Realigned WCL schedule leads to more opportunities for fans to visit The Orchard
YAKIMA, Wash. — A pleasant side effect of the West Coast League’s decision to eliminate international regular-season travel will benefit Yakima Valley Pippins fans this summer.
Along with the unveiling of the revised 10-team U.S. division WCL schedule today, the Pippins have added three more home games to their 2021 schedule. Now, the Pippins will have 35 home dates, beginning June 4.
“The opportunity to expand our home schedule was something we quickly jumped at when the dynamics of the U.S. division were finalized,” Pippins general manager Jeff Garretson said. “It’s great news for our fans, our sponsors and our players to be able to visit The Orchard more often this summer.”
The new WCL schedule features 48 games for each team, 24 at home and 24 on the road, instead of the usual 54-game slate. Originally scheduled to host Kamloops, British Columbia, in their June 4 season opener, the Pippins now will host four-time defending WCL champion Corvallis. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.
Garretson said the new schedule preserves the original 32 home dates and adds another Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday series in mid-June.
“With socially distanced seating configurations in place that will lower our nightly capacity, more games give us the chance to bring in more fans to watch a game,” Garretson said.
Yakima County Stadium has a seating capacity of 2,800. Under current state guidelines, outdoor venues are permitted 9,000 spectators or 25 percent capacity, whichever is lower. That means 700 fans nightly at the stadium. But Garretson doesn’t expect that capacity restriction to stay at 25 percent all summer.
“It may change before we even open the season,” he said. “Whatever capacity we open at on June 4, I expect we’ll be higher than that by the end of the season. It all depends on the COVID numbers, and how well we continue to respond as a community and do our part to keep everyone safe.”
With the capacity limits, Garretson advised to purchase single-game tickets as soon as they go on sale.
“Based on what we’re seeing and hearing, I don’t expect we’ll have many, if any, tickets available on Opening Night if fans wait to buy them,” he said. “There likely will be an urgency throughout the season to get tickets early.”
Single-game tickets will go on sale in early May, Garretson said, adding that individual games likely will be available in waves so any changes to pod seating layouts can be adjusted when seating capacity changes.
Before single-game tickets are available to the general public, fans who have purchased ticket vouchers will be given an opportunity to secure tickets for the games of their choice.
Season tickets, mini season ticket plans and Family Night Out packages are other options to obtain tickets before single-game tickets are available. Those plans are available now by calling 509-575-4487.
The Pippins continue to look for additional host families in preparation for this summer, Garretson added. Host families also receive season tickets for each member of the household.
The revised 2021 Pippins schedule (home games in BOLD CAPS):
JUNE — 4-6: CORVALLIS; 8-10: at Bellingham; 11-13: RIDGEFIELD; 15-16: NW STAR; 17: REDMOND; 19-21: CCL SHOWCASE; 22-24: at Ridgefield; 25-27: WALLA WALLA; 29-30: PORT ANGELES.
JULY — 1: PORT ANGELES; 2-4: at Bend; 5-7: at Walla Walla; 9-11: BELLINGHAM; 13-15: HIGHLINE; 16-18: at Cowlitz; 20-22: BEND; 23-25: at Wenatchee; 27-29: COWLITZ; 30-31: HIGHLINE.
AUGUST — 3-5: at Corvallis; 6-8: at Port Angeles; 10-12: WENATCHEE.