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McGregor picked the right opponent -- and so did Mayweather

McGregor picked the right opponent -- and so did Mayweather

You have to hand it to Conor McGregor. He went into the ring Saturday night in front of the whole world and acquitted himself quite well. He lasted until the 10th round before his bout with Floyd Mayweather was stopped. He put on a much better show than most people expected.

But the best thing McGregor did, all in all, was pick the right opponent. The 40-year-old Mayweather was hardly the same fighter who gained the reputation as one of the best ever. The 50th consecutive win of his career was nothing like most of the ones before it. McGregor found an opponent who couldn't beat him senseless -- which, when you think about it, is just about the most important thing when you're shopping for someone to trade punches with.

Ironically, it was the same for Mayweather. He also found someone who couldn't put him away, even though McGregor gave Mayweather a pretty good pounding. McGregor landed 111 punches in just a bit more than nine rounds. That's amazing considering nine of Mayweather's opponents had been able to land fewer than 100 shots on him in 12 rounds. But this obviously wasn't the same Mayweather.

Through the first few rounds he chose to watch, rather than fight. He threw only five punches in the first round. Most of the early rounds he spent covering up and later claimed it was the game plan all along to let McGregor punch himself out.

That was a fine game plan but a younger Mayweather -- the man is now 40 -- would have danced and avoided contact, which he did just about as well as anybody. But Saturday he didn't move much and mostly just covered up and took the blows on his gloves until he realized that McGregor really couldn't hurt him with his punches -- which very often had no leverage or power behind them.

McGregor's jabs, after the first few rounds, were patty-cakes. Love pats, with little behind them. And while commentators talked about seeing a "new" Mayweather, one that was coming forward instead of retreating, I'm pretty sure that was because he was facing his first opponent in years who didn't pose any threat to his well being. There was no need for caution against McGregor's weak arm-only punches.

Mayweather had discovered that McGregor didn't have enough power to hurt him.

I'm guessing, too, that Mayweather -- known to place wagers on himself -- may have had a prop bet that the fight would go eight rounds or longer because he really didn't get serious until that point of the fight. When he did, he rained punches on the Irishman. But strange thing, the punches didn't have much effect. Mayweather's hands, by now, are worn out. He's broken them and banged them up so often that there isn't much left in them.

His own father said prior to the fight he didn't think his son had enough left in his hands to bring a knockout:

“I ain’t gonna say a knockout, because my son got a hand problem,” Mayweather Sr told FOX Sports 11. “That’s a true story, he got a hand problem. He gonna make Conor McGregor look like a fool. Believe me.”

By the end of the fight, Mayweather had hit McGregor with everything left in those sore hands but not only didn't he knock him down, he didn't even cut him or force major swelling. Afterward, McGregor was like a kid who had emerged from a final exam with a C-minus but was elated he still passed the test. He made a small fuss about thinking the referee should not have stopped the bout and made sure that everyone knew he still had all his senses about him.

His problem, of course, was fatigue. In no way was he ready to go 12 rounds and even though he wasn't hurt, he was dead tired. He could barely stand -- not from his foe's punches but because he was out of gas.

It made for an entertaining enough fight, much better than most people thought it would be. But I'll say this with all sincerity. Nether man should get back in that ring again. Mayweather is pretty much done and without movement and punching power, I'm not sure he could handle the world's best any longer.

And as for McGregor, he picked the right opponent. He fought one of the all-time greats -- but a man far past his peak -- and made a boatload of money. Had McGregor been in the ring with even a good 150-pound fighter -- not a great one -- he'd probably have been carried out of the ring in a daze. I hope for his sake this fight didn't delude him into thinking he's a great boxer, because he's not.

Matchups make great fights and in this case, the matchup was better than expected. And so was the fight.

 

 

#BlazersPass Cheer Card Sweepstakes

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#BlazersPass Cheer Card Sweepstakes

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Legal residents of Oregon and Washington who are 18 or older. Begins December 2, 2017 at 5:00 P.M. PT and ends December 9, 2017 at 11:59 P.M. PT. Limit 3 entries per person. To enter, and for Official Rules, odds, and prize details, visit [http://www.nbcsports.com/northwest/more/nbcs-nw-contest-rules]. Sponsors: NBC Sports Northwest and NBCUniversal Media, LLC.

Rumble At The Roseland 95 And Submission Underground 6 Set For Weekend Doubleheader

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Rumble At The Roseland 95 And Submission Underground 6 Set For Weekend Doubleheader

BY 

The weekend is fast approaching and your holiday hangover is nearly cleared up. What’s left to do? Get ready for a weekend full of live mixed martial arts and aggressive submission grappling, that’s what! Rumble at the Roseland 95 and Submission Underground 6 (SUG) will be taking place at the Roseland Theater this Saturday and Sunday. With SUG coming back to the Roseland that means not only will fans have some of the best amateur fighters on the west coast they can watch, but some of the best MMA fighters in the world as well.

For a mixed martial arts fan attending this weekend’s shows, it is truly a unique and inviting experience. These back-to-back events allow you up close access to the fighters of the future and a chance to meet and talk to current UFC stars and even former UFC champions. Between the two events there are 42 matchups (that is not a typo there really are 42 total matchups) for the fans to get excited about so let’s take a closer look at a few that could be especially interesting.

Rumble a the Roseland 95

Sean Kalinoski vs Keaneo Moyer

Saturday night’s main event for the 125-pound title is certainly the fight most people are talking about. Keaneo “Young Gunz” Moyer is the most vocal champion in recent memory in the Full Contact Fighting Federation (FCFF) and he has been just as loud inside the cage as out. While “Young Gunz” has been dominant in the FCFF cage, he hasn’t done it without controversy. His contentious relationship with former FCFF champion Cris “Sunshine” Williams has certainly helped Moyer look the part of the bad guy in some circles. Love him or hate him, he is a captivating champion with finishing power, rare speed, and great confidence. On Saturday, Moyer will be facing his toughest test to date as he steps into the cage against Sean Kalinoski. Kalinoski has nearly three times the experience in the cage as Moyer and has more than twice as many wins. Beyond that, Kalinoski is a natural bantamweight with the height and length to give most flyweights trouble. He has a big advantage on the ground and will be where he looks to take the fight. This should be a great headlining bout.

Chance Marsteiner vs DJ Nuttall

This matchup is likely the last amateur fight for local fighter and standout prospect, DJ Nuttall. Nuttall has become one of the top amateur prospects on the west coast and with this lightweight title fight being his last as an amateur, it is one that fans of the Oregon fight scene won’t want to miss. Nuttall is the heavy favorite here; his top game is strong and his submissions have proven to be the real deal. His opponent, Chance Marsteiner, had suffered two losses in a row prior to a big head kick-TKO victory at Rumble at the Roseland 94. With the highlight reel finish fresh in his mind, expect him to come into the fight looking to build on that moment and a victory over the highly touted Nuttall would be a huge feather in his cap.

Submission Underground

Tim Sylvia vs Fabiano Scherner

Former UFC heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia will be making his SUG debut on Sunday against Gracie Barra Portland head coach and one time SUG winner, Fabiano Scherner. Sylvia is a very interesting personality in the world of mixed martial arts. The once loved UFC Champion had a precipitous fall from grace and eventually found himself on the outside looking in. Even with a series of wins out the UFC, Sylvia was never able to find his way back to the top of the sport. While his fighting career has ended, he has become one of the brutally honest personalities in the world of MMA and his desire complete has clearly never waned. Many remember him as an aggressive striker but his love for the ground game has always been clear to those who were true fans of the former champ. Famously, he out-grappled submission expert Jeff Monson at UFC 65; he was looking for a submission the whole time. As far as submission expertise is concerned, Sylvia will be at a severe disadvantage against Scherner, but it will be incredibly exciting to see him inside the cage walls for the first time in years.

Vagner Rocha vs Jesse Taylor

Vagner Rocha is on a hell of a run in 2017. Rocha has two 2nd place finishes at the Eddie Bravo Invitational and became the first Combat Jiu Jitsu Champion earlier this month. Rocha has taken on some of the top grapplers in the country and has proven he is one of the best in the world. Fans will not want to miss the chance at seeing him live; he is aggressive, strong, and relentless on the mat. He will be going up against recent Ultimate Fighter winner, Jesse Taylor. Taylor has been a true comeback story on his run through The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption season. He took the longest road possible to make it to the UFC having once been removed from The Ultimate Fighter Finale and floundering out of the promotion after just one fight. However, with his life seemingly on track and winning TUF earlier this year, Taylor was flagged by USADA for a potential anti-doping violation. It would seem that this competition would serve as a way to keep competing while he continues to work with USADA and the UFC in making his first official return to the Octagon. All that aside, Taylor is a ferocious wrestler and his nearly 50-fight MMA career will give him a good bit of experience to fall back on when the cage door closes behind he and Rocha. With these two highly aggressive grapplers in the SUG cage, this match is sure to be one of the most physical of the night.

Joe Morgan wins the MSP award -- Most Sanctimonious Player

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Joe Morgan wins the MSP award -- Most Sanctimonious Player

Joe Morgan recently wrote a letter on behalf of other members of baseball's Hall of Fame, he said, urging baseball writers not to vote for any players who in any way were associated with using steroids. I will invite you first to read the letter here:

The Hall of Fame is Special - A Letter from Joe Morgan

Dear Howard: 

Over the years, I have been approached by many Hall of Fame members telling me we needed to do something to speak out about the possibility of steroid users entering the Hall of Fame. This issue has been bubbling below the surface for quite a while. 

I hope you don't mind if I bring to your attention what I'm hearing. 

Please keep in mind I don't speak for every single member of the Hall of Fame. I don't know how everyone feels, but I do know how many of the Hall of Famers feel. 

I, along with other Hall of Fame Baseball players, have the deepest respect for you and all the writers who vote to decide who enters Baseball's most hallowed shrine, the National Baseball Hall of Fame. For some 80 years, the men and women of the BBWAA have cast ballots that have made the Hall into the wonderful place it is. 

I think the Hall of Fame is special. There is a sanctity to being elected to the Hall. It is revered. It is the hardest Hall of Fame to enter, of any sport in America. 

But times change, and a day we all knew was coming has now arrived. Players who played during the steroid era have become eligible for entry into the Hall of Fame. 

The more we Hall of Famers talk about this - and we talk about it a lot - we realize we can no longer sit silent. Many of us have come to think that silence will be considered complicity. Or that fans might think we are ok if the standards of election to the Hall of Fame are relaxed, at least relaxed enough for steroid users to enter and become members of the most sacred place in Baseball. We don't want fans ever to think that. 

We hope the day never comes when known steroid users are voted into the Hall of Fame. They cheated. Steroid users don't belong here. 

Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball's investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in. Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right. 

Now, I recognize there are players identified as users on the Mitchell Report who deny they were users. That's why this is a tricky issue. Not everything is black and white - there are shades of gray here. It's why your job as a voter is and has always been a difficult and important job. I have faith in your judgment and know that ultimately, this is your call. 

But it still occurs to me that anyone who took body-altering chemicals in a deliberate effort to cheat the game we love, not to mention they cheated current and former players, and fans too, doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame. By cheating, they put up huge numbers, and they made great players who didn't cheat look smaller by comparison, taking away from their achievements and consideration for the Hall of Fame. That's not right. 

And that's why I, and other Hall of Famers, feel so strongly about this.  

It's gotten to the point where Hall of Famers are saying that if steroid users get in, they'll no longer come to Cooperstown for Induction Ceremonies or other events. Some feel they can't share a stage with players who did steroids. The cheating that tainted an era now risks tainting the Hall of Fame too. The Hall of Fame means too much to us to ever see that happen. If steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn't bear. 

Section 5 of the Rules for Election states, "Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player
played." 

I care about how good a player was or what kind of numbers he put up; but if a player did steroids, his integrity is suspect; he lacks sportsmanship; his character is flawed; and, whatever contribution he made to his team is now dwarfed by his selfishness. 

Steroid use put Baseball through a tainted era where records were shattered. "It was a steroidal farce," wrote Michael Powell in the New York Times. It is no accident that those records held up for decades until the steroid era began, and they haven't been broken since the steroid era ended. Sadly, steroids worked. 

Dan Naulty was a journeyman pitcher in the late 1990s who admitted he took steroids, noting that his fastball went from 87 to 96. He told Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci in 2012, "I was a full-blown cheater, and I knew it. You didn't need a written rule. I was violating clear principles that were laid down within the rules. I understood I was violating implicit principles." 

The Hall of Fame has always had its share of colorful characters, some of whom broke or bent society's rules in their era. By today's standards, some might not have gotten in. Times change and society improves. What once was accepted no longer is. 

But steroid users don't belong here. What they did shouldn't be accepted. Times shouldn't change for the worse. 

Steroid users knew they were taking a drug that physically improved how they played. Taking steroids is a decision. It's the deliberate act of using chemistry to change how hard you hit and throw by changing what your body is made of. 

I and other Hall of Famers played hard all our lives to achieve what we did. I love this game and am proud of it. I hope the Hall of Fame's standards won't be lowered with the passage of time. For over eighty years, the Hall of Fame has been a place to look up to, where the hallowed halls honor those who played the game hard and right. I hope it will always remain that way. 

Sincerely, 
Joe Morgan

First, let me explan to you that I have personal experience that impacts the way I feel about Morgan's letter. And it's why I believe Morgan's missive to be the most sanctimonious pile of human waste I've read in a long, long time.

Is this the same Joe Morgan who has made the case for his former teammate Pete Rose to be admitted to the Hall of Fame? Yes, I believe it is.

And it's also the same Joe Morgan who played during what I've always called the "greenie" era of baseball.

As a high school and college kid, I worked as a clubhouse boy for the Triple-A Portland Beavers. I had intimate knowledge of what players did in their off time, what they talked about in unguarded moments and what they put into their bodies. The "clubby" always knows what's up in that room. And I can tell you that from the 1960s all the way past the end of Morgan's playing career, the use of amphetamines was rampant in baseball. It was everywhere.

Whether it was Willie Mays' famous "red juice" or the variations of red crosses, black beauties or greenies I saw all the time in the clubhouse -- they were everywhere. I'd see players carting around briefcases and I wondered why they needed them -- until I saw them opened up, revealing pill bottles of all shapes and sizes containing the amphetaminues so many of them used. I'd often have to run cups of hot coffee down to the dugout early in the game to help the players' pills melt quicker so they'd take effect.

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Once, while cleaning up the place, I was carrying on a conversation with one of the players I respected. Me, a high school senior, and he, a veteran Triple-A player then in his mid-30s. I asked him why so many players felt it necessary to use those things that made them so visibly jittery and on edge. Why cheat, anyway?

"You reach down and pick up that towel, it doesn't matter if you drop it once or twice," he said indignantly. "But we can't afford to drop anything. This is our job -- this is how we feed our family. We are going to use every edge we can and greenies help. They help some guys more than others but they give you confidence, too. They help."

Covering the Beavers in the late 70s and early 80s I saw the same thing. One veteran major-league player who signed on with the team could barely explain how he got to the ballpark but he could give me the full rundown on all those different amphetamines in his bag.

Joe Morgan, please tell me you didn't know about all those little pills. Oh, you can't? Well, then tell me they weren't as bad as steroids. Well, maybe not -- but they were the most serious form of cheating available at the tme. And in terms of fighting off fatigue, providing energy and confidence, they must have been pretty good because a whole lot of players were using them at all levels of baseball. Certain organizations even supplied them to their players.

So much for what Morgan called the "hallowed" halls of Cooperstown.

I'm sick, too, of people talking about the character and integrity clause in the Hall's qualifications. Seriously? The place has more than its share of scumbags.

And if you can keep players out for their lack of character, why can't that same trait help you get in? If it did, Dale Murphy would have walked in the front door on the first ballot.

Joe Morgan, you've got to be kidding me.

Murphy: Group pursuing MLB for Portland "doing it the right way"

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Murphy: Group pursuing MLB for Portland "doing it the right way"

Dale Murphy pointed to a group of people who represented the Seattle Mariners.

"You know what you need?" he asked. "You don't have a rival. Who's your rival? You don't have one. It should be Portland."

Murphy, a special guest speaker at Thursday night's Friends of Baseball Gala at the Portland Art Museum, went on to praise the group of people working behind the scenes trying to bring a major-league baseball franchise to Portland. Earlier, Murphy shared with me that he'd met with a representative of that group and was filled in on what's happening with the baseball effort.

"Being from here, when people hear the possibility of baseball, they want to know who's involved and you want it to be done the right way," said Murphy, a star at Portland's Wilson High School who now lives in Utah. "I had a great opportunity to meet with Mike Barrett and the one thing I would say is that you should have no concerns about the group that is handling this. These are good people who care about the city of Portland. That's what you want.

"I have the utmost confidence in the group that is pursuing this. They are doing it the right way and it's going to be something that is going to make this city proud. I have a lot of confidence in them. There is so much work to be done and they are doing things the right way. Sometimes people want publicity and adulation but this group is doing it right -- getting the work done and taking care of the things that need to be taken care of. That's what this group has done.

"I want someone who is going to understand Portland and how much we love the city. We want things done the right way and that's what they're doing."

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Murphy's parents still live in Portland, he visits frequently and is visibly excited about an MLB franchise in his home town.

"I just opened a restaurant in Atlanta and I was thinking, 'Man, that would be fun to have a Murph's right by the ballpark.' If something happens here I will be in touch with this group to talk about a lot of possibilities. I would absolutely like to be involved in it. It was such a great opportunity to learn more about what they're doing and be a part of the cheering section. Baseball can mean so much to this area.

"So much has changed in the landscape of baseball franchises. The way they're building stadiums, for instance. The way they built SunTrust Park in Atlanta... with the mixed-use development, a smaller ballpark -- the ballparks become such a part of the community. These people doing this understand Portland and what a special place it is, on so many levels. This group is something the people of Portland can be proud of and get behind."

Murphy is planning on sticking around to watch one of his sons play for Weber State Saturday against Portland State. It's been an eventful week for him, too. Earlier this week he learned that he was on the list of 10 candidates to be reconsidered for baseball's Hall of Fame.

Murphy had a distinguished big-league career and was considered among the best players of his era. He played 18 seasons with the Braves, Phillies and Rockies and won back-to-back NL MVP awards in 1982 and 1983. He was also a seven-time All-Star, five-time Gold Glove Award winner and four-time Silver Slugger Award. Murphy finished his career with a .265 average, 398 home runs and 1,266 RBIs. He led all Major League outfielders during the 1980s in home runs and RBIs. He also ranked second among outfielders in hits and extra-base hits.

TBT: The night Ric Flair told Vince that he'd bought half of WWF

TBT: The night Ric Flair told Vince that he'd bought half of WWF

Today, a special throwback Thursday treat, in honor of that great 30-for-30 special this week on pro wrestling's Ric Flair. Whatever you think of pro wrestling, Flair is one of the most dynamic entertainers you will ever see and was terrific in the ring.

I met him only once, when he was defending his championship in Portland. But he's one of those people who walks into a room and instantly draws your attention. Charisma? Yes, times 10.

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This video is from many years ago, the night Flair showed up on Monday Night Raw to inform the beautifully overacting Vince McMahon that he'd bought 50 percent of his company. Enjoy the commentary of Jerry Lawler and the great Jim Ross with appearances by "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Kurt Angle.

It's a fun ride back to the days when Flair was at his best behind a mic.

Dodgers have the home field for Game 7 -- for the right reason?

Dodgers have the home field for Game 7 -- for the right reason?

One game for a championship. The World Series is on the line tonight in Dodger Stadium to climax one of the most entertaining Series in recent years.

Los Angeles owns the home-field advantage because it won 104 games this season. The Astros won 101. Of course the teams played in different leagues and thus played much different schedules. Houston is in the American League, which has been considered the superior league for the past several seasons. This is the first season baseball has decided its home field based on best record -- a practice that has become common in just all the other leagues. But this just isn't right.

I've never liked it. In baseball, basketball and football these teams don't play the same schedules. It just seems to me very unfair to go by record when one team may have played a much easier schedule than the other. For a while, baseball experimented with the giving the home field to the league that won the All-Star Game. But nobody seemed to like that method and instead of going back to the practice of simply alternating the home field from year to year, baseball went the way of everybody else and decided it on best record.

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Home field in baseball is not the factor it is in basketball, where home-crowd pressure on officials is a real factor in deciding outcomes. In baseball, most of the advantage comes from the fact that the home team gets to bat last -- which is an obvious edge. Going into the ninth inning and knowing how many runs you need to win the game really helps.

Certainly SOMETHING has to decide the home field and for me alternating it is probably the fairest thing. At least each league can plan on getting the edge every other year.

Who will win this season? There is no question the Dodgers have a decided advantage in the bullpens, which is becoming a very big deal in the postseason. But this has been an unpredictable World Series, full of dramatic and sometimes surprising twists and turns. Which makes me think that somehow the Astros will figure out a way to win it.

On the Dodgers' home field.

Game 2 of the World Series: Welcome to modern-day baseball

Game 2 of the World Series: Welcome to modern-day baseball

Welcome to Modern Baseball. I hope you enjoyed Game 2 of the World Series Wednesday night because it was the best of new-age, analytics-based baseball.

Home runs? It's what the game is about these days. Yes, I'm guessing the ball is juiced, which is fine with me. But add in all the attention to launch angles, exit velocity and the fact that nobody wants to hit ground balls into shifts these days, you're going to get more home runs. And I love it. Eight home runs in a Series game was amazing and five in extra innings was shocking.

For too long, baseball has embraced a silly sort of one-base-at-a-time approach that has led to needlessly giving up outs with weak grounders to second and sacrifice bunts in early innings. Nobody ever paid good money to watch players bunt. And unless it's a weak-hitting pitcher bunting, the numbers just don't justify it.

I was watching a playoff game a couple of weeks ago -- wish I could remember who the participants were -- and there was a runner on second and nobody out. And of course we got all the usual pablum from the announcers about how the hitter has to make a "productive out" so the offensive team could "manufacture a run." You know, hit the ball to the right side of the infield. Hogwash. What happened was the right-handed batter took the first pitch, a hanging curve he could have hit into the upper deck, because it wasn't suitable for hitting to the right side of the field to advance the runner. On the second pitch he grounded weakly to second and became an instant hero.

He got huge back-pats from teammates and announcers for coming up with a weak out. "He did his job," they say. "He moved the runner up."

Sorry, I'd rather have a two-run homer or a simple line-drive single to left field. Even a walk. "Productive outs" are still outs -- and you get only 27 of them. Don't just give them away. And again, I think the analytics will back me up on this. Today it's all about the long ball and walks. Run the pitch count up, take your walks and belt three-run homers.

Of course there are a few things in the "new" game I don't like, foremost of which is the trend to overuse relief pitchers. All those pitching changes extend the game times and I think, in the long run, are detrimental to pitching staffs. It's led, like last night, to removing starters too early and asking closers to get six-out saves. I have no trouble with closers throwing more than one inning, but if that's what you want to do, go old school and have them do it in the regular season the way Rollie Fingers and Goose Gossage did it. Don't condition them all season for one inning of work and then in the postseason, the most pressure-packed times, ask them to double their work load and do something you didn't ask them to do all season.

This World Series features two teams that are leaders in statistical analysis. They compile data and have learned how to use it to their advantage. It's a very underreported part of this World Series. These guys have come up with algorithms to analyze pitch sequences, if you can believe it. And the reason I bring this up is that I'm just sick of the old timers clinging to their tired and boring way of playing the game and deriding the new era of statistical analysis. There are still so-called experts who don't know OPS from TNT and it's time they did a little studying.

If you don't respect new information, you're never going to learn anything. And if you want to stop learning, just go away.

Last Week in 60 Seconds: The week that was in NW Sports

Last Week in 60 Seconds: The week that was in NW Sports

Justin Herbert finally started throwing a football again which is great news because the Ducks, unless you like offenses that look like Raymond Felton is at the point.

WWE Legend Kurt Angle thinks a certain “beast” on the Blazers roster could headline WrestleMania.

The Blazers opened the season with a 3-game road trip that wasn’t without its highs and lows.

The Ducks lost, and the Beavers won (kind of)!!!

Get all caught up with this week’s edition of Last Week in 60 Seconds

Mike Barrett involved with group attempting to bring MLB to Portland

Mike Barrett involved with group attempting to bring MLB to Portland

A management group has been working quietly behind the scenes for more than a year on a plan to bring major-league baseball and a stadium development to Portland.

The spokesman for the group, and a managing partner, is the former television voice of the Trail Blazers, Mike Barrett.

“There is a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative,” Barrett said Tuesday. “We will keep you fully apprised of any and all developments as this project progresses.”

Barrett, who did not identify anyone else in the group,  said they prefer to operate behind the scenes at this time but are pursuing a "smart and careful approach" and "doing it exactly the right way,"

Barrett was known for his work in basketball, particularly his play-by-play duties with the Trail Blazers, which began in the 2003-2004 season and ended after the 2015-16 season. But he was also an all-state pitcher at West Albany High School and is a lifelong baseball fan.

“After the Trail Blazers, I was weighing several opportunities but I didn’t want to leave the area,” Barrett said. “And when I was approached by this group, with a chance to help bring major-league baseball to my home state, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me.”

Portland began to sneak into conversations about MLB expansion during the last year or so.  Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred mentioned the city recently during an interview in Seattle, saying Portland would be “on a list” for expansion, emphasizing a need for a team in the Pacific time zone as part of a expanded and reconfigured 32-team league.

In a story published this week in Baseball America, well-connected Hall of Fame baseball writer Tracy Ringolsby outlined a 32-team expanded MLB with realignment that resulted in a 156-game schedule and four eight-team divisions, with Portland listed in the West division.

Ringolsby referred to Portland as a city with a “legitimate” ownership group, which is the group Barrett is associated with:

“And there is a legitimate ownership group in Portland that has the necessary financing along with support for a stadium, which would be partially funded by a $150 million grant. Approved by the state of Oregon to help finance a stadium when efforts were underway in 2003 to be the site for the relocation of the Expos (who instead moved to Washington, D.C.), the grant is still available.”