Before Henry Merritt and Charles Randy's New York honeymoon
Back in the days before he realized that he could take Portland taxpayers for a ride because its City Council is so dopey, Little Lord Paulson used to sing the praises of PGE Park as a perfectly wonderful place to play baseball. Local troublemaker Peter Apanel, who's done some homework on this, writes:
My favorite Paulson quote is from the Biz of Baseball website, which posted a lengthy Q&A with Paulson, dated August 14, 2007. When asked about the pros and cons of playing in PGE Park, including the greater-than-average seating capacity, Paulson replied, "Far more benefits than negatives. I mean, most teams would kill for a downtown location like this in a city as big as Portland."Then there is the matter of the park's suitability, in its current configuration, for soccer. Apanel continues:
Then in The Oregonian, on April 15, Paulson had an op-ed piece that described PGE Park as poorly designed for baseball. Paulson wrote, "Regrettably, most of the seats are too far from the field to create the kind of intimate, close-to-the-action experience fans want."
A few days later, I sent an e-mail to Galen Barnett, the online op-ed editor for The Oregonian, with two diagrams of Fenway Park from a 1961 baseball guidebook, which show that PGE Park is a virtual clone of Fenway Park. Barnett posted those diagrams around April 21....
PGE Park's official website is also a great source for quotes.On the conversion point, Apanel offers this:
On June 12, 2003, a press release on PGE Park's website said, "PGE Park is regarded as one of the premier soccer venues in the country." It went on to describe PGE Park as a "world-class" venue, the first stadium to ever be chosen by FIFA to host matches in consecutive FIFA World Cup events (the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup).
Apparently a world-class FIFA venue isn't good enough for MLS.
PGE Park's website also boasts about its staff's ability to quickly convert the stadium from one sport to another. In the case of baseball to football, the conversion has taken as little as three hours. Meanwhile, in [MLS commissioner] Garber's letter to [city commissioner] Saltzman, Garber writes, "There is no cost-effective method to convert from baseball to soccer that provides a professional quality field."
Paulson wants seating for soccer at field level in the east end of the stadium, which is the only substantive issue standing between the Timbers and Beavers continuing to share PGE Park. One interesting point to note is that a soccer field is up to 80 feet wider than a football field, so the distance between the far sideline for soccer and the left field fence is actually far shorter than most people imagine. (If you look up PGE Park on Yahoo Maps, then click on the satellite image, the photo they use happens to show the overlapping outlines for baseball, football, and soccer.) So, it would be fairly easy to come up with a plan to have removable seats that could be set up for soccer, and then removed for baseball. As an example of what's possible, look at the Rose Garden, where the first 10 rows all the way around the arena are removable. And keep in mind that even with overlapping baseball and soccer schedules, there would only be 10 times each season when those seats would have to be changed out. That's nothing compared to what a major touring rock band goes through on a nightly basis. And then, after the end of baseball season, those seats could be left up for PSU football games.Ah, but not without Merritt.
And on and on it goes, when you start vetting Paulson's and Garber's claims. I've been looking for a polite word that means "bulls**t," and the best word I've come up with so far is "specious," which Webster's Dictionary defines as something without merit.