I am very excited about baseball's return. Having been born and raised in Minnesota, I proudly wear a Twins cap and cheer for them. And for many years I lamented the lack of a major league team in this town. But lately, I've come to realize that we have one of the best baseball experiences anywhere. I almost hate to mention it, because it's like giving away a secret and then everyone will come. But Portland Beavers baseball, during day games, sitting in the beer garden, is as good as it gets. You have tables and chairs, you're as close to the action as anyone, and you can listen in on and sometimes talk to players, coaches, and umpires. Triple-A players are as good as major league players, with the exception of a few stars.
And, if you go often enough, the food and beer vendors, the ushers, and the other fans who are crazy enough to go to weekday day games too, recognize you and treat you almost like family. It's a great experience, and I'm really looking forward to that first day game of the year.
I'm sold! And I won't tell anyone about this secret.
The only big stumbling block, it seems to me: you don't have to be "crazy" to go to weekday day games; you need to not have a day job.
You're right. That's the other good part. Not many people, so there's no crowds, better seats, more chances for foul balls, and shorter lines for beer and food.
As an Oregonian living in the Twin Cities, I think Oregon is lucky not to have to deal with the hassle of a major league team. From legislative battles over state subsidies for ballparks to skyrocketing, elitist ticket prices to the major traffic problems that games create, it's just not worth it. Minor league baseball is much more in the spirit of Oregonian independence and there are three teams right on the I-5 corridor! As for college ball, more power to it. Let's not forget all those great community college teams that feed many of the powerhouse teams in the country.
I'm happy for the folks that like it, but as long as you're asking ~ If I never heard another baseball story in the news again I probably wouldn't notice. To me it's about as exciting as watching a chess tournament.
As a baseball fan in Eugene - an OSU grad who works for the U of O (commonly known as a platypus) - I'd like to add a few observations.
1) It's sad that the UO baseball resurgence had to come at the expense of the wrestling program, especially since Chuck Kearney, the wrestling coach, has long been an active supporter of youth baseball, serving on the board of the Churchill area Babe Ruth program.
2) It's also too bad that the plan is to build a new stadium rather than upgrading the classic Civic Stadium here in Eugene for the combined use of the Ems and the new Ducks. It's been a great place for the family baseball experience over the years.
3) It was great to see that so many of the players on the OSU team are actually from Oregon, as opposed to football and basketball. Hope this doesn't change with their success.
4) Can Portland afford to build the "Delta Dome" now?
5) (Tongue in cheek) Why did the UO choose to adopt "Varsity Cheerleading" as their new women's sport? . . . Beacuse Nike wants to bring out a new line of cheerleader uniforms!
Thanks for the program.
I believe baseball might be appealing to certain Portlanders because it is a little less brutish and boorish then football. Due to the independent spirit of Portland that might seem to fit in more with the progressive climate.
I feel the last thing we need is baseball in Oregon. We are slowly stripping away all the things that made Portland great, with this Walmartization of the state - all these suburban ideals. Competitive sports are no more of a way to bring people together then a terrorist attack is. Sure you might find some good in them, but you can argue there is some good in everything.
I moved here from San Diego about five years ago and am so happy that we don?t have a base ball team here. After living in a city where they used tax dollars to support a private organizations (to build baseball & football stadiums) to make more money for the one percent I find it refreshing living in a city where a boring game is not the only thing of value in a city. Additionally the only reason the college dropped the wrestling program for baseball is because it is more profitable.
One of the standbys in our house every year is "spring training starts next week". My son has been in little league every year he was eligible, and we have gone to see the Portland Beavers since their opening day when they returned to town.
We moved here from the Bay area in 1996, and are A's fans instead of Mariners.
I have not been impressed that Portland is currently a baseball town given the turn out at Beaver's games. Part of this I lay on the Oregonian; since moving here, it has been frustrating to get baseball coverage in our state paper. Baseball coverage usually starts somewhere around page 6, wedged in around local hockey or the high school wrestling results. Half of the coverage is about whether Clemens or Bonds has been caught with their pants down.
I have never been in any other town the the local paper relegated baseball to so little or buried reporting. Salt Lake, Austin, New Orleans, Las Vegas, you name any other city of vaguely comparable size without a major league team, and their coverage starts page 1 or 2, with all the scores from the previous day's games. While there has been some improvement the last year of two, but the Oregonian gives more and more prominent space to Serena Williams' outfits, the clubs Tiger is using, how long a losing streak some college team in Nebraska than America's pastime gets. I've actually measured column inches to check that I'm not just miffed my favorite sport is being short changed, and there have been plenty of times the Lincoln tennis team got more space than baseball coverage at all levels.
When the Oregonian really commits to baseball, we might get real turnouts for baseball--until then, anyone who thinks we're getting a major league team, call me about buying a bridge.
I raced to work to be able to join this disussion!
Raised in Seattle, I've been a Mariners fan since I won tickets in a potato sack race at age 5. My family goes to about 20 games every year. I love choosing a player each year to be my "baseball boyfriend". I am not one of those stats people, but do enjoy the long standing rivalries between teams and players. I could be excited to have a Portland MLB team, but I am loyal to Seattle. I haven't been able to muster the strength to go to a Beavers game yet, but i've been excited about making time to go and perhaps see OSU spring training will inspire me to go more locally. I think UofO developing a new team is a great idea. More baseball is always good!
On another note: Keep congress out of MLB.
Sports! Where to begin? Sports is just over-hyped throughout American society. I went to the U of O and my son went to Oregon State. With all of the significant accomplishments from both institutions, why is it that we're expected to continue being interested in how well they play games? Really, what a piece of work is man that he can hit a ball with a stick. I have about as much interest in watching baseball players play ball as they would have watching me play ball.
Growing up in Southern Oregon, I divided my loyalty to the Giants and the Mariners, the two closest teams. Once a year, my dad and I would wake up at 3am to make the 6-hr trip to SF for an afternoon game at Candlestick Park, spend the night at a cheap motel, and drive home the next day. We also visited Seattle when we could and went to a game at the godawful Kingdome. This was back when the Mariners were as bad as their stadium, so tickets were cheap and plentiful.
I don't follow the MLB nearly as closely now, because I have other interests and I'm fed up with professional sports in general, but I still enjoy a couple Beavers games every summer at PGE park. My wife went to college in Boston for a while, so we saw one game at Fenway which was enough to make me a Sox fan. To answer you friend's question, yes, there is a Red Sox bar in Portland: the New Old Lompoc on NW 23rd. Every single game on TV.
I don't mind the lack of an MLB team here. Portland Beavers games are fun (and cheap!) and this city has more pressing issues to worry about.
oregonians have much more interesting and creative things to do and we can easily have a conversation with a stranger without having to discuss baseball. We have our own sports; skiing, kayaking, biking, fishing, climbing, hiking just to name a few.
Have you ever seen the "Bring Major League Education" bumper stickers around town?
I was able to hear about half of the program on Baseball Returns and was disappointed that all the discussion about College Baseball centered around Division I. I found the discussion very biased. Oregon Baseball is not just about Professional and Division I teams - Division III deserves a word or two. Successful Division III athletes have made it in professional baseball, for example, Scott Brosius, who attended Linfield. And when George Fox won the NCAA Division III National Championship in 2004, they didn't receive near the recognition from the press as they deserved. This may be comparing apples to oranges, but the Linfield Women's Softball team won the Division III National Championship in 2007 and the coverage was almost non-existent. The NCAA website states that a major difference Division III schools is the focus on the impact of athletics on the PARTICIPANTS rather than on the SPECTATORS, yet the games are still very exciting to watch and attract many people to watch. Oregon should give deserved recognition to their Division III college sports, especially since they "features student-athletes who receive no financial aid related to their athletic ability and have athletic departments that are staffed and funded like any other department in the university." (NCAA)
Thanks for having me on. It was a pleasure.
Your story is good, but Pac-10-centric. Oregon is a college baseball hotbed, and here's the evidence:
U. of Portland is showing signs of life.
Western Oregon (D-II) has won six straight Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships.
George Fox (D-III) puts good teams on the field every year, and won the D-III national championship in 2004.
Concordia-Portland (NAIA) also puts good teams on the field every year despite limited resources, Coach Rob Vance does a great job of recruiting pitchers.
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