A column full of notes — including thoughts on Mike Parker, pro baseball's return to the Portland area and a strong Pre Classic
Odds and ends as we wrap up another busy sports week ...
• A couple of readers asked why I hadn't weighed in on the Mike Parker situation.
Part of it is I was working on a couple of other things on the day I watched the now infamous YouTube video and the story broke.
Mostly, though, it was this: What's the point?
I've heard the argument that Oregon State's radio play-by-play voice is a public figure, thus fair game for any kind of media scrutiny that comes his way.
Over 10-plus years with the Portland Tribune, I've often been critical of subjects as related to their performance in the work place, but have rarely written or drawn conclusions about their personal lives.
If that's my job, sorry, I'm not comfortable with it.
It's a voyeuristic world we live in, and a juicy story for some in the electronic media to have fun with, but I'll abstain.
Dwight Jaynes, in his blog on Comcast SportsNet's website, and Chad Doing, in his commentary as morning host at 95.5 'The Game,' did a beautiful job of putting my feelings on the subject into words.
Parker and I are friendly, but it's probably not fair to call us friends. We've never broken bread together, other than occasionally as part of a larger group of media and OSU officials on a football road trip.
I have the utmost respect for the person he is, though, and the work he does. He is simply one of the best play-by-play men I've heard, at any level.
Perhaps his experience discussing his situation in radio interviews over the last couple of days was cathartic. Certainly, it was humbling. Mike handled it with class, just as I'd expect he would.
OSU Athletic Director Bob De Carolis was wise to give Parker another chance. I, like most of you, expect him to make the most of it.
• At 1 p.m. Friday in a news conference at Clark College in Vancouver, it will be announced that professional baseball is returning to the Portland area.
Details are sketchy, but I'm told it involves having a team play a short-A schedule in the Northwest League beginning in June 2012.
Plans are being made for construction of a new ballpark in Vancouver that would be home for the new team.
I can't wait to hear the details.
• Friends of Baseball, a nonprofit organization that has done much to help promote the sport in the state, is sponsoring a great event May 22 during the Oregon State-Southern Cal baseball game at Goss Stadium in Corvallis.
Those attending are asked to bring a new or like-new piece of baseball or softball equipment - baseballs, softballs, bats, mitts, catcher's gear, batting helps or cleats - to donate to disadvantaged youths. Co-sponsors are PacificSource Health Plans and OSU baseball.
For those who wish to donate but can't attend the game, see friendsofbaseball.org or call 503 781-2249.
• Every year, it seems, promoter Tom Jordan puts together a Prefontaine Classic field that rates as the best ever.
I'm here to tell you the 37th annual Pre Classic - on June 4 at Hayward Field - is definitely the best ever.
'It's certainly the strongest field we've ever had,' says Jordan, in his 28th year as the meet promoter. 'We've entered the top echelon of track meets in the world. We're probably among the top five in the world - unprecedented in U.S. history.'
With Nike's sponsorship and its stable of world-class athletes set to participate, Jordan has a budget-in-kind of nearly $2 million to work with. Thanks in part to its Diamond League affiliation (of 14 international events, only the Pre meet and the Adidas Grand Prix in New York are in the U.S.), prize money is $480,000.
'Fifteen years ago, we'd have two or three names, and we hoped they wouldn't get hurt before the meet,' Jordan recalls. 'Now, we have eight spots in each event, and many of them are ranked among the top 10 in the world.'
Jordan expects a sellout for the 17th straight year, with standing-room bringing the capacity to 12,500. The meet will be televised live on NBC and seen in 160 countries.
For the first time, most of the distance races will be held Friday night - free of charge to spectators.
'That is mainly by request of the athletes,' Jordan explains. 'A lot of people want to run fast - for the Ethiopians and Kenyans, these races will be big as far as selection to World Championship teams. If you're running around noon (in Eugene this time of year), you're going to get a wind down that backstretch. If you want to run fast, the best time is in the evening when the wind has died down.'
For tickets, see goducks.com or call 1-800-webfoot.
• A while back, we published salaries of head coaches and football assistant coaches at Oregon and Oregon State. Chip Kelly (base pay $2.4 million) and his nine assistants made $4.2 million this season. Mike Riley (base pay $1.15 million) and his nine aides made $2.8 million.
At Division I-AA Portland State, it's a different story. Head coach Nigel Burton earned $130,000 in his first full season. His assistants make $24,000 to $87,800 annually. Total of the 10 PSU coaches' salaries: $1.19 million.
The other two Viking coaches making six figures are basketball's Tyler Geving ($117,000) and Sherri Murrell ($100,000). Other head coaches at the school earn $36,500 to $57,600. Athletic Director Torre Chisholm's annual salary is $130,000.
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