Portland Diamond Project Q&A: What's new with MLB to PDX

Portland Diamond Project Q&A: What's new with MLB to PDX

Craig Cheek, President and Managing Director of the Portland Diamond Project, took over the PDXDiamondProj's social media account on Monday to talk MLB to PDX. 

Here’s a wrap-up of what Cheek, a former vice president at Nike who oversaw training, baseball and football operations, had to share from today’s Twitter Q&A.

On when the project will break ground: 

On when the Portland Diamond Project hopes the first home opener will take place:

On how likely MLB to PDX will happen on a scale of 1-100:

On potential transportation options to the ballpark:

On whether fans will be able to use boat transportation to access the ballpark:

On whether the stadium will be a hitters or pitchers park:

On potential sites for MLB spring training: 

On how Mariners fans will be accomodated in Portland:

On obstacles left to face: 

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

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

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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.   

 

Portland Diamond Project Q&A: The latest MLB to PDX news

Portland Diamond Project Q&A: The latest MLB to PDX news

Eight-year major leaguer Darwin Barney took over the Portland Diamond Project social media account this week to catch baseball fans up to speed with the latest on MLB to PDX.

Here’s a wrap-up of what Barney, who is an investor and advisor for the project, had to share from today’s Twitter Q&A.

On whether Portland would get an AL team, meaning a Portland-Seattle rivalry:

On which team would be most likely to relocate to Portland: 

On whether Barney could play for Portland's new team:

On whether MLB to PDX is for real: 

On who would likely be memorialized for the first bobble-head giveaway:

On what kind of beer will be served at the park: 

On what's next for the project: 

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

Portland Diamond Project picks Terminal 2 site for future MLB Ballpark

Portland Diamond Project picks Terminal 2 site for future MLB Ballpark

The Portland Diamond Project Thursday made it official, its preferred site for a proposed baseball stadium in Portland is the Port of Portland’s Terminal 2.

The terminal is located on the Willamette River, north of the Pearl District. The media release from PDP:

PORTLAND DIAMOND PROJECT ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE WITH PORT OF PORTLAND TO DEVELOP TERMINAL 2 PROPERTY Portland, OR – November 29, 2018 – Portland Diamond Project (PDP), the organization behind the effort to bring Major League Baseball to Portland, today announced it has signed an agreement in principle with the Port of Portland to develop the Port’s 45-acre Terminal 2 property, according to PDP Founder and President Craig Cheek. “We believe this has the potential to be a transformative landmark project for this city,” Cheek said. “Building an iconic, state-of-the-art ballpark along the Willamette River will catalyze economic development and capture great views of both the urban scale of the city and regional character of the Pacific Northwest.” This letter of intent with the Port kicks off a collaborative process with the City of Portland, and local communities, to create a Major League Baseball ballpark and community destination.

“We're committed to building a sustainable, equitable, and accessible ballpark that reflects what makes Portland such a special place to live,” Cheek said. “That means outstanding locally sourced food and beverage amenities, environmentally sustainable construction and operations, opportunities for makers and small businesses, and an atmosphere that celebrates diversity and inclusion and is welcoming to all Portlanders.”  

Terminal 2, which for decades handled commodities such as steel rail, bulk ores, and other oversized international cargo, offers approximately 45 acres of riverfront property with more than 2,000 linear feet of waterfront. The site is located on N.W. Front Ave., just north of the Pearl District and rapidly evolving Slabtown.  

“For the past year, we’ve been highly focused on securing the best possible property for development of a ballpark and have deeply analyzed multiple sites,” Cheek said. “Although additional options continue to present themselves, we are excited to announce that Terminal 2 is our preferred location and want to thank the Port of Portland for being such a great partner in this vision.”

For more information visit http://portlanddiamondproject.com .

The latest updates in a Twitter Q & A with PDX Diamond Project

The latest updates in a Twitter Q & A with PDX Diamond Project

The Portland Diamond Project is hard at work looking for a potential stadium site to bring Major League Baseball to Portland.

While baseball fans in Portland are anxiously awaiting the project’s latest announcement, seven-time MLB All Star and project advisor Dale Murphy took to Twitter to answer your hard-hitting questions.

On goal for timing of a MLB team:

On how Portland would develop a FARM system:

On potential stadium sites:

 

Head on over to @PDXDiamondProj on Twitter to stay tuned to all the latest updates.

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.”


 

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.

 

 

One on one with the newest investors in the Portland Diamond Project: Russell Wilson and Ciara

One on one with the newest investors in the Portland Diamond Project: Russell Wilson and Ciara

The Portland Diamond Project (PDP) added some big names to its investment group over the weekend. Seattle Seahawks star quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife, Grammy Award-winning singer Ciara joined the group as owners/investors.

The PDP held a press conference on Saturday where Wilson said, “we’re excited about this opportunity. We’re excited about the potential of bringing a Major League Baseball team here to such a great city.”

Wilson and Ciara took a quick second after the press conference for an exclusive interview with our Dwight Jaynes to talk about the duo’s ambition to bring MLB to PDX. 

 

Like it or not, Portland is becoming a big-league city so why not act like it?

Like it or not, Portland is becoming a big-league city so why not act like it?

A few thoughts about the Portland Diamond Project after perusing the many stories that have been written about the drive to bring Major League Baseball to Portland:

  • I'm reading that a lot of "experts" believe our city and the PDP are being used as leverage to get ballparks built in MLB cities (namely Oakland and Tampa). Well, maybe. But I seriously doubt it. The people behind PDP are whip smart and have done a whole lot more work on this project than they're letting on. And they're making offers on some very expensive property and have already spent a lot of cash on stadium plans and other associated projects. I don't think these people would be spending that kind of money without being pretty certain that they can pull this thing off. I have met them and I can assure you this is not a gathering of naive fans chasing an impossible dream.
  • Speaking of property, don't make the mistake of thinking that this group has confined its interest to just the two locations that have already been made public. There are other attractive pieces of property on their plate. And, too, don't put any stock into that artist's rendering of their ballpark. There are many of those drawings and different ones for each potential location.
  • It's very popular to quote studies that diminish the economic impact of professional sports on a community. The argument is that there is really no new money generated and that it's merely a case of money that normally would have been spent on other entertainment options (movies, concerts, restaurants, etc.) is just being transferred elsewhere. But common sense would tell you that it's a different story with a regional franchise like this one would be. Right now, baseball fans are spending their money watching games in Seattle, San Francisco and all over the country. And there is no small number of these people. At the same time, it's a way of bringing the rest of the state into the city -- making Portland more of a vacation destination for the entire region. That would bring new dollars into town that would otherwise be spent elsewhere.
  • I find it ironic that to get a ballpark built in Portland the PDP will be asked to help solve long-term Portland problems of homelessness and affordable housing. Certainly all the jobs this project would bring would help in those areas. I think, though, if this whole thing didn't do ANYTHING about those persistent problems, it's still a worthwhile endeavor if it's going to be practically gift-wrapped for Portland. It's a quality-of-life issue -- an amenity many cities believe is worth spending loads of public money on.
  • There is also hand-wringing that even though taxpayers will not be asked to vote on a bond measure to build a ballpark, there is concern about infrastructure expenses associated with the new venue. That's a joke. The city goes all over the world chasing new businesses to bring to this city that don't provide the same public joy that a ballpark would bring. And the city often provides tax breaks and plenty of street improvements and transportation options for these businesses. Of course the city has to be cautious about expenses -- I get that. But I'm not sure we need to hold the owners of a prospective baseball franchise to a higher standard than some of the pie-in-the-sky business startups that we've helped out over the years.
  • I heard the same concerns about minor expenses when the Rose Quarter was built. People were up in arms that perhaps $25 million would be spent on new streets and other infrastructure for the area. Do you hear any of those people complaining now? I don't care if you're a basketball fan or not, that arena has been a major plus for Portland and the city owes Paul Allen a huge thank you for building it. Without it, we'd still be trying to make that dump next door -- Memorial Coliseum -- useful for something and would have lost the Trail Blazers years ago. There is NO WAY this city would have found a way to build a new arena -- because, unlike just about any other major city in the world, we don't build sports venues here.
  • I'm amused at how many of our civic leaders always preface their remarks about this movement with "I love baseball, but..." Well, do you really love baseball or are you just concerned about offending fans? Yes, baseball fans vote, too. I would ask anyone making such a statement about their love for the sport, "When was the last time that you actually attended a game?" Or if they had EVER seen a big-league game, especially one at a beautiful venue such as AT&T Park in San Francisco.
  • Don't misunderstand me -- it's our political leaders' responsibility to proceed with caution when it comes to spending public funds. But I'd ask them, too, to keep an open mind and not miss an opportunity to change the face of Portland. We are growing and we are slowly coming out of that decades-long slumber of not realizing we're becoming a big-league city -- whether we like it or not. And so why not act like one?