I was sports columnist
at the Portland Oregonian for eight years before moving to The Sporting News.
It was a return to my native state and to one of the newspapers I grew up reading in Eugene. My stay predated online newspaper
editions, so hyperlinked online versions of my columns aren't available. They are available in what amounts to text
versions from in-house or other archives, but links can't be posted to take readers to individual stories.
I'm proud of my work there and was voted
Oregon's Sportswriter of the Year three times in the seven full calendar years I was in Portland. My weakness was my strength:
Rather than fire away from the office or my den, I felt it important to be visible, both in Portland and in the state. I made
it a point to go to Eugene and Corvallis as much as possible, and not only for games; and made trips to Seattle for Seahawks
and Mariners games. I attended most Trail Blazers home games and made some road trips. But my column subject matter also was
eclectic and nothing was too "small" for me. I was both a storyteller with a perspective as well as a commentator.
Especially in retrospect, I thank The Oregonian for the
virtual carte blanche I, along with other staff members, had to travel and write from major events. A glance at my credentials collection, many of them from my time at The Oregonian, should confirm that. Among
other things, I was a regular at the major fights of the period in Las Vegas, mostly involving Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns,
Marvin Hagler and Mike Tyson. If they fought, I was there.
My major regret was that The Oregonian at the time didn't allow outside media employment, so Dwight
Jaynes -- whom I think would have been a terrific partner in unforced contrasting roles -- and I were not allowed to accept
the radio show offer we had from a major station in Portland. And we would not have allowed the radio work to detract from
our writing and journalistic energy. But that was another era and the policy was well-known and impartially applied until
front-office changes led to a re-evaluation.
I attended a handful of World Series,
and this was the most memorable -- the 1989 Battle of the Bay matching the Giants and A's. The Loma Prieta Earthquake struck
shortly before the scheduled start of Game 3 in Candestick Park, and I managed to get the column in (shown above) that ran
the next morning and ended: "If you're reading this, the phone worked."
I remained in San Francisco for several days and then returned for the resumption and completion of the Series a week
later. I wrote both columns and news stories/features during my stays and combined the material into one chapter of Playing Piano in a Brothel.
The column is re-created in that chapter, too.
Oregon's Sportswriter of the Year
in 1987, '88, '89
An Oregonian house ad in advance of the 1988 Summer
Olympics at Seoul.
1992 Winter Olympics at Albertville: At the downhill
starting gate, shortly before the race at Val d'Isere, France.
That's me behind Trail Blazers coach Rick Adelman. Yes, sportswriters once sat at courtside.
Blazers twice made the NBA Finals during my stay -- against the Pistons in 1990 and Michael Jordan and the Bulls in 1992.
When "The Last Dance" was captivatiing sports-oriented viewers during the COVID-19 pandemic,
I wrote a commentary about the '92 Finals on this site and recreated two of my columns from that series.
in the 1992 playoffs, the Blazers and Lakers met in the Forum on the first night of unrest following the aquittals in the
trial of the officers who violently beat Rodney King. It was filmed. It was disgusting. It was an open and shut case. Yet
they were acquitted and all hell broke loose in Los Angeles. I wrote a live column that night, following the events as the
game went on, and a follow column the next day. I also posted those when comparisons were drawn following George Floyd's death
and the violence and protests that ensued.