• Jim Costa

Jim’s Rant For The Day. The Portland Mavericks.

Updated: Feb 22, 2021

I was never a sports fan so I was unaware of the Portland Mavericks and the ruckus they caused in professional baseball. Yesterday I watched a Netflix documentary about Bing Russell (Kurt Russell’s father) who started the team as an insult to professional baseball teams.

The team was the first independent minor league team, not one financed by major teams to scout and train new talent for the big leagues. On try out day they expected 30 players but about 500 showed up. They had access to lots of passed over talent and with it were defeating most of the bigger league teams they played, embarrassing baseball club elites.

But what impressed me the most was that Bing Russell was a true showman and set out to please the fans at all ball games. When a major league team played in Portland they would host about 30 fans on average when they left Portland. The Mavericks moved in and were running 10,000 to 12,000 per game. Why? Because Russell didn’t play the game like the big leagues. For one thing he had no hand signals to control his players. He told them to just have fun. They could choose to steal a base or hit any way they chose. It was their time at bat. The fans loved it.

But what impressed me the most was that Russell was always thinking outside of the box and focused on the fans. He actually got a large dog as a mascot that was trained to run out on the field and not get caught. Whenever a pitcher needed a five minute break the dog was unleashed and the umpires had to chase it to clear the field. The fans loved it!

It is worth a watch. It is titled The Battered Bastards of Baseball.

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