Omaha Down to the Final Strilke
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.