Every city with a minor-league baseball stadium thinks it can land the A’s now, basically

If you liked San Jose’s claim that it was trying to lure the Oakland A’s to play temporarily in a 4,200-seat minor-league stadium, you’ll just love this:

[Lynn] Lashbrook, president of Sports Management Worldwide, visited Hillsboro Ballpark and met with the architects who drew up plans for the Class A Hops’ 4,500-seat stadium, which made its debut last June.

The mission was to determine if enough temporary seating could be added to increase the capacity so the stadium could serve as an interim facility for the Oakland A’s, if they would choose to move, while a permanent stadium in Portland is built…

“I think we can get it to a capacity of between 15,000 and 20,000,” Smith says.

I’m trying to picture how this would play out in A’s owner Lew Wolff’s head: Let’s see, I’d be moving from being second fiddle in one of the biggest metro areas in the U.S. to a market that has doesn’t even have a triple-A team — sorry, wait, to a suburb of that market, in a stadium that would hold maybe half the capacity that an MLB franchise requires, if someone can find the money to build the temporary expansion. And then I could either hope that someone builds a full-size stadium in downtown Portland — something Lashbrook has been talking about for a decade but getting nowhere — or start all over again somewhere else. Where do I sign?!?

The only way this really makes sense — okay, there’s no way it makes sense, but the only way it’s even conceivable if you squint really hard and check your disbelief at the door — is if Wolff finds himself backed to the wall by intransigent lease demands by Oakland on the Coliseum, and then doesn’t want to try to rent from the Giants because they’re in the middle of a territorial rights battle with them and doesn’t want to move to the A’s already-14,000-seat-capacity triple-A stadium in Sacramento because, um, he’s afraid of floods, maybe?

My favorite part of this entire Portland Tribune article, meanwhile, is that the single-A Hillsboro Hops would continue to play at their stadium at the same time as the A’s, because what minor-league baseball team doesn’t love having to compete for fans with a major-league team in their same stadium? After all, that’s happened before … I’m pretty sure never, but there’s a first time for everything.

All Portland needs to join MLB is a team (and a few hundred million dollars)

By my count, it’s been eight years since anybody seriously talked about Portland, Oregon, getting a major-league baseball team, and even then the only one serious about it was Florida Marlins president David Samson, who was just polishing his future Survivor bio. (The mayor at the time said of his citizens’ disdain for pro baseball: “That’s my very strong sense.”) Since then, Portland has renovated its only baseball stadium for the MLS Timbers, forcing its only minor-league baseball team to relocate; but, hey, if not even having a minor-league team isn’t stopping people in Montréal from trying to get an MLB team, why should it stop Portland, so away we go:

Portland’s backers of baseball have the blueprint for a state-of-the-art baseball-only stadium, which would have a retractable roof and seat 35,000. They have community support, including that of the current city administration. A site, endorsed by mayor Charlie Hales, has been chosen, next to Memorial Coliseum and the new Rose Garden, home of the NBA’s Trailblazers.

“We have the land and the infrastructure,” said architect Barry Smith.

The supporters believe they can find an ownership group, possibly a major Japanese firm, along the lines of Nintendo, which owns the Seattle Mariners.

All the folks in Portland need is a team.

Let’s see, a site, an architect, the mayor’s endorsement, a team, what else could they possibly need? Oh, right, money. Which was kind of a problem last time.

The MLB.com article reporting on all this (by Tracy Ringolsby, who used to work for actual newspapers, as did we all) is very hazy on who baseball’s “backers” in Portland actually are, but it looks like it’s mostly Smith, who’s designed several small buildings in the city, and Lynn Lashbrook, an NFL agent and sports management trainer. But they’ve managed to get people in Oakland starting to worry about the A’s leaving the Bay Area, which is half the battle. If you’re the owner of the A’s, that is.