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Yes, There is a Sports Team Called Exploding Whales Fundraising for Oregon Coast Marine Life

Published 08/15/23 at 6:31 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Newport, Oregon) – One sports team from Eugene is looking to make a splash and help science on the Oregon coast by using the name Exploding Whales and fundraising for Oregon State University's Marine Mammal Institute.

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The humorous reference to the infamous incident in 1970 is more than a catchy name for The Eugene Emeralds, who are using the moniker as a kind of alternate identity to bring attention to the outstanding work of scientists in Corvallis and the university's Hatfield Marine Science Center on the central Oregon coast. The minor-league baseball team is affiliated with the San Francisco Giants, and have played several games this season using the alternate identity Eugene Exploding Whales.

This weekend brings the culmination of that silly association happens this weekend, August 19, at a game in Eugene where an auction will be held.

All this is a nod to the thing the Oregon coast may well be best-known for: state officials assumed dynamiting a whale carcass on the beach at Florence would be the best way to get rid of it. Instead, it rocketed chunks of blubber and whale guts everywhere, even creating a pink mist that covered much of the crowd gathered. The Exploding Whale video is one the top two or three most viewed videos on the internet.

For weeks now, team members of the Eugene Emeralds, a.k.a., Exploding Whales, have been dressed in jerseys featuring a cartoon of a whale holding a stick of dynamite. There has also been Exploding Whale Team merchandise, and the team has been offering up information about OSU's marine programs and research at games. They've even thrown out the first pitch at some games with a broadcaster there to talk about the institute.

It's been a great opportunity during this season, said MMI Director Lisa T. Ballance.

“It has been a fun summer at the ballpark for our professors, staff, post-docs and students, and we’ve enjoyed sharing our passion for marine mammals in Oregon and beyond with the team and their fans,” she said.

The game begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, August 19, in Eugene’s PK Park. During the game, the auction takes place near the team store on the first base side of the venue. The auction runs from the time gates open at 4 p.m. to the end of the 7th inning. Marine Mammal Institute representatives will also be in attendance at the game. Proceeds will go to the institute to further its research on the Oregon coast, Washington coast, and everywhere around the world.

It's the final game as the Exploding Whales and that season.

Fun Exploding Whale Facts

There is now a park in Florence by that name. Yes, There Is Now an Exploding Whale Park in Florence, Oregon Coast

Florence, it turns out, was not the first part of the Oregon coast to try this. Warrenton attempted this decades before Warrenton Had an 'Exploding Whale' 30 Years Before Central Oregon Coast 

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Still from Exploding Whale courtesy KATU


Hatfield Marine Science Center

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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