Keeping Major League Baseball Out of Portland

Actually, in the end I could care less. Even if building a stadium collides into general tax payer funds, there are worse wastes of money out there (say… The Tram), even if, as I’d expect, the team languishes into revenue-not-generating mediocrity. But I laugh at it, because I tune in and out of “Sports Radio” and it’s become their crusade… and to just listen to them is to become someone who wants to create a bumper sticker saying “Keep Major League Baseball Out of Portland”. In pondering the political situation of Portland, Oregon and what anyone can focus on — we have a boondoggle of a useless Tram sucking up money — the ghost of previous regimes and a show-trial of Public Input; and Potter makes the headlines by proposing Temporary Tax for the purpose of funneling some money into “saving” public education; the supposed blight the city faces as its late 90s perception of moving into a bright tech-job providing city runs through a dark recession and emerges into a sort of low-class deepest bohemia (a constant focus in Oregonian editorials and letters to the editor, but they use different phrases than I just did)…

Let’s consider the plight of bringing baseball into Portland.

At his “State of the City” address, Tom Potter was asked by a ten-year old about major league baseball. It was really a very minor part of the day’s proceedings, but Tom Potter answered that he’d love to have major league baseball or major league football , but not one cent of tax payer money (or voter money, theoretically two different constituencies?) will be spent on such a project, and… Hey! Hey! Hey! … We have major League LaCrosse!

That we have Major League LaCrosse placates nobody. I am sure that the San Diego Padres, operators of the AAA Portland Beavers franchise, are happy he didn’t mention that we have AAA Baseball, as that may aggrivate and certainly wouldn’t placate the relatively small swarm of Sports Radio listeners whose main political beef is that there is no political will to negotiate with the Florida Marlins for a major league baseball deal… indeed, Tom Potter has placed a not unsubstantial amount of political chips in a giving the Florida Marlins the back of his hand platform. (Consider, if you will, his campaign promise to give a cursory ride with “Critical Mass”, one of the very few campaign promises he made, and a campaign promise he followed through on — to the chagrin of the Oregonian, which isn’t necessarily in conflict with tying yourself to efforts to build a stadium for a lame Major League Baseball team to transfer to Portland, but nonetheless gives a tell that they that brought him here differs from the average Sports Radio listener.)

Did I mention that Portland has a Major League LaCrosse team? Haven’t you seen the side-of-the-wall billboard right near the Rose Garden, a cute tart-looking woman with an oversized “Lumber Jax” shirt on, and only an oversized “Lumber Jax” shirt? Only two ad campaigns removed from the “Party like a Rock Star” bikini model — meaning that is the spot for sex-fused advertising. (Well, I guess nobody’s getting hot off of the “U of O versus Illinois Basketball Game” ad which stands in the middle of the RockStar Energy Drink ad and the Lumber Jax ad.)

Meanwhile, there’s the basketball team. “Ready or Not — Here we Come”. Nate McMillian’s head as the sun, and a bunch of the basketball players as the constellation of planet. I think that is what they are going for… with a knowing nod that… um… the team’s not ready for primetime. Thus… “Ready or not”. Charming idea it is to place low expectations into your ad campaign.

Unfortunately, Tom Potter is never going to have the opportunity Vera Katz did in addressing a large crowd before a big playoff game with the Los Angeles Lakers. Or maybe fortunately, as Potter doesn’t seem to be able to fake a fanship with sports. So I wonder: why was there a ten year old asking the mayor questions about his interests for city government (Major League Baseball) at the “State of the City” address? Potter answered him in a pandering and condescending manner, but that’s what always tends to happen when a politician comes up to a youngster like that in front of a group of adults. And it’s not going to be a terribly mature question… frankly, I listen to the hosts of Sports Radio, and see… they careen back to being the ten years of age wanting a baseball team in the city. Something that is supposed to be a virtue — nostalgia for when you loved sports as a young tyke. (Myself, I can trace my small modest interests in the professional sporting worlds to… maybe age 15. Well, except I was a good Recess soccer player.)

There’s a AAA baseball team in Portland. I hear that it’s good cheap family entertainment. A minor league team for a city that has little interest in being a major league city. (Oh wait. The city has no families in it anymore. It’s becoming “Deepest Bohemia”, whose mayors ride in “Critical Mass” functions. Maybe we oughta drive the minor league baseball team out of the city as well?)

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