The San Rafael Pacifics are pulling out all the stops this week — a stellar lineup of music acts, a celebration of local Little Leaguers and a Japanese woman who throws a mean knuckleball.
The upstart pro baseball team, which debuted at Albert Park in San Rafael last month, is rolling out the red carpet to fans during its Celebrate Hawaii Week that corresponds with games against a team called Na Koa Ikaika Maui. The six-game series runs July 3-8 and features a start by Maui knuckleball pitcher Eri Yoshida — the baseball Hall-of-Fame honoree known internationally as the Knuckle Princess — on Friday night.
Yoshida, who used to pitch for the Chico Outlaws in the Golden Baseball League, brings in a 3-1 record with a 4.01 earned-run average with five walks and seven strikeouts over four starts.
Yoshida is far from the first woman to take the mound in a professional baseball game. A woman named Jackie Mitchell once struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig during a 1931 exhibition game. Mamie "Peanut" Johnson pitched in the early 1950s in the Negro Leagues. In the late 1990s, Ila Borders had mild success with her curveball/screwball repertoire in the college ranks and American minor leagues. For a feature about a 13-year-old American female knuckleballer, check out this recent story on ESPN.
As part of the Pacifics' Ladies Night promotion, women will receive a half-price ticket ($6) and be eligible to win door prizes catered especially to the female fan.
The celebration begins Tuesday as the top two teams in the North American League North face off and the first 500 fans will receive Hawaiian leis. For the Fourth of July game, the first 500 fans will receive small American flags. Thursday the 500 fans will receive free sunglasses and Saturday fans can get 25 percent off the ticket price for wearing an aloha shirt.
The music lineup is first-rate, with Americana rockers Blame Sally playing Tuesday, Lara Johnston (daughter of Doobie Brothers' founder Tom Johnston) and the Dick Bright Orchestra playing Wednesday, Big Brother & the Holding Company singer Stefanie Keys on Thursday, a capella group 'Til Dawn on Friday.
Thursday is Little League Day at Albert Park as the team invites all youth ballplayers out to the yard and give 50 percent off to kids wearing their Little League uniforms; the $6 price includes hotdog and a drink. Little League and All-Star coaches who bring their entire team in uniform will get in for free (maximum two coaches per team).
Game times are 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, 7:15 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday and 1:15 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are available at Pacificsbaseball.com or fans can purchase a General Admission Week Pass for just $45 — a 38 percent savings — good for the entire homestand vs. Maui. Buy it now by clicking here or get single-game tickets here.