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Aviators top 10: Bruce Bochy returns to Las Vegas

1. Welcome back, Bruce Bochy

The answer to a Las Vegas baseball trivia question had found a cool seat in the suites from which to watch Friday night’s Aviators game against the Sacramento River Cats: “That ball is probably still going,” joked Bruce Bochy, who hit the first home run in Cashman Field history on April 10, 1983, and also is famous for managing the San Francisco Giants to three World Series titles.

2. Stars battery reunited

Bochy, still employed by the Giants as a senior adviser, was enthralled with Las Vegas Ballpark upon making his first visit. But he said when he was catching for the original Las Vegas Stars, Cashman Field was impressive in its own right. “Lots of great memories,” he said after visiting with former battery mate Larry Brown, one of the Stars’ 1983 opening day pitchers.

3. Frank the Tank rumbles

In his first at-bat after being promoted from the Aviators to the A’s, Frank Schwindel hit a home run Wednesday so towering that the umpires had to review it to make sure it cleared the foul pole in fair territory before landing in the second deck. “I got nervous for a sec, but once I saw them do the little home run sign, I was feeling pretty good,” Schwindel said.

4. Bronx cheer in Las Vegas

Who says Las Vegas baseball fans don’t pay attention to the game? After allowing the first eight River Cats to reach base in the top of the first Friday, former A’s starting pitcher Jesus Luzardo was serenaded with sarcastic applause upon finally recording an out.

5. Uniform behavior

The Aviators wore caps and vest-style jerseys with one blue sleeve and one red to commemorate the Fourth of July holiday Friday. The sharp-looking shirts will be auctioned off for charity, but you can purchase the commemorative cap at the gift shop on the third-base concourse.

6. Homer streak ends …

The Aviators’ franchise record of consecutive games with a home run ended at 21 when they failed to go deep in losses at Salt Lake Monday and Tuesday. The previous record was 19, set by the 2019 club.

7. … and ends hard

After hitting all those homers, the Aviators were held to two singles in Thursday’s 10-2 loss opening a six-game homestand against Sacramento. Las Vegas’ only runs came on a double-play grounder and a bases-loaded walk.

8. No doubting Thomas

Aviators outfielder Cody Thomas was named Triple-A West Player of the Month after hitting .313 in June with 11 homers, six doubles, two triples, 28 RBIs, 10 walks and a 1.123 OPS. I’m told his WAR also was pretty good.


The Aviators’ earned-run average of 6.76 ranks last among the 10 Triple-A West teams. Las Vegas pitchers also have allowed a league-high 98 home runs, which mostly explains the team’s 23-27 record heading into Saturday night.

10. Aviators quick quiz

Tuesday marked the 25th anniversary of seven Oakland A’s hitting home runs and tying a major league record in a 18-2 victory over the Angels. Which of those players also was responsible for starting a triple play during a 1996 series against the Tigers at Cashman Field when the Oakland Coliseum was being renovated: A: Scott Brosius. B: Mark McGwire. C: Jason Giambi. D: Ernie Young.

The answer is Ernie Young, who climbed the center-field wall to snare a drive off the bat of Bobby Higginson and start one of only eight triple plays in A’s history.

2-sport star Cody Thomas hits his stride with Aviators

Before his professional baseball career, Thomas was a two-sport athlete at Oklahoma, playing both baseball and quarterback for the Sooners’ football team.