Heres to heroes behind the scenes
Credit where credit is due, that's my motto. And here's kudos for some of Portland's best and brightest:
• Joe Etzel Ð A kind man who never sought the spotlight, he's been heading the University of Portland athletic department for so long that nobody can remember who held the position before he had it. I believe the job of an athletic director, even at the high school level, is about as tough and underappreciated as any function at a school.
Joe, who retires in June, has always gone about his work with class and dignity. He has been UP's mostly secret weapon. This is a man who deserves a very happy retirement.
• Jack and Mary Cain Ð Here they come, back on white horses into the middle of professional baseball in Portland again, Mr. and Mrs. Fix-It of PGE Park. May the sun shine on all their home games, and may they find a sweetheart of a Portland Beaver owner who steps in and pays all the past-due bills.
• Steve Patterson and John Nash Ð While gazing at the Blazers and Lakers on the tube this week, it suddenly became obvious that watching the Blazers play is a lot more fun than it was at the start of this season.
For a little while, though, I couldn't identify that quality I saw on the floor from some of the Blazer newcomers. Hey Ñ was that hustle? Yes, I believe it was. And what a welcome sight.
So can we now put away all the tired Jail Blazer stuff for a while? Yes, I know the team still has its knuckleheads. But come on, at least they aren't the main guys, anymore.
• David Kahn Ð Talk about someone able to multitask. The guy is working for the Indiana Pacers, trying hard to get John Edwards elected president and still managing to pull together all the major league baseball interests in Portland.
David, which of those long shots has the best chance Ñ the Pacers winning the NBA title, Edwards getting the Big Job or Portland getting into the big leagues?
'I'm not settling for anything less than a trifecta,' Kahn said this week.
Unbridled optimism is always in short supply around these parts. I welcome it.
• Rich Patterson Ð You have probably heard his name but wouldn't recognize him on the street. He's the ultimate behind-the-scenes guy. Rich has for years produced the radio broadcasts of Blazer games and is also the producer for Bob Miller's morning radio program at KPAM (860 AM). He's a great guy who is obviously quite good at what he does Ñ I just don't know when he sleeps.
• Rob Neyer Ð He lives in Southeast Portland, but you can read his work three times a week on ESPN.com, where he writes a column about major league baseball. It's can't-miss stuff, particularly if you're open-minded about traditional baseball concepts of talent evaluation. If you aren't, he will win you over.