|Ocean run salmon and baseball
The Sportsmanís Report
The truck air-conditioner was cranked all the way to frosty when I started out for the north coast to check on salmon fishing conditions.
By the time I stopped at the Sport Shop in Eureka, it was cooler outside the truck than in it.
Around six in the evening, I put on long pants, and an hour later I added a light jacket. Ocean run salmon are still on the bite just off the 10-mile sandy beach. Charters and private boats – once past the entrance to Humboldt Bay, the Jaws – drop their offerings and begin a slow troll, the kings are on it.
Limits of two for each fisherman are the rule. Not so with halibut, as they are mostly absent of the sandy bottoms near shore. A few are caught each day, but the big ‘butts’ are hanging out in deep water.
Friends took me to the Arcata ball park that fronts Highway 101. The local team, the Humboldt Crabs, is made up of college level baseball players, part of “summer league” baseball. Their stadium is packed for most games – families, old folk and anyone looking for a good time show up for the exciting games. There is a picnic area over the fence in right field and a kids play area just off the left field line. The fans closely follow the team and join in with the Crab Grass Band.
The seventh inning stretch includes staff, fans and the band singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” The excitement is infectious. Missing were the rowdy drunks and the expensive nosebleed seats of professional baseball.
A trip to the concession can be had for five bucks per person, and most of the fans buy tickets for the 50/50 raffle. A nice lady won $468 in the closely watched drawing.
In the end, were I hunting for a family fun event, it would be hard to beat a Crabs game. Once again, I miss the Crushers of days past in Rohnert Park. The field remains a mass of weeds, the promise of another chain store long gone. Wouldn’t it be great if the new casino sponsored a new baseball facility? It might dilute some of the negative impacts we all fear and bring back the fun of rooting for the home team.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.