Thursday , September 14, 2017 - 5:00 AM
The Ogden Raptors minor league baseball team starts a best-of-three-game Pioneer League Championship Series Thursday night.
It’s the first time the team has made it that far since 2011.
The addition of the baseball team and Lindquist Field in downtown Ogden were undeniably major factors in the transformation of Ogden’s main street-area, from a rough and dilapidated place to the city’s pride and joy.
Lindquist Field celebrated its 20th season at its newest location, standing where the old Ogden Iron Works used to be — between 23rd and 24th streets and Lincoln and Grant avenues.
“Back in that day, downtown was dark and dirty and dangerous, and we needed to do something that would attract families to that area,” Dan Musgrave, longtime executive director of Downtown Ogden Inc., told Standard-Examiner reporter Mark Shenefelt last year.
“It had to be on both weekday and weekend nights, somewhere people felt safe with a great activity, and people would come back downtown,” he said.
For a team in a city like ours, there’s no shame in jumping on the bandwagon — and it’s not too late to do so.
And even if baseball isn’t your thing, it’s as good an excuse as any to root for the underdog: The Raptors are taking on the Great Falls Voyagers, who’ve won 12 league championships dating back to 1939 — six of them after 1978. Ogden has won only six in all — and none at all since 1965-69, when the Ogden Dodgers won four in a row, and none since the Raptors team debuted in 1994.
The Raptors beat the Orem Owlz — a team with six league Pioneer League championship victories since 2002 — to earn their spot in the series. Last year, the Owls defeated Ogden 2-1 in semifinals.
And there should be plenty of excitement at the game, too. The Raptors hit 104 homers in 76 regular-season games, according to reporting by sports editor Brett Hein. Before the 2017 season, no team had ever hit more than 97 in a Pioneer League season.
Tickets are $5 for the series — and it’s the last home game of the year. The game Thursday begins at 5 p.m. at Lindquist (the time was changed from the usual 6:30 p.m. time to anticipate inclement weather). Game two will be at Great Falls at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16. If the series goes to a third game, it’ll be at Great falls at 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17.
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