PHOENIX — Ducks’ fans from far and wide, donning green and yellow in variations of everything from jerseys to sombreros, filled an Oregon-obsessed baseball park on Wednesday afternoon. But it wasn’t the familiar confines of PK Park in Eugene, instead it was the site of the Oregon Fiesta Bowl pep rally at Salt River Fields baseball park in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Oregons fans in attendance ranged from young to old and came from all over.
Lee Duey and Nancy Conroe graduated from Oregon in 1964 and ’69, respectively, and hail from the Sacramento region of Northern California. They have been Ducks’ season ticket holders for over a dozen years and fly from Sacramento to Portland and then drive down to Eugene for every Oregon home game. They went to the 2001 season Fiesta Bowl, in which Oregon played Colorado. They also attended the Holiday bowl in 2008, the 2010 Rose Bowl, the 2011 National Championship and the 2012 Rose Bowl.
In regard to the team’s improvement in the decades since his graduation Duey said, “It has been great and lots of fun. We never thought this would happen, it is a dream come true for me. It used to be if they won two games we were thrilled.”
Tim Auger and his three sons Kevan, Connor and Austin were in attendance at the rally. Both Connor and Austin attend Oregon. Tim is a UC-Berkeley graduate but said he is a Ducks fan because he has “invested thousands into the school” via his sons’ out-of-state tuition.
Supporting their son, a freshman tuba player in the Oregon Marching Band were Corri and Dan Fewx of Sherwood, Oregon. They expected a bit more from the rally but looked forward to Thursday’s game.
“We were disappointed the players were not here but we think our band is going to blow the other band away during the halftime show,” said Dan.
One of the many prospective students in attendance, Ivan Ortiz of Tucson, Arizona came to the rally with his family and spent time with University officials on an upper terrace of the ballpark.
“It was good to see a sense of community like this,” Ortiz said. “It was really cool and it will influence my college selection decision.”