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Baseball Returns

Is Oregon becoming a baseball state?

I got an e-mail from my friend AJ, a Bostonian living in New York, the other day. It was full of questions about my new home:

“You should do a show about Oregonians and baseball. Because there is no MLB team. What do they do? Do they all root for Seattle? How does that feel? Or do people feel free to pick whichever team they like best, or identify with, regardless of location? How does that play out in bars and around the water cooler during baseball season? As far as the connections people make over baseball, the ups and downs and steady patter of names and trends and speculations and complaints over the course of seven months? And what about the transplants? Is there a culture of all these people in Portland rooting for the Mets and the Pirates and the Rangers and the Red Sox? Do they have anyone to talk to? Are there Red Sox bars in Portland? How does our national pastime play out in your state?”

AJ is still in pain, so he should be forgiven some of his East coast parochialism. I told him about OSU’s back-to-back national championships, and about the U of O’s varsity baseball program, back for the first time in 26 years. And about the Portland Beavers. I told him that baseball is alive in well in Oregon, in other words, and is awaking this weekend from its winter slumber.

The recent news on the professional side is that the Florida Marlins got approval from Miami-Dade County Commissioners to build a new $500 million stadium in Miami. The Marlins had been Portland’s primary hope for a team — they met with Mayor Potter a year and a half ago to discuss moving the franchise, and were sick of playing at Dolphin Stadium. So now it looks like Portland will have to wait until some other team (like, say, the Devil Rays) decides it wants to move to a sunnier clime.

Whether or not that happens any time soon, are we watching a baseball resurgence in Oregon? And if so, what’s behind it? Is the U of O just trying to play catchup with Corvallis with its new $400,000+ coach and planned $15 million stadium? Is Oregon turning into a baseball state?

And more importantly: Little League, prep, college or pro, are you as excited as I am that some kind of baseball is here again?

Photo credit: salvez / Flickr / Creative Commons.


baseball mlb osu portland university of oregon

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