Play ball! Portland Pickles Baseball returns to Lents Park

CHECK OUT THE VIDEO | Again, Walker Stadium is alive with activity as the Portland Pickles Baseball team brings fans from all over the city to outer East Portland …

Before their first game, Portland Pickles Baseball fans who have patiently waited for the season to begin enter the gate at Charles B. Walker Stadium in Lents Park.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Time flies – and so, again, do the baseballs! It doesn’t seem possible that it was way back in June of 2016 that the first Portland Pickles baseball game was played on their home turf at Charles B. Walker Stadium located in Lents Park. But indeed six years have passed.

East Portland News was there, when then Mayor Charlie Hales threw out the first pitch of the season. CLICK HERE to see that story.

Since then, “America’s pastime” has drawn thousands of Pickles fans to watch games, listen to live music, engage in silly contests, chow down on Pickle Pizza, party with friends and family – and yes, to watch great collegiate league baseball being played.

All true Pickles fanatics make a pilgrimage to the “merch tent” to buy attire from the clerks there – who are young people like college intern Cameron McKeon, a student at Syracuse University.

The Pickles then kicked off their 40-game schedule on Memorial Day weekend – specifically, on May 31 – playing against the Nanaimo NightOwls. They continue to play ball throughout the summer against the teams comprising the West Coast League, a summer wooden-bat league for college-eligible student-athletes, based in the Pacific Northwest.

Celebrating her birthday at this Portland Pickles game with her friends, on the left field berm, is Emilija Thorburn. She’s seated above, right.

“It’s great for the Portland Pickles Baseball to again be playing, here in Walker Stadium,” commented the team’s manager Ross Campbell on opening night.

“It’s been a long and eventful off-season for us, including a playing in Mexico; that was an amazing accomplishment for us,” Campbell told East Portland News.

When fan Liz Stevens, here holding Kaladin, asks Pickles’ mascot Dillon about his off-season adventures, he just smiles a toothy grin.

“It’s true: Just after our return this winter, our season our mascot Dillon was “kidnapped” – and allegedly posted controversial things on social media, Campbell said. “This is the fans’ first opportunity to come and ask him what happened during the off-season – but, as you know, he’s not a very talkative pickle.”

So, it was no surprise that Dillon didn’t respond to our questions – but he did look truly excited to be again welcoming fans back to the ballpark.

Pickles Center Field player, Kyler Stancato hits a line drive.

As the stadiums filled with fans, and groups laid out blankets on the berm areas along the sides, excitement was growing in the crowd.

“We have invested a lot into the ballpark, as well as into the promotions and in our team, to make sure everyone has a wonderful experience,” Campbell acknowledged.

See why folks say it’s more than great baseball – it’s a party!  Watch the video:

“Everyone’s looking forward to having a great experience here, and they’ll get it,” the Manager predicted. “Whether or not you are a ‘baseball fan’, this is the place for everyone to come and hang out – it’s the biggest ‘legal’ party in Portland every night we’re here.”

Ready for hungry fans, from Atlas Pizza it’s Janine Estell-Steppe and Rafael Zermenoz, with slices of Pickles Pickle Pizza. Try it! It’s truly delicious.

By the way, the Pickles shellacked their opponents in that game by a score of 5 to 1 – to the “chair-raising” (a tradition at the stadium for celebrating runs) adulation of their fans.

The Portland Pickles play games at Walker Stadium, rain or shine, through mid-August.

Into the evening Portland Pickles fans watch as their team scores, and wins – again and again.

For more information, including their game and special promotion schedule, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

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