The Ruder Reality

The Beavers, Portland’s minor league baseball franchise, startedtheir fourth season back in Portland last week andnot-surprisingly, no one noticed.

While the Beavers have gained cult fame amongcheap-alcohol-loving college students and baseball lovers for their$1 beer Thirsty Thursday promotion, they have failed to establishthemselves outside the shadow of the Blazers and have drawn barely3,500 fans a game this year.

Although the weather has been far from ideal, if you haven’tchecked out a Beavers game you are missing out.

Baseball diehards who have yet to make it to PGE Parkhave no excuse. For the rest of you-baseball newcomers, baseballskeptics, baseball haters and Northwest outdoorsy-folk-here arefive solid reasons to give minor league baseball a try.

One: Dirt cheap tickets students and families canafford
General admission tix: $6 but you can get $2.99 tix at Fred Meyer.Once you’re in you have free roam due to small crowds. Sit in thesuper-close seats you could never afford in the majors and hecklesome players!

Two: Games are fast
Biggest complaint against major league baseball: Too slow. Beaversgames are faster. Why? No TV breaks and no big-ego players whopreen for the cameras.

Three: These guys are good
Most all of the best major leaguers pass through AAA. Catch ’embefore they’re famous so you can say, “I saw him way back inP-town.”

Four: PGE Park rocks
One of the nicest minor league stadiums in the country thanks to apricey facelift that would make Michael Jackson blush (if hecould).

Five: Thirsty Thursday
Guaranteed $1 beer. Based on the looks of things, so is a one nightstand with a trendy 20-something. Widmer Beer Garden in right fieldnever fails as one of Portland’s biggest meat markets andpeople-watching hot spots.