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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane Indians can’t play ball, but they still hosted a sellout by providing fans a stadium-fare fix

Otto Klein, senior vice president of the Spokane Indians baseball organization, delivers a concession stand meal to go to a customer on Thursday outside Avista Stadium. The Spokane Indians concession stand offered a meal to go, enough for four people, with drive-through deliver. They club sold out 200 meals. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
By Riley Utley The Spokesman-Review

No baseball is being played at Avista Stadium – or pretty much anywhere else – right now, but that didn’t stop the Spokane Indians from hosting a sellout on Thursday.

The organization offered 200 orders of stadium fare – two hot dogs, two German sausages, two burgers, potato salad, chips, cookies and souvenir cups – and they sold out of all 200 of them at $40 a pop.

But it wasn’t just fans longing for a ballpark hot dog who got fed.

The Indians, whose season has been postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak, also plan to give some of the proceeds to Second Harvest food bank and provide about 2,600 meals to the hungry from Thursday’s event.

Otto Klein, senior vice president of the Spokane Indians, said the event was a chance “for us to say ‘hi’ to our fans and families who have supported us all these years while at the same time giving back to Second Harvest.”

For the two hours they were handing meals to customers who had ordered them online, there was a consistent stream of cars coming and going from the stadium.

“It’s a great idea,” said Jim Fitzgerald, who has been coming to games with his family regularly since 2012. “They’re having taco Tuesday (in two weeks) and we’re probably going to do that as well. Any way to support these guys. They run a first-class operation. You can tell with the turn out.”

The Fitzgerald family’s plan was to go home, watch “Field of Dreams,” eat their ballpark food and have a baseball-filled night.

“It’s a big-city (feel) with a small-town attitude,” Fitzgerald said. “Everybody knows everybody, and everybody comes and supports. Especially with what we’re going through right now, everybody wants to support each other.”

Josh Roys, vice president of concessions and hospitality for the Spokane Indians, said the Fitzgeralds aren’t the only fans who have relished the chance to perhaps squeeze some relish on the kind of food it’s hard to find outside a stadium.

“People have been really excited. Normally when we do things there’s feedback and (we) get mixed response on things, but this has been 100% positive,” said Roys. “People have been excited to bring ballpark food home.”

The Indians will offer fans craving the experience of sitting in the stands another chance for a fix on June 2, when walking tacos for four will be served at the same price of $40. The club also plans to continue putting on similar events throughout the summer, until baseball comes back.

“We’ve had professional baseball in this community for 118 years, and this time of year is when people really start looking forward to coming to Indians games,” Klein said. “It’s a summertime tradition for thousands of families. It’s really nice that we can put on an event and recognize that we’re here and we miss everyone in the community as much as they miss us – if not more.”

As for when fans can eat their stadium food in the stadium, while watching live baseball, Klein said the organization is hopeful it will happen soon.

“We are anxiously waiting for word,” he said. “But we’re hopeful that we will have a season as normal, and we’re preparing every day like we are.”

Editor’s note: This story was changed on May 22, 2020 to correct the first name of Josh Roys, vice president of concessions and hospitality for the Spokane Indians.