Diamonds are forever: Sweet games are a hit

By Jeff Petersen, The Observer July 12, 2013 10:44 am
My grandpa, Oswald Swensen Carlsen Jensen Christiansen Petersen, was a big baseball fan. I am not.

He would watch the Game of the Week back in the 1960s when it truly was the only game on TV all week long. He would call balls and strikes. Occasionally, he would get in a rhubarb with the home-plate umpire, jump out of his easy chair and kick whatever dust was on the living room floor on the TV.

The TV survived.

As I get older — I am not quite as old as Eagle Cap granite, yet — I am beginning to appreciate baseball more. One reason: attending Walla Walla Sweets games. Yes, the college development team whose mascot is Sweet Lou, the onion.

Yes, the “ball” thrown out on the ceremonial first pitch is an onion.

Saturday evening, the Sweets were hosting the Klamath Falls Gems. Despite a warm breeze blowing in his face, the third batter of the night crushed a home run over the right field fence. Essentially, five minutes into the game, the suspense was over.

Watching baseball, though, is about more than just the score. It’s also about people watching. It’s like being an abandoned husband at a shopping mall. You’ve seen these guys. They sit on benches, watching people and trying to figure out their stories — all the while doing calculations in their heads, thinking about the family budget, seeing red.

At Sweets game, you won’t see red. That is, unless, you succumb to the temptation presented by the vendors and buy enough licorice ropes to tie up Sweet Lou.

At the mall, you don’t have vendors, or stand-up comedians, coming by to tempt and entertain you. Not often, anyway. 

The Sweets game had both vendors and stand-up comedians. At one point, a young man with a $900,000 smile and easy laugh came by our seats down the first-base line yelling, “Peanuts. Popcorn. Lukewarm beverages.”

His mom knows people. At least, that’s his story. She got him the summer job, and he was making the most of the opportunity to further an acting career — or make money for college. By injecting humor into the situation and not moping around like a mule, sagging from the burden, I bet he sold substantially more product. Lukewarm beverages were in abundant supply.

Sure, I didn’t see a perfect game or a no-hitter. No worries. That can wait for another day.

And I did not become a baseball fanatic. After all, if I did, Grandpa would say, as grandpas from the grave like to do, I told you so. No, I won’t admit to liking baseball. It is too much like cricket, except the players don’t take tea breaks and baseball games usually get over on the same day they start.

I have to admit, though. The game Saturday was a Sweet treat. Walla Walla knows how to put on a show.

Contact Jeff Petersen at 541-963-3161 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow Jeff on Twitter @lagrandenewsGo.