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Official Review by Bryndon Coughlin, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Joe Etzel Field, the home of the University of Portland Pilots is a small and relaxing stadium with a beautiful tree landscape sitting 390 feet from home plate. Currently the stadium only holds about 1,000 spectators. The field used to be known as Pilot Stadium. The field was renamed in 2004 in honor of a previous baseball coach and athletic director to the university.
Etzel Field sits near the Earl A. Chiles Center, the arena mainly used for basketball and the soccer facility, Merlo Field Stadium sits perpendicular to the Joe Etzel Field. Talk started in early 2012 about moving Joe Etzel Field to the river campus which would move the lights and amplified announcements further away from the beautiful Willamette neighborhood. By moving the ballpark to a different location will allow more night games also.
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Not too many food options are provided. Your average hot dog, popcorn, chili dog, and candy are served with Pepsi products. A foot long hot dog and soda for $5 is not bad at all compared to other ballparks and stadiums. Candy and chip selection has few options. If you are used to having a beer with your sporting event, I suggest hitting the bars before as no alcohol is served during the game.
The stadium has a relaxing and laid back feel to it. This is a great atmosphere for all ages. The stands aren't usually packed giving you many seating options before and during the game. I suggest sitting in the fold down seats behind the umpire about four rows up. The stands behind the batter sit up above the field making the view a little easier than others. These seats are also a little more comfortable than the bench seating provided on the first and third base lines.
Hall of Fame boards are hung where you first walk in and give the names and years of each Hall of Fame player. The Baseball department took note from The Chiles Center, by providing an inflatable obstacle course for kids to play on throughout the game. There is an attendant, but supervision can be minimal with one attendant and many kids.
Joe Etzel Field is surrounded by historic North Portland, located near the corner of Willamette Boulevard and Portsmouth Street. This part of town has recently been revived and is doing well.
Within 10 minutes of campus there are many local restaurants a fan has to choose from. The McMenamins St. John's Pub and Theater is a great spot to order some Cajun tots and to sample the local beers the pub has to offer. The Twilight Room, located on Lombard Street is also a popular spot before and after the game. Across the street from there you can treat yourself to excellent Mexican food at Cha! Cha! Cha's!
Bar scene isn't your thing? No worries, as the Historic Signal Town Pizza is a great family place to grab a slice.
You can choose paid parking in one of the lots the University of Portland provides, but not to worry, the neighborhood provides ample free street parking that surrounds the arena.
The fan base seems pretty knowledgeable not only about the sport but specific players. The Pilots don't draw that big of a crowd but do put on a decent show to draw cheers and chants.
There doesn't seem to be a student section, although the first base line seemed like the home crowd. If you're looking for a crowded and rowdy atmosphere this would be the exact opposite.
Joe Etzel is located in the northern part of Portland, about 15 minutes from the I-5 freeway and about 20 minutes from downtown Portland. The venue only has one main entrance, located on the south side of the building. The box office is located to the left at the entrance to Joe Etzel Field.
There is a historic scenic route that fans enjoy taking before game time, I recommend planning a trip down Willamette Boulevard also known as "The Bluff." This will lead through one of Portland's nicest neighborhoods and gives a great overlook of Swan Island. Some park on side streets and walk to games during mid day baseball games. This has been considered a ritual for the diehard fans that never miss a game.
The Pilots don't necessarily have a top of the line stadium. In this case though, you get what you pay for, which can be a nice change compared to other ballparks and stadiums that have you emptying your piggy bank. To attend a game is fairly inexpensive, only $6 for adults and $4 for students, seniors and children. The price of the tickets combined with the inexpensiveness of the food and the free ice cream, playhouse and free parking all provided is a great deal, especially for a Division I baseball game.
Free programs and stat cards are provided for each game. Free ice cream sundaes were being handed out by The Pilot Club to the first 150 fans with tickets. Your choice of candy topping and ice cream is scooped into a complimentary plastic Pilots baseball hat. Free parking is also provided.
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8203 North Ivanhoe Street
Portland, OR 97203
5242 North Lombard Street
Portland, OR 97203
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