The postseason races start to heat up

SPORTSLAND Episode 15 targets the Dodgers and MLB Playoff races
Aug. 12, 2014

With all that money available, the Los Angeles Dodgers are doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing this summer - winning, and a lot of it - which is the focus of the 15th episode of Sportsland, Oregon, 2014.

As long-time Dodgers fans, hosts Cliff Pfenning and Derek Weber chat up the team and the upcoming possibilities for the MLB Playoffs, as well as a host of other topics that include the NFL, NBA, Pac-12, Timbers, Thorns, even the recreational sport of Roofball.

The Oregon Ducks are ranked anywhere from fourth to ninth in most national polls, which seems like the appropriate spot for the program, at least from past seasons. Coach Mark Helfrich will be in season No. 2, which is plenty of distance from former coach Chip Kelly, who led the team to a National Championship game. Stanford, and likely UCLA, will be in the Ducks way to the first year of the BCS Playoffs, with Michigan State being a big indicator of the program's success in Week 2 of the upcoming season.

It's all recorded at The Pit Stop in Southwest Portland.


Portland throws a party

The soccer world takes in the Rose City, and more on this episode
August 6, 2014

Portland showed off big-time Wednesday night, with the world of soccer playing attention to Soccer City, USA. And, the Major League Soccer All-Stars did their part to represent the nation's league with a 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich at Providence Park.

The joy in Portland and some thoughts on the soccer community were key elements of the 14th episode of Sportsland, Oregon, recorded this week from the Pit Stop in Southwest Portland.

Cast members Cliff Pfenning and Derek Weber, moved to the record crowd at Sunday's NWSL game, then to how soccer challenges basketball and the Trail Blazers for the top sport in the city.

The NFL, Major League Baseball, Ducks and Beavers and even Roofball talk takes up the rest of the podcast.


Blazers season inspired fans

With a playoff series win, what's next for Portland and its faithful?
May 19, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

So, how far can the Portland Trail Blazers go next year with the confidence of a playoff series win and one of the top executives in the NBA?

That's a key topic for the Sportsland, Oregon cast this week as they reflect on the Blazers' season and the challenges of the summer.

Portland finished 16 games over .500 (54-38), which was a drastic improvement from the previous year (33-49) and then won a playoff series for the first time in 14 years. What's next? Free agent signings? Draft-day strategy? What's General Manager Neil Olshay thinking?

Then, it's onto the NFL and the fallout from the Draft, which couldn't come too soon as it was getting ... on the nerves of the populace.

The Timbers, Major League baseball and other topics also come up, recorded from Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland.


Broncos perform a super blowout

Seattle wins in a big, but really disappointing way
Feb. 3, 2014

We're they on the take?

The Denver Broncos played so poorly in Sunday's Super Bowl, it might have caused more than a few fans to wonder if they were giving their version of "Eight Men Out," only on a football field.

Final score 43-8. What a disappointment - from the TV viewer side. Even the commercials were disappointing.

That's the main topic of the third episode of Sportsland, Oregon, recorded at Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland.

Cast members Cliff Pfenning and Derek Weber delve into the game and the many subplots, as well as reflect on the Super Bowl in general - the games worth remembering.

Then, it's onto the Blazers and their two All-Stars - LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard, a 1-2 punch the franchise hasn't had in two decades.

They've been the key to the team's impressive season, as well as a lack of injuries.

The Ducks and Beavers are on the line-up as are the Winter Olympics. And, of course, the first event of the Roofball season, the 2014 World Championships set for Sunday.


Playoff pressure starts to build for Blazers

Sure they can win, but what about the playoffs? And, it's bowl time
Dec. 9, 2013

After wins over Indiana and Oklahoma City in the same week, the Portland Trail Blazers moved up to No. 1 in the weekly Power Rankings produced by Sports Illustrated.

In the Western Conference, though, they're No. 2 - that's the sentiment of the cast of Sportsland, Oregon, from Episode 26 recorded Monday night at Blitz Pearl.

Portland has wins over the Pacers, Thunder and San Antonio Spurs, and have started the season at 18-4, which has them headed for a high playoff seed. But, the playoffs are a different animal and the Blazers haven't been tested there in two seasons. San Antonio, which reached the NBA Finals last season and is 15-4, got the nod in the West Monday, with Portland at No. 2.

Other topics included the Oregon and Oregon State bowl games, the Oregon snow fight scandal and late-game scoring in the NFL, all during the weekly show, which is headed for its fourth season.


Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 - Records through Sunday.

1. San Antonio (15-4)

2. Portland Trail Blazers (17-4)

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (15-4)

4. Houston Rockets (15-7)

5. Los Angeles Clippers (13-8)

6. Dallas Mavericks (13-8)

7. Denver Nuggets (12-8)

8. Golden State Warriors (13-9)

9. Phoenix Suns (11-9)

10. Memphis Grizzlies (9-10)

11. Los Angeles Lakers (10-10)

12. Minnesota Timberwolves (9-11)

13. New Orleans Pelicans (9-10)

14. Sacramento Kings (4-11)

15. Utah Jazz (4-18)



Blazers show early power

In the Western Conference, Portland looks like a playoff team
Nov. 11, 2013

The Portland Trail Blazers entered the NBA season as a potential playoff team in the Western Conference, but strong play from its two leaders and a developing bench have the team moving ahead of those expectations.

In the first Western Power Rankings of the season, the Blazers are battling for homecourt edge in the first round - that's the view of the cast of Sportsland in the 25th episode of 2013.

Portland's schedule has been light on top teams, but the Blazers have a home win over San Antonio - the Spurs' only loss of the season - giving it some spunk in the rankings.

But, it's early. The West has 10 of the top 13 teams, according to Monday's Sports Illustrated Rankings of the entire league, so there's likely to be some wild swings in terms of power.

Here's the Western Power Rankings (with records following Monday's games):

1. San Antonio (7-1)

2. Oklahoma City (5-1)

3. Houston (5-3)

4. Portland (5-2)

5. Los Angeles Clippers (5-3)

6. Minnesota (5-3)

7. Phoenix(5-2)

8. Golden State (4-3)

9. Dallas (4-3)

10. Memphis (3-4)

11. New Orleans (3-4)

12. Los Angeles Lakers (3-5)

13. Denver (2-4)

14. Sacramento (1-5)

15. Utah (0-8)

That's just the start of the show, which delves into Oregon's loss at Stanford as well as college bowl predictions and the nature of soccer scheduling that has the Portland Timbers taking two weeks off before the second leg of its Western Conference finals series with Real Salt Lake.



All about the BCS

Oregon moves back into the BCS title game, while Autumn hits its stride
Oct. 28, 2013

So what's a sports fan to do with so many great stories unfolding in front of them in the throes of Autumn?

First off, it's take a listen to the 24th episode of Sportsland, Oregon, 2013, recorded at Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland Monday night.

Cast members Cliff Pfenning, Derek Weber and Marlon Thomas talk up the Oregon Ducks and their role in the BCS standings, along with the missed shot at a key win that Oregon State had against Stanford.

Also, it's a wonderful time for Major League Baseball fans with the Red Sox and Cardinals playing in the World Series, although the cast has differing opinions on just how wonderful the series has been so far. Maybe there's some drama left in Game 6 or even Game 7 at Fenway Park.

The Timbers have the top spot in the MLS Western Conference wrapped up, but the excitement of the playoffs will only be at its best if their first series is against Northwest rival Seattle.

And then it's off to the NBA, which starts Tuesday with key games featuring the return of Derek Rose to Chicago as it duels with two-time NBA champion Miami, and then the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers battle for supremacy of the Honda Center.

The Blazers open Wednesday at Phoenix with the task of ending their 13-game losing streak from the close of the 2012-13 season.

Episode 24 is online and can be followed via Facebook and iTunes.


King James takes another step

By leading Miami to another title, Lebron keeps pace with Jordan
June 24, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

He may not be in the company of Michael Jordan for his career ... yet, but Lebron James took another step forward on his journey to be the NBA's best player ever by leading the Miami Heat to a second-consecutive NBA Title Thursday night.

James powered the Heat through a last-minute comeback and overtime win in Game 6, then led the team through a Game 7 victory over the San Antonio Spurs to earn his second title in his fourth Finals appearance. The Game 7 win avenged a 4-0 sweep at the hands of the Spurs in 2007, when he led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA Finals.

James' legacy leads the commentary for the 15th episode of Sportsland, Oregon, recorded every Monday night at Blitz in the Pearl district of Northwest Portland. In this episode, host Cliff Pfenning and cast member Marlon Thomas talk up Lebron's efforts as well as what happened to the Spurs.

And, what's up for next year? San Antonio doesn't seem like it's going anywhere. Miami? That's a big question.

The Portland Trail Blazers don't seem to have much intrigue in summer outside of who the team will draft with the 10th pick Thursday, as well as what will happen with their second-round picks.

Portland's soccer community continues to fall in love with Timbers coach Caleb Porter as well as Thorns forward Alex Morgan, but what of the drama present in every great season? The Timbers have lost just once all season - what happens when they lose twice in a row?

All this and more, recorded from Blitz in the Pearl.


Warriors, Lakers top list of achievers

Golden State inspired hoop fans, while LA just plain ... had problems
June 17, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

The magic that has always seemed to be brewing in Oakland, Calif., with the Golden State Warriors finally happened during the NBA season and made the team the SPORTSLAND, Oregon "Overachievers of the Year" during Monday night's podcast, recorded at Blitz in the Pearl District of Northwest Portland.

The Warriors, New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers were other notable selections after the Warriors, who were among the top two picks of the show's four cast menbers: Derek Weber, Marlon Thomas, Michael Chamberlain and host Cliff Pfenning.

Golden State finished 47-35 and sixth in the Western Conference, then won their first-round playoff series over Denver. Last season, the Warriors were 23-43 during the strike-shortened schedule.

And, the other side, "Underachievers of the Year?" Easy: the Los Angeles Lakers.

Los Angeles built itself to win the league title with the acquisition of Dwight Howard and then Steve Nash during the offseason, but the team didn't win any preseason games, got clobbered in Portland in its season opener, and barely reached the playoffs, where they were routinely dispatched by San Antonio.

And Portland? The Blazers continue to be one of the quietest franchises in the NBA, something the panel tosses about as being a good or bad trait.

It's all from Northwest Portland, recorded every Monday night.



Lebron, Spoke get prepped for Spurs

San Antonio owns the NBA's top player and his coach, until they don't
June 3, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

After waiting for almost a month, or was it just 10 days, the San Antonio Spurs finally get back to action on the hardwood Thursday with the first game of the NBA Finals at Miami. And, there's plenty of drama with this match-up that makes this pairing what the NBA wants.

Indiana vs. San Antonio? Whos' watching that?

Memphis vs. Miami? That's a little better.

San Antonio vs. Miami? The NBA couldn't have asked for better unless the Lakers were there, or the Knicks were in the finale, or even Golden State. It's the key topic of the 13th episode of Sportsland, Oregon,'s weekly podcast recorded Mondays at Blitz in the Pearl District of Northwest Portland.

Miami is the defending champion, while San Antonio has not lost in its four trips to the Finals. One of its wins - in 2007 - came over the Cleveland Cavaliers when Lebron James played there. Now, they meet again with the drama of having missed playing on the court during the season, which involved fines by the league.

Even better, the coaches are in the line of sight as well. Miami's Erik Spoelstra, who was on the chopping block through social media last year if the Heat hadn't won the league title, gets a shot at besting Greg Popovich, who's the league's best coach for guiding this team to four titles since 1999.

This episode also delves into the Oregon and Oregon State baseball programs and the fun of the NHL playoffs.


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