Listen up, sports fans! Portland and nearby Hillsboro offer not one, but two local baseball teams pitching nothing but summery good times. Take your pick between the collegiate Portland Pickles or the minor league Hillsboro Hops for an excursion to the ball park.
As of June 2016, Southeast Portland’s Lents neighborhood is the proud home of the Portland Pickles. This wooden-bat summer collegiate league and their mascot, Dillon the Pickle, bring all the fun of baseball with a nostalgic small-town feel. Field plays are accompanied by an impressive collection of iconic sound bites (think Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and ‘80s saxophone riffs), which provide plenty of laughs. Stadium sing-alongs led by Dillon also add to the fun.
In anticipation of baseball returning to Portland after the 2010 departure of the Beavers, Lents Park’s Walker Stadium received a makeover in 2015. The new stadium has space for 1,500 baseball fans and ample concession stands offering Zenner’s meats and local brews.
Before hitting Walker Stadium, visit nearby Zoiglhaus for malty pints and German pub food in a lively, sunlit space. (Go for the uber-sized pretzel with obazda or the currywurst.) After fueling up, the stadium is a brisk 10-minute walk away.
Walker Stadium offers two convenient public transportation options: The 17 bus line drops off visitors directly at the park’s northeast entrance on Southeast 92nd Avenue and Holgate Boulevard, while the Holgate MAX Station is only a few blocks away.
The Pickles’ season includes more than 30 home games from June–August, giving visitors plenty of opportunity to catch a game. With tickets available for less than $10, you’re guaranteed to come out a winner. Tickets and schedules are available at the Pickles website.
One of Portland’s western suburbs offers its own brand of minor league fun with the Hillsboro Hops. (If the smile of the team’s fierce little mascot, Barley the Hop, looks familiar, you likely recognize him from a bottle of Bridgeport Brewing’s Long Ball Ale, the official beer of the Hops.) The Hops are a farm team of the Arizona Diamondbacks, meaning visitors get to witness potential stars in action before they ascend to fame.
The Hops’ home games are held in the Ron Tonkin Field, constructed in 2013. The stadium holds up to 4,500 attendees and boasts a beer garden and tasty eats like a house-made chicken and waffle sandwich with maple aioli. Local favorites such as Ruby Jewel ice cream sandwiches and Zenner’s “Long Ball Sausage” are also available, so come hungry. (Let’s face it, half the fun of a baseball game is chowing down on concession food.)
Getting to Ron Tonkin Field by car is a breeze, as it is located right off Highway 26. If you’re looking to commute via public transportation, take the MAX Blue Line out to Orenco Station, where a free shuttle ferries ticket-carrying passengers to the stadium every 15 minutes.
Check the Hops’ schedule to get your tickets for one of nearly 40 home games played from June–September. General admission will run you just $7, and with two division and two league titles already under their bats, we’re sure to hear more from these Hops.