Whether you're a die-hard season ticket holder or you're just passing through, there's no better way to spend a warm summer evening than at the ballpark. As opening day rapidly approaches, take a little time to brush up on our very own minor league ball club, the Spokane Indians. Here are five things you might not know:
If minor league baseball and promotional events go together like chocolate and peanut butter, the Spokane Indians are a giant Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. The upcoming season is packed with promotions and events that will draw young, old and furry (yes, furry—you can bring your dog to the ballpark for a night). For more information about promotions, including Father’s Day, 4th of July and more, click here
Even if it’s been a while since your last Indians game, you probably remember the mascot, OTTO. The big blue dinosaur has been with the Spokane Indians since 1993 and holds the honor of being the world’s first Spokanasaurus. He’s not the only one, though: in 2011, OTTO was joined by Doris the Spokanasaurus. If you can’t find her dancing in her signature pink hat at Indians games during the summer, she’s likely paying a visit to her friends at the Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Spokane.
The Spokane Indians have been playing at Avista Stadium since 1958, but there have been five other stadiums that have hosted the team since its inception in 1890. The first was Twickenham Park, once located at the corner of Boone Avenue and A Street and now buried beneath the asphalt of the northern parking lots at Spokane Falls Community College. Other stadiums included Natatorium Park, located along the Spokane River, Recreation Park, located near the Fairgrounds but demolished in the early 1920’s, and Ferris Field, a ballpark that was considered to be one of the premiere minor league parks of its day. Unfortunately, Ferris Field’s grandstand burned to the ground in 1948. It was replaced by shoddy wooden scaffolding that detracted attendance until the team eventually folded in 1956. In 1958, Avista Stadium was built as the new home of Spokane’s minor league ball club and has undergone many renovations to add enhanced features like skyboxes, a field-level and outfield picnic area, a new press box and additional Major League-style box seats. The stadium has been recognized as the Northwest League Field of the Year ten times in the last two decades!
It may not surprise you to learn that most of the Spokane Indians only live in Spokane during baseball season, but it may surprise you to find out where they live while they’re here. Rather than stay in hotels for their 81+ day season, ballplayers board with local residents. While they spend most of their time at the field or on the road, host families offer players a home away from home to relax at during their down time. If you or someone you know is interested in hosting a player, you can find more information here
While many professional sports organizations have been reluctant to even consider the idea of changing team names, logos and mascots, the Spokane Indians have actually established a uniquely amicable relationship with the Spokane Tribe of Indians. Visual evidence of this partnership can be found on the team’s home jerseys, which feature the word ‘Spokane’ written in the Salish language of the Spokane Tribe.
Between promotional nights and the All-Star Game, there are plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy America’s pastime, so gather your friends and family and head to Avista Stadium. They’ll provide peanuts and Cracker Jacks—all you have to do is root for the home team!