Category Archives: Uncategorized

Steal your Thunder

Really?

Really?

So it finally happened. The former Sonics franchise officially renamed itself the Thunder. Ugh. No one should be surprised. This shit leaked weeks ago. Still, now that it’s official I can start ragging on them. OKC is my new least favorite team in the NBA, surpassing New Orleans and the Knicks easily.

Their new logo sucks, their color scheme is putrid and the team itself stinks to high heaven. I’ll be following the Blazers this year and welcoming all the former Sonics fans to Rip City.

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Nooooooooooooooo!

Keep MLS out of Portland!

Keep MLS out of Portland!

Portland, Ore. – Portland city leaders are willing to talk about borrowing as much as $75 million to help bring Major League Soccer to Portland.

At a news conference today, City Commissioner Randy Leonard and Merritt Paulson, owner of the Portland Timbers and the Portland Beavers, agreed it will take public participation to help turn the Rose City into a big-league sports town.

Paulson is applying for one of two MLS expansion teams that will begin play in 2011. If he succeeds, he wants city help making $40 million in improvements to PGE Park downtown and building a new home for the Triple A Beavers. A new minor-league park could cost $35 million.

Wow that sounds like a great idea! Let’s waste $75 million on a fucking MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER team, which in itself is an oxymoron because there is nothing major about soccer in the U.S., and the group of teams that make up MLS can hardly be considered a “league,” unless it’s a league like the one you play in on Wednesdays after a long day at the office.

To the city of Portland: No one cares! Give up! Don’t waste my fucking tax money! Look at it this way: soccer is SOOOO unpopular I could only find one decent pic when I typed “Major League Soccer” into google. That is just sad. Honestly, I’d rather see the city pursue an arena football team, or look into buying the Seahawks, changing their name to the Thunder and relocating them to Lincoln High School for a couple years while a new stadium is built.

Is that just piling on Seattle fans? Still, it’s more likely to happen than Portland getting an MLS team and actually having fans support it for an extended period of time. Portland City Commisioner Randy Leonard says there’s risk, like the risk he took when he got in his car this morning. No….it’s more like the risk you take by making out with an electrical socket—it might not kill you, but there’s no fucking point in the first place.

So here’s the question, Beer Gardeners: Are you excited for MLS in Portland?

A win is a win. Does that comfort PSU fans?

Vikings stud Bobby McClintock dives for the endzone.

Vikings stud Bobby McClintock dives for the endzone.

Wow that was ugleeeee! Portland State kicked off its second season under Jerry Glanville with a 31-14 win over Division II bully Western Oregon. Overall, it was a pretty disheartening win, if such a thing exists. The Vikings had three times as many penalty yards as rushing yards and spent the entire first half looking confused, disinterested and finally, just plain frustrated. Vikings starting QB Tygue Howland didn’t even last a half. Many of the others looked as if they wished they could join him on the sidelines.

After skulking back to the locker room with a tenuous 7-0 lead, the Vikings let back-up QB Drew Hubel (he of the 9 TD performance against Weber State last year) take the reins, and the kid did alright. He went 28-40 with 305 yards and a pick, and did enough to matriculate the ball into the redzone, which is where bruising Bobby McClintock took over and punched in three second-half TDs to go along with his first-quarter score.

Let’s be clear, Vikings: play this way against UC Davis in two weeks and risk being absolutely embarrassed. There’s lots wrong, starting with the team’s mental discipline and ending with the brewing quarterback controversy. Personally, I don’t see that there’s even a real choice—Tygue Howland is through, which is sad because the dude’s only played in four career games.

But if the Vikings think they have a real shot at doing ANYTHING productive this year, then they must let Hubel continue to start. The offense looked crisper and much more comfortable with him behind center. I was on the field to snap some shots, and I could hear no panic in Hubel’s voice as he directed four workmanlike second-half scoring drives. Howland is probably going to have to Tonya Harding Hubel if he hopes to reclaim his starting role. One guy got the job done. The other guy didn’t. Sorrrrry.

The Vikings take next week off then travel to Davis, California. They are 1-0. Enjoy it.

Back at it

Former PSU star Shaun Bodiford.

Former PSU star Shaun Bodiford.

Portland, Ore. – Standing composed and confident on the Stott Community Field following Portland State’s short walk-through Friday morning, the glimmering smile on Tygue Howland’s face was tough to miss.

The beaming grin that the junior quarterback owned followed a few short words that encapsulate his more than three years in the South Park Blocks.

“I’ve been waiting three years for this,” Howland said.

The this Howland is referring to is, of course, the Vikings’ matchup with Western Oregon Saturday at 1:05 p.m. at PGE Park.

The Vikings are back in action Saturday afternoon with a must-win matchup against Western Oregon to kick off the 2008 season. Vanguard beat writer Nate Hellman has the scoop, which apparently is that Vikings starting QB Tygue Howland still has a lot he must prove, especially since he’s only thrown 13 completions in just three career games.

If you’re a Vikings fan, that isn’t heartening news. I’m not usually a hater, but there are few things that cause me more pessimism than Portland State football. We all know Jerry Glanville isn’t going to put a decent team on the field until at least next year, and we all know that there are huge problems with everything from the O-line to the itty-bitty running backs that Mouse Davis is trying to turn into receivers.

The Oregonian picked the Vikings to go 5-6 this year. They’re going to be lucky if they win four games, and that is being generous. Let me put it this way: lose THIS game, and the program will be destroyed for years to come. Actually, I think Vanguard sports editor Skyler Archibald put it this way: lose this game and it will literally ruin your program for a bit. Agreed.

Beat Western Oregon, then we’ll worry about confidence and dreams fulfilled. If Howland can keep his knees intact, that’ll be a victory in itself.

Note: The dude about to score a TD is former Vikings player Shaun Bodiford, a good guy with a motor mouth who is now, I believe, a kick returner and wide out with the Green Bay Packers.

Last images of the Duck

The Big Man, the day of his death.

The Big Man, the day of his death.

The Blazers sent these pics of Kevin Duckworth to Vanguard sports editor Skyler Archibald, who hooked up the Beer Garden. These were taken on Monday, just hours before his death. They are a fascinating glimpse into what Blazers media wiz Bill Evans calls “the essence of the man we knew.”

The Blazers are hosting a memorial service at the Memorial Coliseum Saturday morning starting at 11 a.m.  Parking at the Rose Garden will be free to the public. Come pay your last respects to a local legend. The Beer Garden will have a report from the service.

Doing what he loved best.

Doing what he loved best.

Sad day for Blazers fans

Kevin Duckworth. Seeya later on down the road.

Kevin Duckworth. Seeya later on down the road.

Sad news, as most of you have probably heard: Kevin Duckworth is dead, after suffering congestive heart failure. Too bad, because the Duck was one of the true characters from those early ’90s teams. He was also a key component of their success during the Blazers’ two runs to the NBA Finals, one year averaging 18 points and eight boards a game. Duck was a big, sweet-natured man who never wanted to leave Portland and never stopped loving the Trail Blazers.

Not that you couldn’t see Duckworth’s death coming from miles away. I saw Duckworth last November at a Detroit Pistons game. Like many retired pro athletes, Duck didn’t much resemble the man he was during his playing days. He’d gained a lot of weight and was literally wide as a truck, but he’d remained active with the Blazers, supporting them in the community with a smile and stories from the glory days of Rip City. That’s what he was doing on the Oregon Coast when he died.

But that fall night last year he was at the Rose Garden there to be honored alongside former teammates Terry Porter, Clyde Drexler and Jerome Kersey during a halftime ceremony. I was there covering the game for the Vanguard and had a chance to speak with Duckworth.

It had been a particularly cold fall night, and I remember entering the media room with a chill. The Glide sat at a table in the front of the buffet line, TV lights shining on his bald head. He conducted court, smiling, regal. Drexler owns this city, and he owns the Portland media especially. As they fawned over their returning hero, Kevin Duckworth sat on a painfully small chair and dabbed at the beads of glistening sweat collecting on his brow.

“How’s it going, Duck?” I asked, trying to be casual.

“Going good,” he wheezed in a surprisingly soft voice. “Going good.”

I introduced myself and asked him a couple of questions. He was excited to be back. He loved the Blazers and the fans. Standard stuff, but I could tell something was wrong. Duck was really laboring, even a year ago.

I said goodbye and thanked him for his time. He thanked me for speaking with him, which I thought was odd. He seemed genuinely appreciative.

In case you need some proof that I don’t just have a wild imagination, some photographic evidence below. The Glide in all his glory, sitting at the press conference table.

The Glide last November.

The Glide last November.

Vikings football: sneak peek

The Vikings face Western Oregon on August 30 at PGE Park.

The Vikings face Western Oregon on August 30 at PGE Park.

Portland, Ore. — Like a ticking time bomb nearing its explosion point, the hours before the Vikings hit the field against Western Oregon are quickly shedding off.

The dial now reads seven days until season number two under head coach Jerry Glanville officially begins, when Portland State takes on the Wolves at PGE Park next Saturday afternoon.

And despite Glanville’s remarks that his squad is far from ready for live game action, offensive coordinator Darrell “Mouse” Davis believes the offense is shaping up nicely.

“We’re much better than a few weeks ago,” Davis said about his offensive unit.

Nate Hellman, ace beat reporter and sometime-editor of the Vanguard, Portland State’s daily student newspaper, has the scoop from the Vikings football practices. There is literally no other place on the web to get this much in-depth information on the Vikings than Hellman’s football blog. Check it religiously.

However, there’s something I have to say: the Vikings are going to get railed this year. Good god, they only went 3-8 last year and have a bunch of unproven running backs trying to play receiver. That sounds like a recipe for disaster, even in the abysmal Big Sky Conference. If they even flirt with going .500 this year I’ll tip my fucking cap. Until then, I’ll keep saying what I always say about Portland State football: When does basketball season start?