Living in Portland one explores the local culture. The local baseball team, the Pickles, play out of Lents Park in Outer SE Portland. The following is a story recounting my experiences at two such games.
First, I will briefly explain my background with baseball: I grew up watching Major League Baseball with my father. We would cheer on the Yankees (and occasionally the Mets) from our comfortable couches, but, sadly we never went to a game. As a kid I often wondered what being at a game would be like.
Having recently moved to the Portland area I’ve been looking for ways to explore the local culture; I’ve visited the Portland Saturday Market, toured the Rose Test Garden and wandered around downtown trying food at the food carts. It was only a few months ago that I learned my college buddy, Spenser Smith, would be working with a local baseball team as a play-by-play commentator.
Spenser told me all about his job; commentating from the sound booth, handing out flyers, making calls to local businesses and planning games in advance. He invited me to one so I came.
Upon showing up at my first Pickles game I was saddened to see I could not get a seat for showing up too late. Thankfully, I found a place by the stairs where I could stand and observe the game.
The sights, smells and sounds were addicting; the smell of hot dogs, sour pickles and stale beer permeated the air. To my left I could hear cheering and raucous booing and on my right the announcer’s voice rang out in his clear announce-style dragging out the players’ names. Straight ahead of me the field was dotted by lean young adults running in their colorful jerseys; the pitcher squarely stood still concealing any nervousness while the batter remained trained on the ball like a greyhound fixed on the prey.
As an observer at their games I see the Pickles are a team filled with energy and promise. One can see that whatever teams they face they always have fun and entertain the crowd (especially when Dillon starts a wave going)! About their ambitions Spenser Smith had this to say: ‘many Pickles players are looking to get drafted by major league teams, but others have different career goals in mind.’
Regardless of which players the team has signed it is apparent that the Portland Pickles are all about having fun and entertaining their faithful local crowd. I enjoyed the crowd antics, the team’s periodic dance-off and the after-show fireworks.
If you’re ever in the Portland area during the summer and are a fan of baseball you should give the Portland Pickles a visit!