JAMESTOWN – Baseball fans in Jamestown returned to the ballgame for the first time in years during the Jamestown Tarp Skunks home opener on Thursday night.
The skunks began their season hosting the Batavia Muckdogs, in a historic setting that dates back to Russell E. Diethrick, Jr. Park, then Municipal Stadium’s, grand opening in the 1940s.
Pepsi sponsored the opening night, which included live music and food before the game.
Before action began, the team honored family of a player who kicked off baseball at the historic park, over 80 years ago. Then, Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel took the field, throwing the first pitch.
Fans were ecstatic to get back to baseball, including Lakewood resident and longtime fan Marilyn Ryan-Piper.
“We are looking for some not-so smelly excitement,” said Ryan Piper, “we are looking forward to winning.”
Another couple of long-time fans, Chad Peterson and Desaray Brown, hit the park for date night. They too were extremely happy to have baseball back.
“It’s nice to have some sort of normalcy back, I’ve been sitting around too long, too much cabin fever,” said Peterson. “I’m ready for some live sports, here we are to see the Tarp Skunks.”
He adds that they have been coming to watch local baseball for decades.
“We came and saw the Jammers, and the Expo’s when they were the Expo’s too,” said Peterson. “Just keep the tradition going, this park has been here since 1941. It’s a staple of Jamestown and they have always had baseball here in Jamestown. It’s great to see it back and see some Tarp Skunks.”
Not only are the two glad to be together, but at the game as well.
“I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else; we love baseball and we watch it every night so it’s perfect,” said Brown.
Also in attendance, was Russell E. Diethrick Jr, of whom the park is named after. He tells us the turn out and fan support was of no surprise to him.
“I’m as excited as anyone here, it’s marvelous to see this crowd,” said Diethrick. “The facility just stands out and I’m not surprised about anything. It doesn’t surprise me it’s a beautiful field, and it doesn’t surprise me it’s a full house. It’s great to be here with all these great people.”
Finally, it wasn’t just the Tarp Skunks and Muck Dogs that were in attendance, but the Jamestown Knights, a local youth baseball team that showed their support during the opener.
For those who were not able to attend the home opener, there will be many more games to choose from throughout the summer. For more information visit tarpskunks.com.