PORTLAND, Ore. — Mike Barrett, managing partner of Portland Diamond Project, met with KGW contributor John Canzano on Sports Sunday to talk about recent developments in the group’s push to bring an MLB team to Portland.
Here are a few of the highlights from Barrett's Sunday conversation with Canzano:
On Russell Wilson
“Russell was aware of what we were doing, and finally he said, ‘You guys just gotta come up.’ So we hopped in the car and drove to Seattle and met with Mark Rogers, Russell’s agent, and Russell in his office downtown.
“Five minutes in, he was pitching us and we’re like, ‘You don’t have to pitch us, we wan’t you to be a part of this.’ But then he talked about involving youth, and getting more African-Americans in the sport, and baseball academies, and (Portland Diamond Project founder and president) Craig (Cheeks) and I were sitting back saying, ‘This is awesome.’ ”
“She came in by herself, they didn’t come in as a couple. She’s talked about being a female minority owner of a team, which there aren’t many of. So to hear her talk about that, that’s another box that gets checked as well.
“They were terrific. Their energy is contagious.”
Photos: Singer Ciara and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
On stadium sites
“We took Russell (Wilson) in a helicopter from Beaverton to downtown and he wanted to see some of the sites from the air. So, if you were seeing a helicopter yesterday, you’re going to have an idea of where these sites are.
“A couple of them have been public. We talked about PPS and ESCO. But there are a couple more. And the one that has come out is Terminal 2. Terminal 1 and 2, it’s a big piece of land and it’s right on the water, and we have renderings that are just amazing. Then there’s another property that we love, and then there’s one that’s just outside the city limits that we have homed in on, and there’s even another one.
“It’s still a process, but the fact we’re down to where we are on looking at … places to have a ballpark is very exciting.”
“Portland’s not the same. It’s a different city now, it’s growing, and people are moving here who want big city amenities.
“It’s a rare time in baseball. You have a couple teams in situations that are a little bit unstable that (MLB commissioner) Rob Manfred has talked about, and then he’s talked about expanding. A lot of the national stories the last couple of days have been more about the potential of expansion teams, but relocation’s a possibility, too.
“We want to give [Manfred] options. I think if we can give him options and be ready, we feel like we’re in a really good position.”