West Coast League team will debut in June
Note: With the year-in-review stories now in the past, we decided to take a look ahead with what is sure to be one of the biggest sports stories for Clark County in 2019. We are five months away from the inaugural season of the Ridgefield Raptors.
RIDGEFIELD The general manager steps up to the pitcher’s mound, takes a look around, and he can see all the potential.
Right now, the facility remains under construction.
By early June, though, this field will become a baseball park, a prime place for the athletes to play the game, and a destination for fans of the game.
The Ridgefield Raptors are scheduled to take the field for their home opener on June 4. A new team in the West Coast League, the Raptors will play 33 home games in a brand new facility on the grounds of the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex.
The goal for the Raptors, according to Gus Farah, the general manager, is to be stewards of the community by offering “fun, affordable entertainment.”
He looks beyond left field to an empty area now but will be home to a pavilion that will host groups at each game. If a company wants a party of, say 20, maybe the party will happen there. Or groups in need of fundraising might sell $10 tickets and keep half of the proceeds.
He has visions of food trucks, on a rotating basis, parked out there as well.
His eyes move down to the outside of the third-base area. A picnic area. A grass berm. That side will be open for alcohol sales. A quick look to the first-base side, he sees a place designated for families. No alcohol there.
There are no bleachers now, but there will be before opening day. No picnic tables now, either, but they are on the way.
Behind home plate are the 663 blue and orange premium seats. The team has already sold 450 ticket plans, with roughly 430 of those in the premium seats.
Behind those seats, a building under construction will host the home plate club. There, for example, business leaders can meet during the day, then watch a game at night.
“The guys did not cut corners anywhere,” Farah said, referring to the builders of the facility. Not just the baseball stadium, mind you. The RORC will have six multi-use fields, including soccer and softball.
At the heart of it all will be the Raptors.
The West Coast League (WCL) is a 12-team, wood-bat league for college baseball players, featuring teams from Oregon, Washington, and Canada. The players on each team must have a least one more year of college eligibility to play in the WCL.
The Raptors have announced the signings of former Skyview High School standouts Brody Barnum (Washington State) and Daniel Copeland (Gonzaga).
Many players will stay with host families.
Farah said the WCL is dedicated to giving back to its communities. The Raptors will host clinics.
As far as game atmospheres, think of minor league baseball. There will be in-game entertainment, contests between innings, for example.
The Raptors are in the process of putting the promotional calendar in place. Farah said to look for school district nights, Little League nights, military nights, and certainly pop culture nights. While nothing from a galaxy far, far away is guaranteed for the Raptors this summer, think of things like Star Wars night, which are popular throughout America at baseball stadiums.
There will be something special on most nights.
Game times will be 6:35 p.m. on most nights, 3:05 on Sundays. Tickets will range from $5 to $15.
“Everybody’s going to love it,” Farah said.
For ticket information and more on the Ridgefield Raptors, click here:
For more on the West Coast League, click here:
For more on the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex, click here: