Monday, July 29, 2013

Baseball Is Sweet In Walla Walla

It had been years since I watched baseball in Borleske Stadium (bottom picture), but this past weekend my father and I went to Walla Walla to join my brother, Steve in attending a Walla Walla Sweets game. 
The Sweets began playing in 2010, part of the West Coast League, the WCL is a summer college league with teams in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia.  The team members are college baseball players from around the Northwest and beyond.  The Sweets team is comprised of  players from as close as Walla Walla Community College and as far away as Emery College.
I remember watching Northwest League Baseball as a child and so much has changed.  It was straight and played so seriously.  The dour faced PA announcer would announce each batter.  The Sweets games are fun and zany.  There is a big onion mascot (top picture) representing the namesake of the team (Walla Walla  Sweet Onions).  I guess the team could have had a "wine" name as the area is now known for it's wineries, but I think the sweet onion name was deemed more family friendly.  Borleske Stadium has been changed also.  The outfield fence looks well crafted, there are various food choices throughout the stadium (I think in the old days, it was hot dogs, popcorn, and peanuts).  There are box seats, available for along the field (top picture), and a beer garden along the left field fence allows the fans a chance to get the beverage of their choice while sitting away from those who choose not to drink.  The garden also pours a variety of the area's wines such as Calico Red by Bergevin-Lane.
A variety of contests include "thirsty batter", where a player on the visiting team is so designated, whenever that batter strikes out, fans will enjoy a discount on their beer.   Other contests include a run around the bases,  and a catcher's throw.  Although the crowd was rather light, it does seem like the town has taken well to the team.  I think the fact that it does not have a Major League affiliate could actually lend itself well to team building and stability.  It would seem that players would stay with the team through the entire season. 
One important note is to keep your eye on the ball if you attend a game as foul balls landing in the stands is quite common.

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