Featured Stories

Dancers are new face of the team

Fair Game
by: Thomas Oliver, The Blazers Dancers are slated for “meet-and-greet” sessions at the Nov. 26 Phoenix game with fans who buy a special four-game ticket package.

The Trail Blazers' latest ticket-selling promotion is the 'Blazerdancer Pack,' a four-game package that was advertised on the scoreboard during last week's exhibition opener against Seattle. It also is being touted on the NBA club's Web site.

The customer buys a four-game package for dates with the L.A. Lakers, Dallas, Houston and Phoenix at a price from $88 to $260. Either before or after the Nov. 26 Phoenix game, there will be a 'meet-and-greet' with all the Blazer Dancers, according to a Blazer customer-service representative.

What will the meet-and-greet entail?

'You'll meet with all the Blazer dancers,' the rep says. 'You'll have 16, 18 Blazer Dancers in a room, walking around, talking to people.'

One problem: As of last Friday, the Blazer Dancers hadn't been told of the promotion.

'We haven't heard anything about it,' one of them says.

That's probably not important, since the women will be working the Nov. 26 game, anyway. No need to alert them beforehand. Especially since they'll be making the big bucks ($37.50 a game, or minimum wage).

But really, isn't this sort of an unseemly promotion? Hey guys, the product on the court isn't all that good, but here's an opportunity to chat with Chanelle and Jessica.

Isn't this kind of thing better-suited for the folks at HairM, or maybe Stars Cabaret and Steak House?

• I wonder how many of those 7,000 or so at the Rose Garden for the Portland-Seattle game got free tickets through the Blazers' TicketNet promotion, which offered ducats at no cost through the preseason.

• In the locker room before the Blazer-Sonic exhibition, Collin Romer, the Blazers' sports communications coordinator, was going through a ticket order with rookie Sergio Rodriguez - in Spanish.

Rodriguez, 20, is a native of Spain who is just beginning to learn English, so it was a nice touch.

'I'm in no official capacity there,' Romer says. 'I just try my best to make it easier for him.'

Amazingly, Romer has no training in the Spanish language. He lived in Italy for a while and speaks Italian.

'I've traveled through Mexico and sort of picked up on the language based on my knowledge of Italian,' he says.

• Global Spectrum representatives have been in discussions with Pac-10 Properties about having the Rose Garden as a future site for the Pac-10 men's basketball tournament. The contract with Los Angeles' Staples Center ends after the 2007 event in March, so it could be held in Portland as soon as 2008.

Global Spectrum, incidentally, is not actively pursuing a sponsor for naming rights of the Rose Garden, though it recently negotiated a deal with Lexus for the arena's club level. A title sponsor would likely bring in $2 million to $4 million annually. It's bound to happen someday.

• Local tennis luminaries Roger McKee and Brian Parrott are in the planning stages of a major doubles event in the city. The idea is to bring in some of the world's top doubles players for an eight-team invitational that could be staged at Mountain Park Racquet Club, where McKee is head pro, and perhaps at the Chiles Center, venue for many major exhibitions in the past.

Parrott, the director of the 1981 and '84 Davis Cup ties that were staged in Portland, figures it could be a world-class event. Parrott and McKee are working behind the scenes to arrange potential sponsorship.

Doubles players have been dumped on by the Association of Tennis Professionals, which has decreased prize money and tournament spots over the last year, so a major event designed specifically for doubles would be attractive to them. Parrott's son, Travis, a Portlander currently 61st in the world, would participate.

Other possibilities: No. 1 team Bob and Mike Bryan and broadcasting brothers Luke and Murphy Jensen, the 1993 French Open champions. Luke Jensen, incidentally, serves with either hand and was a two-time Davis Cupper.

The Bryans and Travis Parrott played in an exhibition in Portland last December.

And why not John and Patrick McEnroe? John has long been tied to Nike Inc., and Parrott's relationship with him goes back more than 25 years.

• Speaking of relationships, Parrott used a couple last weekend in Newport Beach, Calif., for prodigy Brandon Wei, a 17-year-old junior who helped Parrott's Oregon Episcopal School team to the state 3A/2A/ 1A championship last spring.

Wei got several hours of instruction from former ATP top-25 player Robert Van't hof, the coach for Lindsay Davenport, and legendary Pancho Segura. Van't hof wouldn't accept payment, a way of saying thanks for his participation in Parrott's Louisiana-Pacific Invitational in Portland from 1978-86.

'Money can't buy the lessons Brandon learned from those two gentlemen,' Parrott says.

• Portland's Donny Reynolds has been hired by Atlanta as a scout and to handle some duties in the Braves' minor league system. The former University of Oregon standout, who played parts of three seasons as an outfielder with the San Diego Padres, joins fellow Corvallis native Kurt Kemp, recently hired as the Braves' director of pro personnel.

• Former Oregon State forward Nick DeWitz has signed a contract to play for a pro team in Spain this season.