Inaugural season comes to an end with three-game series
Saturday is officially Fan Appreciation Night for the Ridgefield Raptors.
For Gus Farah, the team’s general manager, the whole season has been about celebrating the game with a new team, a new fanbase, and a new ballpark.
The Raptors inaugural season in the West Coast League is coming to a close with home games Friday, Saturday, and Sunday against the Bend Elks at the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex.
“The theme of the weekend is to say thank you to Southwest Washington and Raptors nation for a successful year and a great partnership,” Farah said.
On Friday, by invitation only, season ticket holders will be honored with a pre-game event that will feature players and coaches.
Saturday will be the big appreciation event. The first 600 fans will receive water bottles, courtesy of Adidas. Just announced Thursday night, fans will get a chance to bid, in a silent auction, for game-worn jerseys. Proceeds will benefit the Humane Society for Southwest Washington.
And on Sunday, children 10 and under free with a paid adult. Sunday will also feature the Portland Diamond Project. Vancouver’s Craig Cheek, who is in charge of the project designed to bring a Major League Baseball team to Portland, will throw out the first pitch.
The Raptors improved to 24-27 overall with a win Thursday in Wenatchee. (The West Coast League splits its season into two halves. The Raptors went 13-14 in the first half and are 11-13 in the second half.) A three-game sweep of the Bend Elks would push the Raptors to the .500 mark overall.
The record on the field, though, does not make or break this special season for the Raptors, Farah said. He is pleased that the team is sixth in attendance in the 12-team league, with a chance to move to fifth.
Wins and losses and ticket sales are not the only gauges for success, though.
“Did we leave baseball better than we found it? The answer is yes,” Farah said. “Did we created a community gathering place in Southwest Washington? They answer is yes. … And did we lay the foundation to go forward and have a 20-year relationship in this area? The answer is yes.”
The athletes also found a home. Farah said there were no negative issues regarding the players. The Raptors were good citizens of the community, he said.
The players and coaches have three more games in Clark County before heading back to their college programs. More than likely, Farah said, many will be back in the wood bat league next summer.
Ridgefield Raptors (24-27 overall)
Next: The Raptors will finish their inaugural season with a three-game series vs. the Bend Elks on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. First pitch is 6:35 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Sunday’s game is 3:05 p.m.
Saturday: Fan Appreciation Night.Sunday: Celebrating the Portland Diamond Project