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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tonight's Portland Beavers attendance: 250 to 350

We had several witnesses at tonight's Portland Beavers baseball game at PGE Park (outstanding mortgage: $26 million), and the witnesses' estimates of the actual attendance ranged from 250 to 350. This while the Paulson team announced a blatantly false "attendance" of 1,625. My eye! Here are some telltale photos:

For this the taxpayers of Portland are going to spend $55 million and build a new stadium? What a sick joke.

Comments (37)

This makes me wonder why the city is even bothering to build a new baseball stadium at all. Certainly Paulson wants one, since he owns the baseball team, but his team is obviously not very popular.

If we're going down the path publicly financed stadium madness, it would make sense to just convert PGE Park to soccer / American football only and provide no new public stadium for the Beavers (who would presumably move to another city). Obviously this proposal wouldn't happen, since the baseball people would go nuts (despite their never actually attending baseball games), but it makes more sense than the current plan.

With portable bleachers, you could make PGE Park work for both MLS and AAA baseball. But it wouldn't be a monument to anyone's ego, and so guys like Paulson and the mayor have no interest.

If MLS doesn't like it, it's MLS who should be walking. We don't have them now, and we don't need them.

Jack. As a baseball fan let me inform you that they always announce the paid attendance at ball games, not the gate. Missing season ticket holders count. This time Paulson isn't trying to fool anyone. That's the way it works in baseball for a hundred years.

BTW. Lighten up. It is a badge of honor to attend baseball games in Portland in April. It is cold and sometimes raining. I was at a game on a night with fewer people in the stands. The great Jack Cain, owner of the little Rockies, delivered hot chocolate to those of us crazy enough to be there.

This isn't a baseball town. Never will be. The fans, families, come out when the kids are out of school and the nights are warm. The real baseball fans, they were in the stands tonight. I wish I could have been there.

And while I'd love a cozy little ballpark for Triple A games, really I would, I won't budge an inch on the insanity of letting the MLS, a self-serving mayor and yet another spoiled rich kid ram an idiot deal down our thoats in the middle of an economic meltdown.


Of course. Official "attendance" numbers are virtually always padded compared with those who actually show up. But in deciding how much extra revenue this enterprise is going to generate beyond ticket sales, it's important to note that there are only 300 people there to buy overpriced concessions.

And are you telling me there are upwards of 1300 season ticket holders who were being counted tonight?

The weather card is interesting, but it doesn't entirely explain the same anemic turnouts the last two nights. The fact that the Beavers are not connecting with local fans is apparent.

Have to agree with JHB. It was freezing tonight, especially after two glorious days. I'm sure Civic Stadium felt just like San Francisco's old Candlestick Park in July.

I do, however, go to Bevo games when the weather gets warmer. Not that any of this makes a case one way or other for the Paulson boondoggle.

It was freezing tonight, especially after two glorious days.

The attendance was just about as bad on both of the glorious days.

Even in a new stadium, the Beavers are going to play outdoor ball in Portland in April and May. That element is not going to improve at all, ever.

If you think these pictures look pathetic, you should see the crowd trying to do the Wave.

If you thought the Maytag man was lonely, try being a scalper at this gig.

I heard a vendor say, "For this I changed the hot dog water?"

Everbody came dressed as seats


Clearly we just need to increase the creature comforts (and construction budget) to draw in more fans. A few ideas:

Heated seats with magic fingers.

Handrest video replays.

Oxygen masks (to help keep patrons awake).

Auto-deployable foul ball netting.

If we are ever going to pay off the construction loans, we need to get fans in the seats. We should spare no expense.

Average attendance at Portland Beaver games in recent years has been about 5,500 people per game, so the poor attendance we're seeing this month isn't representative of the Beavers season-long attendance. However, 5,500 fannies in the seats for 72 nights just isn't enough to justify remodeling a perfectly good stadium that is still $27 million in debt.

At least there were no lines for the restrooms.

The argument that the Beavers will draw better in a smaller stadium is the one that really pisses me off. Find me one person, just one, that can honestly say, "I didn't go to the game because there were so many empty seats it wasn't fun." Complete load of horses**t.

Yup. They count paid attendance.

Baseball in Portland will always average between 5,000 - 6,000 in a 72 game season. Always has, always will. There are a few big attendance nights. The low cost beer night on Thursdays is a 9,000 person frat party. Portlanders are warm weather fans who wake up after the Rose Festival. BTW, for a family of 4, good seats at a AAA baseball is one of the last remaining sports bargains, unlike the overrated Paul Allen show. Oddly, smaller parks seem to drive attendance in other places.

A 9,000 person frat party? I hope you don't think that's a selling point.

Bill: If smaller parks seem to drive attendance in other places then I suggest that it's because the owners aren't paying so much for the structure that they have some money to spend on the kind of nonsense that seems to be the draw in AAA ball -- the circus that surrounds the game.

On a blank sheet of paper, you'd certainly agree that anything built for Portland AAA baseball should be in the range of 7500 seats with options to expand a bit to 9000.

But we don't have a blank sheet of paper by a long shot.

I think we're in a make-do time in this country. People are patching up clothes and shoes. Kids are getting more used clothes from their older siblings.
I think the Beavers fans should just make do with a stadium that's too big for them.
MLS shuts down huge parts of their stadiums to try and get a crowd together.
Maybe they could use it here. You'd figure the crowd in these pictures would huddle together just for the warmth.

It is interesting in the ocean of happy talk about how popular every thing's going to be, that there's an admission that the Beavers will never draw more than a certain point. What about when the Rose Quarter entertainment center opens and thousands flock to see that? Won't it be a shame to have to turn them away from such a tiny ballpark?

It's interesting to see where the proponents of this plan choose to be realistic. Interesting and rare.

With attendance like this, they could use Lents Park just the way it sits, and save the millions for schools, police and the Sellwood bridge.

"If MLS doesn't like it, it's MLS who should be walking."

Don Garber, MLS Commissioner, is threatening to do just that in DC despite the fact that DC United is MLS's most successful team.

The problem there? RFK Stadium is too big, doesn't have private boxes and other amenities, and the team owners' "stake in game-day revenue" is not big enough.

Is that what this deal is actually about: giving the Paulsons a bigger share of game-day soccer revenues? Does the proposed financing scheme support such a conclusion?


Gee, it seems like just yesterday that the MLS crowd was trumpeting the stadium deal in Washington as an example of all that is right in the world.

I have another question. How do you "average" 8,000 fans per game in a stadium that holds 8,000? That would require a sell-out every night! I don't think there is enough cheap beer in Portland to pull that off.

Portland is ripe for Arena Baseball. It could use Memorial Stadium as is and enliven the Rose Quarter in the summer months.

All this ripping on Paulson is fodder for the trustee invoking the spendthrift clause on junior. Junior's guarantee isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

Amazing that this boondoggle/taxpayer theft is still on the table.
Read the Trib today. Gresham gets it, so does Ted Wheeler. They are eliminating positions, freezing wages, setting aside projects, passing on new purchases; you know, all the sometimes painful things that you need to do in a recession in order to ride out a tough economic period and be financially prudent. Sam, Randy, Dan and the two spineless drones, what have you done to pare things down to fit the economic scale we now face?

As a genuine Beavers fan and afficionado of the high level of baseball to be experienced at PCL games, I can tell you that for the first time ever I am boycotting games at Civic Stadium, precisely because of Richie Rich Paulson reaching into the city's public money. I seriously wonder how many other folks are doing the same -- staying away in droves to make a point.

I am enough of a fan to say that this is not easy, particularly with regards to tomorrow's day game. It is, however, made slightly easier by the unbelievable increase in ticket prices since Richie Rich's father bought him the team.

Arena BBall , YESSS , that is brilliant. I would only add that they could use whiffle ball bats and balls , mannn can you throw a curve ball with those nutty balls!!

Gen Ambrose: Are you aware that the Seattle Mariners have several seating options under $20.00 a seat? And they play the San Diego Padres (the Beavers are their AAA farm team) in June?
Sure it's a three hour drive, but you can park by the nearby railroad tracks for free. And it's a great stadium to catch a baseball game at.

Too perfect:

I would think any person familiar with sports and attending sporting events would know that the attendance figures are for the number of tickets sold and not for the number of people in attendance.

Brings to mind George Orwell's superb essay from 1946, "Politics and the English Language," which begins:

Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our language -- so the argument runs -- must inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.

Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers.

If they didn't want us to think attendance figures meant attendance, they'd call them something else.

Y'know...When it comes to the Civic Stadium ("Civic Stadium is a public resource, PGE Park is private advertising."), why is it that nobody talks about the elephant in the room?

Every time I've been in the stadium, I always ask about that right field wall and what is above it.

Why is it that one entire view of the arena does not have to pay? Or, do they? If they don't, then there's your source for the additional monies...the Portland Athletic Club. Now, they ought to have both the financial resources (amongst their members) as well as the motivation to pungle up.

So...Why are they always ignored and not even addressed as financial supporters?

Maybe because Civic Stadium used to be part of their facility? Part of the deal to co-opt it to the City was free attendance via the balconies and bleachers at the MAC.

Meanwhile .. while we all have been sucked into spending valuable time debating this ....

CoP debt clock (before discussion of all this) = ???

CoP debt clock (tonight) = ???

Screen grab time.

Mike (the other one):

Do you have the supporting data on that, or is it just a stab-in-the-dark guess?

Even if it were, I'd think that the multiple renovations would have nullified any such provisions. If it is some kind of restrictive covenent, then I say, pitch the stadium and go without either baseball or soccer. I'm tired of catering to the snotty types...uh, snooty types...and the MAC qualifies as grade-A, number one, finest kind snooty outfit. Screw 'em...make them fill it and make money out of it.

What happens if CoP fails to keep up the mortgage payments, anyway. Who will claim it and run it? Why couldn't the city just sell the thing to get their money back and get out of the professional athletic promotion business. I'm tired of paying for this useless crap that serves me in absolutely no way at all. For the amount of money I'm already paying as a taxpayer, I should be allowed in FREE.

Wikipedia indicates the MAC initially built the stadium. It seems likely that any deal giving/selling the stadium to the city probably had some sort of provision allowing them to keep that view.

Yes, but where else can the common man have his own personal beer and pretzel vendor?

There's a little access road/driveway that runs between the MAC club and the stadium that is on MAC club property. That access needs to be there in order for the stadium to meet code and be operational. And I believe part of the deal in letting the stadium have an easement to use that bit of land is that the MAC club gets to keep their view of the stadium.

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