The best part of the year is now upon us in the Walla Walla Valley. Spring Training is in full swing down south, annual stadium maintenance and improvements around the country are being finalized (including Borleske), and rosters are being solidified in preparation of the 2018 West Coast League Opener on June 1. While baseball is the core product, the Sweets take great pride in being the entertainment center of the Walla Walla Valley each summer. Fans young and old enjoy their time together, a cold drink, a few rounds in the bouncy houses, and ideal Eastern Washington weather have kept Sweets baseball at the forefront of “stuff to do” for the better part of the past decade.
2018 will be no different. In addition to ballpark favorites, the Sweets have added new promotions and operations to keep up the reputation as the place to be for 32 nights a year.
Leading off is Opening Day (6/8 vs. Corvallis) presented by Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Walla Walla. The annual tradition of the Opening Day cap is back on deck (first 1000 fans) and post-game fireworks will light up the sky.
Dog Days of Summer (6/15 vs. Bend) returns, as our friends at Associated Veterinary Medical Center of Walla Walla has invited all with a family’s best friend (canine division) to join the team at the ballpark. New this year will be a Canine Field of Dreams – contact general manager Dan Ferguson to make sure your pup in on the roster!
Women in Baseball (6/16 vs. Bend) Did you know that in the 19th century, women had to have a male escort to attend a baseball game? Ridiculous, we know. In 1883, the New York Giants owner realized that he was missing out on half the population, and on June 16th, declared the day “First Ladies Day” – all women were allowed in free to reserved and GA seating with no strings attached (like a Buy One, Get One) – and didn’t have to be escorted by a man. We’ve come a long way – and now women are a leadership and managerial force in the game. To celebrate all that women have done to grow the game, any woman can get a reserved or GA ticket at the box office on June 16th for free – no strings attached or escorts needed. Come learn about roles that women have played in being leaders in the sport, including playing, managing and owning teams. Our Field of Dreams will highlight moms and daughters together out on the field pre-game.
Fathers Day (6/17 vs. Bend) – a memorable way to hang out with Dad and the family on a warm summer late afternoon. A special ticket plan for the day will roll out in April, Dad will be able to get Fathers Only deals at the Sweets Shoppe in-stadium, and a lucky father in attendance will win $100 with a tweet from his family (details to follow – and the kids will be able to tweet, so don’t worry about it Dad…). Field of Dreams will be Dads with their kids, and the outfield will be open post-game to play catch as a family.
Home of Adam West (6/22 vs. Portland) – like the rest of our community, we were saddened by the loss of Adam West, one of many who helped draw positive attention to Walla Walla, his boyhood home, as the original Caped Crusader. We will celebrate him offering an Adam West collectible memorabilia piece (with permission from his family), Adam West-inspired uniforms, and theme-appropriate fireworks post-game. We don’t want any old Superhero Night…we celebrate the original Superhero who lived in our actual neighborhoods.
Abbott & Costello “Who’s on First”(6/23 vs. Portland) – did you ever wonder what the right fielders name was? Now is your chance to get that set once and for all on the lineup card. The Sweets will wear St. Louis Wolves Jerseys, with the popular skits player names set on the back (so WHO really WILL play first base). Team president Zachary Fraser and his son will reprise their re-enactment of the skit (from a 5th grade talent show…), and the person who submits the winning name via social media channels will join the team in the dugout for the game, presenting the authentic lineup cards with the manager, and get a version of the jersey to take home.
Walla Walla Wallabies Weekend (7/6 – 7/7 – 7/8 vs. Wenatchee) – did you know the Sweets were almost the Wallabies? It’s the truth. So – we are going to see what an alternative history would look like. The players will take the field in Wallabies uniforms all weekend long, plus other fun stuff that is being developed.
Free Bread Night is Back (7/21 vs. Cowlitz) – presented by Sara Lee, lots and lots of loaves of bread will given away so you can sample some for upcoming summer picnics. We’ll also feature a 2018 team poster.
Fan Appreciation (8/5 vs. Yakima Valley) will see Columbia REA get you ready for Labor Day weekend camping trips with the coolest canteen to ever be offered at a baseball stadium. Seriously. Columbia REA and the Union-Bulletin will help light up the sky with fireworks – and an annual tradition of the players at the gates will make for a memorable conclusion to the regular season.
Some other fun stuff:
Bud Light Batting Practice – gates for select games will open at 5:30 (instead of 6:00) and the right field Blue Mountain Cider house will be open, with great specials on Budweiser and Blue Mountain Cider products, tacos, corn hole, games and a perfect summer Happy Hour start to the evening while batting practice is on display. Dates include:
JUNE: 6/8, 6/13, 6/15, 6/16, 6/23, 6/27
JULY: 7/5, 7/6, 7/13, 7/14, 7/18, 7/19, 7/20
Chuck-A-Ball is a fundraising opportunity presented in partnership with Les Schwab tire centers of the Walla Walla Valley. More than $9,000 have been raised over the past two seasons for youth sports and non-profit organizations. It’s back for 2018! Connect with us to find out how your group can participate and raise funds for your organization.
Family Evenings at Home Plate on Monday nights – Walla Walla Orthodontics is making it pretty easy to get a $500 Visa Gift Card just by being at the game. Purchase tickets to any Monday night game, and invite your friends and family to join you. If we scan 1,800 or more into the stadium, someone will have their name drawn in the 8th inning. Like Rotary, if you are there, you win the card. Games include: 6/25 vs. Victoria and 7/23 vs. Cowlitz.
We’re still in the lab drawing up promotions – some at the gate, some on the field, some online – that will keep our fan base at the top of the WCL. We may only have 35,000 people in our community, but #SweetsCountry has set the standard for the WCL of how to have fun at the park. We expect 2018 to be more of the same.