Life and Alcohol at P.K. Park

by REED NELSON

A man wearing a camouflage hat and combat boots laced high, a dude wearing wayfarer sunglasses and a black on black on black suit — sans tie — and a girl donned in a belly shirt borrowed from 1994 walk into a baseball stadium. No, there is no punch line, just PK Park, the home of the Eugene Emeralds (a Class-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, known as the Em’s for short), the Oregon Ducks baseball team, and the eclectic crowds that flock to the just-off-campus location to catch a game. The only thing that these varied crews seem to have in common is the friendly plastic cup in their hands.

During the 3rd inning of the Ems game on Monday.

In a stadium that holds 4,000 and seats just south of 3,000, there is five beer lines — those lines account for 20 separate taps for those playing the home game — and six lines designated for food. One of those stands, the general attendance snack bar in left field, has both beer and food, but the other locations are quite particular in their purpose. With five separate lines to purchase alcohol, the wait is never daunting.

Last night was Margarita Night at PK Park, and the local contingent was out in force to support the Em’s (or the Margarita’s, but no one keeps score of that). But with the crowds come alcohol violations.

“We give out somewhere between two and five [Minor in Possession] tickets on a normal night on average and sometimes up to ten on Thursday’s,” said Jake Wilson, Event Alcohol Monitor. “I look for anything from minor’s passing drinks back and forth to rowdy behavior.”

The Em’s games have been a little more disorderly than the Ducks’ games, but mostly due to the lenient alcohol policy during said Em’s games, at which the spectator can purchase and carry alcohol anywhere throughout the stadium. During Ducks games, the drinking is quarantined off to the right field foul line, as well as the student section in the bleachers along the left field foul line.

The south parking lot during the sixth inning at PK Park.

But even with the easy access to alcohol, the fans seem to respect the somewhat rare privilege — not a lot of stadiums zoned for college athletics can serve alcohol, especially those so close to campus. Those that do are generally professional-first venues — and appreciate the professional baseball in Eugene by staying out of too much trouble.

“The fans are great and depending on the weather, we usually get a great fan base, especially from Eugene,” said Wilson.

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About Reed Nelson

I am a graduate student in the J-School at the University of Oregon. I worked as a prep sports stringer and a clerk at the Salt Lake Tribune in 2008, and from 2009-2010 worked in various sections at the Daily Utah Chronicle. I am currently in my first term in grad school and I am cursed with a gross obsession for sports. But not bicycle racing. No one can make me care about that.
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