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Friday, January 24, 2014

Portland ready, willing and hoping for baseball

Portland doesn’t have a big league baseball team.

However, there is a growing effort to bring a franchise to the city. And Portland has something other cities lack.

Portland’s backers of baseball have the blueprint for a state-of-the-art baseball-only stadium, which would have a retractable roof and seat 35,000. They have community support, including that of the current city administration. A site, endorsed by mayor Charlie Hales, has been chosen, next to Memorial Coliseum and the new Rose Garden, home of the NBA’s Trailblazers.

“We have the land and the infrastructure,” said architect Barry Smith.

The supporters believe they can find an ownership group, possibly a major Japanese firm, along the lines of Nintendo, which owns the Seattle Mariners.

All the folks in Portland need is a team.

Land and infrastructure? Why that’s practically a team!

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 24, 2014 at 09:52 PM | 56 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, expansion, portland, relocation

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   1. depletion Posted: January 24, 2014 at 11:04 PM (#4646048)
Wasn't city funding of this voted down at least once? Maybe the Rays can move there in 18 years (or whenever their lease is up).
   2. TerpNats Posted: January 24, 2014 at 11:15 PM (#4646052)
From the Oakland A's to the Portland A's?
   3. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: January 24, 2014 at 11:19 PM (#4646055)
From the Oakland A's to the Portland A's?

Don't the Giants control every vacant territory west of the Rockies and east of Guam?
   4. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: January 24, 2014 at 11:23 PM (#4646057)
Expand MLB to 32 teams, put one in Portland, the other in Nashville or Montreal, and call it a day.
   5. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: January 24, 2014 at 11:24 PM (#4646058)
The supporters believe they can find an ownership group, possibly a major Japanese firm, along the lines of Nintendo, which owns the Seattle Mariners.


Would Nippon Ham like to own an American team?
   6. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: January 24, 2014 at 11:29 PM (#4646061)
Oakland is making its own push for a new park so this could get interesting.
   7. frannyzoo Posted: January 24, 2014 at 11:34 PM (#4646064)
MLB ala EPL:

Twenty first division teams with equal numbers of games between each other in a non-conference/division set up.
A second division of the current <20th teams
Promotion/relegation
Fun.

I'd be 100 times the fan of baseball in such a system than I am now. Actually 1,000 times. Without promotion/relegation, MLB is no better than MLS, in my opinion.

Portland, OR would make a very nice Leeds or Wolverhampton in a second division. So would Las Vegas, NV. Oh well...
   8. base ball chick Posted: January 24, 2014 at 11:48 PM (#4646069)
there is gonna be a leeeeeeeeeetle problem with the broadcast rights seeing as how seattle owns the territory and the sports network

maury brown has written about how the teams ain't threatening relocation out of their already settled broadcast areas
   9. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 24, 2014 at 11:49 PM (#4646070)
Oakland is making its own push for a new park so this could get interesting.

Oooo, that'd be right near the courthouse... finish up court in the morning, then walk over for some daytime baseball? HECK, yes.
   10. puck Posted: January 25, 2014 at 12:36 AM (#4646083)
I'd be 100 times the fan of baseball in such a system than I am now. Actually 1,000 times. Without promotion/relegation, MLB is no better than MLS, in my opinion.

Yeah, and MLB should play in the winter, too.
   11. winnipegwhip Posted: January 25, 2014 at 01:02 AM (#4646087)
Relegation...I don't think the networks would give as much money for a league that wouldn't involve the Chicago market. The Cubs would be relegated down and up every few years. And what happens when a team with great expectations crashes and burns like the Mets team of the early 90's?

Of course the Red Sox wouldn't have won the series this year since they would have been relegated after 2012.
   12. Adam M Posted: January 25, 2014 at 01:05 AM (#4646088)
Unless this mythical ownership group plans on paying for 100% of the stadium, baseball is not coming to Portland.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 25, 2014 at 01:21 AM (#4646092)
They've already had tryouts too. The Mayor wants to name them the "Portland Thinkers."
   14. The Buddy Biancalana Hit Counter Posted: January 25, 2014 at 01:31 AM (#4646093)
Portland, OR would make a very nice Leeds or Wolverhampton in a second division. So would Las Vegas, NV. Oh well...
Leeds are a massive club. This is only a blip in an otherwise proud history.

Wolves, on the other hand, are rivals of the Baggies.
   15. Swedish Chef Posted: January 25, 2014 at 05:23 AM (#4646108)
Wolves was to the 50's what Leeds was to the 70's.
   16. AndrewJ Posted: January 25, 2014 at 08:07 AM (#4646113)
All I know about UK football I learned from Monty Python's "World Forum" sketch.
   17. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: January 25, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4646120)
Charlotte!
   18. GregQ Posted: January 25, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4646123)
I live in Portland and have not heard any talk about this. It is a bad baseball town in my opinion. It lost its minor league team a few years ago because of poor attendance. I would imagine that what the politicians want is a big building project, they really don't seem to care here if it is needed or not.

I moved here a decade ago and its an odd town. People are willing to drive to the coast or the mountains but rarely across town. People in the suburbs do not flock to down town Portland to any great degree that I can see aside from the young bar hopping crowd. I used to ask people that live in Beaverton and elsewhere why they did not go to Beavers games and they would say it was too far. Its maybe 20 miles. When I lived in Santa Cruz, Ca. I and a number of my neighbors often went to SF or Oak to catch games. Here that just seems unthinkable
   19. Lassus Posted: January 25, 2014 at 10:05 AM (#4646124)
Unless this mythical ownership group plans on paying for 100% of the stadium, baseball is not coming to Portland.

I'd concur.

On the outside-of-reality chance this does happen, I'd say the only way at all for this to maybe work, barely, would be to build a smaller stadium and maximize being sustained locally as a smaller team constantly fighting the big boys.
   20. Flynn Posted: January 25, 2014 at 10:07 AM (#4646125)
MLB is a business, promotion/relegation is basically anathema to running a successful business. It would also drive up the salary structure, since the financial catastrophe of relegation would make it worth a team's while to pay a 2 WAR player $18 million a year. congrats on finding out about soccer, but this is why every soccer team is in a mountain of debt and doesn't pay its tax bills.
   21. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 25, 2014 at 10:09 AM (#4646126)
City of Portland is broke, and building big free stadiums for billionaires isn't really in the MO of Metro, at least in the last 20 years -- and even the Rose Center was 90% privately funded.

Portland's big enough for a team. It's the obvious next market, much better than mirages like Las Vegas (poor, no ancillary markets, destroyed by the credit collapse, as liable to shrink as grow in the future), Charlotte (population too diffuse for a sport so dependent on gate receipts), or Tennessee (combination of Las Vegas and Charlotte). But it's not likely, politically, and the Mariners are going to be super pissed if it happens.
   22. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 25, 2014 at 10:27 AM (#4646129)
I will assume Portland has their eyes on the A's so #### you Portland. Go get another tattoo or stick something else through your face instead.

That waterfront stadium in the linked article looks fantastic. Too bad it will never happen though some of Oakland's money guys getting behind it gives a smidgen of hope.
   23. cardsfanboy Posted: January 25, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4646134)
I'd be 100 times the fan of baseball in such a system than I am now. Actually 1,000 times. Without promotion/relegation, MLB is no better than MLS, in my opinion.


What is the fascination with relegation? It seems as if that is a concept which basically pisses on the fans. If they ever do a relegation style in a real sport, it would be based upon attendance and not standings. MLB is better than MLS, because it's not soccer/professional grass growing association.

   24. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: January 25, 2014 at 10:33 AM (#4646136)
Portland is the 27th largest metropolitan area in the US & Canada, and 23rd by metro GDP. Due to a combination of relatively high cost of living with a non-exceptional per capita income, by per capita purchasing power it would be the worst market in MLB (Charlotte would be among the best, FWIW). Portland is the obvious next MLB market, but it would be in the bottom quarter of markets overall. There's no hurry to stick a team there, but it would make an adequate place for the Rays or A's or someone like that to move to.

   25. PreservedFish Posted: January 25, 2014 at 10:46 AM (#4646141)
For every city pissed on by relegation, another is rewarded.
   26. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 25, 2014 at 10:46 AM (#4646142)
What is the fascination with relegation?

It's a truer meritocracy and would force teams to try to compete every year (looking at you Loria). It would also open up baseball to places that are currently closed off to it. Portland thinks it should have a team in MLB, well, build one and work your way up the ladder. Simples.

It's not really practical for American sports, though, for institutional, historical and structural reasons.
   27. Swedish Chef Posted: January 25, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4646146)
What is the fascination with relegation? It seems as if that is a concept which basically pisses on the fans.

It's the difference of playing for real stakes or play money. It instills meaning in games. Without terror there can be no catharsis.
   28. TerpNats Posted: January 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4646147)
I live in Portland and have not heard any talk about this. It is a bad baseball town in my opinion. It lost its minor league team a few years ago because of poor attendance.
The International League's Toronto Maple Leafs left town after the 1967 season, and a decade later Toronto was in the bigs, roughly the same time frame between the departure of the Montreal Royals and the arrival of the Expos. And aside from occasional huge crowds for July 4 fireworks, Denver's minor league teams rarely broke attendance records. You can't necessarily predict the success of a major-league market from minor-league attendance.
   29. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: January 25, 2014 at 11:09 AM (#4646152)
An alternative reality baseball in which promotion and relegation gets cooked into the sport in the 1870s would be very interesting. Except for Russia, every European country with P&R is small enough that lower division teams could cover most of the country without too much hardship, even in the late 19th century. This is obviously not so in the US. The result would have had to have been a great deal more regionalization in the sport, with separate P&R tracks for teams in various parts of the country. If you relegate, say, Keokuk (Iowa), you have to stick them in a Midwestern league. Which means either promoting a Midwestern team, or potential realigning the lower divisions every single year. So Daveport, IA might get promoted over the heads of a more capable team in Florida or California.

This happens in European soccer leagues -- the Italian 3rd and 4th divisions are divided into two regional leagues, and below that they start becoming more and more local. But in the US, at least in the period before cheap air travel, there would have to be a lot more regional leagues, and at a much higher level in the pyramid.

Promotion and relegation is tremendously fun in video games, probably not so much in real life where it tends to lead to a handful of superteams winning all of the time.
   30. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: January 25, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4646153)
Denver's minor league teams rarely broke attendance records.


That is incorrect. The Denver Bears were famous for huge crowds at Mile High, and their attendance records were noted in the run up to Denver getting a MLB franchise.
   31. Dale Sams Posted: January 25, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4646167)
So WHERE would these Division AAA teams come from? Cause MLB teams aren't giving up their farm teams. And are going to let MLB teams sign 15 year olds and stash them away?
   32. puck Posted: January 25, 2014 at 12:37 PM (#4646182)

That is incorrect. The Denver Bears were famous for huge crowds at Mile High, and their attendance records were noted in the run up to Denver getting a MLB franchise.

Are you including fireworks games? I didn't go to that many Bears games (wasn't here that long before the Rockies) but I don't remember many people being at the games I was at.
   33. cardsfanboy Posted: January 25, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4646184)
It's the difference of playing for real stakes or play money. It instills meaning in games. Without terror there can be no catharsis.


Not seeing it. Again, it basically pisses on the fans, the ones who legitimize the teams. Winning and losing is fun and all, but fans aren't strictly about winning and losing. Only sensible way to have relegation is not by record but by attendance. If the fans don't show up, give another city a shot.

It's sports entertainment, not bad parenting 101. It's not strictly about winning and losing, and any system that is set up to reward that concept is preaching the wrong message. I enjoyed 2013 even though my team didn't win it all. I enjoyed 1979, and my team wasn't even a contender that year. I loved 1998 and again my team didn't contend. First season of baseball I remember had nothing to do with the standings and everything to do with Lou Brock.(and to a lesser extent Hank Aaron) There is absolutely more to the game than winning and losing.
   34. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 25, 2014 at 12:46 PM (#4646188)
Only sensible way to have relegation is not by record but by attendance.

Spoken like a true Cardinal fan.
   35. puck Posted: January 25, 2014 at 12:49 PM (#4646192)
It's a truer meritocracy and would force teams to try to compete every year (looking at you Loria).

This has it's pluses and minuses though. Does it necessarily result in better quality of play, since the threat of relegation also appears to inspire lot of desperation moves (3+ managers in a season, paying 7 million pounds for Nikica Jelavic, stuff like that)?

It would also open up baseball to places that are currently closed off to it. Portland thinks it should have a team in MLB, well, build one and work your way up the ladder. Simples.

I think this would be the bigger deal in the US context. Not that pro/rel could ever happen with the way we run our pro teams.
   36. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 25, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4646196)
I think this would be the bigger deal in the US context. Not that pro/rel could ever happen with the way we run our pro teams.

We are weirdly anti-competitive when it comes to pro sports. Monopolies are bad...except for sports!
   37. cardsfanboy Posted: January 25, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4646197)
Spoken like a true Cardinal fan.


As a Cardinal fan, I don't think I would have to worry too much about relegation no matter how it was implemented :)
   38. Swedish Chef Posted: January 25, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4646203)
Fans may be pissed in a relegation fight, but they are engaged in it and don't drift away.

And there is no way teams can #### with the fans and field no-talent, cheap squads like the Astros and Marlins do if there was a relegation system.
   39. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: January 25, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4646204)
Are you including fireworks games? I didn't go to that many Bears games (wasn't here that long before the Rockies) but I don't remember many people being at the games I was at.


The stadium might have looked relatively empty, but it seated something like 45000 people. That's probably ten times the attendance most minor league teams shoot for.
   40. cardsfanboy Posted: January 25, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4646211)
And there is no way teams can #### with the fans and field no-talent, cheap squads like the Astros and Marlins do if there was a relegation system.


I'm fine with what the Astros did, not so much with the Marlins. Astros revamped their entire system and changed leagues (where they need an extra bat) and should be fielding a competitor for years to come. The Marlins on the other hand.... is just pure evil.

I think what the Astros did is better than what teams like the Mess, Cubs and others have done in the past, where they try to rebuild without fully committing to the rebuild process. I don't think every organization needs to commit to a rebuild process, but if they are broken, it's better to fully commit than try to put bandaids on it.

Astros have one of the top rated farm systems, have a few worthy players (Jason Castro, Cosart, Dominguez and Altuve) and several highly ranked prospects(Correa and Appel) that it's very easy to see this as being a good team in 2015. Then hopefully they'll have money to get select acquisitions.
   41. devo Posted: January 25, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4646246)
As a Cardinal fan, I don't think I would have to worry too much about relegation no matter how it was implemented :)


Much like "as a parent," anything that comes after "as a Cardinal fan" is going to be completely insufferable.
   42. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 25, 2014 at 04:14 PM (#4646258)
As a parent, I'm glad that my children didn't grow up to be Cardinal fans.
   43. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: January 25, 2014 at 04:28 PM (#4646265)
Promotion and relegation is tremendously fun in video games, probably not so much in real life where it tends to lead to a handful of superteams winning all of the time.


I'm currently running an OOTP universe in which the Player's League basically forces the NL and AA to sue for peace in 1890; the PL re-named themselves the National Association and the remaining NL and AA teams agree to form a second-rank American Association (similar to the way things went down with British soccer). Eventually, I added other, lower leagues and instituted full promo/rel; instead of a World Series, there's an FA-Cup style tournament called the Temple Cup.

We're in 1956 now, and, yeah, it's a huge mess. But fun.
   44. puck Posted: January 25, 2014 at 04:31 PM (#4646266)

The stadium might have looked relatively empty, but it seated something like 45000 people. That's probably ten times the attendance most minor league teams shoot for.


It seated far more than that, even for baseball. In this (1982?) article, it says they were averaging 8500.

That sounds like a pretty good AAA average in the early 80's, but is that "huge"? Whereas the article does mention the 65,000 crowd for a July 4 game but the o.p. was excluding such games.
   45. donlock Posted: January 25, 2014 at 05:27 PM (#4646286)
Portland would probably average 23,000 fans per game, have limited TV money and fight it out with the other bottom feeders in either league.It doesn't really solve the current problem with the Florida teams, Cleveland, Oakland and some others to add another franchise that will draw no better than your bottom ten teams.
   46. nwibl Posted: January 25, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4646288)
MLB Baseball would have the support of players from all of the Portland City baseball teams. If your still able to play see nwibl.org and play this summer
   47. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 25, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4646306)
That sounds like a pretty good AAA average in the early 80's, but is that "huge"? Whereas the article does mention the 65,000 crowd for a July 4 game but the o.p. was excluding such games.
Different cities and all that, but 8500 would've been the highest average in the PCL for 2013, so I'd guess it was pretty huge for 1982.
   48. GregD Posted: January 25, 2014 at 07:05 PM (#4646319)
As a kid in central Kentucky, I remember always hearing that the Louisville RedBirds were fighting Denver for the nationwide minor-league attendance lead. Of course the RedBirds' totals were inflated by the unbelievable passion for The Chicken
   49. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: January 25, 2014 at 11:10 PM (#4646375)
Louisville got their team in '82 (from Springfield - insert Simpsons joke here), which helped them win the attendance battle, but Denver attendance was quite high by minor league standards. As already noted, a huge park dwarfed the crowds.
   50. puck Posted: January 25, 2014 at 11:40 PM (#4646380)
Louisville got their team in '82 (from Springfield - insert Simpsons joke here), which helped them win the attendance battle, but Denver attendance was quite high by minor league standards. As already noted, a huge park dwarfed the crowds.

Yes, I understand that. But Denver crowds were described as "huge" in the post I was responding to. And they were if you counted the fireworks games, but the post in #28 made the point of excluding those games.
   51. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: January 26, 2014 at 12:01 AM (#4646382)
1 - i'm not sure why you would exclude them
2 - they'd still be well above your avg aaa team of the time and, by the standards of the league and time, huge.
   52. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: January 26, 2014 at 03:28 AM (#4646404)
They've already had tryouts too. The Mayor wants to name them the "Portland Thinkers."


Just watched that episode tonight. Loved it.
   53. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 26, 2014 at 04:47 AM (#4646407)
Charlotte!


Mami!
   54. Swedish Chef Posted: January 26, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4646423)
It would be nice if Miami got a baseball team, but I'm not holding my breath.
   55. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: January 26, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4646470)
1 - i'm not sure why you would exclude them
2 - they'd still be well above your avg aaa team of the time and, by the standards of the league and time, huge.

1 - If the point is to determine enthusiasm for baseball based on attendance, the reason should be self-evident.

2 - This assumes there were no other firework games drawing unrepresentative crowds.
   56. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 26, 2014 at 07:25 PM (#4646551)
It would be nice if Miami got a baseball team, but I'm not holding my breath.


Mami, not Miami. :-)

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