Tag Archives: Portland State

The Beer Garden Strikes Back

...and we're back.

...and we're back.

Okay…so we’re back after an egregious break. A hell of a lot has happened since Sept. 16, the last time we posted. First of all, Bar Refaeli is on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue this year and, mostly because of that, this blog has blown up to over 112,000 hits. And John Smoltz is a Red Sox! Strange times, indeed.

In a closer orbit, the Portland State men’s basketball team is about to implode if they don’t find some leadership and a little more consistent shooting. But their biggest problem might be the one they simply can’t solve: The Vikings lack an inside presence. One of their toughest inside guys, Julius Thomas, is just 6-5, and taller players like Kyle Coston roam the outside. It’s an odd team this year, and it makes one pine for last year’s model, which featured 6-11 bruiser [uh, literally more like jaw smasher] Scott Morrison and dynamic wing Deonte Huff.

Vanguard sports editor Skyler Archibald is on board with my lack of inside presence theory. Check http://www.dailyvanguard.com for the latest Vikings coverage.

So what does the future hold? Well, it’s spring training, the interminably long NBA season has finally ground its way past the All-Star break, the Bruins are in first place, and Pitt just creamed UCONN. All that means we’re going to have plenty to talk about in the coming months, and the Beer Garden will be there, if only to enjoy the ride.

Oh, and one more thing: Bar Refaeli is just insanely hot.

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Kebba Tolbert out as PSU track coach

gone as track coach at PSU.

Kebba Tolbert: gone as track coach at PSU.

As I sit in a terribly boring meeting, a little birdie has told me that Kebba Tolbert has resigned as PSU track and field coach. This is not official yet, but it is definitely happening. Check back for more later.

The final word…for now

The old ballpark.

The old ballpark.

I’ve opened a real hornet’s nest with my anti-MLS, anti-PGE Park stance. I wrote a poorly researched blog entry about it and now I’ve got a (very small) army of soccer supporters with their panties in a pretty tight wind. Let me reiterate some key points, then I’m going to put the matter to rest and start talking about normal things, like how much I hate Sarah Palin.

First, PGE Park was just renovated in 2001, which is really not that long ago. The cost was $38.5 million, and surprise, surprise, it’s still being paid off. Now Randy Leonard says he want to use ticket sales to pay for the new renovation costs and the cost of building a new park for the Beavers in the Lents neighborhood, a price tag which could reach past $75 million. That’s a LOT of ticket sales.

If this does happen, the one huge benefit will be to the struggling Lents neighborhood, which is stuck in the armpit of 205 and Foster Rd. Still, it would be highly unfortunate for the Beavs to move out of PGE Park. They have enough problems getting people to come to their games without relocating 120 blocks away from downtown. As Allison mentioned in her comment, the Beavers are getting less than 6,000 people a game. Again, thanks for the info, Allison.

The benefit to the PSU football team is indeed exciting, although again, it’s not so much about the venue as it is the product in this case. When the team was winning big in the 1980s under Pokey Allen, PGE Park (then called Civic Stadium) routinely sold out. The Vikings haven’t had a sellout since joining the Big Sky and resigning themselves to playing Division I-AA (now called Football Championship Series) ball. The team sucks this year, and probably will continue to do so for an indeterminate amount of time. To be fair, Jerry Glanville usually has a good third year. Then he leaves.

The bottom line is this: I dislike American soccer, I don’t have faith in the MLS as a league and I’m scared by any plan that involves banking on ticket sales to pay back millions of dollars. I can obviously see the benefits the plan has to PSU, but I’m not sure that team deserves a new stadium at this point. If they rattle off a few wins, I’ll eat crow. Until then, I’ll laugh.

I don’t hate people who watch soccer, but at least some of you out there must admit that getting an MLS team won’t make this city any more “major league.” It’ll entertain you, and it would benefit certain groups, but the one thing it won’t affect is legitimacy. Not this city’s. Not other teams. Not yours for watching.

Side note:  Your insults are appreciated! It’s a huge compliment to both me and the site that so many people are pissed off over a harmless little thing like an opinion. Next week I’m going to talk about how much I hate kittens and puppies. If you think soccer fans are dangerous, wait til you see PETA up in arms.

Improve the product, not the venue

The boisterous Timbers Army.

The boisterous Timbers Army.

Uh oh. The Beer Garden has pissed off the Timbers Army! Let me reiterate my point: I don’t care if it’s my money that goes into renovating PGE Park and building a new stadium in the Lents neighborhood or not. I just don’t think it’s a good idea, and that’s nothing against the sport of soccer per se, even though I’m certainly among the majority of Americans in my total ambivalance to the sport. Yeah, the world loves it. The world also loves cricket, and team handball. Should I feel guilty for being excited about the start of the NFL season?

Thousands of Portlanders care about soccer. That’s true. However I don’t believe that 20,000 people will turn out every time the MLS team plays, and that’s what they’d need. Even the Blazers don’t always manage a sellout, and they’re an NBA franchise. The Beavers have drawn poorly, with the Timbers doing even worse in home attendance. Portland State can barely get 8,000 fans at football games, even though the school has 25,000 students.

Maybe it’s the venue, and if so, then maybe this plan makes sense. But maybe it’s the product. And if that’s the case, you could play your games at Qwest Field and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. Improve the product. Then think about getting fans through the doors. Nobody wants to watch minor league sports, which is exactly what MLS is.
Update: Reader Allison Andrews burns me with some sweet attendance info. Check it out.

“Beavers average attendance: 5,607 this year, which is 9th out of 16 teams in the Pacific Coast League.  They averaged 5,478 last year.

Timbers average attendance: 8,249 this year, which is a 21% increase over last year (6,828), which was a 22% increase over the year before.  They are 2nd in the league out of 11 teams this year.”

Thanks, Allison! Great info, something I obviously didn’t take the time to collect. Perhaps this proves my point even better, however. The Timbers are indeed drawing well compared to the other teams in their league, but they are not drawing well enough to support an MLS team, at least in my opinion. The US Open Cup was recently played in front of less than 8,300 people. The sport is not healthy. That’s my main argument for not acquiring an MLS team. Heck, a team might draw well in Portland. Really well. But I don’t have much faith in the health of the league overall. EuroCup sure was fun, though.

Goodbye to the Oregonlive Vikings blog

In a tragic turn of events, the Oregonlive Vikings blog has died. Well, euthanized would be a better word. It’s proprieter and content generator Ian Ruder decided that after almost 700 posts, it was time to hang up the keyboard and pursue other interests. Since I’d become used to sporadic postings, I only caught wind of this today.

I worked with Ian many years ago, during my first year at PSU. He’s a talented writer, a solid reporter and an insightful observer of everything Portland State. His commentary will be missed.

In the meanwhile, check out the Vanguard sports section for all the latest news.

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.