Baseball needs deep pockets, wherever they are
The stories behind the stories:
• Baseball ownership: Yeah, big scoop in the daily newspaper Ñ there's nobody, locally, willing to step up and own a major league baseball team in Portland. Shocking news, right?
I mean, come on Ñ the Trail Blazers have never had local ownership. Larry Weinberg lived in California, and Seattle never seems as far away as it does when you think about Paul Allen and the Blazers. Even the Portland Beavers haven't always had local ownership. Joe Buzas came from Pennsylvania to run the team, and Bill Cutler was in California.
Fact is, even though the local rich guys don't seem to see a value in sports ownership, there probably are some very rich people who believe that major league baseball can work in Portland. They just don't happen to live in Oregon.
nÊNBA expands playoffs: For years, and I mean more than a decade, coaches and media have campaigned for the first round of the playoffs to be expanded from a best-of-five series to a best-of-seven.
It was a long overdue move when Commissioner David Stern finally announced last weekend that the league was going to the longer format. That said, it absolutely stinks that it's going to happen this season, for one reason: the Los Angeles Lakers.
It looks as if the NBA is panicked about the possibility of a Lakers-Sacramento or Lakers-Dallas matchup in the first round. The league is worried that it can't get enough TV mileage out of a best-of-five series. Or it's worried that, heaven forbid, it could lose the Lakers in the first round and lose the biggest ratings magnet.
Either way, there's something sleazy about that. You really shouldn't be changing this year's playoff format during the season, particularly when it appears designed only to benefit a team that is widely perceived as the league's pet anyway.
It's like changing rules in the middle of a game.
nÊMichael Jordan's 'last' All-Star Game: Thank goodness. After all the hype last weekend, it certainly better be his last one.
• Portland wrestling scuttled: There were no tapings last week for the little studio show on KWBP (32), because of state regulations.
With all the funding problems in Oregon, can you believe we're still paying for a state commission that monitors professional wrestling? I mean, if we're not drug-testing professional basketball players, why are we worried about a few guys trying to squeeze out a few bucks doing a fake sport? It's silly. It's stupid. And it's costing us money.
If you want a commission to regulate boxing, that's fine. And you can make it voluntary, the way it was for years, and not pay anybody anything. We don't need the state to monitor either 'sport.' It's ridiculous.