Part One: I will be going through and becoming a historical site for the Portland Beavers. Already I am working with the Jonny Beck’s family to put many of their valuable collection of news articles and personal memorabilia of the Portland Beaver Pitcher into our web site. I will also be asking all Portland Beaver fans that if they have anything of the Portland Beavers from the past 100 years, to please let me do professional scanning of the items to put on the web site. I hope doing the Jonny Beck family archives prompts more families with ties to Portland Beavers past, to temporarily donate items as we digitize for the public. This will hopefully help Portlanders to learn of the historic baseball past. I will also be making trips to the Portland Archives to get items to document everything any proud Portland could learn about the Beavers.
Part Two: News and Organizational spot for a new ballpark to get the Beavers Back. Why check Vancouver news, Oregonian, Willamette Week, Ballpark Digest, Minor League Baseball news, KATU, KPTV, KGW, KOIN, 99.5, 1080, everyday to find out what is going on with Portland Baseball News when I will be doing it daily, updating any and all information in one centralized location to keep you informed. Multiple subscriptions forms, for news or ballpark information so you don’t have to check back here to see if anything new has happened – get an email alert to let you know what is happening.
Part Three: My love for baseball – perhaps the greatest sport on earth and in human history, I didn’t have much time to just write short stories, history and general thoughts on the game like I wanted this year but will continue to do so. Not being rushed by an imaginary due date or going to sixty or seventy, three hour games a summer, I will have the time necessary to write in leisure.
Part Four: Baseball awareness. A lot of people don’t know how to approach the game or how to understand the game. I will let you know, I might have gone to one-hundred and eighty games in person but the learning never stops. Just when you think the hit and run is on, it isn’t and when you think it is time to throw another fastball; the double to right tells you it actually wasn’t.
Part Four A: I love minor league baseball, I think it is better than the majors, learn why Triple-A in Portland just makes sense. I will explain why everybody should feel the same way I do.
Stayed tuned because a season recap will be coming this week and a small story of a ballpark that never was. Hear about the fans that I meet through out the season, my evening of a baseball game with ESPN’s Howard Bryant, my Oregonian interview and more.]]>
It was reported on Wednesday by Vancouver’s The Columbian that Randy Leonard is going to give it another shot to try and get a ballpark together and more importantly, in the best place in the area for a ballpark the Rose Quarter.
I support his decision 100%, as I and many other have baseball experts and Minor League Baseball experts will attest to, the Rose Quarter area in Portland is truly the best area for a new ballpark. Placing a new ballpark anywhere else will only lessen attendance, effect neighborhoods and make it harder for the ballpark to be profitable.
This could be a half-hearted effort on Leonard’s part to separate himself one more time from the commissioners and Mayor that turned down the new ballpark proposal; as the season comes to an end and fans of our beloved team are exiled from the city. Don’t take the heat lightly; as everywhere I’ve gone and talked with people about the Beavers immediately blame the city’s leaders without any prompting. If you want to hear the heat by even non-fans, just wear a Beavers’ Jersey and when people stop to talk to you it is the first thing out of their mouths. This is heat that Leonard wants to be cooked in when election time comes around. Also, he doesn’t receive any negative blowback by just trying; success of a new ballpark – that might be a different story.
We don’t really know where Merritt Paulson is with the team at this point; ticket sales this season have been abysmal; not only because of three cold and wet months but probably out of fan apathy, anger and frustration over losing the team. It doesn’t help Merritt to be owner of the team ousting their ballpark. To save the remaining shreds of his ballclub’s attendance, the final sale might be held until promptly after the season. Although I am not 100% sure what rules govern the sales of team in the Triple-A, timeline wise; the PCL schedule for next season still shows the Beavers in Portland due to a sale and move not coming in time for the new schedules for the 2011 season.
Is there still hope? Well I would love to tell everybody it is the 11th hour or 23rd hour but it is probably more like the 13th hour and 25th hour. That being said, even down by 7 runs and with 2 outs and nobody on in the bottom of the 9th; I still have hope.
What should you do? Email the following commissioners and let them know you support baseball Leonard. Let Leonard know you support his after hour’s attempt. You can download and send this pre-formatted letter. Microsoft Word Letter to the City Council
Sam Adams: Samadams@ci.portland.or.us
Randy Leonard: firstname.lastname@example.org
LaVonne Griffin-Valade: email@example.com
Dan Saltzman: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Fish: Nick@ci.portland.or.us
Amanda Fritz: email@example.com
Black at Monday’s game? I have been getting a lot of emails from people saying that they will be wearing black on Monday’s final game of the season and final game for Portland. To show that they have gone into mourning for the loss of our truly great Portland Beavers’ team. Will you be following suit? I am on the fence about doing it since baseball makes me happy and it is hard, even after our greatest loss. I already know that I will not be wearing any eye mascara out of fear from having it run down my face as I cry and take my last steps up the steps and out of PGE Park.]]>
We had a lot of great players this year and although the wins and the losses won’t show it, we have a team full of talent. Most of which could easily slip into any Major League Club without anybody being any the wiser. Some of the players in fact went on to play for the Padres, either off an on or to be gone for good and never having to fly back into PDX.
From the Fan Seat is proud to announce Mike Baxter as the Beaver Too Big for this League Award.
Drafted in 2005, as the 4th round draft pick by the Padres; Baxter has been a frequent companion to success; in 2008 he was picked to be on the AFL All-Prospect Team, was the player of the week twice in the Texas League and in the same year he was a mid-season All-Star and this year out of all the possible candidates in the PCL, he outshined them all and was the PCL player of the week while wearing a Beavers’ Jersey.
He is tied for 12th place in PCL homeruns and tied for 16th in batting averages, tied 11th for stolen bases and he leads anybody with more stolen bases in homeruns. And although 20th in RBIs, the fact that he plays on a team that has the 3rd lowest PCL batting average; he still was able to get the infrequent base runners home when opportunity presented itself and he did it being 15th in the league in slugging.
Yet being on a team that gave little bat support, Mike’s 28 Doubles and 10 Triples put him 38 times in instant scoring position which help him be 7th in runs in the league.
He is exciting and he is always there.
He has had 36 multiple hit games and has gone 5 for 5 this season, he has gotten at least 1 hit in 85 out of the 132 games he has played in which means he has always been there for us, only missing out playing in 7 games all season. He is a true Minor League Iron Man.
He was the first Beaver in the last 9 years to hit for the Cycle on June 8th 2010 and was later the PCL Player of the week the only other Beaver player this year to be PCL Player of the Week was Frieri and since July the day after the All-Star game, he’s been a Padre.
Mike Baxter was our 2nd pick for the All-Star game but not because of playing ability but because of the competition and opportunity to play.
Baxter hasn’t turned off the excitement, as we wind down into the last 4 games of the season; Mike sits just 2
homeruns shy of the rarely heard minor league feat of 20/20 vision. Mike has accomplished 20 stolen bases and 18 homeruns.
It might seem like a daunting feet to accomplish 2 more homeruns in just 4 games but Mike has hit 2 homeruns in 3 games and 3 homeruns in 4 games and he just hit one September 1st.
It is more than his work at the plate, it is his impeccable defense. I’ve described his arm as a cannon and a gun, taking away extra bases from runners throwing perfectly lined throws directly at 2nd, 3rd and home. Even when Baxter has been deep in the right field, throws to third have kept eager runners in check at 2nd as the single hop throw doesn’t pull Stansberry even an inch off of the bag.
We’ve watched him steal homeruns over the wall and take away line drive singles as he ran full force into the infield.
Valuable, well out of those incredible 132 games he has played, only 4 errors and you can count only 3 of those as being “real errors” since 1 came as he played 3rd base, a position he only did for 3 games the whole season.
Either in Right Field, Left Field or at 1st and never getting injured, the hard working and .300 dependable Baxter deserves the Beaver Too Big for this League Award.
Mike Baxter is the kind of player that if you had 8 of them, you would win every game in every season.]]>
He uses Pro-Forma Data provided to him from the Portland Beavers as a guide to financing the new ballpark. In it he says,
“Public financing options are constrained, given the figures in the Portland Beavers’ pro forma.“
Additionally the attendance estimates he stated would be,
“Expected to draw an average of approximately 4,500 people per game to a new stadium in the Rose Quarter in 2011”
Using the data from the attendance estimates Mayor Adams gives the following revenue expectations for a new ballpark:
“Ticket sales for Triple-A baseball games in a new stadium would generate approximately $3.4 million in revenue in 2011. A 6 percent user fee like the one currently charged on spectator events in Portland—and used to pay back bonds—would generate approximately $204,000 a year in 2011”
I discovered glaring problems with the estimates provided by the Mayor and the Pro-Forma data. Attendance figures estimated are not just a little sluggish but below any possible realistic expectations. Secondly, the estimates are given by the Mayor and Pro-Forma data falls below prior published and researched data provided in other documentations from their own office.
The attendance estimates are extremely important when funding a new ballpark; for one it will be used not only for ticket sales estimates but sales of parking, concessions and merchandise. It also helps in figuring out foot traffic, mass transit ticket sales and miscellaneous sales for surrounding area stores and restaurants. The payments back to the city’s bonds taken out to help finance the construction are based on a tax by the number of ticket solds, under estimating the ticket sales makes it appear almost impossible to pay back those bonds issued.
New ballparks receive something known as ballpark boost; a huge increase in ticket sales and attendance due to the opening of a new ballpark. New ballparks receive huge increases because it is much like IKEA’s grand opening when people waited outside all night to go in, it is new and people love to see something new. It also receives a lot more media attention; construction is seen by people for a year or more and it builds ups expectations. It comes down to free publicity.
Historically in the Triple-A, since the 1988 all the following new ballparks that have opened in cities with existing Triple-A teams have received the following attendance boosts:
|Triple-A City||Year Open||Last Year||New Park||Change|
|Average New Ballpark||88%|
Buffalo had the highest in 1988 with a 138% increase in attendance from the last year in their old ballpark. The lowest was Indianapolis, who saw only a 47% increase in attendance. On average a new ballpark boosts attendance by 88% since the late 80’s for Triple-A teams and cities.
The Pro-Forma Data estimates that ticket sales for a new ballpark in Portland would average around 4,500 a game. With 72 home games that is a 324,000 yearly attendance average.
The Pro-Forma Data was created in 2009 and must use the 2008 attendance data figures for estimates. I compared the Pro-Forma Data against actual Portland Beaver’s attendance figures to see what Portland’s ballpark boost was expected to be by the Portland Beavers and the Mayor’s office.
|Year||Attendance||72 Game Average||Pro-Forma Estimates||Ballpark Boost estimates|
In 2008, Jeff Cohen/Edward Shaw Economics Research Associates produced a memo researching a new ballpark for the Portland area and within the document they even state on Page 27:
Historically, the Beavers have averaged approximately 5,500 attendees. AAA franchises that move into new stadiums within the same market average an attendance increase of approximately 25-50 percent.
4,500 estimated average attendance is 324,000 annually however again from the same research group’s Memo on page 28 they estimate the following:
Despite this research the Pro-Forma data puts the Portland Beavers as having a drop in attendance with a new ballpark by 100,000 people annually. It is almost as if the Pro-Forma data ignores the research created for Merritt Paulson.
I have created a comparison between:
|Average Attendance Per Game|
|Shaw’s Economic Research||5,903|
|Lowest Triple-A ballpark boost at 47%||8,014|
|Season Total Attendance|
|Shaw’s Economic Research||425,000|
|Lowest Triple-A ballpark boost at 47%||576,992|
|General Ticket Sales|
|Shaw’s Economic Research||5,063|
|Lowest Triple-A ballpark boost at 47%||7,174|
|Total Ticket Revenue after Taxes and Fees (All Sections)|
|Shaw’s Economic Research||$5,650,834|
|Lowest Triple-A ballpark boost at 47%||$7,395,152|
|Ticket Tax Revenue received for Bond Payments (5.6%)|
|Shaw’s Economic Research||$357,814|
|Lowest Triple-A ballpark boost at 47%||$468,883|
|Parking Revenue Received (After Expenses)*|
|Shaw’s Economic Research||$412,780|
|Lowest Triple-A ballpark boost at 47%||$560,403|
* I am not sure what the maximum collectable is for parking as spaces might not be available to meet the estimated 90% of attendees visiting the ballpark. (90% estimated off of the Pro-Forma Data).
Mayor Adams states that the Pro-Forma Data shows a collection of only $204,000 dollars in 2011 yet I looked all over the Pro-Forma data and it shows a collection of ticket tax revenue of $32,656 for suite tickets sells and $251,349 for General and Club seats. Besides not getting the correct number off of the Pro-Form Data correctly (you just have to read it) if you use the low 25% increase in attendance figures the Admission Tax is $284,005 total and a Triple-A low of 47% increase has the Admission Tax revenue at $468,883. The park suddenly begins to look more feasible in paying for itself.
Mayor Adams is also misleading when he only references revenue received from the new ballpark in the form of the ticket admission tax yet the Pro-Form Data shows Rent as an expense to the Portland Beavers. The rent for the ballpark is put at $625,000 the first year and going up $25,000 a year and a total of $3,275,000 in the first 5 years of operation, just in rent. It is misleading on Mayor Adams part because he decides to show public expense and funding on the ballpark but then only shows revenue in the form of a ticket tax, a slowly decreasing revenue stream which he shows. That data by itself without rent, misleads readers into thinking the park can not pay back city funds.
Who is misleading the data, is Mayor Adams or is it Merritt Paulson? Why go so low on attendance that it puts a normally positive number of attendance in the 50% range in the negative, taking away all the bump and boost in attendance enjoyed by every ballpark throughout America? Was the new ballpark never expected to happen, was it deliberate on Merritt’s part to keep the Pro-Forma data below realistic expectations and prior data so he could have an excuse to not go through with having two teams at one time? Was he hoping to sell the Beavers to help fund the MLS expansion, setting them up to fall deliberately?
Speculate all you want, we will probably never know why the Pro-Forma Data is poisoned as much as it is but you can bet it is poisoned. I can’t think any rational and knowledgeable person could possibly come to a conclusion that a new ballpark would decrease attendance by 12 or 17%. Is everybody half-assing a possible $60 million dollar construction project and a boost to local economy and employment and not checking these numbers?
If you think that a 47% increase in attendance is unrealistic in Portland Beavers attendance you have to take in consideration the following facts:
A lot of people have emotional speculations and grossly underestimate the popularity of the Portland Beavers. Some say Portland is not a Triple-A town and that is why attendance is low; yet Portland since 2001 and out of 30 Triple-A teams has always hovered around 20th place in attendance and not until this year ever been in cellar.
Even with all the facts listed above working against attendance: largest capacity stadium, oldest ballpark, multi-sport stadium, a team that has left and come back on several occasions, a stadium that houses baseball as a second thought; Portland ranked in the middle of attendance consistantly in the Triple-A.
You can view the excel Pro Forma Data on the excel sheet for yourself and see all the differences when compared to the memo’s estimates and the 47% lowest ballpark boost experienced by Triple-A and see how much the financing and revenue changes.
Pro Forma Data Comparison]]>
Excel File for the Portland Beavers August Las Vegas Series So on my first day off in 12 days, lets get to a great series. If you are paying attention to our current series you will know that we are on a 6 game win streak and 2 and 0 against Tacoma; if you are doing your math you know that, that equals a sweep in Las Vegas. And what happens in Las Vegas is going up on my web site.
We just keep beating these poor folks up when going to Cashman field. Last series there we split the series; however, in one game we won 21 to 4 setting modern franchise records and closely approaching a PCL record for hits. So what did we do on our second visit?
We outscored them every game and that is how we swept Las Vegas. A lot of sports reporters won’t go all controversial with a series wrap up like that and tell you the secrets to a series win. The Beavers didn’t let Las Vegas win by keeping their scores lower than the runs the Beavers achieved in each game. They did it 2 to 1.
Okay, so now that the basic concepts behind winning are out of the way: Portland batted on Average in the series at .295 which right now would put them 2nd in AVG for the PCL. Incredible considering that Portland is currently in 3rd to last place in batting averages for the PCL.
Slugging was no worse for Portland; they slugged out a .438 average and that would currently put them tied for 4th place in the PCL for slugging. This is coming from the incredible last place PCL slugging team with a season average of .388.
Baxter, the newly rejoining Cunningham, “Kaz”, Pena and the ex-Portland Beaver Jody Gerut, all batted over .500 in slugging. I’d say that it was the expected as far as slugging is concerned although Gerut was a surprise for me. Newly acquired players can take some times adjusting to being on a new team.
Baxter put up another homerun to get himself just that much closer to a 20/20 season and even when going hitless in 2 games he stilled produced runs by walking and later scoring; striking out only once in the whole series and reaching 1st in every game. Baxter took up permanent residency at 1st; playing the whole series. This might be a very deliberate move with September call ups around the corner. Unfortunately for Baxter, he batted only .250 for the series and dropped him under the .300 mark.
Offensively, Aaron Cunningham is the player to thank for the series sweep. Playing in all 4 games, he batted .467 average and an incredible .933 slugging. Cunningham had 10 RBIs which accounted for almost a third of our total offensive series production. Dusty Ryan is making a very late season comeback with his season long struggles at the plate; he was 3 for 7 in the 2 games he played in. Craig Stansberry was out on a 7 day DL but this might be less injury related and more ego protection. Being a streaky hitter and on a cold on.
Defensively, Portland was hotter than a Storm trooper on Tattooine and without Team Lubke. Geer was in 1stgear going 8 and giving up only 2 and Ramos was right behind them. Ramos is definitely trying to get back to Petco by pitching to contact having only 2 strike outs in 7 innings but creating 11 Groundouts and 7 flyouts. Adam Russell picked up three saves but he still doesn’t look good on the mound and in fact it usually borders on awkward.
Two errors for the series is great for team that has changed in defensive persons a lot this year. A quick list of all the different people from memory: Added, Pena, Nick, Gerut, Hunter, Cabrera, Phillips, Gone, Canham, Contreras, Cooper, Zawadzki, Munson, Denorfia and Durango. On top of player changes, Barfield has been bounced around from 3rd to 2ndto Right Field, Baxter is at first now with that role changing from Cooper to Pena to Phillips and sometimes a catcher. Lance and Kaz have traded places around 2ndand Short and lastly Stansberry has seen almost everything in the infield.
Portions of small are gone as Hunter was the only person to successfully steal a base in the series while Barfield was caught and the super speedy Dusty Ryan who is always a stealing threat with his catcher knees was surprisingly also caught. Although, I didn’t get a chance to hear the game so I am not 100% sure how that really played out.
Counting the two games they’ve won in Tacoma, Portland will have to be 10 and 1 throughout the rest of the season to be a .500 team from July to the last game and fulfill my prediction. Portland is currently 54-79; I had them pegged at 67 and 77 for the season. So they really need to win the rest of the games this season to make me look good.]]>