Right before we put our College Preview issue to bed, I got a call from Steve Pivovar of the Omaha World-Herald. No one knows the College World Series like Steve, an Omaha native who’s been to every CWS since growing up there in the mid-1960s.
I had called Steve about a column I wrote for that issue, but the conversation quickly turned to Rosenblatt Stadium and the future of the CWS in Omaha. I had heard some negative vibes about the infighting surrounding plans to either renovate Rosenblatt Stadium or perhaps build a new stadium in downtown Omaha, and I have weighed in on the subject in last year’s CWS Preview. (I’m for renovation of Rosenblatt, which I consider among baseball’s special ballparks, albeit a step below big league cathedrals such as Dodger Stadium, Fenway Park or Wrigley Field.)
Steve’s assessment of the situation was dire–he told me he thought for the first time in his life, the CWS might leave Omaha, thanks to confilcts between those who want to renovate and those who want a new park. I didn’t want to believe him, but this news makes me think Steve’s right.
There are two sides now to the Omaha stadium debate that are not getting along–the new-stadium crowd, backed by the mayor, wants to build downtown. At the American Baseball Coaches Association convention in Philadelphia last month, the NCAA’s Dennis Poppe hinted that this was the NCAA’s preferred path. But the build-downtown crowd has strong opposition from the people who currently run the site of the proposed new park.
I used to think the Henry Doorly Zoo was a problem in all this, that because it shared a parking lot next to Rosenblatt that it didn’t want expansion, or that it blocked moving the CWS to a later summer date due to parking concerns. I think that’s a smaller concern than I used to think, though. Now it seems like Omaha political infighting is an issue, as is a proposed sewer-system overhaul that could cost Omaha taxpayers more than $1 billion over the next decade.
When Steve Pivovar says the College World Series might leave Omaha, college baseball fans should listen. And now that things are playing out the way he said they could, it sounds like the Series’ days in Omaha could be numbered. The current contract runs out after the 2010 season. Rumors already have started to leak out that cities such as Orlando and Indianapolis would be ready to bid for the CWS if the NCAA would just give them that chance.
The recent happenings in Omaha make the loss of the Series sound like a distinct possibility now. Can you imagine players talking about the "Road to Orlando" or the "Road to Indianapolis"? Yeah, me neither.
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog