Portland, Oregon has always had a baseball team, it seems. Since the inception of the Beavers in 1903 until yesterday, there was a rich history of the game being played here. It saddens me to think that the only thing left is basketball and now, soccer. No more baseball. No more peanuts and crackerjacks. No more Beavers...
The 1990's were a dark, dark period in Portland baseball history. The team was called the Portland Rockies then and the uniforms they wore were purple and black and you guessed it, they were a Cololrado affiliate. I didn't live here in the 90's, thank WG. The Rockies eventually left Portland and people were forced to watch basketball again. Until...
The dream of bringing Triple-A Baseball back to Portland was realized in 2000 when the Albuquerque Dukes were purchased, and in the winter of 2000-01, it was announced that the Pacific Coast League would return to Portland in 2001 and the team would again be called the Beavers.
I moved to Portland, Oregon in May of 2001, only a few days after the Beavers had begun play in the newly renovated PGE Park.
I was so happy to have a professional baseball team in town and doubly excited to have the Padres' AAA affiliate as "our team". I saw countless Padres players play here including Ricky Henderson, Sterling Hitchcock, Kahlil Greene, Mike Adams, Andy Ashby, Kyle Blanks, Dirk Hayhurst, Adam Eaton, Tim Stauffer, Tagg Bozied, and many, many more.
I went to 15-20 games a year, I bought a jersey and caps and pennants and t-shirts. I even got a "Leave it to Beaver" Jerry Mathers bobblehead in 2008. I ardently supported the team, which is more than can be said for most Portland sports fans, who only want to talk about Greg Oden's knees in the summertime. I even got my girlfriend excited about going to games.
We went to three of the four final Beavers' games this weekend (I missed CY on Sunday, unfortunately). The first two games the Beavs looked as if they were channelling the play of the parent Padres' (no pun intended). Lots of errors, hardly any hits. Have a look at this line...
Yesterday, however, they pulled off a win in their final game, in front of a sold out crowd of Blazers' fans. Luis Perdomo recording the final save in PGE Park.
It was good times, while it lasted, and I'm thankful I was able to watch Padres' farm hands play for the last nine years.
If the team moves to Escondido, I'll be there the next time I'm in San Diego County. Until then, it's a Blazers jersey and a soccer scarf for me. Here are a few photos from the last weekend of Beavers' baseball.
Terry Kennedy, your AAA manager, coaching third base.
Willy Mo, doing what he do, hitting .324 for the Beavers this year.
Poreda pitching poorly.
PGE Park, nightfall.
Hopelessly hoping for a rally.
Dudes laboriously working the scoreboard on labor day.
Durango had a single. Imagine that.
The last game of baseball on this field of play.
Thanks for letting me cry a tear in your beers, GLB'ers.
Vaya con dios, Beavers.