Beavers play final Portland game

Beavers play final Portland game

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by Randy Neves, KGW staff

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kgw.com

Posted on September 5, 2010 at 6:01 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 5:39 AM

PORTLAND -- Fans turned out at Portland's PGE Park Monday afternoon for the last baseball game of the Portland Beavers, before the stadium is remodeled for Major League Soccer.

And the team was able to mark the day with one last victory, beating Las Vegas 6-5.

Photos: Beavers final game in Portland's PGE Park

Team owner Merritt Paulson expressed some regret Sunday that he didn't do more to keep the Portland Beavers in town.

In an open letter published Sunday on his team's website, Paulson predicted the Beavers will come back to town.

The day was filled with nostalgia, from old friends to the first pitch. Alexis Bishop tossed out the game ball, just as she did in 1956 when the team moved to then Multnomah Stadium.

The Beavers have come and gone in the past. But PGE Park is undergoing renovation into a soccer-only facility for what will be Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers.

Given the lack of space elsewhere in the region for Triple-A Baseball, the Beavers' departure is starting to look permanent.

"Merritt Paulson may have done a great of looking around but I still think he and Sam Adams and the rest of the people could've done more," said fan JT James.

Those two parties did try to replace Memorial Coliseum with a new Beavers stadium before a failed attempt to locate it at Lents Park in Southeast Portland.

Both times, Paulson blamed special interest groups and a lack of political fortitude for the failures.

An effort to bring the Beavers to Beaverton also failed.

But in the letter Sunday, Paulson said "my biggest regret is my failure to better mobilize baseball fans as a political force to keep Beavers baseball in Portland."

"It's the last game that we're ever going to be able to see here," said John Kimberling, buying tickets at the box office before Sunday's game, the second-to-last of the season. "I've been coming to these games since I was a kid."

Some fans are still upset to see their century-old baseball team leaving PGE Park in order to make room for Major League Soccer.

"It's a baseball town," said Beavers fan Bud Ransom. "I don't think you should have soccer in this town."

Even the normally chipper snack vendors are having trouble cracking a smile.

"It is hard for me to act a little bit enthusiastic knowing the end's coming I've got a job to do," said Victor Salazar. "Bring baseball back to Portland, please."

"It's kind of sad," said young Ethan James about the situation.

Fans are trying to get over the loss. They have one more game Monday before saying likely-permanent goodbye. After that, the team's fate is unknown.

There is an idea on the table to move the team to Escondido, California.

There, the San Diego Padres Major League Baseball team is reportedly looking to buy their affiliate Beavers for around $20 million.

The Beavers could end up in Escondido, California if a new proposal there plays out. Those talks are ongoing.

Here's Paulson's final paragraph, hopefullly not an epitaph, in his Sunday letter to fans:

Tomorrow, Beavers baseball comes to an end at PGE Park. But, like the ever hopeful and optimistic Cubs fan that I am, I predict baseball will return to Portland or the Portland area one day. You can count me as someone willing to help make it happen. But to succeed, it will require organized and enthusiastic fans making their voices heard and visionary local and state political champions unwavering in the face of inevitable vocal opposition.

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