Review by Mike
Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer, Oregon opened in 1997 and was home to the Short-Season Class A Salem-Keizer Volcanoes of the Northwest League until 2020, when Major League Baseball played musical chairs with the minor leagues and the Volcanoes were left without a seat. Left with a serviceable stadium and no league, some good folks created their own league, the Mavericks League, to call their ballpark home.
The Mavericks League consists of four teams, all of whom play their games at Volcanoes Stadium, similar to the United League that plays at Jimmy Johns Field in Utica, Michigan. The facility that hosts all of this baseball is a modest mid-90s ballpark with interesting salmon-colored seats. Unlike other parks of the era, there is no superstructure over the concourse with press and luxury boxes. Instead, a concessions, conveniences and suites building runs along the back of the concourse to serve the needs of patrons.
Nine rows of fixed-back seating sweeps from 1st base to 3rd, with additional bleachers behind each base line to provide substantial seating for low minor league and, now, independent baseball. It is an intimate ballpark with good sightlines from everywhere. It is well located, just off the interstate and alongside a large shopping area with plenty of restaurants and parking.
I visited one week before the season was set to begin and found the Mavericks League staff hard at work preparing for the new campaign. They were nice enough to take me upstairs to one of the private suites behind home plate and allow me free reign to explore the park on a rainy Pacific Northwest day in May. There was much still to be done, but I could see that this park would be a fun place to watch a game, festooned with lively banners, reasonable food prices and those colorful seats.
The self-contained league is an interesting business model and I hope it succeeds in Keizer. They have a nice little ballpark and some very friendly folks working very hard. If you are cruising along I-5 and see the lights on, I recommend dropping in for a game. And if you try the “Killer Kielbasa”, drop me a line and let me know how it is.