Opening day for the MLB was on Wednesday this week which reminds us… Portland needs a team.
As the MLB’s 30 teams took the diamond for the first time this 2020 season, the MLB to PDX movement still lives on.
On the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast, hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon are joined by special guest Artie Wilson Jr. to discuss the MLB to PDX movement:
I think having a major league team in Portland would be tremendous for that city. I think the team would do well in Portland. I think Portland is a major league city… that has a tremendous following for teams and the people in Portland are very supportive of athletics.
Wilson is the son of former Negro league and Oregon State baseball player Artie Wilson. A 2012 inductee to the Birmington Borons Hall of Fame, Wilson played for the Birmingham Black Barons from 1942 to 1948. During that time, he was considered to be one of the league’s top shortstops. The Black Barons won the Negro American League championship in 1943, 1944 and 1948, advancing to but never winning the Negro League World Series.
Baseball runs in the Wilson family genes, and hopefully will soon run in the city of Portland.
On July 22, the Portland Diamond Project (leading the movement to bring Major League Baseball to Portland) announced their petition to bring the MLB to the Rose City had reached 60,000+ signatures.
Thank you to our friends @channingfrye @CaseysCorner5 @jessmendoza @CoachWazUO @DaleMurphy3 @iropp @Big_Suke @bhunt21 for your kind words on this 50K petition signature milestone, as always we appreciate your support! https://t.co/uzzJkLE9h2 https://t.co/BDFzBhITmA— Portland Diamond Project (@PDXDiamondProj) July 22, 2020
Those who were actively campaigning for this petition included Frye, former Oregon State baseball coach Pat Casey, Jessica Mendoza, Dale Murphy, Isaac Ropp, Jason Suke and many more.
Even Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Ciara have partnered with the Portland Diamond Project to further this movement.
The support is there, and now the MLB needs to make it happen. So, what's the hold up?
According to an article in Forbes, dated back in May 2020, "The second six-month agreement between the Portland Diamond Project and the Port of Portland for the 'Terminal 2' site, just north of city’s Pearl District on the Willamette River expired on Wednesday. The group has paid a monthly fee of $37,500 to keep the exclusive agreement in place. The total cost is currently $450,000 for that right but is expected to increase.
"While the agreement expired, Craig Cheek, the head of Portland Diamond Project said that the expectation is that it will be renewed and continue. As to why the continued due-diligence, Cheek said that "a robust traffic and transportation study to examine issues in the area is what the group wishes to deliver before committing investment in the property."
Cheek adds that the group is still working on the infrastructure of the ball park and how to make it more than just baseball, the transportation surrounding the area (because who wants to be stuck in hours of traffic once the game is over), as well as other measures have been halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But stay patient PDX, our time will come.
Listen to the Talkin' Blazers Podcast here.