This Saturday, I got the opportunity to experience the hospitality of the Bellingham Bells. Joining me were our fearless leader Abraham Deweese with his trusty camera and AquaSox beat writer Brian Solack.
We had heard of the team before, but didn’t know truly what to expect. We had worked out a visit with their incredibly generous host, the General Manager Stephanie Morrell, but we still drove north not quite sure what awaited us. A special shout out to Assistant GM Haily Tift who was incredibly helpful as well.
What we found was an absolute hidden gem of a baseball experience.
The stadium was nestled in a public park that contained some impressive facilities, and was a treat to look at itself. The field was turf very similar to the new surface at Everett Memorial Stadium(for those AquaSox fans reading), and very inviting. The new scoreboard in the outfield is all digital and very easy to read.
While the stands themselves are starting to show some age, the benches are pretty comfortable and allow plenty of legroom. There’s a small section right behind home plate, with plenty of other options surrounding the infield. Two big metal bleacher sections flank the infield and there’s a really impressible amount of reserve and special box seating interspersed all around.
What next impressed us was the crowd. They were intense and showed up early and loud. There was even one woman we observed showing up an hour before game time. She’s a regular, but couldn’t contain her excitement that “her boys” were back in town. (The Bells had returned from a road trip that morning at 4 AM)
The fans poured in early and never seemed to really stop coming. They filled the stands and were loud and proud in their support of their team. It really enhanced the fun for everyone around. Families were there cheering on their players on the team, and there were plenty of activities including a race across the field for the kids during the game.
There aren’t many other sporting events in town, so bear that in mind. But the intensity and energy the fans brought to the place shows exactly how special the Bells are. They provide an amazing experience for the fans and players who play there. It’s easy to see why they’re so well thought of in baseball circles.
Finally there was the on field product itself; the team. It’s composed of collegiate players who are working to keep in shape and sharp during the summer off season from college. There’s some serious talent on the roster and it showed Saturday with an 8-0 rout over the Bend Elks. We had the opportunity to interview the current league leader in a lot of offense categories, local kid Matt James. That interview will be available here on the site within the next day or so. He’s a remarkable talent, hailing from Ferndale and attending Notre Dame.
He’s just the start, in what’s definitely a loaded roster, with the team being locked in first place having clinched a playoff spot early. There’s depth all over this roster and it’s not just the hitters. We watched a remarkable shutout six innings pitched by Theron Kay, and his bullpen came in and slammed that door shut fairly easily as well. They’re a fun group to watch, making plenty of great defensive plays and fun at bats as well.
Bellingham residents should be proud of their team and the amazing experience that they’ve created for themselves. It more than makes up for being an hour and a half from the Show in Safeco Field. It’s a superior experience in a lot of ways for both players and fans alike. Everyone should mark their calendars and make the drive even if it’s only once a season because the Bells know how to ring in the summer!
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