Pitcher and former soccer player to tie the knot before baseball game at Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to invite you to a wedding celebration Wednesday in Ridgefield.
Oh, and a baseball game, too.
The Ridgefield Raptors are getting all romantic on us.
This is all thanks to a couple who love each other, love sports, and love making memories together.
Eli Shubert, a pitcher with the Raptors, and Erin Thum, a Vancouver woman who shined as an athlete as well, are getting married prior to Wednesday’s game against the Port Angeles Lefties. Yes, right there on the field, with a diamond ring on the diamond at the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex. And you better believe the couple will walk under a tunnel of bats lifted high by the rest of the Raptors.
Call it a Bull Durham wedding.
Erin wasn’t so sure at first, but then, it hit her.
“As a former athlete myself, I know how important sports are. If I was still playing soccer, and I had a chance to have a wedding on a soccer field, I’d have loved that,” she said. “With Eli’s history with baseball and the Raptors, it could be something really, really special. I just got really excited for it.”
Erin and Eli do plan a traditional, religious ceremony for family and friends on Saturday. But Wednesday’s ceremony is official and will be legal. They will be married in the eyes of the law at the RORC.
This all came about when Eli had a talk with Jason Krohn, director of baseball and game day operations for the Raptors. Eli played for the Raptors in the inaugural season in 2019. Krohn asked Eli to come back to the squad this summer.
Eli said yes, but he told Krohn that he would be getting married in the middle of the summer.
“He jokingly said, ‘We’ll do a Bull Durham wedding. We’ll do it on the field,’” Eli recalled. “I said, ‘Ha, ha, ha. That’s kind of funny.’”
Eli is one of just two Raptors who played for the squad in 2019. So he did not know most of his new teammates. He said he didn’t want to be the “weird” guy getting married in front of people he didn’t really know.
But baseball players can become fast friends. And when Eli brought up the idea to teammates and coaches, they were thrilled.
Eli, by the way, went to high school in Eagle, Idaho, but he has a lot of connections to Southwest Washington. His grandparents are Bruce and Alice Flanagan of Woodland. Yes, the famed Flanagan family of athletes.
Erin went to Fort Vancouver High School before moving to Evergreen High School, where she graduated in 2019. So Ridgefield is a perfect location for them to begin married life.
A couple weeks ago, Eli went back to Krohn and asked him if he was serious, if the Raptors could hold a wedding ceremony before a game.
Absolutely. And the Raptors sent out an invitation to all of their fans via social media.
Game time is 6:35 p.m. The wedding is pre-game but could be as early as 6 p.m. So get there early. And, Eli said, don’t expect a long ceremony. A little longer than a 7th-inning stretch, but just by a few minutes.
While they will forever be able to say they were married on a baseball field before a game, Eli and Erin do have different stories on just how they started dating.
Both student-athletes at Lower Columbia College at the time, they had a class together. (Eli now plays for Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho.) At one point, Eli messaged Erin and a lunch was planned. Erin, though, had to cancel due to her soccer schedule. Later, Erin messaged Eli and asked him out.
Eli says she made the first move because a lunch date is different from “going out.”
Not so fast, Erin said.
“Technically, I asked him out, but he previously had asked me out,” she said.
This could become a decades-long conversation.
Eli said he fell first, though.
“It took me about a week or two to get to know her,” Eli said. “I had a pretty good idea I wanted to marry her.”
Erin said she is more of a planner, someone who needed a little more time.
“Three months in, I just couldn’t picture spending my life with anybody else,” she said.
A little less than two years later, Eli and Erin have booked the RORC for their wedding. No reception after the ceremony on Wednesday.
For the bride and groom, something much better: A baseball game.