By Amelia McLear
With all the angst about the future of the Sacramento Kings, Girls on the Grid decided to find out more about the guys from Sacramento’s other professional sports team, the Sacramento River Cats.
The River Cats, the Triple-A affiliate for the Oakland A’s, are in their 12th year playing at Raley Field in West Sacramento. They have won four Pacific Coast League Championship titles and with the weather finally warming, they offer area residents a fun, yet reasonably-priced, activity. The River Cats are currently 50-34 and leading their division.
But what do the River Cats do in their off-time? We always hear where the Kings players hang out and even have seen a few around town, but why have we never seen the River Cats at clubs or read about their antics in the paper?
GOTG decided to investigate. What we found is that overall, the River Cats players and their coaches are a mellow, easy-going bunch, but also very serious about living and breathing baseball during their five-month season.
Interestingly, many of them live in Natomas, staying at extended stay and furnished apartments on a month-to-month lease because they never know when they could get called up, traded or moved down.
The team also employs Rebecca Brutlag, their hard-working, thirty-four-year-old communications director. Rebecca is the only female on the team’s staff who directly works with the players, juggling press calls, promoting player appearances and highlighting the team’s charitable work in the community. She says being around all of those guys can be like having two dozen brothers at one time, and she has been the brunt of many a prank. But it is also very rewarding, she says. “Working with professional athletes at this level is a joy,” she says. “At this level, they are here for a purpose, and it’s fun to share that with them.”
Here is a look at the personal side of a few River Cats players and staff. The amazing photos were taken by GOTGer Chantel Elder with Eleakis & Elder.
Hometown: Apopka, FL
How long with River Cats: Second season
What is the most surprising thing about Sacramento: It’s really difficult for me to be surprised because I’ve been to a lot of places. I went to school in the Bay Area so I’m used to the diversity here, or else I would have said that.
What is your favorite restaurant: I love sushi. Sapporo is good.
What is your favorite bar: R-15 because they have my favorite tequila, Avión
What do you do for fun in your off-time: I like music. I watch Hulu and catch up on TV shows – I’m a big fan of 30 Rock and the Daily Show. I read, mostly nonfiction. I was a poly sci major and I am interested in reading about foreign affairs. I just finished reading a book on Obama’s first year in office.
Where do you like to work out/go running: I use the gym here at the field. There’s enough stuff here as it is. Or else I’ll go to the 24 Hour Fitness on Howe.
What do you love about baseball: It’s the most difficult thing to do on the planet. I say that with a grain of salt – an Army Ranger definitely has a harder job. But baseball is all about controlling your emotions. There can be staggering amounts of failure and most people would just quit rather than persevere.
What do you think of the Kings’ situation: It’s kind of sad. I know a little bit about the Kings history here and I see the business aspect of sports. I do know the arena needs to be updated. Overall, sports have become more of an event than they’ve ever been, so you need to have a good venue. If you don’t update your facility, you will lose out to other things. And, put out a good team.
What is your walk-up song: “Shining Down” by Lupe Fiasco. It speaks to my situation as a baseball player right now.
Anything else women in Sacramento should know about you: Come say hello. Don’t have any lines; I’m more about conversations. Try your best not to be crazy. I respond less to insanity. A sense of humor is huge for me. When I’m off the field, I like to joke around. Also, I like somewhat of a fitness enthusiast.
Hometown: Hillsborough, North Carolina
Status: In a relationship
How long with River Cats: This is my first year; I’ve been here about two months. I’m excited.
What is the most surprising thing about Sacramento: So far, it’s been the weather. I had heard how hot this city was, but it hasn’t been. I played for a season in Stockton [for the organization’s single A team, the Ports] and it was hot down there.
What is your favorite restaurant: The Sandwich Spot on Q Street. I went to Ten 22 once in Old Sacramento and it was nice.
What is your favorite bar: The Dive Bar, but only when the mermaids are there. Otherwise, why go. And we don’t need any mermen.
What do you do for fun in your off-time: Recently I’ve been watching a lot of “Big Cat Diaries” from the Animal Planet on Netflix.
Where do you like to work out/go running: I don’t like to go running. I work out at the gym we have here at the field.
What do you love about baseball: Being able to play every day is a blessing. And I get to see a lot of different places.
What do you think of the Kings’ situation: I haven’t really thought about it very much. I’d like them to stay though. I think the city needs them.
What is your walk-up song: My first song here was “I Need a Freak” by Two $hort. Just the opening instrumental part though. But then I thought that wasn’t really family-friendly, so now it’s “Intro” by the xx. I enjoy songs that loosen me up and have a good beat.
Anything else women in Sacramento should know about you: We covered that in the relationship status question.
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Position: “Voice of the River Cats” aka, the team’s radio broadcaster
How long with River Cats: Since November 2000
What is the most surprising thing about Sacramento: It’s an amazing city. I love Sacramento. I talk about it wherever I go. It’s close to everything. The weather is amazing. The people are great. In northern California, the people are more down to earth than southern California.
What is your favorite restaurant: Mikuni in Fair Oaks
What is your favorite bar: Powerhouse Pub in Folsom
What do you do for fun in your off-time: Hang out with my five-and-a-half-year-old daughter. Golf a little bit. Travel.
Where do you like to work out/go running: I work out at Calfornia Family Fitness in Folsom and I like to walk in the downtowns of all the cities we visit when we travel.
What do you love about baseball: The “daily-ness” of it. It’s 144 games in 152 days and everyday is a different day, every game is a different game.
What do you think of the Kings’ situation: I’m of the belief that we want the Kings to be here. It benefits us as an organization if the Kings stay. We need a NBA franchise in town. It adds more credibility to the city that it’s a major city.
What is your walk-up song: If I had a walk-up song, I’d walk up to any song by Johnny Cash.
Anything else women in Sacramento should know about you: I’m single, and I have a cute little button nose.
Hometown: Ft. Myers, Florida
Status: In a relationship
Position: Left-handed pitcher
How long with River Cats: Third season
What is the most surprising thing about Sacramento: I didn’t think it would be as cold at nighttime. Coming from Florida, I thought California would be warmer.
What is your favorite restaurant: Oshima Sushi
What is your favorite bar: O’Malleys Irish Pub
What do you do for fun in your off-time: Play guitar
Where do you like to work out/go running: 24-Hour Fitness downtown
What do you love about baseball: I like the fact that I play a game for a living.
What do you think of the Kings’ situation: There’s always tomorrow. Keep an even keel. Whenever you leave the ballpark, you don’t want to show on your face whether you won or lost. You get another chance tomorrow.
What is your walk-up song: “Where is my mind” by the Pixies.
Anything else women in Sacramento should know about you: Look at my status question.
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Position: Hitting Coach
How long with River Cats: I was here for the 2008 season, then left and now I’m back for the 2011 season
What is the most surprising thing about Sacramento: The proximity to a lot of good things in the Bay Area, even though it’s in the Central Valley.
What is your favorite restaurant: Ernesto’s
What is your favorite bar: Stingers, Cheers and Oshima’s
What do you do for fun in your off-time: Golf
Where do you like to work out/go running: In my room, on my pillow. I don’t work out.
What do you love about baseball: Competition
What do you think of the Kings’ situation: The River Cats’ ball park is fairly new and family-friendly and people want to come. Make it more family friendly and give people something to do.
What is your walk-up song: I picked the team’s run-out song [the song to which they run out onto the field]. It’s “Halftime (Stand Up & Get Crunk!)” by Ying Yang Twins. It’s a song to get hyped up to.
Anything else women in Sacramento should know about you: I’m personable.