The Majors are heading for a great playoff run

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 8:54am
Cliff Pfenning
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The Major League Baseball playoffs are still a couple months away, but it's not too early to start predicting the teams that are likely to be involved. And, it's going to be a nervous two months for baseball executives watching the wild-card races in terms of who's going to be watching those upcoming playoffs.

They've got some tough numbers to beat, as last year's playoffs produced some of the best ratings in three seasons when the Boston Red Sox beat the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series, and St. Louis Cardinals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League.

This year, it could be the Dodgers against the Washington Nationals, while the Baltimore Orioles play the Oakland A's. That would be something - going from four of the hotbed markets (they were four of the top nine teams in the league for average attendance and filled an average of 90 percent of their stadiums), to only one of the top 12 in terms of attendance, with an average of just 75 percent of their stadiums filled.

And, they would only be in three markets - Baltimore/Washington, D.C., Oakland and Los Angeles.

So, New York Yankees, you've got baseball and television execs pulling for you every game, just as they're pulling for the Tigers and Los Angels Angels in the American League. They're pulling for the Cardinals, Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants in the National League.

Gonna be a great playoff run, not only on the field, but in the stands and on television.

2014 US Open Preview, No Roofball not Tennis

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 8:52am
Derek Weber
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Last seen: 15 weeks 1 hour ago
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We’re 4 days away from the 16th annual US Open. 

On August 17 24 players will compete for the 16th annual US Open. Defending Champion Derek Weber (hey that's me!), will try to defend his back to back titles against eight time champ, Casey Campbell, six time champ Dan O’Reilly and four time champs Adam Willis and Buddy Emmons. Jason Richard a 3 time champ looks to win his 4th title out of 5 tournements ever played.

Other competitors include:

Steve Stupey – 2009 US Open Champ and 2014 RFA Cup Champ

Beth Willis – 14 time woman’s champion

Amy Determan – Two time woman’s champion

If you’re interested in learning more check out where you can find out more about the rules, players and records. Interested in showing up watching or possibly playing? Email

Simonton is a great choice

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 9:20am
oregon club
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Ken Simonton, who ran for more than 5,000 yards during his four seasons at Oregon State, was among the list of five inductees who joined the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame during the annual ceremony at the Multnomah Athletic Club.

Dave Husted, Lindsey Yamasaki, Barry Adams and Harry Merlo joined the Hall as the Class of 2013/14 during the ceremony.

Simonton reached the national sports scene as a freshman in 1998 when he ran for 1,028 yards, becoming only the second freshman to pass the 1,000-yard barrier in the Pac-10s history. As a junior, he led the Beavers to an 11-1 record and win over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Prior to his senior season, Sports Illustrated had him on its cover along with Oregon's Joey Harrington as Heisman Trophy contenders.

After finishing his collegiate career with 5,044 yards, he played briefly in the NFL, NFL Europe and the Canadian Football League before retiring in 2008.

Husted established himself as one of America's top bowlers after turning pro in 1978. He won 14 PBA Tour events, including the U.S. Open three times, and had career earnings of more than $1 million.

Yamasaki led Oregon CIty to four OSAA girls basketball titles (1995-98), before playing at Stanford for four seasons. She played briefly in the WNBA, and professionally in Europe before retiring in 2006.

Adams coached high school basketball for 40 years, and won 656 games and a pair of state titles. He also operated the Cascade Sports Camp for 40 years.

Merlo was a long-time supporter of local tennis events and owner of the Portland Timbers for three seasons.


What a playoff season

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 10:05am
Cliff Pfenning
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It's been one of the craziest NBA Playoffs in recent memory, and the lower seed results are starting to drift into the frontal lobes of basketball fans everywhere with a basic question: what if Oklahoma City and Indiana get eliminated in the first round?

That's not just the Thunder and Pacers, respectively, but superstar Kevin Durant and burgeoning superstar Paul George. For the NBA and its TV partners, that would be a huge whack in the gut.

Memphis and Atlanta? In the second round? They each have a 2-1 series lead with a home game coming up this weekend.

Even the Blazers beating Houston in the first round has to be making the NBA shutter as it would take out Superman and constantly media-hyped defensive standout Dwight Howard, and scoring maching James Harden and his beard.

Houston gone, and Portland - hidden out in the Northwest for basketball fans - moving along. Sure, LaMarcus Aldridge has been an All-Star for three consecutive years and has absolutely dominated the series in a historic fashion, but he's never been much of a media personality. His name has rarely been in any offseason headline other than last summer when it was rumored he wanted out of Portland. He denied it quickly, and the story died.

Media hype means viewers.

Fortunately, point guard Damian Lillard is getting some pub through his connection to Adidas, and has started showing up in at least one TV ad. But that's only just starting, and he hasn't gotten into the public eye much in his two years in the league. He's no Steph Curry.

And, it could get worse, too, if Washington upsets Chicago.

The NBA has to be pulling for the Los Angeles Clippers (Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Doc Rivers) and Miami Heat (Lebron, Wade, Bosh) to move along to a Finals duel, which conspiracy theorists might look to as a reason to why Golden State's Curry didn't draw a foul on the final play of its game against the Clippers Thursday night.

Think officiating might be a factor in the Blazers series with Houston for the next week?

Aldrige deserves attention

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 9:03am
Cliff Pfenning
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For all the talk of the offensive power LaMarcus Aldridge had displayed in the first two games of the NBA Playoffs, it was his defense that quietly carried the Portland Trail Blazers to victory Wednesday night.

Aldridge went off for 43 points on 18-of-28 shooting Wednesday, just three nights after scoring 46 points, which put him among NBA greats for playoff output in a two-game stretch.

But, his defense absolutely shut down Houston's Deight Howard, who began the game by scoring the Rockets first 13 points - all in impressive style. At the half, Howard had 25 points, and had TNT commentator Shaquille O'Neal boasting his season-long badgering of the NBA's most intimidating player had finally gotten through. And, he wouldn't shut up about it, even when Charles Barkley tried to get a word in.

Barkley - pro sports best overall commentator - pointed out that whatever Howard had done in the first half, it wasn't going to be enough if the rest of the Rockets didn't fulfill their game they were on the path to another loss.

Aldridge's play garnered only a brief few seconds at the end of the halftime commentary - and it was his offensive output of 23 points.

All the commentators missed out on the work Aldridge did on Howard at the end of the first half and start of the second half. After dominating the game's opening 20 minutes - primarly against Robin Lopez, Howard drew a defensive match-up with Aldridge and scored only one point in the next 16 minutes. Aldridge kept Howard away from dunk territory and forced him to be a shooter. Howard responded by basically throwing the basketball in the direction of the basket, not actually shooting.

Without dunking, Dwight Howard is just a good big man, not the dominating center Shaq slobbered all over at halftime.

Houston is likely to produce the same offensive attack Friday in Game 3, but will also have the freedom to shoot and attack with abandon as the underdog that knows the 2-0 series edge the Blazers have, it's only nine total points that separate the two teams after two games. And, the Rockets have played sub-par in both of those games, while the Blazers have gotten career-defining performances from its top player.

This series is far from over, but not if Aldridge continues his incredible play - and there's nothing to indicate he won't. If that happens, it's not going to take long to look at the rest of the league and wonder if Howard, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, can't stop him, who can?




LMA is the key for Portland

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 11:41am
Cliff Pfenning
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It's no secret the Portland Trail Blazers will go only as far in the playoffs as LaMarcus Aldridge takes them.

The first round series against Houston offers a tremendous opportunity for Aldridge carry an underdog - even one that won 54 games during the regular season - past a huge favorite - the Houston Rockets.

Houston has two fan favorites in center Dwight Howard and shooting guard James Harden, while the Blazers are virtually hidden in the Northwest with a pair of All-Stars on its roster as well - Aldridge and point guard Damian Lillard.

The Rockets have the luxury of directing one of its youngest players, Terrence Jones, to defend Aldridge, with his entire focus during the game simply to stick to Aldridge. That's a huge advantage for the Rockets in that they can direct a player to just hound an opponent's top player. So, if Aldridge were going to assume the leadership role that the Blazers need him to, that's where it starts - with Jones, then the rest of the Rockets.


2014 NBA Playoffs

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 10:39pm
Derek Weber
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Ahh, playoff time.

Let's take a look at the first round of the NBA Playoffs that started Saturday.

Indiana vs. Atlanta - Indiana. Yes, I know they lost the first game.
Miami vs. Charlotte - Miami. Come on.
Toranoto vs. Brooklyn - Brooklyn. The Nets are rolling right now.
Chicago vs. Washington - Chicago. I picked Washington to make the playoffs, not beat a team made for the playoffs.

San Antonio vs. Dallas - San Antonio. The Spurs are killing everyone.
OKC vs. Memphis - OKC. I have them in the finals.
LA Clips vs. Golden State - LA Clips. I don't like them, but I think they are too strong. Hate Griffin.
Houston vs. Portland - Portland. Homer pick. Whichever team hits its 3s will win this one.


Portland heads for long AFL franchise history

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 1:48pm
Cliff Pfenning
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As long as there's an Arena Football League, the Portland Thunder will be playing in it, if only because of its owner, Terry Emmert.

Emmert has been a long-time, hardcore sports fan who's tried to make a name for himself in unique ways such as trying to purchase the Portland Fire of the WNBA from the Trail Blazers.

Now, he's got the Thunder, and has enough money behind him to ensure the only reason the team would fold or move will be his lack of interest. And, that doesn't seem possible.

After watching the Thunder's opener, the main problem with making the franchise a success will be winning ... and the game itself. While the field is shorter and more compact, and the game is promoted as being fast-paced, it's really a slow event. There were a ton of extremely long timeouts during the game, all of them due to television commercials. The down-time made for plenty of on-field promotions, but those can rarely generated any excitement such as the "Kiss Cam," which can't be used for every timeout.

Was the game entertaining? Yes. It's football, and you can't mess up the game unless it's filled with incompletions and just plain poor play. The Thunder had both, and yet it was still entertaining.

But, the commercials made for an extremely long game, which was hard to handle. Playing on a school night, the crowd thinned significantly at halftime, and continued as any suspense dwindled with Portland's poor play in the second half. One of the key parts of the game, which is likely to be the same for every game, is getting a game ball. Fans keep them when they're thrown or kicked into the crowd, which leads to a spirited throng of fans underneath the goal post net after touchdowns.

Monday's game lasted 2 hours, 53 minutes for the 60 minutes of game time. In comparison, a standard Timbers game rarely lasts longer then two hours, Tuesday's Blazers game that included overtime lasted 2 hours, 40 minutes, and a standard Winterhawks game lasts around 2 hours, 15 minutes.

Portland's game Monday was right in line with the rest of the league, which had seven season openers last an average of 2 hours, 45 minutes. That length of a game is frequent in major college football and the NFL, but they feature much more action with longer drives and fewer long timeouts for commercials.

Still, it's football, and with a motivated, commited owner, the Thunder will be at the Moda Center for a long time.




Western Conference Power Rankings #2

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 10:30am
Derek Weber
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Portland remained in the top tier of the conference, but teetering on the brink of  losing homecourt edge in the first round of the NBA Playoffs
  1. San Antonio
  2. Oklahoma City
  3. Houston
  4. Portland
  5. Los Angeles Clippers
  6. Golden State
  7. Memphis
  8. Dallas
  9. Phoenix
  10. Minnesota
  11. New Orleans
  12. Los Angeles Lakers
  13. Denver
  14. Sacramento
  15. Utah

No problem with tickets this year

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 2:33pm
Cliff Pfenning
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After a year of e-mails essentially begging for last-minute ticket purchases, the University of Oregon shouldn't have trouble selling out the 2014 season of home football games.

That's the quick assessment of the six-game home schedule.

Michigan State, which won the Rose Bowl last week, Stanford and Arizona are all on the schedule, with the MSU game even being moved so that it would be played during the day on national television.

Interstate rival Washington will appear in Autzen, as will Colorado.

There's even a Thursday night game for television, too.

And, one of the two "payday" games annually scheduled to rack up some stats against an overmatched opponent, is actually appealing with Wyoming visiting Autzen.

South Dakota, which plays in the Missouri Valley Conference, is the other gimme.

The top road games are at UCLA, at California in the new home of the 49ers, and the Civil War against Oregon State in Corvallis.

A look at the 2014 schedule.

Aug. 30 (Sat.)     South Dakota

Sep. 6 (Sat.)       Michigan State

Sep. 13 (Sat.)     Wyoming

Sep. 20 (Sat.)     @Washington State*

Oct. 2 (Thur.)      Arizona*                                                                  

Oct. 11 (Sat.)      @UCLA*                                                                 

Oct. 18 (Sat.)      Washington* (Homecoming)

Oct. 24 (Fri.)       @California* (Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara)           

Nov. 1 (Sat.)       Stanford*

Nov. 8 (Sat.)       @Utah*

Nov. 22 (Sat.)     Colorado*                                                                

Nov. 29 (Sat.)     @Oregon State*


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