MLB in PDX Yes/MLB in PDX No

Some stats for your bemusement:

Number of times I’ve heard/read some chucklehead “explain” that Portland can’t have a major league baseball team because “every game would be rained out”: Lost count after 50

Number of times the Mets have been rained out so far in New York alone in 2007: 2

Number of times an MLB game would have been rained out in 2007 so far, had it been scheduled to take place in Portland: DOUGHNUT

Yeah, it rains here. We’re kinda famous for it. From the beginning of November until about the end of Februrary, give or take, you’ll be dripping. It’s what keeps our rent down. During that time of the year, the sky can open up and swallow you and your pets and a few spiney outdoor potted plants at least once a week, with a fairly steady drizzle the rest of the time. Absolutely.

But from March until about June, downpours of the forty daisy-daisies sort are a rarity here. Instead, what we get that time of the year could more properly be called sky spittle than actual rain, interspersed by surprisingly numerous sun breaks. And daytime temps of late have hovered around the 50s with overnight lows in the 40s — maybe not ideal playing or game-attending conditions, but the games would get played in their entirety and nobody would chip an aging hamstring or have to run around with something on his face that makes him look like the Phantom of the Opera just so as not to get brain-frozen on a good deep breath.

And in July, August, and September? Not only will there not be a drop of rain during those months — not a drop — there won’t even be a drop of humidity. It’ll be drier than a Cornish Rex’s fur then. A couple of hottish days, but otherwise pretty consistently around the 80-degree mark. Man, I live for summer here. It’s poifick.

Not long ago, the Marlins — they of the forty daisy-daisies climate each summer — went sniffing around for a new city to hang their mitts in, since the city of Miami has told them multiple times to take a long whiz up a short rope when the team’s ownership has requested that they be built a domed stadium at taxpayer expense. (And make no mistake, if any team needs a retractable roof it’s them, but with the Mets and Yankees financing their own new stadia set to open in 2009, and numerous taxpayer-financed ballparks having been anything but cash cows for their respective cities, good luck getting any city to finance anything like that any time soon.)

Natcherly one of their stops was PDX, and why not? The closest MLB team plays 150 miles away in Seattle, and as anyone who lives here can tell you, we in PDX are not “their” market. Not when it takes three hours one way to make that drive even when you don’t hit the notorious Olympia Bottleneck, which you will, and the train is even more glacially paced. Besides, that’s the American League. I only pay attention to them to scout possible World Series competition for the Mets, and that pretty much obviates most Mariners games anyway (sorry).

(Side note: Does anyone besides me think it’s weird that two expansion teams have never faced one another in the World Series, in the entire 46-year history of expansion ballclubs? I personally think that’s a slice of bizarreness right up there with the Mets never having a no-hitter. So go Mariners, already. And take the Angels with you.)

Currently we are the home of the Pacific Coast League (AAA) Portland Beavers, the last stop for Padres prospects before San Diego. Now, at the risk of sounding like a real blue-and-orange asshat, I’m not sure how one can actually be a “fan” of any minor league team as such. Isn’t it the whole point of minor league baseball that the players are supposed to turn over every single year? Isn’t there something wrong if a player actually comes back to the same minor-league club the next year?

And I was seriously bummed when I found out the New Orleans Zephyrs, the Mets’ new PCL team, won’t be coming to Portland this year, although the Beavers will go to N.O. Drat, and I was really looking forward to spotting Lastings Milledge snarfing bacon maple bars at Voodoo Doughnut. Waaah.

That said, minor league ballgames are an absolute blast to attend. Cheap, relaxing, human-scaled, just pure fun, a great way to enjoy the game just for its own sake. And we have a jewel of a minor-league ballpark, PGE Park, which seats a little under 20,000 and is located right on the light rail line near downtown.

Which leads me to my killjoy question about an MLB franchise: Where the heck would we put it? I mean, where could a ballpark over twice the size of PGE possibly go, that wouldn’t cause a traffic nightmare in a city that’s already wracked with them, and that might actually be transit-friendly in some way and reasonably convenient to the central city? I honestly can’t think of an appropriate location.

Sigh. So meet the San Antonio Marlins. And tell Lastings he needs yet another year in triple-A.

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