Portland Gets Baseball!

Well, sort of.

Portland, Oregon, which lost its professional baseball team last year to a professional soccer team, will be treated to (some) Los Angeles Dodgers games this season on a local FM station. Granted, we -- I live in Portland -- already have the Mariners and the Giants on the radio. But Vin Scully's still got his voice and we'll happily take whatever we can get.

It's an odd thing, though, Portland without its own baseball team.

Until this year, the Portland area was the most populous metropolitan area in the U.S. with a Triple-A baseball team. Now that dubious honor goes to Sacramento.

With roughly 2.3 million people, the Portland area's got more people than Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Milwaukee. And Portland is growing faster than any of those others (actually, Cleveland's not growing at all). It seems inevitable that Portland, which figures to be a top-20 market within 10 years, will someday host a Major League Baseball franchise.

Of course, that seems a long way off when the city can't even support a Pacific Coast League team in style. Despite being the largest Triple-A market, Portland's attendance annually ranked near the bottom of the league. My guess is that Portland's next professional team will play in the short-season Northwest League, taking advantage of the beautiful summers out here.

And perhaps someday the local fans won't mind the mists of April and May so much, if they've got a big-league team to watch.

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