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I remember that I often went to Emeralds games there in the 80s and 90s, and I would very often find my old Wobbly friend Jim Dandy and his buddy Swifty in the bleachers on the third base side. Swifty always smuggled in a backpack full of cheap beer, usually Bohemian, and got roaring drunk as the game went on. After he’d had a few, he’d start harassing the home plate umpire: “Gitcherself some new glasses! Hey Blue, open yer eyes, yer missin’ a good game!”

I recall trying to explain the rules of the game to my friend Elisabeth, who was Swiss.

I watched a game, must have been about 2000, where an opposing batter hit a shot up the middle. The second baseman and the shortstop both converged on the play, but it seemed impossible that either would get there. 2B slid across the dirt, raising an enormous cloud of dust (It was a very dry summer). The shortstop must have seen something that I couldn’t because he changed his direction slightly, going towards the bag. Out of the cloud of dust behind the base appeared a mitt, with the ball sno-coned in the very tip of the webbing. The second baseman flipped the ball into the air; the shortstop grabbed it barehanded, stepped on the bag, and then fired a strike to first base: a 4-6-3 double play. It looked like something out of a Roadrunner cartoon.

I remember a game in 1982: earlier in the day, the Cincinnati Reds had held an open tryout at the stadium. A young man named Terry Lee, a Churchill High grad, got time off from his job at a gas station in The Dalles, and the Reds signed him that evening. In the bottom of the ninth, he hit a grand slam and won the game for his new team. When the ball passed out of view beyond the light standards in left center field it was *still rising*. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another ball hit that hard or that far; not even on TV.

(Plagued by injuries, Mr. Lee was stuck in the minors for years, but eventually played parts of two seasons (90 and 91) in the Show, appearing in 15 games.)


I remember when they still had an organist at the games, and she played actual live music between batters and innings. I recall 4th of July games when the stadium was packed, and they seated people out on the warning track in right and left field. I always wondered what the ground rules were for that...were those folks considered “in play”, like the ivy at Wrigley?

I usually sat on the third base side of the bleachers, where we had to be extremely alert when left-handed hitters were up. Imagine a lefty power hitter fouling a ball on a line right at the section of seats you are in. Mostly folks didn’t even try to catch those, we just dived out of the way, shielding children with our bodies. When the ball hit the wooden bleachers (going about 105 mph, says a physics pal) the sound was like a gunshot, or an m80. (That’s a kind of fireworks. Actually, I’d say it is a bomb.) We could feel the impact through the wood.

I actually saw Max Patkin at Civic, three times. Louie Tiant appeared at an exhibition game between the Ems and the Portland Triple-A team. He was on a rehab assignment. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch, but he did NOT pitch for real. We chanted for him, in vain. He came out of the dugout and tipped his cap, but there was no way the big club woulda tolerated that guy throwing a real pitch in a game like that. (I believe the Ems were affiliated with San Diego that year.)

I did a job over on 23rd Ave today, so I took my camera over and took a few photos of the Ruins. It’s a sad sight: so little is left.

See ya.


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September 2017



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