Talking Points: Thorns ready for home crowd

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What's the buzz from the world of sports? Here are some items that will have people talking:

1

Today is debut day for the latest new or fledgling league to enter the Vancouver-Portland market.

The Portland Thorns FC hosts Seattle at 2 p.m. at Jeld-Wen Field. A crowd of more than 14,000 is expected to watch professional women's soccer.

Of course, those of us who remember the Fire, Power, Storm, Thunder, Breakers, Forest Dragons ... well, you get the idea.

We wish the Thorns FC much success. More critical, we wish the National Women's Soccer League success. We hope those running the league understand that sports franchise thrive because of fan loyalty, a connection solidified over generations, not over a season or two.

2

So, the NBA playoffs are under way and once again Trail Blazers fans are left out in the April showers.

What to do?

Well, you could still watch the NBA playoffs, of course. But here are a few alternatives:

Catch a Winterhawks' playoff game. There aren't many chances left to see Ty Rattie in a Hawks jersey. The 19-year-old St. Louis Blues prospect is second all-time in WHL playoff scoring. And chances are Seth Jones won't return to Portland next season after becoming one of the top selections in the NHL Draft a couple of months from now.

Prefer basketball? Vancouver's own Volcanoes play their first home game of this International Basketball League season at 5 p.m. today at Clark College's O'Connell Sports Center. Admission is free.

3

Mariners fans discouraged with the team's slow start to the season might want to check out this week's Sports Illustrated. In a story headlined "The Next Nats," writer Ben Reiter compares the Mariners stable of young pitchers and hitters to the Washington Nationals of three seasons ago.

It's the kind of read that can raise spirits during what figures to be another challenging season.

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