The AquaSox pushed their 2010 season as far as they possibly could, beating the Spokane Indians for the NWL title on Sunday, September 12th, less than 12 hours before their bus left for SeaTac and their flights home.
Since that day AquaSox Nation has spent their off-season soaking up the first championship for the franchise since 1985 and the first since the AquaSox changed their name from the Everett Giants and became an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. There are championship shirts, championship hats, and the Freitas Cup travels to events with Webbly & the AquaSox staff so fans can get a glimpse of the elusive trophy.
The players, coaches and front office staff have their championship rings, the plans are underway for a championship celebration on Opening Night 2011, and you can watch the final pitch and celebration on the AquaSox YouTube page.
And while the luster of the NWL Championship hasn’t worn off, fans, players and staff are ready to get 2011 underway and have baseball back at Everett Memorial Stadium once again. Full-season Minor League teams get underway this week, and it is officially time to wait impatiently for AquaSox Opening Night on June 22nd. Luckily, we’re not planning to sit around waiting for first pitch – we’re ready to get the festivities underway!
Last night was our Mariners Kick-Off party at Tulalip Resort Casino, and we had a blast with our ticket holders, sponsors and host families. We have several other ticket-holder only events coming up including our Ticket Pick-Up Party and our Meet the Players BBQ, so if you have a ticket package, keep your eyes peeled for all the details.
Here are some dates to mark on your calendar:
– Saturday, April 16th, 12:00-2:30 – AquaSox Job Fair. We hire all of our day-of-game workers through this job fair. If you or someone you know is interested in working in concessions, ticketing, promotions or stadium operations, give us a call for more information at 425-258-3673.
– Wednesday, May 18th – Online Single-Game Ticket Pre-Sale. While season tickets and mini-plans are available online now, single game tickets will go on sale at http://www.aquasox.com starting on Wednesday, May 18th.
– Sunday, May 22nd, 11:00-3:00 – AquaSox FanFest. Free to the public, AquaSox FanFest is a great way to get ready for the season. Ticket sales begin in our office, we host National Anthem auditions, our Game Day magazine art contest, concessions are open, fans can play on the field, check out the dugouts and much more. Anthem audition info will be posted in mid-April, as will all the details for FanFest.
– Wednesday, June 15th, 7:05 – Everett Cup vs. Everett Merchants. The annual Everett Cup is a great way to kick off the season as the AquaSox play the Everett Merchants for pride and the ability to claim that they are the champs of Everett Memorial Stadium. Tickets start at $8, and are included in the Silver Sluggers package for the first time this year.
We will have more events and announcements as the season gets closer, and it is never to early to sign up for Silver Sluggers, Kids Club, Baseball Camp, Ticket Packs and all of our community initiatives. Bookmark http://www.aquasox.com to keep on top of all our upcoming events.
Since it always gets us ready for Game Day, we’ll leave you with our 2010 Intro Video – We are AQUASOX!
While you’re waiting for AquaSox Opening Day, don’t forget that many of your favorite AquaSox have moved up in the organization and are now with the Clinton LumberKings, High Desert Mavericks, Jackson Generals and Tacoma Rainiers .
By now, many people know the background story of new Seattle Mariners pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen: after a great debut season for the Milwaukee Brewers Class A affiliate in 2003, Wilhelmsen tested positive for marijuana twice and was suspended by the Brewers for the entire 2004 season. The following year he retired, bartended full-time at The Hut in Tucson, Arizona, and then backpacked around the world. Now fast forward to 2009, when he decided the itch to pitch was back. After pitching for the independent league Tucson Toros, Wilhemsen had a 15-minute tryout for Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, and was signed by the Mariners to get his second shot at his dream of reaching the Major Leagues.
For the AquaSox, the Tom Wilhelmsen experience started on July 16th, 2010 when he was assigned to the AquaSox after a stint with the Peoria Mariners. Due to the AquaSox schedule and his positioning in the rotation, Tom never got the chance to pitch for the home crowd at Everett Memorial Stadium, but he did manage to make his mark regardless. He started three road games for the Sox, going 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA and 14 strikeouts. At home, he became a fan favorite to a crowd that never got to see him in action.
He was introduced to the AquaSox fans on AquaVision, with his own Meet Your AquaSox Video:
And reappeared as the AquaSox pitchers grew their mustaches:
On a day he wasn’t pitching, Wilhelmsen stayed after the game and led Launch-a-Ball as MC, pointing out prizes while ducking and dodging the tennis balls that flew on to the field and in to hula hoops. He also helped lead the celebration as the AquaSox clinched their spot in the playoffs with a walk-off win against Eugene on July 19th.
Even after getting called up to the Clinton LumberKings, Tom’s ferocious instructions for the fans to “UNLEASH…THE… EEEEEEEE!!!” lived on in the AquaSox intro video for the NWL playoff run. In Clinton, he went 6-1 with a 2.23 ERA and 73 strikeouts on his way to being named Midwest League Pitcher of the Week two weeks in a row.
Now, less than 9 months after making his debut with the AquaSox, Mariners manager Eric Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis have informed him that he has a spot in the bullpen with the major league club, and will be starting the season in Seattle.
We have caught up with Tom several times since he was called up, including a visit at the Arizona Fall League where he was working on his control and secondary pitches with the Peoria Javelinas. Tom told us that although his time in Everett was short, the people he met and the atmosphere created by Everett’s fans made it a memorable experience for him. He also has a visual reminder of his time in Everett: a pretty impressive NWL Championship ring. While Tom wasn’t here to be a part of the final game, he cemented his place as part of the 2010 AquaSox in the hearts of his teammates, coaches and fans & now takes his place as an AquaSox Alumni.
When he starts the season with the big league club, there will be plenty of fans making the drive down from Everett to see him in action… it’s about time they get a chance to see him pitch in person.
The Everett Herald covered Tom’s time with the AquaSox in an August 1st article titled “AquaSox pitcher’s diamond dreams get a second chance” – read the entire article at HeraldNet.com