Canzano: Don’t fall for Oregon … the Kraken doesn’t belong to us
I’m a sucker for a new sports franchise. I almost fell for it Tuesday night. The new expansion NHL team has dropped the puck to start its first season, but it will have to do it right.
The Seattle Kraken is great.
Is it awesome?
Anyway, the franchise lost me in … Seattle.
Just like the sailors. Just like the Seahawks. I can write about them, talk about them, and maybe even watch them if they play a meaningful game on TV. But what I would never bring myself to do is think of the Kraken as if it belonged to the state of Oregon.
Seattle is here. We are here. There is no here. If Dr Seuss were a sports columnist, he would have explained it more eloquently a long time ago. Instead, you understand me and I don’t get the local fascination with the Kraken.
Our state is underserved when it comes to sport. We are the largest and most populous geographic region in America that does not yet have Major League Baseball, NHL, or NFL. This is why I have long admired the efforts of the big leagues from the Portland Diamond Project, the Delta Dome, the NHL to the PDX and anyone who dreams of making big sporting projects.
This is also why I understand the temptation of people in our state to adopt sports franchises from another city. The Seahawks were force-fed the Oregonians on network television every Sunday. Three hours north is pretty close I guess. But I can tell you that if CBS had assigned the Cleveland Browns to your childhood TV, you would love Bernie Kosar instead of Steve Largent.
We have been brainwashed.
Let’s bet the KGB admires him.
The Mariners’ ratings are very high in Portland. Better still than in Seattle. Seahawks jerseys are commonplace. It won’t be long before your neighbor replaces the “12” flag on the front with one with the Kraken. But know that all of this is just a bunch of misguided deception and it must stop.
Go see an NFL game in Seattle. No harm there. Greet the Mariners with the kids on a summer weekend. Also visit the Space Needle during your stay. But let’s not pretend that the sports franchises or that 600-foot boom are ours. You cannot adopt someone else’s children. Not while they’re loved, dressed, and fed anyway. What I’m saying is, it’s okay to appreciate these teams and covet them, but if any of us claims it’s ours, well, what you do is thwart the goal.
They belong to Seattle.
Portland needs its own major league franchises. You have the Trail Blazers, ducks, beavers, antlers, thorns, winter hawks, pickles, emeralds, vikings, and hops. If you want to form strong allegiances to a new major league team, consider supporting efforts to bring one to our state. If you fit into the Seattle teams, you’re only part of the problem.
All of this has been complicated in recent years by greedy sports executives who have swallowed up territorial rights, of course. Anchorage knows what I’m talking about. The Trail Blazers have land rights that extend well beyond the 2,433 miles of Alaska’s largest city. Not because our state’s NBA franchise occasionally enjoys 44 hours of driving across Canada for a visit. But because the franchise’s “local” broadcast rights and ROOT Sports’ reach extend there.
Currently, six MLB teams are claiming Las Vegas in their territorial rights. Think how absurd that is. But you don’t see Las Vegas falling for the trap, do you? Nope. Vegas ignored them all and landed an NHL team, then built an NFL stadium and is now trying to free a crane so she can pitch an MLB baseball stadium in the suburbs. What I’m saying is Sin City might like your team, but only because they plan to steal it someday.
Move the Kraken to Portland?
I would go for that. Moda Center is equipped for the NHL. We could get there tomorrow. Or Portland could just pull together like Seattle did and bring an expanding hockey franchise here. Any kind of rivalry in the NHL or MLB with Seattle would be fierce.
When the Blazers teamed up with ROOT Sports, some in Oregon got nervous. It is a regional sports network based in Seattle. The NBA franchise has also realigned with longtime beloved Sonics broadcaster Kevin Calabro. Are the Blazers positioning themselves for a move to Seattle? Or perhaps additional leverage in the upcoming negotiation with the City of Portland on the Moda Center lease merger? I choose to believe, for now, that the Blazers act like every other money-hungry major league sports franchise.
They would love to belong to everyone, even if we all know they are not.
When Seattle announced that their NHL team would be called the Kraken, I loved the sound. Cool name. It could be a prolific team that will one day win a Stanley Cup. I will watch from afar. But I am not fooled. The Kraken don’t belong to the Oregonians any more than the Mariners, Seahawks, or Microsoft headquarters.
Admire the effort and energy, but don’t brace yourself or mistake the Seattle Kraken for ours. If you do, that “S” on the front of your jersey stands for “Sucker”.
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