December 22, 2006

Don't Screw This up Kansas City

Some of you may not read this, but not just Nebraska fans read this blog. With that, many of you could give a rat's ass about what I'm about to talk about...and if you fall in this category?...piss on you. Go look up Zac Taylor's pop Warner stats and come back and visit another time. What I'm talking about here is not just good for Kansas City, but good for the Midwest (including Omaha) and beyond.

In case you didn't notice, the Pittsburgh Penguins took a hipcheck through the glass this week, when their prospective owners failed to get a casino license in Pittsburgh. What the hell does that have to do with the Huskers? Nothing..but follow me here.

The granting of that license would have meant that Mario Lemieux, a principle owner of the Pittsburgh NHL franchise could sell the team to the Isle of Capri casino people..who were promising a 290 million dollar arena if they got the license. Now, I'm not sure how smart some of you are...but those of you with a 6th grade education or above can comprehend that 290 million dollar arenas do not fall out of the sky for blue-collar cities...or any city for that matter. This one did. Well, it did until the city rejected the license.

Now, the team that has called Pittsburgh home for decades, now has to look for another place to play. With the leagues leading scorer...a 19 year old phenom named Sydney Crosby, the Pens are now in a situation where they absolutely have to find somewhere to go in order to survive. (Did I mention their lease at Mellon Arena was about to run out?) Enter Kansas City, Missouri. A sleepy little villa on the banks of the mighty Mo, who just so happen, as luck would have it, to have a brand new arena set to open next fall and (gasp)...nobody to play in it. Hmmmm...that seems odd?

Now, those of you from the KC area, or even the Midwest in general probably know that the city of Kansas City hasn't done a damn thing right since they decided to build two of the most beautiful ballparks in the country in the middle of nowhere in 1971. Roads crumble, Raytown resembles south central in terms of crime, and downtown KC looks like something out of an old western movie, with tumbleweed rumbling through the streets after 6pm. They tried to build a baseball stadium downtown...they didn't. They tried to develop the city north near the airport. They didn't. They've tried to add attractions and activities to the most populated area between the Mississippi river and the Rockies. They lost them all to Kansas.

What's my point? My point is, storied NHL franchises with the leagues best player (who is NINETEEN YEARS OLD) do not fall out of the sky on an everyday basis. The city had the NHL in the mid 70's and lost them to the swamps of New Jersey of all places, only to watch the shitty Kings pack up and leave for that Mecca of Sacramento a decade or so later. It's only a matter of time before rodeos, arena football, concerts and car shows fill up that arena...so again, the opportunity for a tenant in this situation is rare.

So why would the NHL work in a small market city like Kansas City, instead of Houston, Las Vegas, Winnipeg or Southern Ontario? Because Kansas City fans, (especially those on the Kansas side), have proven with the Chiefs, that fans in that city love an event. Much like Creighton fans flock to the Qwest Center to wine and dine on Filet Mignot and drink cabernet, as the Bluejays squeak out another huge win against Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Kansas City fans want to be where the action is. Despite the Royals and Buddy Bell drawing piddly crowds, Arrowhead (where tailgating is king), continues to sell out every single game since 1990. NASCAR and Indy League races at the Kansas Speedway are sold out as well.

Even the shitty Kings, with Otis Birdsong, LaSalle Thompson and Larry Drew had decent attendance numbers, while playing in one of the shittiest arenas in the history of professional sports. (Kemper Arena is an absolute toilet.)

So with Santa and his elves preparing to hand out Christmas gifts to good little boys and girls on Sunday night, I hope they remember the long-suffering fans of Kansas City. It's a shame a model NHL franchise has to uproot and leave their hometown, but nobody asked me how I felt when the Kings up and left some 22 years ago. (I'm still pissed at them about that, and I don't even like the NBA anymore.) I

If you live in the KC area...even if you can't stand hockey..you owe it to yourself and your community to get behind this thing with everything you have. There's a reason some cities are called "major league" and other's are called, "Tulsa" or "Wichita" or "Omaha." Do the right thing for once, and show the world that you can be visionaries once again. And if anything...show the Omaha and Oklahoma City's of the world that you want to take your rightful place in the region as a sports destination.

Don't screw this up KC. A lot of people in the area, even outside your own hometown, are counting on you.

AJ

9 Comments:

Anonymous bhg said...

How are the KC Blades doing this year?

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Obsessed Husker Fan said...

...zzzzzzzzzz... while i agree with you about getting hockey to the midwest, and im all for kc getting a team, BUT, you need to change the name of your blog if you want to write about this stuff. thanks.

ps- all the husker success in all sports must have you scrambling for material huh? looks like your glory days as a husker "hater" have come to an end. you remind me of emmitt smith in his last few years in arizona, still holding on to something great, but sadly fading away, just stop now aj with the husker "hating", and just remember the good times for you, and continue blogging about uno hockey and other various stuff husker fans who come here for good laugh dont care about...

2:51 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

OHF...whoa whoa whoa whoa. Wasn't it you who called everything I write about..."stale"? Wasn't it you who bitched about "getting a new angle?" I'm pretty sure it was.

It's my blog..I'll write what I want. As for this particular topic, I wasn't even going to write anything (yes, because the Huskers are just SOOOOOO successful), but this came up. It was either this..or nothing.

You people will never be satisfied..and like I said...way more people than just Husker fans read this. (be lucky I haven't started talking about sprint car racing..since I was linked to a spritcar racing message board this week.)

So what is it? More Husker talk? Different topics? Be thankful I don't talk about my fantasy football team you fucking pricks.

;)

4:29 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

PS - The blades played at Kemper and were run into the ground by the same group who have run the Omaha AkSarBen/OnePacific Place Knights into the ground.

They also played at Kemper, which is like asking how is Creighton doing these days. Since they moved into the Qwest? Very well thanks.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous bhg said...

I guess that was the point I was trying to make. If you were bad management in Pitt, then what really changes when you move cities? I haven't followed it closely but the owners aren't selling, they just want to move out of Pitt, correct?

9:36 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

Unless there is something I'm missing..I'm under the impression that Liemeux wants to sell, but keep the team in Pittsburgh. The casino people were plan B after that Canadian Billionaire (the guy who invented blackberry's) dropped the bid.

If the team moved, it would be sold (if it went to KC) to this Del Biggio guy, who has a deal with the Sprint Center to operate a team in KC. The trick now is to outbid Houston, Okie City, Winnipeg and the others. From what I read, it's 50/49/1 that the team ends up in KC/Houston/Pittsburgh.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous bhg said...

How crazed can you get over a sport that took the year off over money?

My cousin lives in K.C. and he said that the T-Bone games are more fun to attend than the Royals games. What does that tell you about management?

(Also that professional baseball is basically using the small market teams as minor league farm clubs. When does baseball realize that what is best for the sport is the NFL model?)

11:18 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

The T-bones and other minor league teams draw crowds for completely different reasons than major league teams.

In the minors, you can't market toward individual players or even the team (on the field), because that team changes so much. The Royals can certainly market Teahen or anybody else..but the Omaha Royals cannot..because anytime anybody gets any good...they're gone.

Trust me..the O Royals and Knights have failed, because they treat fans like they're at a minor league game. In Omaha..fans hate that. They like to think of their teams as major league, only on a smaller scale.

When all else fails..throw some fireworks at them..that always works.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Skiddzzzz said...

What do you mean especially on the Kansas side? Chiefs are a Missouri team and the Kansas "fans" are lucky that we even let them cross to watch OUR games. Kansas is nothing but a place that we send the annoying people in our offices to live because they bother us so much that we cant stand having them near out downtown condos. Huskers suck to. Big 12 North will belong to Chase Daniel in 07.

11:02 AM  

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