The scene outside the Rose Garden this morning looked like a refugee camp.
Nothing like a chance to buy tickets for the Trail Blazers' first playoff appearance
since 2003 to get people to sprawl out on blankets, wrap up in sleeping bags or just bundle up with layer upon layer of Blazers paraphernalia as some folks cooked breakfast on small butane stoves and drank coffee.
At 9:45 AM the line in front of the Rose Garden ticket booth stretched in four lazy loops up and down the main square. Alex Barshaw was at the front of the 400-person line and had already been waiting nearly 19 hours for access to first-round tickets.
“We were up all night,” he said “We tried to sleep but it was too cold.”
All this for a crack at the 2,000 or so tickets going on sale at noon (Each person is allowed to buy a total of four tickets, two for each of the home games already announced or four for one game.)
Despite uncomfortable overnight sleeping on the pavement and long waiting, the mood was jubilant. The Blazers staff made free coffee and donuts available along with circulating red “Rip City Uprising” T-shirts, posters, vouchers for breakfast McMuffins and other swag.
Rumor has it that even radio play-by-play man Brian Wheeler
came by around midnight with $20 bills to groups could go buy food.
“I love the Trail Blazers,” says Barshaw,” They really take care of their fans and I respect them for that.”
So today being a work day, the question arises even in this crappy economy
: How did everyone find time to stake out the ticket booth?
“If you are a true Trail Blazers fan you can find your way out of work,” said a fan who preferred to go unidentified for obvious reasons. Or the alternative: one man's poster said, “Unemployment's not so bad. Go Blazers!”