 p.m. Tap here for the complete regular-season schedule.
Tickets: The Giants use market pricing, with ticket costs changing based on date, opponent and promotional days. Ticket prices for the Giants’ first home game of the regular season begin at $127 for upper-deck, left-field seats, and topping out at $531 for Field Club seats. The following day, the range drops to $45 to $227. Generally and changing often, starting prices range from about $15 to $25, with highs of about $150. Tap here for ticket availability and complete pricing information.
TV/Radio coverage: Most games will be televised by Comcast Sports Network Bay Area, with occasional broadcasts by NBC Bay Area. Radio broadcasts are on KNBR (680 AM). Spanish radio broadcast of home games is on KTRB (860 AM).
Announcers: The Giants’ broadcasting team is play-by-play man Duane Kuiper and analyst Mike Krukow, both former major-league players, and Hall of Famer Jon Miller and David Fleming. Kuiper and Krukow mainly handle television with Miller and Fleming anchoring radio coverage, but they mix and match often.
Erwin Higueros and former Giants second baseman Tito Fuentes provide Spanish-language play-by-play and analysis.
League: MLB American League, Western Division
Home venue: O.co Coliseum, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland
First game: April 6 vs. the Texas Rangers, 7:05 p.m. Tap here for the complete regular-season schedule.
Tickets: For opening day, prices range from $25 to $95, dropping the next day to $7 to $48. Depending on opponent or promotion, tickets range from a low of $2 to a high of $111 (vs. the Giants on Sept. 26), though generally they cost from $12 to $52. Tap here for ticket availability and complete pricing information.
TV/Radio coverage: Games are televised on Comcast Sports Network California. Radio broadcasts in Sacramento are on KHTK (1140 AM). Spanish radio broadcasts of night and weekend home games are on KIQI (1010 AM) / KATD (990 AM).
Announcers: Glen Kuiper and former major-leaguers Eric Chavez and Ray Fosse are the main television broadcast team, Kuiper calling the games with Chavez and Fosse providing analysis. Radio broadcasts are done by the play-by-play team of veteran voices Ken Korach and Vince Cotroneo, along with Fosse. Korach has done A’s games for 20 seasons, Cotroneo 10.
Amaury Pi-Gonzalez does Spanish language play-by-play with Manolo Hernandez-Douen providing analysis.
Sacramento Bee/sacbee.com baseball preview schedule
Friday: San Francisco Giants – ▪ Feature on Giants manager Bruce Bochy and why he might have ensured election into the baseball Hall of Fame ▪ Five pressing issues for the Giants ▪ Team at a glance
Saturday: Oakland Athletics – ▪ How A’s manager Bob Melvin puts the pieces of a rebuilt team together ▪ Five pressing issues for the A’s ▪ Team at a glance
Sunday: Major leagues – ▪ Season overview
April 8 or 9: Sacramento River Cats – ▪ How the River Cats stack up for 2015 ▪ Team at a glance
Call The Bee’s Brian Blomster, (916) 326-5512.