Baseball is America’s favorite pastime, and boy, does Portland know how to pass the time.
I had the pleasure of going to my first Portland Pickles (aka The Picks) game this last Friday. Home to the Lents’ Walker Stadium, you can find them there on most days of the week nestled between 92nd and Holgate.
The team itself was created in 2015 and its name was chosen off a poll with five other candidates; “In order of vote, Pickles was followed by Mud Hounds, Red Dogs, Posse, Pliers and Pixels” (Pamplin Media). The summertime wood-bat college team plays against 15 others that are a part of the West Coast League.
Now, I hadn’t been to a Portland baseball game since The Beavers used to play at formerly-known PGE Park so I wasn’t too sure what to expect. The tickets to the game were very cheap—only $12/person and parking was free, albeit difficult to find close to the entrance since we got there 30 minutes before the game started. The stadium is a lot smaller than PGE park but the atmosphere is just the same.
Once you walk through the gates you can find several food tents serving the typical hot dogs and chips, but in addition, there are stands selling pickles on a stick, Ate-Oh-Ate serving delicious Hawaiian food, Deschutes brewery with several stands selling different types of beers and ciders, the apparel tent selling t-shirts, sweaters, jerseys and hats with logos such as “Dill City” and finally, to make it as Oregon as possible, a CBD products tent. The people all around you are bearing smiles and their favorite gear while Dillion (the Pickle Mascot) walks around greeting small children and posing for photo ops.
This was the 10th game of the season and the first of three against the Bend Elks. There was a slow start with the game picking up in action toward the end of the 4th inning. The final score came to 12-10 with the Elks taking the lead. The Picks are currently at 4 wins and 8 losses for the season.
The Picks may not be the best at baseball, but they sure have some interesting celebratory traditions. For each home run, Dillion and other attendees raise their chairs into the air while music plays and others dance or clap. While observing the audience I also noticed a rooster (occasionally seen on a leash, otherwise, he was cradled safely in his owner’s arms); this same rooster was also lifted into the air during the home run dances. As far as the commentator, he definitely knew how to keep the audience entertained with sound bites for every action (or lack thereof).
If you are looking for a good way to spend a summer evening, I highly recommend checking out a Pickles game. Good beer, stadium food and even better company will make the time fly as fast as the balls that are being pitched in the field.