After witnessing a disappointing start this season, I was surprised to watch the Oakland Athletics crush both the Minnesota Twins and the Boston Red Sox. But after seeing them sweep the New York Yankees, I’m simply astonished. How does a team with the worst total batting average in Major League Baseball beat three hitting juggernauts in one month?
I’m told this is a soccer town.
I’m told this with relative frequency, in fact, by prophets young and old, male and female in Portland. I’m told this by people I never asked. I’m told this by the existence of an MLS franchise in place of minor league baseball at Jeld-Wen Field and by the growing number of green jerseys I run into on the MAX lately. I’m told this in a bar at Second and Ash, and then I’m told again 20 minutes later. There is, it would seem, no debate on the matter.
In a previous “Between the Horns” article, I lamented the absence of baseball in Portland. Having a deep connection with the issue, I wanted to spread the article beyond Portland State’s campus, so I decided to link the online version of the article on Reddit. I didn’t get too many comments, but one Redditor did point me in the direction of Underdog Sports Leagues—an adult, co-ed sports league that caters to bowling, flag football and, most importantly, softball.
If I had to describe my friend Mat as I remember him from our jaunty high school days, I would bluntly say, “skinny.”
So it surprised me, when I ran into him during my trip back to the East Bay this year, that he looked like he’d been making a living as Jason Statham’s body double. In other words, he was ripped. In fact, the first word I blurted out when I saw my stalwart friend walking toward me was, “How?”
The disparity of baseball hats in Portland kind of blew my mind when I first arrived in the Rose City earlier this year. You see, as a native of Northern California, I grew up to understand that wearing an A’s cap in San Francisco is a clear indication that you want to be called “moneyfail” (a scathing witticism created in response to Oakland’s diminished power and the best-selling novel Moneyball), and wearing a Giants cap in Oakland is, well, not the smartest thing in the world if you value your well-being.
I walked through Pioneer Square last week on a beautiful spring day and saw a group of people playing chess. They were mostly older men, many of who wore white socks pulled up to their calves, hiding, I suspect, the varicose veins that come with age. As I watched pawns advancing, kings castling, and knights and bishops swapping blows, I asked myself: What defines a sport?
It’s election season again at Portland State. You might not think the outcome of student body elections has an impact on athletics, but you’d be wrong. This year’s elections could be a turning point in the future of student sports. Your contribution to Viking athletics and what kind of say you have in its future hangs in the balance.
It’s a depressing epoch in Portland sports. The Timbers are treading water two months into their season, and the Trail Blazers are dead and buried. At least the Timbers are graceful enough to shoot themselves in the foot without giving us false hope.
It’s surprising how much a winning result can turn things around.
It might not seem like much to someone who hasn’t been paying attention, but last year’s 7-4 result for Viking football has put a new glow of optimism around the program. At the same time, though, there’s still a lot of work to be done to rebuild the reputation of football.
OK, Timbers fans. You can release that breath you’ve been holding in. After a full month of consecutive losses, the Timbers, in their sophomore season in Major League Soccer, finally scraped together a win. Though they still find themselves in the basement of the Western Conference, Timbers fans can start thinking positively about the season again.