PORTLAND, Ore. – Baseball is back, again. Six years after the Portland Beavers (2001-2010) made their final appearance at then PGE Park, America’s pastime is back in Portland proper, in the form of Pickles.
In 2014 a new summer collegiate baseball league as formed known as the Great West League (GWL), similar to the area’s West Coast League (WCL). The league opened for play last Friday, June 3, with the Pickles on the road against the Medford Rogues.
The league has six teams across Oregon and California which will compete in a 57 game season that runs from early June through mid August with two rounds of playoffs and an All-Star Game.
Medford, who the Pickles opened against, is the only other team in Oregon. The Rogues previously played a number of seasons in the WCL under the same moniker, logos, and setup.
The Chico Heat, Lodi Crushers, Marysville Gold Sox, and Sacramento Stealth round out the other four teams in the GWL, all from California.
As Pickles announcer Spencer Smith made note of during the broadcast on opening night, the Pickles and Rogues should form a natural, interesting rivalry being the only two teams from Oregon in the league.
The Rogues won the opening series with the Pickles 2-1, outscoring Portland 17-14 in the three games, proving Smith’s words to be true, so far.
The Pickles played their first six games on the road (the other three against Chico) and are set to open at home after their first off day today against the Marysville Gold Sox at 7:05 p.m.
The opening series will feature two opening nights, as announced by the team, the first on Friday and the second on Saturday to give all fans the chance to get into the park and get a good seat. The openers include post game fireworks, magnet schedule giveaways, among other promotions.
The park in this instance will be Walker Stadium, a relativiely long-standing ballfield in East Portland’s Lents Park (at SE Holgate and 92nd). As part of a deal with the City of Portland, Walker Stadium has been vigorously renovated throughout the spring in order to bring it up to league standards. Below are a few pictures of the stadium being worked on earlier this morning.
As part of my visit to Walker Stadium this morning I was able to step inside the team offices, a trailer located along the third base concourse. I picked up the team’s away cap (one of many Pickles hats I expect to buy) and my tickets for this season, and was also able to say hi to team owner and general manager Ken Wilson.
Wilson helped found the GWL back in 2014 and is currently the president, as well as president and CEO, among his other duties, of the Pickles. Wilson owns the Pickles with his partner under the company name Rose City Baseball, LLC.
With GWL operations running right alongside Pickles operations 2016 should be an exciting season for Portland baseball fans as the GWL opens tomorrow. Make sure to catch all Pickles home games at Walker Stadium where more than half the tickets are just $8 or less.
After their first three games at home over this weekend the team will have a break and a road series against Lodi before returning home for a six game homestand against Medford and Chico starting June 21. Don’t miss out on post game fireworks on June 10, 11, and 25.
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