Filling in some gaps from yesterday's post and talking about a few other things.
MLS Update - The St. Louis story is attached here, and paints the picture of their economics. The stadium site is tied together with some other development, such as retail and restaurant, which means there's more potential to make money but there's more things that have to fall into place in order to make it happen, unlike stadium only. St. Louis would be a great market to add to MLS, being centrally located in the US and it's the birthplace of US Soccer. But I think that there are other cities that are as good of a bid or better.
Atlanta is looking at other possibilities for teams, but not at soccer. Seems like a decent enough market, but I also know that competition for sports dollars is tough when you have the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB all within town, and the Braves are really a top draw there regardless of their record. Miami's bid includes the Barca name, a big club from Europe along with other big footy names possibly coming to town. It's not so much that I think the team will do badly in Miami, but seriously, you've had two chances to make MLS work there and they've failed for various reasons, including attendance and ownership. And your USL entry has had the worst attendance the past two years in a row, so by all means, give them another team and see how well it goes. You have to wonder about how many chances you get until it's raising the red flag. Philly's stadium issue is still up in the air, despite them being on tap to join MLS in 2010, and so right now, this leaves Vancouver and Portland.
Vancouver BC would be a great market for MLS, they have great fans, a beautiful city, and a history of great support. The instant rivalry with the fish guys from the Emerald City makes it a win, and if you were able to include Portland with that, it makes it that much better because you have a built in Pacific Coast rivalry. The only thing that Portland needs to do is get the money figured out.
The following thread on my home away from home on the interwebs has all sorts of MLS news, including information about the task force meetings that are occuring here for Sam Adams' stadium committee. This is the group tasked to recommend stadium options for not only the MLS Timbers should that occur, but a home for the current PCL Portland Beavers. It's important to consider the future of both teams, and while MLS would be great here, you can't ignore baseball because there is a market here and people like to watch the game. But it must be in the right spot. The task force meetings are open to the public, so anyone can drop in and learn more.
Super Bowl - Ok, admittedly, I knew Pittsburgh was going to be a good team, and they were going to make the playoffs. I didn't have them picked for the Super Bowl, but I figured they'd be in the hunt to get there. And they did, providing a most brutal win versus Baltimore. The game was physical, bruising, and defensive, exactly what you would expect from two divisional rivals. Players said they are happy getting an extra week off to recover from their playoff game, and they weren't kidding.
But Arizona? Seriously, I had them as the third best team in their own division behind the Seahawks and the 49ers, who I thought would have figured things out enough to be competitive. And all Arizona did was win while the Hawks imploded badly and the 49ers digressed enough so that their coach, Mike Nolan, was fired and is now in Seattle coaching the defense. So they won the division, but then after not winning a playoff game in 40 some years, they not only win their first game vs. Atlanta, but they beat Carolina and Philadelphia to get to a Super Bowl. I would have never guessed it, which is a great thing for the NFL getting fresh teams in there.
But just because Arizona is a surprise doesn't mean the Steelers will win this game easily. The NFC is loaded, and Arizona beat some very balanced teams to get to this point by having a great offense and a defense that made plays when needed. Should be a fun matchup, even if it wasn't completely expected.
Trail Blazers News - The guy that shoots three pointers really well is going to the dunk contest. Rudy Fernandez will participate in this year's Slam Dunk contest. If he dunks like he shoots from the outside, this could be a load of fun to watch him. Either way, it's great that a Trail Blazer will be at All-Star Weekend, especially after so many years of being snubbed until Brandon Roy broke that streak last year. I expect Rudy and Greg Oden will be in the Rookie game, and Roy will be selected as a reserve, which will be very deserved honors.
Timbers News - There are rumours the 2009 season schedule is coming out on Wednesday, January 21st. I'll believe it when I see it, but the source is someone I believe, so look here for more information. We know at this point, our home opener is April 30th versus Carolina, which is a Thursday night. Apparently, the hipsters need a place to go.
Local News - According to recent studies, Portland and Wonder white bread have something in common. Uh, really. The study proves what anyone that hangs out around town knows, young people are flocking here in droves because of the art, music, culture and vibe of the town. Seriously, what's not to love about a town that loves its strip clubs, pubs, and sports teams? Well, the fact that many of the people coming here are caucasians.
But really, while race may be lacking in some areas, I challenge the fact that we aren't diverse here. If you think of sexual orientation, this place is amazingly diverse in places where gays and lesbians congregate. Plus this town has various conventions and gatherings for geeks, comic book folks, gamers, beer guys, and sports fans. I've never lived in a town where there were so many festivals in celebration of different things.
Admittedly though, the housing issue means gentrification, and the areas where African Americans traditionally lived have now been changed into areas where young people, mostly white, are buying houses. It's tough when you have the demand here like there has been, and people are priced out of the area and pushed out into the suburbs. My area is incredibly diverse with Mexican Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and caucasians melding together, and I see lots of different folks about town. Mind you, when I lived in NW Portland, I didn't see much diversity but then again, it was a trendy part of town. But seriously, if you are going to talk about diversity here, I think it's better to talk about interests and about who people are rather that what they look like, and in that case, Portland is an incredibly diverse, almost quirky paradise.
Ok, off to go watch the Trail Blazers tonight. Be good and don't get blown away!!