Happy Opening Day from The I-5 Corridor
Well, to everyone except for the Seattle Mariners and Minnesota Twins.
Happy Opening Day, everyone —well, everyone except for the Seattle Mariners and Minnesota Twins.
How does a modern baseball stadium — in Minnesota of all places — not get built with a retractable roof?
Instead of Tweeting through it, I’m just going to share a few photos from a side project of mine: Northwest Diamonds.
I like flying my drone and I like baseball fields.
Here are a few from throughout the state of Oregon:
Clopton Field, Ida B. Wells-Barnett High School
Two Oregonians were picked in the first round of the 1974 draft.
One was Cliff Speck, a 6-foot-4 right-hander from Beaverton — a surprise selection of the New York Mets with the 17th overall pick.
The other was Dale Murphy.
On draft night, Murphy was convinced he was going to Philadelphia. He had just worked out with the Phillies. He liked the organization. The organization said they liked him back. But when the No. 3 pick came, the Phillies opted for Lonnie Smith, an outfielder from California. Two picks later, Atlanta jumped at the chance to draft Murphy, who played catcher here in Southwest Portland and had a scholarship waiting for him at Arizona State.
“I’ve got an open mind right now,” Murphy told The Oregonian on draft night. “If I do sign, it will be so I can still go to college.”
He would play 15 seasons for Atlanta — 18 overall — and retired in 1993 with 398 career home runs and a legion of fans thanks to the TBS broadcasts of Atlanta and its back-to-back MVP.
Joe Etzel Field, University of Portland
UP’s renovated Joe Etzel Field reopened in time for the 2021 season. With the Pilots competitive in 2022 (17-11 through April 7), there aren’t many places in the state better than the Bluff to take in a game on a sunny day. When I covered UO baseball full-time, my favorite day of work was always when the Ducks would play at the Pilots — and it was only partially because the commute is just a few blocks.
Walker Stadium, Portland Pickles
Going by Walker Stadium in the offseason now offers quite the contrast. In a few short years, the Portland Pickles have turned summer nights out in Lents into nightly events filled with — at various points — dance parties, keg backpacks and live wrestling between innings.
The Pickles social media accounts remain very loud during the winter months, but the park sleeps.
The random fields that populate the Oregon Coast, socked in by fog and Douglas firs and just steps away from the water, are some of my favorite.
Sunset High School, Beaverton
From the very natural we transition to the awfully synthetic. It may not be pretty, but these plastic wonders are one of the only reasons high school baseball is able to start in the actual spring here in Oregon.
Roosevelt High School, Portland
The Roughriders have finished construction on their new field since this photo was taken during the pandemic. However, they will never have cooler grass patterns.
Columbia Park/Pier Park, Portland
Portland has elite recreation league softball/baseball fields.
Westview High School, Beaverton
Residents of the home beyond the left-field wall here at Westview certainly had to be mindful when notable alumni, such as Arizona Diamondback Carson Kelly, were at the plate.
— Tyson Alger
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