Bye bye to the green box
It may not have been as nostalgic as shutting down Comiskey Park, Ebbets Field or even Yankee Stadium when it hosts its final game in 2008, but it did bring the memories back.
Last Thursday, I took my last walk-through of the Bond Field press box.
Granted, it didn't take much time to walk through the one-room box, all of 10 feet wide and 20 feet long. One last walk-through to make sure all my stuff was out before a bulldozer reduces the venerable box to a pile of sticks.
Like the Major League parks above, Bond Field is making way for change. With the Forest Grove City Council's approval of Pacific's Lincoln Park Complex improvements, the location of the press box and home plate will be about where the future finish line is for a new nine-lane track.
Over the last eight years, I have spent many a spring day in that dark box watching over 100 Pacific baseball games. I sat there in 2003 and watched Matt Lengwenus hit one of the longest home runs in school history, a moon shot that hit the apartments beyond the left- center field fence on a bounce.
I sat there in 2005 when hurler Adam Azril put together an infamous performance, setting an NCAA Division III record by hitting seven batters on a cold, rainy March night. Amazingly, he went on to pitch a complete game two-hitter and beat Lewis and Clark 7-1 in one of the weirdest pitcher's lines in college baseball history.
The good moments are definitely balanced out by its share of bittersweet moments. Most recently, I sat there last season when George Fox's Dan Wentzell smashed a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh before his teammates ended a bases-loaded rally in the ninth to beat the Boxers 10-9 and end Pacific's chances at a Northwest Conference title for the second time in four years.
There are the memories of others that gave that old box its character. There are the names of many a Little League, American Legion and Babe Ruth player written on the walls and trim inside the box, most notably above the scorer's counter. My guess is that, somewhere on those walls, both a father and son have scribed their names, albeit decades apart.
There are tons of old trophies and brackets from the days of Forest Grove youth teams past. There is the non-functioning pay phone mounted just inside the door - a relic predating the technology age of cell phones and the Internet that figures into the press box's demise.
The old green box will soon be gone, and I couldn't be happier.
With all apologies to Ken and Nancy Bond and all those who have kept that box up over the years, I am looking forward to the change. No more nights of 35-degree weather, blowing on my hands while I try to keep score in my handy Glover's long form.
No more plugging in a space heater only to watch its power output blow a fuse and shut down the scoreboard. No more hole in the net in front of the scoreboard operator, leaving an ill-advised work study student wondering if they should strap on a catcher's mask. I am looking forward to a fully enclosed press box at the new Bond Field, with a heating system that won't shut down midway through the fourth inning.
Most exciting, however, is the memories that will be made in the new park. A new Bond Field will attract more high caliber players to Pacific baseball. That will make the next eight years full of more great diamond memories.