The MLB expansion could bring the Seattle vs. Portland I-5 rivalry to new heights

portland diamond project

The MLB expansion could bring the Seattle vs. Portland I-5 rivalry to new heights

If you have ever been to a San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game, you may have noticed the intense rivalry feeling with the “beat L.A.” chants ringing in your ears.

Now imagine a similar feeling when attending the future I-5 rivalry between the Seattle Mariners and Portland…

The time can’t come soon enough. But let’s take a look at how the proposed MLB expansion from 30 to 32 teams will actually effect the league. 

According to Axios writer Kendall Baker, who was reminded from an article published one year ago, that an expansion would most likely bring new structure to the league, and more specifically dividing the 32 teams up into four divisions rather than just the American and National league.

"One proposal would be to geographically restructure into four divisions, which would create a major reduction in travel ... and add to the natural rivalries by not just having them as inter-league attractions, but rather a part of the regular divisional battles." (It would also likely mean every team would use a DH.)

Assuming that Portland and Montreal (the other location rumored to be a part of the MLB expansion) are in, let’s see the teams that would be listed in each division: East, North, Midwest, and West:

East: Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, Washington Nationals.

North: Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, Montreal (Expos?), New York Yankees, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays.

Midwest: Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royal, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers.

West: Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, Portland, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners.

So rather than the six divisions (AL East, AL Central, AL West, NL East, NL Central, and NL West), the league would have just four, limited long travel, and the space for rivalries to grow.   


Meet The Seattle Dragons: The Emerald City’s new XFL franchise

The Seattle Dragons

Meet The Seattle Dragons: The Emerald City’s new XFL franchise

“Really...the Dragons?”

“Why the heck did they name Seattle’s XFL team the Dragons?”

These were just a few of the mutters I heard around Seattle today as the Emerald City’s new XFL team officially debuted its name and logo. Drum roll please...introducing The Seattle Dragons. 

So, why the Dragons of all mystical creatures? According to president Ryan Gustafson, the team wanted to create “something that was unique, but also part of the entire brand that represents the community of Seattle, with the imagery of the water, the city and just the fierceness of the character.”

Well, Seattle’s XFL franchise certainly created something. Here's a look at the team's mantra: 

Rising from the turbulent sea. Beneath the darkening skies of their weather-hardened home. Relentless, ruthless, ravenous. Not of mythology, but of muscle and might. Not of folklore, but of football. This is your darkest fantasy, in cleats. The Seattle Dragons. Breathing fire.

The XFL rolled out names and logos for all of its teams on Wednesday, including the the New York Guardians, the Tampa Bay Vipers,  the St. Louis Battle Hawks, the Los Angeles Wildcats, the Houston Roughnecks, the Dallas Renegades and the DC Defenders.

The professional football league, which lasted just one year in 2001, announced its rebirth last December. Seattle was named one of eight cities for the revamped league, which will hold games at CenturyLink Field in February 2020.

Sprague All-Stars to represent Northwest in Little League Baseball World Series

Sprague All-Stars to represent Northwest in Little League Baseball World Series

Oregon's Sprague All-Stars beat Idaho's Coeur d’Alene All-Stars on Saturday to punch their ticket to the Little League Baseball World Series (LLBWS). 

The win almost didn't happen. Sprague trailed Coeur d’Alene 4-3 in the final inning but managed to score two runs in the top of the sixth to take the lead and eventually win the game.

In winning the Northwest region Sprague becomes just the seventh team from the state of Oregon to advance to the LLBWS. Even more impressive, according to the Statesman Journal, this is the first time a team from the Salem area has advances this far. 

The LLBWS has already released the playoff bracket, and Sprague will be playing the winner of the Mid-Atlantic region, New Jersey's Elmora Youth Little League, in the first round. 

The LLBWS starts on Augusts 15th, with Sprague's opener against Mid-Atlantic being played on the 16th.

Portland Diamond Project knocks down another task

portland diamond project

Portland Diamond Project knocks down another task

The quest towards bringing another professional sports team to the city of Portland is continuing to chug along. This morning, the Portland Diamond Project announced that they are joining the Oregon AFL-CIO and other related unions. According to the organization’s press release, it is the first of its kind for Oregon area sports venues. 

Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain explained the significance of this agreement in the quote below: 

“By signing this agreement, the Portland Diamond Project has shown us they value and respect the rights of working people and care for the prosperity of the community,” said Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain. “Oregon’s unions are proud to be a part of the efforts to bring baseball to the Rose City and to be a part of the only unionized sports arena in the state of Oregon.  By giving workers the unfettered opportunity for union representation, we are securing a bright economic future for the women and men who will make baseball happen in Portland. When working people stand together in unions, we get a fair return on our hard work.”

The deal includes a variety of potential team employees, including concession workers, hospitality services, the sales team, and security employees. 

Founded in 2017, the Portland Diamond Project has been aggressively looking to bring a professional baseball team to Portland. Led by Craig Cheek (former Nike executive) and Mike Barrett (former Portland Trail Blazers broadcaster), the group has brought on some big names, such as Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Ciara, and big baseball names Darwin Barney, Dale Murphy, and Larry D’Amato.

Current MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has been open about a new MLB market, either through relocation or expansion teams. 

Star-studded event: A WNBA All-Star game for the record books, Seattle represented nicely

USA Today Images

Star-studded event: A WNBA All-Star game for the record books, Seattle represented nicely

It came down to the wire in Las Vegas at the 2019 WNBA All-Star game as Team Wilson defeated Team Delle Donne on Saturday afternoon, 129-126.

Team Wilson, whose captain is Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson, held on late to knock off Team Delle Donne, whose captain is Washington Mystics star Elena Delle Donne.

Team Wilson won and she didn’t even see the floor.

The Aces forward suffered a sprained ankle earlier this month. She was replaced in the starting lineup by Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley.

Indiana Fever guard Erica Wheeler finished with a game-high 25 points and seven assists, shooting 9-of-17 from the field. Wheeler went undrafted and in her first All-Star game, she took home the MVP honors.

Wheeler hit six three-pointers in the first half coming up just one short of matching the WNBA All-Star game record.  


NBA players were scattered all around courtside on Saturday to take in the game with the best women basketball players in the world.

Trail Blazers forward Rodney Hood, along with former Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher were just a few of the NBA stars watching from the stands.

Kobe discussed in a sideline interview with ESPN/ABC reporter Holly Rowe about his longtime special relationship with Seattle Storm All-Star guard Jewell Lloyd.

“I’ve watched her grow… She’s like a little sister to me,” Kobe said.


Loyd, who sat out for three and a half weeks due to an ankle sprain, returned last week just in time to make her first All-Star Game start.

Loyd finished with six points and three assists in the losing effort on Saturday.

As for Storm forward Natasha Howard, she was one of six newcomers making her All-Star Game debut.

This season injury has plagued WNBA stars all across the league, including 11-time All-Star and the Seattle Storm’s own Sue Bird (knee).

Howard scored 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting. She also pulled down six rebounds and had one steal in the win.

The Storm forward has been putting up MVP like numbers this season with 18.1 points, rebounds, 8.3rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game.


Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner broke a record and showed off her dunking skills on Saturday.

After handling the point guard duties in the first quarter, Griner took the ball up the court easily took it to the hoop and completed it for the one-handed slam. Griner didn’t wast anytime throwing down her second dunk about a minute later.

Dunk number three came later in the first half where Griner went with the two-handed slam.

Throwing down three dunks in an WNBA All-Star game was a first for any player.

Griner finished with 16 points and nine rebounds.

Also a new record: Team Wilson took a 77-63 lead at halftime, and set a new record for points in a half.

Portland Diamond Project Q&A: Darwin Barney provides updates on MLB to PDX

PDX Diamond Project

Portland Diamond Project Q&A: Darwin Barney provides updates on MLB to PDX

The movement to bring Major League Baseball to Portland is gaining traction. 

To catch baseball fans up with the latest news, former major leaguer, Oregon State infielder and Portland Diamond Project investor, Darwin Barney, took to Twitter to answer a few of your questions on the latest MLB to PDX news.

Here's a wrap-up of Tuesday's Q&A: 

On whether the Portland Diamond project would be interested in an AA or AAA team:

On the most difficult part of the MLB to PDX process:

On one pitcher and one position player Barney would start the franchise with:

On who Barney would choose to lead Portland as skipper to the World Series in 2023:

On how a farm system would shape up for a potential expansion team:

On if there are other teams with a similar initiative:

On whether Barney could join Portland's roster: 

To stay tuned to all of the latest updates, head on over to @PDXDiamondProj on Twitter.

Social media reacts: Seattle NHL team hires Ron Francis as GM

NHL Seattle

Social media reacts: Seattle NHL team hires Ron Francis as GM

Excitement is growing in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle’s unnamed NHL expansion team, set to debut in the 2021-22 season, are starting to get the initial necessities of the franchise together. Today, the organization announced the reveal of their new General Manager, Ron Francis, through a press conference that was also streamed on Twitter. 

Francis has a storied career within the hockey world. Drafted with the fourth overall pick in the 1981 NHL draft, Francis was able to sustain a 23 year career in the league, finishing with 1798 points. Since retiring, Francis has spent time as the Carolina Hurricanes’ GM and president of hockey operations from 2014 to 2018. 

Not only is it big news for the yet to be named Seattle hockey team, the rest of the Pacific Northwest showcased their excitement on social media.












The Man for the Job: NHL Seattle officially hires Ron Francis as GM

NHL Seattle

The Man for the Job: NHL Seattle officially hires Ron Francis as GM

Reports were out two days ago that NHL Hall of Famer Ron Francis would be named GM of the new NHL Seattle franchise.

Now it's official.

"After seven months of due diligence, research, conversations, interviews and evaluation, we are thrilled to announce Ron as our GM," said NHL Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke.

You can watch the introductory press conference from this morning right here:


NBC Sports also has a good story on what this hire means for the franchise and what kind of GM he will be. 


Report: NHL Seattle expansion team names Ron Francis their General Manager


Report: NHL Seattle expansion team names Ron Francis their General Manager

According to a report from the Seattle Times, the new NHL Seattle team has named their General Manager: Ron Francis.

Francis played in the NHL for an impressive 22 years and was most recently the GM for the Carolina Hurricanes. You can read more about his departure from Carolina, here.

This will be the first of many moves for the new expansion team as they begin to build out their new franchise.

You can get more about the Francis hire from the Seattle Times

The Delta Dome: How close Portland came to being a big-league city

The Delta Dome: How close Portland came to being a big-league city

Editor's Note: Tune in to The Bridge, tonight at 6pm for more on baseball in Portland including the Delta Dome history, updates on the Hillsboro Hops as well as the Portland Diamond Project!

Do you ever get frustrated that Portland doesn’t have an NFL team? A major-league baseball team?

Well, let me tell you how close we came to having both, way back decades ago –- back at a time when even politicians were on board for an exciting Portland sports future.

It was 1964 and the Houston Astrodome was being built and everyone knew that at some point, major-league sports had to come to the Pacific Northwest. And didn't a domed stadium seem like the right way to get them?

Seattle and Portland were on equal sports footing at that time – minor-league baseball franchises in the Pacific Coast League and minor-league hockey in the Western Hockey League. Seattle was still three years away from landing the NBA Sonics.

The idea of a domed stadium was originally part of a plan for a Portland bid to host the summer Olympics, which in those days was still an affordable plan. The centerpiece of that bid was a domed stadium in Delta Park, north of Portland, surrounded by a myriad of other sporting venues.

Eventually, when it was apparent the Olympic bid was  going nowhere, people began to get the idea of chasing pro football and major-league baseball – beating Seattle to the punch.

Then-governor Mark Hatfield and Portland mayor Terry Shrunk were behind the proposal and pushed hard for it and a hastily put-together campaign began -- to get a ballot measure passed in the city to fund what was then a $25-million project.

The 46,000-seat stadium would feature a dome that would be plexiglass and would not enclose the stadium – just cover it. There was to be a breezeway between the roof and the seating area, meaning it would not have been climate controlled. Still, for its time, it was a very innovative project.

Even better, there was a very real possibility of big-league sports being lured to Portland.

The American Football League Oakland Raiders were still uncertain about their future in that city and the prevailing rumor was that their youthful general manager, Al Davis, was ready to load the moving van and bring the team to Portland if the local ballot measure passed.

Believe it or not, in 1964 that didn’t bring about a whole lot of excitement. Nobody knew at that time the AFL, behind Davis as its commissioner, would force a merger and become part of the NFL. In fact, the NFL wasn’t even that big of a deal in those days.

There was also hope for a major-league baseball team because there were franchises in trouble and rumors of expansion.

Sadly – for sports fans at least – the ballot measure failed in Portland by fewer than 10,000 votes. Later, the same measure was put up for a vote in Multnomah County and failed by about the same margin.

Seattle, of course, landed the MLB Pilots in 1969 and they played in tiny Sicks’ Stadium, the Triple-A ballpark. That team left after one season and Seattle didn’t get an NFL or big-league baseball team until after the Kingdome was built in 1976.

I’m convinced Portland could have beaten Seattle into both leagues with that dome.

And that ballot measure should have passed in Portland, by the way, but mistakes were made.

First off, the advocates didn’t do a very good job of convincing Portlanders that big-league teams could be lured to the stadium, But history shows they probably could have – a domed stadium would have been impossible for expansion-minded NFL and MLB owners to pass up.

Yes, even in those days, it was difficult to convince the locals we could actually become a big-league city.

The biggest reason for the measure’s defeat, though, was the location. First of all, it would have been better to get the stadium measure passed without naming a location.

Delta Park was too much to overcome. The fact that 1964 was fewer than 20 years after the Vanport flood, which saw the area of Delta Park under water, really hurt the effort. Even though they were assured that Columbia River dams would keep that tragic event from happening again, too many people were worried the new stadium would end up floating away in a flood. There were also complaints at the time that the stadium would be closer to Vancouver -- which was not paying any part of the bill -- than Portland.

As it turns out, the area has never been flooded and the city of Portland has pretty much extended past Delta Park. And Portland remains pretty much a minor-league town other than the Trail Blazers.

Because of a paltry 10,000 votes.