Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and singer/songwriter Ciara have signed on as owners/investors in Portland Diamond Project

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and singer/songwriter Ciara have signed on as owners/investors in Portland Diamond Project

The following is a press release from the Portland Diamond Project:

Portland, OR – June 1, 2018 – Local management group Portland Diamond Project (PDP) today announced Super Bowl Champ Russell Wilson and Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Ciara have signed on as owner/investors in PDP’s campaign to bring a Major League Baseball team to Portland, according to PDP managing director and spokesman Mike Barrett.

“We believe Portland is the next great Major League Baseball city, and that’s why Ciara and I are excited to announce we are a part of the Portland Diamond Project,” Russell Wilson said. “It is time for MLB in Portland.”

“Athletics has always been important to me. As a young girl growing up in Atlanta, I was a tomboy who ran track and worked the hot dog stand at Turner Field,” said Ciara. “I am excited about the opportunity to bring the comradery of the game to the city of Portland. I want to see this vision come to life and empower more women owners in major sports franchises.”

The Seattle Seahawks star quarterback, who led the team to a Super Bowl victory in his second season, and the platinum recording artist, who has been dominating the stage nearly 15 years, look forward to having a significant role in Portland’s MLB team. Owning a professional sports franchise has long been one of Wilson’s dreams. He is also a partner in an initiative to bring an NBA franchise back to Seattle.

“Having Russell and Ciara sign on as owners and investors in PDP is game-changing, and has elevated our campaign significantly,” PDP founder and president Craig Cheek said. “I got to know Russell and Ciara when we signed Russell to his Nike endorsement deal. I saw firsthand their passion, pursuit of excellence and impact they bring to every endeavor. We know they will bring that same energy, sense of legacy and entrepreneurialism to the Portland Diamond Project.”

Wilson led the Seattle Seahawks to their first world championship in Super Bowl XLVIII. He was a multi-sport star in high school and played baseball and football at North Carolina State. Wilson was drafted out of high school by the Baltimore Orioles in 2007, and then drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2010. Despite an outstanding college football career at NC State and Wisconsin, the 5'11" quarterback was considered too small by many NFL teams. Nevertheless, Wilson quickly became an elite pro quarterback, and led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl victory in just his second season.

Ciara is a Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter, producer, model and actress. Over her thirteen-year career, she has sold over 23 million records and 16 million singles worldwide, including chart-topping hits “Goodies,” “Ride,” “Oh,” “1, 2 Step,” “Body Party,” and “I Bet.” Known for her incredible visuals and stellar dance abilities, Ciara’s videos have been viewed over 1.4 billion times accurately earning her the moniker of “Queen of Dance.”

New "owner" Darwin Barney on MLB to PDX: "I would bet on it"

New "owner" Darwin Barney on MLB to PDX: "I would bet on it"

The Portland Diamond Project has added another notable investor to its group -- former major-league and Oregon State infielder Darwin Barney.

“The timing is real good for me,” Barney, who just spent his first summer in retirement after an eight-year major-league career with the Cubs, Dodgers and Blue Jays.  He was in spring training this year with the Texas Rangers but decided to walk away from the game. “I never envisioned being an owner of a major-league team but I never envisioned being a major-league player, either.

“You never know what your path is going to be, you just know what your passions are going to be. I quit playing to spend more time with my family. This came up just at the right time.”

Barney is very confident that the PDP is going to be successful in its effort to bring MLB to Portland.

“I don’t want to put a number on it,” he said. “We think the chances are really good. I would bet on it. We could be a part of history here.”

Barney starred on two national championship teams at Oregon State after a high school career at Southridge. He won a Gold Glove with the Cubs after tying the major-league record for consecutive errorless games by a second baseman.

He joins Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife Ciara as owners of the prospective team.

“We’ve really tried to bring a diverse group together,” Barney said. “With Russell and his wife we bring a lot of different platforms to spread the word."

“I’ve really been impressed with the leadership of this group,” he said. “They have the right people at the top. They get things done.”


The Storm bring home the WNBA Championship

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The Storm bring home the WNBA Championship

A 16-year veteran. A 2018 WNBA MVP. And passionate city ready for another championship. The Seattle Storm, lead by all-star veteran Sue Bird and 2018 WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart, sweep the Washington Mystics in three games to take home the team's third WNBA championship. 

What started as a blowout Seattle victory in game one, turned into a different story in game two. The Mystics made adjustments and nearly pulled out a tough road win. But Seattle flew east for game three already up two wins with just one more to go. The rest is history and the parade is on for Sunday.

Many NBA players took the moment to congratulate the Storm on their championship:

Let's quickly look at the career of young 24-year-old Breanna Stewart. Since winning her first college national championship with dominant UCONN basketball, Stewart has known knothing but winning and winning big. She went on to claim four national titles at UCONN before being drafted No. 1 to Seattle in the 2016 WNBA draft. Two years later, she can now add 2018 WNBA champion as well as 2018 WNBA MVP and 2018 WNBA Finals MVP to her already very impressive resume.

What a career, so far, for one of the most creative passers, deadly shooters, and influential basketball players in Sue Bird. She is the oldest player in the WNBA, the all-time WNBA career assist leader, a 16-year veteran in the league, and now a three-time WNBA champion. Bird scored 14 points in the fourth quarter in just five minutes to round out a win in game one. A miraculous three-point shot with the shot clock winding down in game two to swing the momentum back in the Storm's favor. And one heck of a shoe game partnered with Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving. And she's not done yet.

What a tremendous season and congrats to the Seattle Storm on another WNBA Championship!





Seattle Storm start WNBA Finals defending home turf

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Seattle Storm start WNBA Finals defending home turf


Last week, I’d posted the Storm would go on to sweep… and that didn’t exactly happen, but in a way, thank goodness. We’d never get the chance to be graced by Sue Bird’s utter distaste for womankind in game 5.

No Bird’s not mean, but her jumper was absolutely filthy. Mask adorned, Bird made everything. From flopping and complaining to the refs (probably to buy some time for her team to break) to proceeding to nail timely threes, confirming the veteran’s dominance of the moment. We all like to admit that basketball is “all about the team game” but, Bird reminded us that teamwork is lamesometimes.

The Phoenix Mercury played solid defense, with Brian January chasing Bird down and contesting most of her shots. The Seattle Storm offense got a little stagnant at times in the second half, devolving to stressed out over-dribbling by Bird looking for half of a good screen from a tired Breanna Stewart. Besides Bird’s makes, it was definitely messy.

The Storm obviously won’t be able to replicate a quarter like that in the future, and I’m sure the Storm coaching staff will be back with a brand new attack against the Washington Mystics, opponents heading into tonight’s first game of the WNBA Finals.

The biggest thing to watch on both sides of the ball will be the stars. League MVP Breanna Stewart is playing great so far, and Elena Delle Donne of the Mystics looks to keep the Mystic offensive machine rolling. Here’s how each has been faring in the playoffs thus far:

  Totals Percentages Per Game
Breanna Stewart 5 9 25 21 24 37 9 5 7 10 0.446 0.36 0.875 24 7.4 1.8
Elena Delle Donne 5 8 21 23 23 60 18 4 4 9 0.458 0.381 1 21.4 12 3.6


Elena has been snaring boards and it’ll take all of Stewart’s and Natasha Howard’s will to keeping her out of the paint. The Storm had trouble keeping Brittney Griner out of the box, so it’ll be something to keep an eye on.

In my opinion, the worst is over for the Storm. The Mercury are led by one of the greatest basketball players of all time in Diana Taurasi, and the force aka Brittney Griner. The Mystics are good, but shouldn’t halt the Storm’s grind.

In their last series, the Washington Mystics finished with a scoring differential of 2.8 against an arguably weaker team in the Atlanta Dream. The Storm, facing the Mercury, maintained a scoring differential of -.08.

I’m still holding out for a good ol’ Storm blowout, and I think they hang at least 90 on the Mystics and win by at least 15.

Sue Bird lit up Phoenix, then she lit up Twitter

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Sue Bird lit up Phoenix, then she lit up Twitter

It was an impressive 4th quarter performance from Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird on Tuesday night as she helped her team advance to the WNBA Finals. Bird scored 14 of her 22 points in the final quarter and Seattle rallied back to beat the Phoenix Mercury, 94-84.

Bird suffered a broken nose in Game 4 and she struggled with her shot for the first three quarters of Game 5 of the Conference Finals on Tuesday. But in the fourth, she took over and then she took over twitter.  

After the game, Bird told the media, “I don’t know that I’ve had a fourth quarter like this in a big game in my life, to be honest.”

This will be the Storm’s third appearance in the Finals.

WNBA MVP and forward Breanna Stewart led Seattle with 28 points and carried the scoring load through the first three quarters for Seattle before Bird took over down the stretch.

Several NBA stars took to twitter to give props to Bird on her incredible performance.

The Washington Mystics now await the Storm in the 2018 WNBA Finals. Seattle and Washington will tip-off Game One on Friday.

Washington is playing in its first WNBA Finals in franchise history. The Mystics survived a late push from the Atlanta Dream in Game 5 on Tuesday night to beat the Dream 86-81. Mystics star Elena Delle Donne returned from injury for the final two games of the WNBA semifinals series against Atlanta.

The Storm went 2-1 against the Mystics during the regular season. Seattle won a pair of close games at home, but then lost in Washington 100-77 late in the season.

Storm take a 2-0 series lead in WNBA semifinals

Seattle Storm

Storm take a 2-0 series lead in WNBA semifinals

It took overtime, but Sue Bird and the Seattle Storm took down the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday, 91-87, to take a commanding 2-0 series lead in the WNBA Semifinals.

Seattle led by as many as 17-points before the Mercury clawed back. Diana Taurisi hit a fade-away three from the corner with 3.6 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 79, but Seattle would regain composure in overtime to walk away with the victory. 

Breanna Stewart led the Storm with 27 points, while Sue Bird chipped in 19 points and six assists. (FULL BOX SCORE)

The series now shifts to Phoenix where it is do or die for the Mercury. The WNBA Semifinals are a best of five series, so the Strom just need one win to advance.

Game Three is scheduled for Friday at Talking Stick Resort Arena, tipoff is set for 7:00 pm. You can watch all the action live on ESPNews & NBA TV.

Dempsey hangs his cleats up

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Dempsey hangs his cleats up

One of the greatest American soccer players in the history of the game is calling it a career. Clint Dempsey announced his retirement early Wednesday. Dempsey has been a thorn in the side of soccer fans here in Portland since 2013 when he joined Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders, adding fuel to the fire of one of the best rivalries in MLS

Dempsey played in 136 matches with the Sounders, scoring 57 career goals and helping the club win its first MLS Cup in 2016. For as good as Dempsey was in MLS, he really made his name on the international stage and abroad. Dempsey had 141 caps with the USMNT, is tied with Landon Donovan for the most goals scored in USMNT history (57), is the only American to score in three World Cups, and was voted U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year in 2007, 2011, and 2012.

Dempsey also played abroad in the English Premier League (EPL) with Fulham (2006-2012) and Tottenham (2012-2013). He played in 263 matches and scored 72 goals, setting the record for goals scored by an American player in the EPL. Between MLS and EPL he scored 155 goals for his career. 

Soccer clubs from MLS and the EPL showed their love for Dempsey on social media.

MLB Ballpark improvement disputes may provide more targets for Portland Diamond Project

MLB Ballpark improvement disputes may provide more targets for Portland Diamond Project

As the Portland Diamond Project continues to close in on a location for a site for its mixed-use development that would include a major-league ballpark as its centerpiece, the list of potential targets for a team in Portland may be growing.

Two existing major-league cities are in the process of attempting to get government funding for ballpark improvements. Part of negotiations for such things almost always comes down to teams threatening to leave their stadiums for something better.

And as the PDP gains increasing credibility as a future destination for a team, expect this city to be used as leverage in negotiations in other cities with stadium issues. It's beyond the control of the Diamond Project and simply the way these things tend to play out.

And that may not be a bad thing for Portland. Not all those teams will get what they want and at a certain point, they may have their bluff called – and decide to move. And at the same time, any city providing leverage for existing teams would be looked upon favorably by Major League Baseball as a future expansion site.

To date, it was presumed that Portland has four opportunities for procuring a team – the two potential expansion franchises and the troubled franchises in Oakland and Tampa.

But don’t be surprised to hear this city mentioned as a possible relocation site for the Arizona Diamondbacks and – what? – the Seattle Mariners.

There are serious stadium-improvement issues with the latter teams.

In Seattle, the team’s lease at Safeco Field expires at the end of this season and the Mariners are asking King County for a substantial sum for ballpark improvements.

The Seattle Mariners have issued an ultimatum: Give them $180 million in taxpayer money for their 19-year-old stadium, or they won’t sign a long-term lease.

And in Phoenix, the Diamondbacks have already negotiated their way out of  longer-term lease to one that expires in 2022 – coincidentally a year when it’s figured the Portland ballpark would be ready for occupancy.

The Arizona Diamondbacks can leave Chase Field and end the team's 20-year residence at the downtown Phoenix stadium as early as 2022, Maricopa County leaders decided Wednesday.

The expectation is that both disputes will be settled without relocation of the franchises... but faced with a lucrative option in a fresh city, it would be difficult to know what to expect from ownership of those teams.

PDP leaders have promised that they will use no public money for stadium construction other than what has already been set aside by the Oregon state legislature.

The ballpark in Portland is expected to include a large-scale mixed-use development that includes housing, entertainment and dining options and hotels. The Diamond Peoject is still looking at multiple sites but is expected to make a decision on a location soon.



Draftsville: A Friday Night Lights Parody Season 2

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Draftsville: A Friday Night Lights Parody Season 2

What happens when dramatic change comes to the town where fantasy football is king? Find out in season two of this Friday Night Lights parody. Episodes 1 and 2 debut Thursday, August 30 on


Girardi, Reynolds advocate for baseball in Portland


Girardi, Reynolds advocate for baseball in Portland

Harold Reynolds and Joe Girardi were on MLB TV Wednesday and they both think Portland is a viable option for MLB expansion. Girardi first lays out a plan to make baseball into a new western and eastern conference alignment but then adds that he could see the league adding two teams to make divisions more balanced. One of those two teams could be Portland. 

"I think we need another team in the Northwest, so, Portland"

Check out the full segment in the video below (Girardi mentions Portland around the 1:40 mark).

The Portland Diamond project, of course, took notice.