1) This is the eighth column in a series that might make Merritt Paulson angry, but will more likely make him howl with laughter. In this series, I tell you what I’d do if, one, I owned the Timbers/Thorns, and two, I was absurdly rich. Not Jeff Bezos-rich, but richer than Merritt Paulson. Rich enough that the team wasn’t my main source of income, but was more of a hobby. Rich enough that I didn’t need the team to make a profit, I just needed them to break even.
First week, we talked about TriMet. Second week, we talked about food. Third week, we talked about drinks. Fourth week, we talked about open practices. Fifth week, we talked about youth soccer. Sixth week, we talked about T2. Last week, we talked about posters. This week, we’ll talk about the other Portlands.
2) The idea. Of all the ideas I’ve proposed in this series, this one is probably the dumbest. I’m going to start men’s and women’s soccer teams in every town in the world named Portland.
3) The details. This whole idea entered my head back in 2018 when the Sounders put up those dumb billboards saying how much they love Portland... Maine. (Ha ha ha ha ha! You get it? It’s funny! It’s funny because you thought they meant Oregon, but they didn’t! They meant Maine! Ha ha ha ha ha! So funny! Ha ha ha ha ha!)
Anyway, all Seattle’s not-that-funny joke did was start a beautiful romance between the Timbers and Portland, Maine, and it was wonderful to see the whole stupid thing blow up right in Seattle’s stupid face.
Fast forward a couple years, and here I find myself, the fabulously rich owner of the Timbers and Thorns. And you know what Imma do? Imma send word to every town in the world named Portland, telling them that if they can throw together men’s and women’s soccer teams, at any level, professional or amateur, I’ll provide them with uniforms.
How many Portlands would this involve? According to this article on Wikipedia, quite a few.
Clearly, Portland, Maine will be able to put together a couple teams, but what about Portland, Arkansas? They only have a population of 430. Think they can throw together a Timbers and a Thorns? If so, I’ll kit ‘em out.
Portland, Australia? I’ll kit ‘em out. The other Portland, Australia? I’ll kit them out, too.
Portland, Ireland? Wikipedia calls it a “townland” and I have no idea what that means, but if they can throw together a couple teams, hell, yeah, I’ll kit ‘em out.
Just for fun, you should take a look at that Wikipedia list and try to predict which of the world’s Portlands might be able to throw together a men’s and women’s team. And, to be clear, they don’t need to be professional teams. They don’t even need to be adults. Does their local middle school team need unis? If they change their nicknames to the Timbers and Thorns, I’ll kit ‘em out! I’m really, really rich, you know. I wake up in the morning and piss thousand dollar bills. I think I can kit out a couple teams in... *checks notes* ... Portland, Ontario.
4) The positives. The only real positive I can see from this is building fans around the world. I want us to be the favorite American soccer team in every Portland on Earth.
How many fans do we currently have in Ireland? With my plan, I can pretty much guarantee that we’ll become the favorite American soccer team in at least one Irish town. Or “townland,” I guess. Whatever that is.
And, you know, this might actually pay off in the end. Like, how many Timbers sweatshirts are we currently selling in New Zealand? How many Thorns hats? If I kit out a couple teams in Portland, New Zealand, I feel pretty sure we’d start selling a whole bunch more stuff there.
5) The potential negatives. Cost. I’d have to send maybe 50 or 60 shirts and shorts and socks to any Portland that signs up for this deal. And I’d probably have to send new ones every year. Would all the hats and scarves and t-shirts I sell make up for this cost? Probably not. But, once again, in this fantasy world, I wake up in the morning and piss thousand dollar bills. (My urologist is a bit concerned.)
6) In the real world, where Merritt Paulson still owns the team, could this actually happen? Probably not. I mean, it’s a pretty dumb idea. Awesome and fun, but dumb.
But here’s something I would like to know: is there anyone reading this right now who lives in one of the world’s other Portlands? And, if so, do you think you could throw together a couple teams? If so, maybe hit up Merritt Paulson. See if he’ll kit you out. If he does, the Timbers and Thorns would immediately become your city’s favorite American teams.
What do you think? Bad idea? Good idea, but slightly flawed? What flaws do you spot? Gimme some ideas to fix them. Let’s see if we can make this happen – in our imaginary world, at least.