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Story Last modified at 2:42 p.m. on Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The 'Chugiak Classic'
Historic Pilots-Fire game a totally free affair

Alaska Star

No cash needed – although you might want to bring a seat.

Tickets won't be required for the first Alaska Baseball League game ever in the Chugiak-Eagle River area when the Athletes in Action Fire and Anchorage Glacier Pilots play a free exhibition game at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 9 at Loretta French Park in Chugiak.

However, because the park's main baseball field isn't designed for large crowds, fans should expect standing-room-only conditions.

"People are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs," said Rep. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak, who is helping promote the historic game.

The game is being billed as the "Chugiak Classic," and Stoltze is doing his best to make sure it's a memorable one. The representative said he'll be handing out 500 free hot dogs at the game, which is being used as a test run for a possible move by the Fire to Chugiak next season.

"I want this thing to work," he said.

Some temporary seating will be brought in, Stoltze said, but the idea is that an overflow crowd can go a long way toward proving the area is ready for its own team.

"We're hoping we don't have enough seats," he said.

One advantage the park does seem to have for fans is a large hill overlooking left field that could accommodate several hundred onlookers willing to make the climb.

Glacier Pilots general manager Jon Dyson said he agreed to the game because he supports the idea of bringing the Fire to the Chugiak-Eagle River area, and wants locals to start getting behind the team now.

"It's just a way of getting the community into it and seeing what caliber of baseball is being played up here," Dyson said.

Stoltze is just hoping the weather cooperates.

"What we need most is a nice, sunny day," he said.

Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or

This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, July 6, 2011.