February 15, 2008

Omaha Down to the Final Strilke

Hmmmm, here’s something you can file under the “I told you so” category.

It seems that my nearly 5 years of warnings to the city of Omaha have gone completely ignored. For those of you who haven’t been around all that long, let me give you a hint of what’s going on here in our fair town.

You might know that little event called the “College World Series” that shows up on your ESPN between Red Sox and Yankees games on ESPN every June? You might hear about what a great time it is…how it’s simply 10 days of partying among people who really don’t care what happens, as long as the guys play hard, and the ESPN cameramen are there to sign their lucky Mike Rozier jersey. The sun, the hustle, the simple pleasure of a small midwestern city celebrating it's down-home roots.

Anyhow, the dust-covered rust-bin/stadium that hosts the event has been outlived by the giant Sig Ep party that rages outside it’s gates for 10 days a year. So with that, the scholarly, upstanding collection of good-hearted souls also known as the NCAA, is quietly whispering in the city of Omaha’s ear…”Uhhh…we’d like a new stadium please. No hurry, you've got til the end of April and we won't tell you what happens if you don't do it.”

Now this isn’t news. Cities larger and smaller than Omaha fight with stadium battles all the time. However, this situation is so unique, that only a self-absorbed berg such as this could screw something up so badly with such complete lack of vision. (Apparently nobody saw this coming when they were dumping $10 million bucks a year into improvements on a 5 decade old stadium)

No, sports is not really about the “student athlete”. It’s not really about the gameday experience or the memories that are made. (I still remember walking back to my car after watching Jim Audley gun down Creighton’s Dax Jones in one of the funniest sporting moments I’ve ever been able to witness in person…which was 18,000 Creighton “fans” screaming one minute…and then going stone silent in one fell swoop) No, the CWS now is all about money, greed and power. (Well, that and beer..but that's another story.) In this game at least, there are four main players, and they all have a stake in how this drama shakes out.

First, is Mike Fahey, the mayor of Omaha. The Mayor’s office has gone out of their way to make recommendations and fuel unheralded speculation about the CWS leaving without ever really giving any proof. Funny thing is though…it’s probably true. Now over the past few months, the guy has pretty much pissed off the entire city, and is now in a knock-down-drag-out-fight with the scumbags who run the arena. (Long story..different bunch of douchebags). Political posturing? Grandstanding? Fear?

Second is the douchebags themselves, the Metro Entertainment and Convention Authority. (AKA - MECA, the non-elected group of millionares that help run the Qwest Center just east of downtown). These assclowns are so busy patting themselves on the back for landing an extra Clay Aiken show, (and giving themselves another raise for it), that they forget just who the hell built the arena (for which their group was created) in the first place. (The Mayor wants to build a stadium on the sacred ground that is the Qwest Center parking lot. Apparently the annual Hoop-it-Up 3-on-3 basketball tourney is just too imporant to lose.) The MECA board is now in a pissing match with the Mayor’s office to see just where the hell they’re going to build this new stadium…if in fact they wise up to building one.

Third is Dennis Pope and the arrogant pricks who make up the NCAA. I probably don’t need to tell you what their motivation in all this is…but I’ll give you a hint: It’s green, it’s made of funny paper, and with about 3,000 of them you can bounce a hooker off your lap at the bunny ranch outside Reno.

Finally is the most sad and pathetic of players in all this: The “Save Rosenblatt” idiots, who have gone so far as to hire Kevin Costner to do TV ads, just to keep the series at Rosenblatt. (So they can pocket $300 bucks a day parking cars in their front yard.) Yet, somehow…nobody has told these folks that if a new stadium isn’t built…the only chance they’ll have of parking cars on their nearby lot is if Hannah Montana performs at the Zoo to do a benefit for baby Pandas. (No new stadium = no CWS = no parking money. Why is this so tough for them to figure out?)

So in this quadruple power-play for money, bragging rights and fame…who is going to win out?

Stupid..the NCAA is going to win out. Who the hell do you think?

That’s the problem with this whole thing. The inbred hicks that make up this town have spent their entire lives fawning over the NCAA and their fake message of “academics over athletics”, that they’ve become completely oblivious to the scum and pompous pricks that run the organization. Meanwhile, in their world…if you simply hold your breath til you turn blue..the NCAA will suddenly just see how WONDERFUL Omaha is, and allow the city to keep a the only D1 championship that doesn’t rotate…in a town with a substandard number of hotels and restaurants, during a time of year that nobody really wants to visit.

I’ve said it once. I’ve said it for nearly 7 years now: There really is no reason to debate this. Stop your radio talk-show discussions..cancel all those 4 page spreads in the local paper. Simply make up your mind about what you want to do:

Do you want to bite the bullet, spend 150 million bucks and keep the one thing that keeps you on the map for decades?

Or do you want to go toe to toe with the most evil collection of hypocritical bureaucrats God ever pulled up out of Hades?

I mean, why would anybody in their right mind think the NCAA would keep the series in Omaha because it’s “such a special place?” Are you serious? I actually heard this about 50 times on the radio this afternoon, as people CONTINUE to defy logic, and live in a constant state of self-euphoric denial. Why on earth are you so special? Hell, you’re not even the biggest amateur baseball tournament in the country. (That would be the Little League World Series, which draws more fans, higher TV ratings and is played by kids barely out of footy pajamas). At what point does your love for yourself cost you one of the two things you hold most dear? (The other being a shitty 5-7 football team that can barely beat Ball State at home)

The choice is yours. Just let the record show that the longer you battle over what you think the College World Series really is to you…the quicker the NCAA will remind you of what you are not…and that is a cosmopolitan city who is forward thinking enough to stop the unstoppable. It takes money and foresight to keep an event that has grown as large as the CWS, and too bad this city suddenly has neither.
Whatever you do…somebody better come up with something quick…or crazy blog guy is going to be right yet again. This time, I'm not really going to feel good about it either.


Blogger Husker Mike said...

Some people in this town are playing a dangerous game. If they are not careful, they'll learn the difficult lessons that Kansas City and Baltimore learned when the moving vans showed up...

If the NCAA is offering Omaha a 25 or 30 year contract, get that contract signed. Grab it fast.

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why this is so difficult. Pick a spot, build the stadium, sign the contract. If Omaha shits the CWS down its leg, I can't imagine what people will say about that.

10:40 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

Agree there.

It shouldn't be this hard. It's a matter of simple math. Does the money brought in justify the amount to build a stadium?

Rosenblatt is a toilet...looks nice on TV..but still a toilet. I don't blame the NCAA one bit. They've given Omaha something no other city in teh country has...exclusive rights to a championship event.

I don't know why this is so hard to figure out.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As much as I dislike your work Aj I have to agree here. Not going to comment much on this issue since Husker Mike and yourself have been making these obvious points for months now, but I don't get why MECA is being such pricks on the issue. If a new stadium is in the area wouldn't that increase the economy of the area surrounding NoDo. I work in that area (as well as Mike) and can attest to the possibility of it picking up rapidly within the next two or three years.

P.S. "during a time of year that nobody really wants to visit." Really? I find mid-June one of the best times to visit Omaha. The weather is nice, things are happening more frequently about the city, and the women are in less clothing...great deal in my book. Two or three weeks later on the other hand is a different story.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Bradley said...

Good stuff man...just checked out this blog for the first time a few weeks ago and I can't get enough of it.

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, just like so many bloggers. Put Clay Aiken's name in here, have it go out on Google alerts, and increase your hits significantly. Too bad that you are wrong on that point.

12:14 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

Memorial Day til about mid-September is absolutely miserable here. You might have an occasional 80 degree day, but for the most part, it's 85+ with 60-80% humidity. It's not nice.

OK..maybe not EVERY day...I remember sitting at Rosenblatt once to watch the July 4th fireowrks, and people had blankets. But obviously that's rare.

The best weather here is late September through late October. Other than that and a few random weekends from March-May...that's about it. (Random = when the wind isn't blowing 900mph)

7:56 AM  
Blogger AJ said...

PS - What the fuck is the Clay Aiken comment mean? Seriously..I must have missed something.

If you 're saying I put that on there to drive hits? Uhhhhh...OK. Nevermind the thousands of people who troll Husker message boards and get pissed...let's get one or two google freaks in here to spend their .000000000000003 cents on a Google Ad...and that's IF they click on it by mistake.

Come on now..you can make fun of me fine..but find a better angle than that.

7:57 AM  
Anonymous davepowers said...

Who is Strilke?


3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuck man, why DO you live here?

Hate the sports scene, except UNO hockey of course, hate the weather 90% of the time, hate the fact there is nothing to do here. You either have a really awesome job or its the wife thats tethering you to the O.

Last thing on the weather here: unless your in the July-Aug. or Jan.-Feb. months you really have NO clue what the day is going to bring. Kinda fun actually.

6:21 PM  
Blogger NEBforOSU said...

Dear Families and Recruits:

As a parent of three college-aged children, I hope you read and reflect on what I think about the University of Nebraska and the Lincoln community, since they're so linked together.

Personally, going to college there and living in Lincoln were collectively the best times of my life. It's a top environment to send your kids to, and so unique that outsiders criticize it in envy.

Rather than reiterate stats like the "winningest football program of the last 50 years" (which it is) yet amazingly has an very high graduation rate for football players (which it does, to the embarrassment of other schools) allow me to comment beyond that on what your kid will experience, if he's lucky enough to be called a Husker.

It's so easy to take for granted things like a very low crime rate, but as a parent- I don't. Having lived in other places, I assure you that Lincoln has no idea what TRUE violent crime rates are all about. Imagine: your kid walking down Main Street (O street) alone on Saturday night! Try that in most cities. Lincoln has a small-town innocence to it that's charming.

The general behaviorisms of the populace- are they friendly and courteous to one another and outsiders? YES! Husker Sportsmanship is well-documented: coaches and players from all over have commended the Husker Nation for their UNIQUE displays of sportsmanship at football games: it's unmatched anywhere, and a breath of fresh air compared to what exists elsewhere. Their CIVILITY and MANNERS can and WILL rub off on your children. Going to a game in Lincoln is a HAPPENING, and visitors view it as a treat, because it's how sports should be.

Lincoln is in a pocket of the U.S. with HIGH educational rates of the populace- not just graduation rates but literacy rates. I live currently in a State that has a 27% illiteracy rate- so sad. Lincoln's area has a financially healthy middle class, not just two groups of haves and have nots, which is so prevalent elsewhere. That's the foundation of a healthy society.

The area has an abundance of basic natural resources: CLEAN air and CLEAN water. It's all part of why the lifespan of the area is so incredibly long. They still have no idea what a ghetto is, and I hope they never do.

Today's society is so loaded with high STRESS levels on its populace, measured by rates of divorces, suicides, bankruptcies, address changes, and other factors. I didn't realize until I moved away from Lincoln how "low-stress" it is. Those people have a quality of life they take for granted.

Perhaps all of these things are why it pains me to see a quality young person shun the single greatest collegiate football program in a unique community to head off to some area that looks like a WAR ZONE: how can any reasonable parents think that some of the CESSPOOLS that exist near colleges are good for the children that they love? Ask yourself what YOU want for your beloved kids. Make a list.

If you haven't ever met him, take a visit and get to know one of my heroes. You can count on one hand my short list of those. He's the Athletic Director of the University and knows a little about football. His name is Dr. Tom Osborne- one of the most respected people in all of collegiate athletics. His down-to-Earth style and honest humility will charm those who are observant enough to see it.

To sum it up, you will be in the best hands that you can be, for BETTERING yourself in ACADEMICS, FOOTBALL, and DEVELOPMENT as a quality young man. Take a serious look at the Huskers, and if you attend, I promise you that you will have the best time of your life. I did.

Husker Nation will embrace you and take care of you long after graduation- they always have, from the first day you set foot on campus to decades later when you reflect back, like I am.

You see, there's far more than 86,000 passionate fans ALL dressed in red on game day, although it's quite a sight. Imagine: the last unsold seat was when John Kennedy was President! You will be a hero in Lincoln, whether you win a Heisman or just be a four year backup. Most of all, you will be a STUDENT-ATHLETE, which means getting your degree. Good luck to you and yours.


6:31 PM  
Blogger NEBforCU said...

Have fun picking apart that love fest of a letter =D

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Screw that po-dunk town. CWS should be moved or rotated just like all the other NCAAA Championships. If not for profit alone just to help expand the sports viewership. Baseball is losing out to numerous other sports across the nation and will ultimately be so far gone that it won't even be worth looking at if they wait too long. Besides Nebraska is like Idaho or Kansas, just with more idiots and less to cling on to.

4:01 PM  

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