‘Pickles’ open third baseball season in Lents Park

The weather was great, the game was fast, and attendance was good, at this outer East Portland sporting event – only elected officials were absent …

Once the gate opens at Charles B. Walker Stadium in Lents Park, the crowd rushes in, ready to enjoy the opening game of the season of the Portland Pickles collegiate baseball team.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The third season of the Portland Pickles baseball team, the Portland collegiate team of the West Coast League that plays at Charles B. Walker Stadium, kicked off the evening of June 2.

The stadium looked sadly empty an hour before game time. But soon, long lines of ticket holders snaked through Lents Park waiting to get in. By the time the game got underway, more than 2,500 fans had filled seats, bleachers, and grassy rim areas.

Posing with “Dillon”, the Portland Pickles mascot, are members of the Oregon City Pioneers school baseball team.

Pickles team management said they were disappointed that, even though they’d invited Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (he was attending the 2018 United States Conference of Mayors in Boston), and other governmental elected officials to the home opener, all of them who had responded just sent regrets – including Portland Parks & Recreation leaders.

The 2018 players of the Portland Pickles line up on the field after being announced.

Before the game began, Portland Pickles official field announcer, Robert Jones, introduced members of the home team, and then the visitors – the “Port Angeles Lefties”.

The Walker Stadium VIP section fills to capacity as the game begins.

Portland Pickles announcer Robert Jones welcomes the crowd to their third season opener.

“We want you to think of this place as your summer habitat,” Jones told the crowd. “This is where you can come, and find an oasis every night – to enjoy the sunshine, the baseball, and your friends, here in the wonderful Lents neighborhood.”

With mascot Dillon cheering him on, Royal Rosarian Prime Minister Adam Baker throws the ceremonial “first pitch” of the game.

Members of the Royal Rosarians then took the field, and escorted the current Rosarian Prime Minister, Adam Baker, as he stepped to the mound, and threw out the first pitch of the season.

Lines for hotdogs, French fries, and beer grew long as the game began; the spectators soon settled in for a good game.

While Pickles lost this home opener 3-2, they did win the next two of the three-game home stand with scores of 6-1 and 2-0.

Pitcher Alex Roth, a junior at Western Oregon University, fires a fastball.

At bat, University of Portland infielder Jace McKinney connects with a pitch.

The team did well on the road, but high winds and rain sweeping through the area cancelled their next home visit, June 8 through 10.  As of publication, the Portland Pickles standings are 9-2 – a laudable record.

But, according to a recent announcement by the team’s management, “Baseball at Walker Stadium is officially here to stay”. The Portland Pickles have officially signed a 13-year extension with Portland Parks & Recreation, allowing them to use Walker Stadium as their home field for that duration.

As the sun drops low in the sky, the baseball game continues.

“Walker Stadium has seen many improvements in the short existence of the Portland Pickles – such as the fan seating sections, like the Dugout Dens and the Ford Party Deck; this extension will allow for potentially more upgrades to the stadium, to help make the fan experience even better,” remarked co-owner Bill Stewart.

Find out more about the Portland Pickles, and get tickets online, at their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

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