Baseball fans in Portland, Oregon without a local fix have turned to a local short-season team, the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (short season A; Northwest League), for their diamond fix: attendance at Volcanoes Stadium is up some 27 percent this season.
"I know we're seeing a lot more Portland area people this year because I've been talking to a lot of them," Volcanoes owner/GM Jerry Walker told The Oregonian. "We've been seeing a lot more people wearing Beavers gear and that is unusual for us." So far this season attendance is up 27 percent for the Volcanoes, a Giants farm team. An educated guess says attendance would be up in any case, given San Francisco's World Series win and the presence of the team's first-round pick, Joe Panik, on the roster.Portland is either the largest or second-largest U.S. market without professional baseball, depending how you crunch the numbers and whether you consider the Daytona Cubs (High Class A; Florida State League) to be in the greater Orlando market. (The TV folks do.) It once again lost professional baseball this past offseason when the Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) relocated to Arizona and became the Tucson Padres.
There's a move afoot to bring professional baseball back to the Portland area, as the Yakima Bears (short season A; Northwest League) are negotiating with Clark County to move to a proposed Vancouver, Wash. ballpark. Until then, Portland-area fans will need to happy with the 50-mile drive south.
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