Home Opener Debut! Tarp Skunks Baseball

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The new Tarp Skunks lawn signs.

Article Contributed by
David Troxell, George Carlo, Randall Anderson & Walt Pickut

The Tarp Skunks of Jamestown will play their Opening Home Game—the first home game ever for this new team—on Thursday evening, June 10, at 7:00 o’clock at Deithrick Stadium.

The Tarp Skunks will take on the Batavia Muckdogs in a neat and historic turn of events. This is the very first team Jamestown faced in its new stadium’s opening game of 1941. The excitement of a Home Game season opener combined with a brand-new team makes this a game not to be missed. Come early for a pregame concert sponsored by Pepsi at 5:00 to 6:30 in the parking lot—and stay for a great game.

Excitement!

Imagine the lush green ball field in a picture-perfect stadium. The crack of the bat. The crowd roars. Children laugh. The smell of peanuts, popcorn, and hotdogs. Wiffy the Tarp Skunk’s Mascot jumps for joy. Friends stand and cheer. The players hit and catch and run and pour everything into the game.

Come to the game for a welcome new breath of adventure and good times after the long Covid winter. Here is a great chance to step into the summer with friends, family and a shiny new team of some of the country’s best young athletes. And a chance to build that great Jamestown community feeling. Our town, our stadium, and our ball club.

Whiffy, the Jamestown Tarp Skunks mascot, visiting Love School.

The Name

Why TARP SKUNKS? “Tarp” representing Howard Ehmke, a Chautauqua County resident, MLB Pitcher, 1929 Philadelphia A’s World Series Champion, who produced the original infield tarp. He is proudly known as “Father of the Infield Tarp.”

‘Skunks’ represent a very common creature at Diethrick Park, a creature which has made a habit of pestering and wreaking havoc on baseball team employees for decades at Diethrick Park; specifically from their cozy homes inside the infield tarp.

The Club

A year and a half ago, about thirty local citizens dug deep into their own pockets for the love of Jamestown and the game in order to buy out our own baseball franchise. The Jamestown Community Baseball new ownership makes it a priority to welcome fans of all ages and backgrounds to create a diverse baseball culture in our town. Seats are open for as low as $5.

Several times this season the Skunks will offer their guests $2 seats, $2 popcorn, $2 beer—and $2 everything. Fireworks displays will light up the night. Our own Tarp Skunk mascot Whiffy will be on hand at every game to charm and entertain. Children from the crowd will be invited to join in the always popular between-innings fun and entertainment.

Jamestown Tarp Skunks pitchers Aron Hair and Jack Laird at Wegmans.

The Team

Thirty-two young athletes have been recruited from colleges and universities across the United States. These players who have chosen to spend their summer as Tarp Skunks all aspire to professional, big-league play. Watch them play here this summer to make those dreams come true. Our Perfect League is an important bridge for these players.

You can be sure that big league scouts in abundance will be paying attention every time we take the field. The Tarp Skunks build on the “Secrets of Champions” training program—a decades-long tradition at the highest levels of professional baseball. This program helped the Skunks recruit many of the country’s finest young players.

While there is a rich history of top-level, fan-friendly baseball in Jamestown, the best chapters in that book have yet to be written.

By 2021, nearly 300 players have moved up from Jamestown to win positions in the Major Leagues, and two players—Nellie Fox and Randy Johnson—are enshrined in Cooperstown’s Baseball Hall of Fame. But no matter the level of their future success, these players too were “our players.”

The team is coached by Jordan Basile and his assistant coach, Joe Winkelsas, both champion players in their own right. The business media and stadium end of things are managed by Jacob Kindberg. We caught up with both Jordan and Jacob today down at the stadium. Jordan said “I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to coach the Jamestown Tarp Skunks. I have been part of college baseball over the past ten plus years as a coach and the Tarp Skunks brought me back home to where it all began. I had the opportunity to play at Diethrick Park for Jamestown High School and there is no other place that I would rather be. E are excited for the team we have put on the field this season, and have great group of guys. We can’t wait to see everybody at the park!” Jacob Kindberg added “We are positioned well to become of the first entertainment venues in the county to open up and welcome fans safely. We have worked diligently with both New York State and the Chautauqua Board of Health to ensure we are following all COVID best practices. We are very exited to welcome fans back to Diethrick Park.

Jamestown’s Baseball “Our History”

Twenty twenty-one marks the 80th anniversary of the construction of the baseball stadium now known as Russell E. Diethrick, Jr. Park. Over those years, the historic ball park on Jamestown’s east side, renamed from Municipal Stadium to College Stadium to Diethrick Park, has established a fabulous baseball history.

The stadium, known then as Municipal Stadium opened its doors on May 6, 1941 for a PONY League game (in the old Pennsylvania-Ontario-New York League) pitting the hometown Falcons against the visiting Batavia squad.

Symbolically, for the home opener on June 10, history will repeat itself when Jamestown’s Tarp Skunks battle Batavia once again on the same historic diamond where they first met eight decades ago.

The Jamestown teams that inhabited the park have changed many times, but America’s Pastime has never changed—whether played here by the Falcons, the Tigers, the Dodgers, or the Braves, the Falcons again, or the Expos, the Jammers, or now, Tarp Skunks. But it’s still “our team.”

Jamestown’s teams have competed in the PONY League, the NY-P League and now the PGCBL League over the past eight decades and won eight league titles: 1942, 1944, 1947, 1952, 1953, 1989, 1991 and 2018. But regardless of whether they were champions or cellar-dwellers, they were always “our guys.”

Today, as we take pride in our look back over 80 years of baseball at “our stadium,” it is also fitting to thank the owners and investors of Jamestown Community Baseball, LLC. for their strong commitment to keeping great baseball in our city with the 2021 Jamestown Tarp Skunks. Because baseball is “our game.”

Be There!

Join your friends and neighbors for a great summer evening at Deithrick Stadium to root for the Tarp Skunks Opening Home Game. Thursday evening, June 10, enjoy the concert at 5 o’clock and stay for the big game at 7. Be there for “Our Team.” Lets do this together!

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.