Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Going to the All Star Game, but the Baseball Buzz is Growing

It seems that more opinions about baseball and its future here are appearing, and on the day that Portland shows off the best baseball talent that the Triple AAA leagues have to offer. I'm happy that the subject is finally coming to fruition, because I think that baseball deserves a chance to stay here in Portland. For the most part, it has a rich history here, and it's been supported enough to deserve a chance to stay.
The Oregonian Editorial Board says the biggest issue with baseball's future is indifference. And I couldn't agree more with that statement. PGE Park's original refurbishment was originally intended to improve baseball and give the city a shot at luring MLB, and we were considered for getting the Expos, but instead they went to the nation's capital. Since then, there's been very little discussion about baseball until MLS came around and was looking to expand, and discussions centered around making PGE Park soccer specific. Instead of baseball fans joining the conversation, they kept silent while discussions centered around putting a baseball park at the Memorial Coliseum. The Trail Blazers have been indifferent about developing the Rose Quarter area until baseball threatened to come into town, and they came up with a entertainment complex idea, architects were indifferent until they realized the Memorial Coliseum had some value to them, even with the building falling into disrepair. And now, we have a big mess on our hands because everyone can look around and realize that we've ignored baseball for too long, and it's time to change that. Jim Siverson provides a piece similar to the article about the rich history of baseball, and his point echoes the long standing traditions of Portland and baseball.
Fine, I get there is history here for baseball and I've actually seen parts of it. Then, baseball fans, do something about it. Get your voices out there and let the City Council know that you want baseball in Portland, and it's important to find a home in the city proper. It's great to show up tonight to the Triple AAA game, but go to other games and not just the weekend tilts. Show your support at the box office, because really, that is what the Timbers Army have done. We've been worried about the long term future of our team and the league, and so we've worked tirelessly to get new people to come to Timbers games, help with banners, get involved with the community as Timbers fans, and generally get the word out about the team. I know there are baseball fans out there, and it's time to be heard rather than remain silently on the sidelines.
And if that's bringing baseball to the Rose Quarter, like Alan Willis suggests, so be it. I still think it's the best option of anything that has been discussed for baseball in terms of location and amenities, and it would bring more people to an area that is really dead outside of Trail Blazer games or concerts. Even other opinions are being shared, like Stephan Burklin, who is convinced the whole stadium idea is a mess because it will hurt city services. While I disagree with his opinion because it has serious flaws, I'm happy the topic is being discussed in lots of different channels. Having the Triple AAA baseball game here is a big coup for the city, and now that the MLS deal is all but done, it's time to get baseball taken care of. I'm asking the City Council to use this momentum and work towards making this happen to keep baseball in the Rose City.
An on-line petition has been started to save the Beavers, and I think that's a great start. The link is noted below:
The petition to help keep the Beavers in Portland:
Look, I'm a soccer fan and see the benefit of MLS here, but I also feel that baseball deserves the right to remain here too, which is why the original stadium idea in the MC for baseball was such a great idea in my mind. Both sports get stadiums that work for them in areas of town that have good transit, other services around, easy to get to, and will provide destinations for people to visit. I was upset the City Council walked away from the deal, and I think this discussion is important because the idea didn't deserve to die. It's time to get this right, Portland, and bring baseball to the Rose Quarter.

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