Culture

Why the Portland Pickles’ mascot is flying cross-country to hang out with Orioles fans: ‘We’re all-in on the O’s’


Ross Campbell learned his lesson, and then some. On a connecting flight from the Dominican Republic through New York, Campbell arrived in Portland, Oregon, with the startling realization that Dillon didn’t make it.

Campbell, the general manager of the Portland Pickles, had decided Dillon would ride in the cargo hold — because, well, Dillon is a seven-foot-tall pickle and the mascot of the wooden-bat summer baseball team. No matter how lifelike Dillon might seem, with his winning smile and a baseball hat fixed to his noggin, riding with other passengers would have attracted attention.

But Dillon was lost. And once Delta finally returned the vital cargo to Walker Stadium in Portland, he was promptly stolen from the front stoop before he was returned about 10 days later.

“He’s not allowed in the cargo hold anymore,” Campbell said.

So this time, when Campbell booked a flight for he and Dillon The Pickle to Baltimore, Dillon found his way into the main cabin.

“He’s all ready to go sitting in his normal seat,” Campbell said. “I mean, we don’t really have a choice.”

And when asked whether Dillon would be stowed in the overhead bin or worn by whomever was generally inside the mascot, Campbell was puzzled.

“What do you mean?” he said. “It’s a pickle. No one wears it.”

Sure.

The cross-country journey for Dillon The Pickle has a purpose, though, with the aim to unite pickle people. It’s also a chance for Dillon to enjoy a better experience on the East Coast, avoiding the trauma of becoming lost baggage and instead partying with Orioles fans at Pickles Pub outside Camden Yards on Friday between 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The next day, Dillon will grace The Big Dill Pickle Festival in Baltimore with his presence. Dillon wasn’t available for comment on this story, because he can’t speak. But Campbell assures that Dillon is stoked for the opportunity to “get him in situations around other pickle people.”

The connection between the Portland Pickles and the Orioles isn’t as random as it might seem. Alan Miller, the owner of the Pickles, became an Orioles fan as a 10-year-old in Los Angeles. He was tired of watching all the California baseball teams, so he turned on the television and saw Cal Ripken Jr. play.

He was hooked.

“I can’t believe I did this to myself,” Miller said.

But there was no turning back for him, so he stuck through the losing of 1988 and the postseason drought at the turn of the century and the return to more losing during a full-scale rebuild. He offered his son, then 10 years old, an out, giving him a free pass to become a Los Angeles Dodgers or New York Yankees fan.

“It’s gonna be easier,” Miller said. “And he said, ‘Nope, I want to be an O’s fan.’ So I feel so bad for him.”

The turnaround this season, though, has been welcome for father and son, who tune in to watch on TV or listen on the radio to every Orioles game, even during the Pickles’ season, which runs from …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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