As I write this post, it is Monday night in Portland and baseball is dead. Today, The City That Works lost its minor league team, the Beavers, with nary a tear. Oh, give it time. People will comment next April when PGE Ballpark, soon to be converted to a soccer stadium, stands empty the majority of the time. With no daily baseball games to liven the park, it will sure seem a waste of such beautiful, meaningful space.
This blogger stands ready to help the owner of the Beavers, Merritt Paulson, bring baseball back to Portland. If you’re serious about it then so am I, Merritt.
On Saturday evening, me, my wife Isis, and our friend Nick went to the Beavers’ third-to-last game, against the Las Vegas 51s. I’m not going to mince words: the Beavers did not bring it that night. Losing 9-1, the Beavers may have been feeling deflated. Two bizarre errors were definitely indicators that the Beavers were not “cooking the bacon,” “bringing it to the table,” or “serving the bacon to the visiting team.”
You’re looking at one of Lucky’s final performances. On Tuesday he’ll be sent to the Mascot Retirement Home in Sun City, Arizona. There he will live out his remaining days in obscurity until Jack Death grips his fragile figure and carts him off to the Great Game in the Sky.
By the end of the game, with darkness beyond the big lights and the the 51s having proven their superiority (at least for the day), the crowd showed its devotion by staying until the last pitch. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a game when the home team has been down by as much in the bottom of the 9th and the crowd has not thinned a bit. Everyone wanted to stay a little longer in that park, watching our team.
After the game was over, Isis, Nick, and I sat for a few more moments, soaking up the century-old atmosphere of PGE Park. There will be no more baseball fans parked in those seats, no more baseball hats sold in the team shop, and no more sound of the crack of a bat sending a ball skyward while the crowd watches in anticipation.
The city of Portland has allowed this travesty to happen. Why, in a city so full of good things, is there not room for baseball? Are the hipsters too cool for it? Well, probably. But for those of us whose favorite bands play to crowds of more than 12 people and put their albums out not just on vinyl, baseball is still one of the best ways to spend a summer evening. I hope that whatever town gets the Beavers treats them with respect and gives them a stadium at least half as good as PGE. There is a baseball-team-shaped hole in my heart tonight.
Good night, Portland Beavers, and good luck.