Sunday, August 21, 2022

Night Owls at the Ballpark

Friday, August 5, I was one of almost a thousand fans at Serauxmen Stadium to see the Night Owls win big over Port Angeles; the sun was out, a nice breeze was blowing, the beer was cold, the sausages and veggie dogs and tacos were perfectly cooked (and the food and beer line-ups not too long), Hawaii’s Tobey Jackson cranked a towering home run over the Green Monster for the Owls and B.C.’s own Seth Gurr pitched six shutout innings as the entire team played well, and it was in every way a glorious night at the ballpark.

There were quite a few of those in late July and early August, as the team was winning their share, the weather was perfect, and the crowds were growing. It was so great to see, after such a terrible run of bad luck earlier in the season—injuries to key players, a tough schedule, and, worst of all, a seemingly endless run of bad weather—cool and wet weather followed eventually by unbearable heat. Only near season's end did we start to get a full taste of just how great it can be to have West Coast League baseball in Nanaimo.

It can’t have been easy for the players—and it can’t have been easy for management, either. It’s worth remembering that the coming of West Coast League baseball had been completely disrupted by the pandemic and hugely complicated by myriad issues with upgrading historic Serauxmen Stadium. Full credit should be given to Jim Swanson and the ownership group, to the rest of the management team, to the players, to the local citizens who have been acting as hosts for the players, and, not least of all, to the City of Nanaimo; Mayor Krog and City Council had the good sense to approve the relatively modest expenditures required to upgrade the stadium, and City Manager Richard Harding and his staff worked efficiently with all the parties involved to make everything happen.

Here's hoping that Nanaimo’s business sector as well as individual fans will buy season tickets for next year—apparently they are already available. Let’s all do what we can to bring many more summers of glorious nights at the ballpark to Nanaimo!

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