The Tacoma Rainiers have been division champs for two straight years, and last night the team advanced to the PCL Championship Series against the Memphis Redbirds after defeating the Sacramento River Cats in the first round of the playoffs. Too bad the famous statue of Ben Cheney isn’t enjoying the winning streak: Cheney Stadium is in various stages of demolition, as the ballpark is being renovated this offseason.
Demolition of much of Cheney Stadium began right after the regular-season ended; you can see here what the renovated ballpark will look like for the beginning of the 2011 season. Working on tight schedule was a risk the Rainiers were willing to take, even though the team was expected to compete for the playoffs after winning a divisional crown last season as well. The work forced the Rainiers north to Safeco Field for the first round of the playoffs, where they dispatched Sacramento.
Their reward? A PCL Championship Series played totally at Memphis’s AutoZone Park. Tacoma has proven to be a scrappy team this season, but it will be a huge challenge to win three out of five in a tough venue. Some reward indeed.
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