Culture

College World Series Title Brings Respite to Protest-Charged Portland

Oregon State players dog pile after game 3 of the 2018 NCAA Men's College World Series Finals between Arkansas Razorbacks and Oregon State Beavers at the TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, NE. (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

Portland, Oregon gets a lot of deserved bad press in the conservative media.

Not this time.

Citizens got a rest from rampant progressivism and the partisan divide on Friday, June 29, when thousands converged on downtown’s Pioneer Courthouse Square—known as Portland’s “living room”—to welcome home the Oregon State University Beavers, 2018 Champions of the College World Series.

A covered stage in one corner of the plaza awaited the champs, as Beaver cheerleaders swirled pom-poms to pop songs including “Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night.” The team arrived in two stretch limos, looking tired but appreciative of fans who’d come to greet them.

Orange and black t-shirts, banners, and flags provided ample color at the rally. Baseball caps heralding the series outcome were apparently rushed into production after the clinching 5-0 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks Thursday night at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

Though the OSU team has won the series twice before, the 2018 championship has earned a special place in the hearts of Beaver fans and Oregonians. The Beavers faced six elimination games en route to the title and won them all. Performances by the team ran the gamut from miraculous to dominant.

It took a ninth-inning, two-out come-from-behind home run Wednesday night to snatch victory and survival from the jaws of defeat. After outfielder Trevor Larnach’s two-run shot sailed over the right-field fence, expressions on the faces of the scrappy Razorbacks told a tale of shock and dispiritedness.

It’s hard to know if that shock contributed to the Thursday night two-hit shut-out Beaver pitcher Kevin Abel delivered to seal the deal and win the CWS trophy. Abel, a freshman, must now consider whether to remain with the team for three more years or accept an offer from his hometown MLB team, the San Diego Padres.

Larnach was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 2018 MLB draft.

After enlivening the crowd with stats and fired-up accolades, “Voice of the Beavers” sportscaster Mike Parker introduced each player in turn, and then turned the mic over to three-time CWS-winning Coach Pat Casey. Casey expanded on his theme of character, and the role it played in the team’s exemplary season and championship title.

With the clock ticking and the team due in Corvallis for a homecoming rally at Goss Stadium, Queen’s “We Are the Champions” blasted over the sound system as players and coaches worked through the crowd, signing autographs and greeting fans face-to-face.

It was a well-earned moment of shared civic pride and admiration in a city too often characterized by protests, divisions, and anti-business, anti-traditionalist progressivism.

A short couple of miles away, open-borders activists were engaged in a standoff with federal law enforcement over an illegal blockade of ICE headquarters. Talk of a clash between Joey Gibson’s anti-illegal immigration Patriot Prayer organization and Rose City Antifa for Saturday was making the rounds, along with plans for larger protests against President Trump’s immigration policies.

Aside from a political note sounded by the appearance of Democrat Governor Kate Brown, who congratulated the team and inspired a chorus of equal parts boos and cheers, the Beavers’ rally in Portland’s living room was ideologically pure: all about a great team, a marvelous group of young men, and a fabulous moment in Oregon sports history.