Showing posts with label CWS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CWS. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

A night at the ballpark

Went to tonight's second game of the College World Series championship here in Omaha, by God, Nebraska . . . where we saw a cute baby.

Oh, and the ball game, too.

And then we saw the cute baby with a cute hat. Mom may be just a little bit proud here.
And then we saw the little thunderhead that couldn't. They got the game in --  without a rain delay . . . or a drop of rain.

The wrong team won, alas, but there's always Game 3 tomorrow night.

Play ball!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Monday night at the CWS

Nothing to say here, move along . . . to the photos, which happen to be some random slices of life Monday evening at the College World Series here in Omaha, by God, Nebraska.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Getting the picture in the Age of Terror

It's summer in Omaha. And with the beginning of summer comes the College World Series, a fine way to spend a sultry evening in late June.

Added to the mix, starting next week, will be the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials at the CenturyLink Center Omaha, just across the street from TD Ameritrade Park downtown.

The CWS is Omaha's signature event, one that has become part of this Midwestern city's very being. It has come to symbolize what we all love most about amateur sports and about America's national pastime.

IT'S THE PICTURE Omaha wants to present to the country, and the one America wants to present to the world. Here, three of these pictures belong together.

Three of these pictures are kind of the same. Can you guess which one of these doesn't belong here?

Now, with apologies to Sesame Street, it's time to play our game.


SORRY for the blurriness of the picture that's not the same, the one immediately above. The sports Nazis of the NCAA won't let me bring my digital SLR with the long lenses into the stadium, and when you zoom in with an iPhone camera, you get what you get.

So let me tell you what you're seeing here. The Omaha policeman on the right is carrying what appears to be some permutation of an AR-15 -- an assault rifle. These officers are stationed right before you get to the ticket-takers, and you don't get more in plain sight than that.

It took me aback -- not that CWS security hasn't always been this heavy in our post-9/11 world, but that this year, in the era of ISIS and a week past Orlando, it seems to be more conspicuous  than ever. In your face, even.

I'm not faulting the local cops. I'm not questioning the security strategy. And I'm certainly not getting in the face of the cop with the military-grade firearm to get a better picture of his assault rifle. Besides, I look rather Mediterranean in this Age of Trump.

What I am saying is this is sad. Damned sad. It might be the right thing, but it is so, so wrong.

America's right-wing, gun-nut wingnuts don't want us to become just like those socialist "Euroweenies." Seen the security at the Euro soccer championships in France?

Looks to me like we just have.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Turn out the lights, the party's over

June's almost over, another College World Series has been consigned to the pages of Omaha sports history, and now it's time for fireworks, sweet corn, blistering Plains heat and daydreaming about state fairs and college football.
But not until we get in some parting shots.
Like these.

The cotton-candy dude abides

If you don't count some smart-assed teenager plopping himself down in the middle of a bunch of Mississippi State fans at the last game of the College World Series, then yelling "C'mon, Bruins! Beat those rednecks!" . . .
And if you lay aside an incensed Bulldog partisan responding in his thick Mississippi drawl with "C'mon 'Dawgs! Beat them queers!" and thereby proving the smart-assed teenager's point, the most memorable sound coming from Sections 203 and 204 at TD Ameritrade Park in downtown Omaha went something like this.
"Cotton caaaaandy-buhdybuhdybuhdy-buhdyyyyyyy! Cotton caaaaandybuhdybuhdy-buhdybuhdyyyyyyy!"

THAT meant the SnoFloss cotton-candy dude (not to be confused with the Sta-Puft marshmallow man in Ghostbusters) soon would be coming down an aisle near you. I almost was wishing I could abide cotton candy.

"Cotton caaaaandybuhdy-buhdybuhdybuhdyyyyyyy! Cotton caaaaandybuh-dybuhdybuhdybuhdyyyyyyy!"

The first time I laid eyes on the purveyor of $5-per-cavity SnoFloss, I turned to my wife and our friends and said "Holy crap! It's The Dude!" Or at least a young, cleaner-shaven version of Jeff Lebowski, the lesser. They all agreed.

And I could totally see The Jeff Bridges Dude selling cotton candy at the ball yard. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Would cotton candy and White Russians abide? I haven't a clue.

NOR DO I have a clue about the real backstory of the SnoFloss cotton-candy dude. For all I know, he's a tea-party Republican pursuing his MBA at Creighton. With an emphasis on cotton caaaaandybuhdy-buhdybuhdybuhdyyyyyyy!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

What would they know of such things?

This is the view from Omaha's TD Ameritrade Park just north of downtown.

One sportswriter from Baton Rouge, home of the LSU Tigers, apparently finds this as surprising as he finds the new home of the College World Series lacking in charm.

While I will admit that, with the dismantling and redevelopment of the Union Pacific repair yard and the ASARCO lead smelter, NoDo doesn't have the "gritty" charm of, say, a vista dominated by refineries, chemical plants and a crumbling working man's paradise, you sometimes have to wonder how willfully insular some people -- and places -- can be.

Scott Rabalais writes in The Advocate:
As for the College World Series’ new home, there is no question the ballpark is an upgrade over old Rosenblatt Stadium, a collection of jigsaw pieces the NCAA and the city of Omaha assembled into a 24,000-seat ballpark over the years.

TDAPO is clean, has a broad, sweeping main concourse that allows you to keep up with the lack of offense on the field from any concession or souvenir stand, much improved locker room facilities, indoor batting tunnels and state-of-the-art media facilities.

What it doesn’t have is charm, something the College World Series has lost in the quest to be bigger and better.

Rosenblatt wasn’t the best ballpark in America. It had claustrophobic, dark concourses, few of the all-important club seats and cramped clubhouses for the participating teams. It was the kind of place where you had to go outside to change your mind.

But what it lacked in modern amenities it made up for with buckets of homey ambiance. It fit into the slightly gritty South Omaha neighborhood that grew up around it like a ball in a well broken in baseball glove. The ballpark was like a beloved weekend retreat on False River — not the place where you would want to entertain heads of state, but where you wanted to visit over and over again.

TD Ameritrade Park shiny and new and is surrounded by shiny new restaurants, watering holes and eateries. As an example of urban renewal, it’s top notch. Who knew Omaha could look so slick and refined?

But the new ballpark has the feel of something valuable behind glass that is to be admired but not touched, and certainly not a place where you would feel comfortable putting your feet up on the furniture. It’s a place you would like to visit, but sort of like going to the White House. You’re afraid if you sit on a chair the Secret Service is going to come repelling out of the rafters and hoist you away.

Another thing TD Ameritrade Park probably has over Rosenblatt: big walk-in freezers. In that respect, the new CWS ballpark is in keeping with the warm and fuzzy feeling that everyone gets from the NCAA.

At least TDAPO accomplishes one very important thing: it kept the College World Series in Omaha with an unprecedented 25-year contract. If a new home that leaves everyone with a bit of a chill is the Faustian bargain necessary to guarantee that the city which nurtured the CWS – which loved it before rest of the country figured out it was cool — then it’s worth the loss of rough-hewn folksiness that was Rosenblatt. But just barely.
WHO KNEW it would take a downtown stadium for a sportswriter who's been following LSU to Omaha for years to notice the city's progression toward "slick and refined" over the last couple of decades?

As someone who happily left Baton Rouge for Omaha before it became "so slick and refined," my inner snarkster muses that Rabalais' profound revelation about my city is kind of like a resident of South Sudan proclaiming his disbelief at how "slick and refined" were the Norwegian aid workers. Get out much?

THEN AGAIN, when this is your ballpark just north of downtown, maybe people should just consider the source. Though I'm sure Pete Goldsby Field is loaded with charm. Tell 'em the story again about how Felipe Alou wasn't allowed to play in an Evangeline League game there against the Baton Rouge Rebels in the late '50s because of . . .  you know.

I always find it amazing, though not necessarily surprising, when folks from places that rarely even try give left-handed "compliments" to places that bust their asses to excel. Is where I'm coming from.

Friday, June 21, 2013

These colors don't run

LSU is gone from the College World Series, but Eunice, La., is in the house at the North Carolina-North Carolina State game Thursday.

Geaux Tigers!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

CWS: The flow of humanity

As we saw oh this light I swear you, 
emerge blinking into to tell me it's alright . . .

As we soar walls, every siren is a symphony, 
and every tear's a waterfall, is a waterfall. . . .
-- Coldplay

Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city,
Linger on the sidewalk
where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?

The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares
So go downtown; things'll be great when you're
Downtown; no finer place for sure
Downtown everything's waiting for you
-- Petula Clark

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


At the College World Series in Omaha, you have your baseball.
But you also have your Zesto, because the CWS just ain't the CWS without some soft serve or my personal favorite, a hot-fudge malt.

Life is, as often as not, a long, hard slog through a vale of tears. I consider baseball and Zesto as tender mercies best enjoyed on the downslope of June in a river city on the Great Plains of America.

Seat with a privileged view

The view from my seat at Tuesday's LSU-North Carolina game at the College World Series was stellar.

The game? Not so much.

In my humble opinion, my town -- Omaha -- is becoming America's next great city. Officials in other towns like to say things like that; Omaha just does it.

MY HOPE, and my expectation, is that the old cow town on the banks of the muddy Mo will just keep up the good work, surviving even the ideological idiocy of its new Republican mayor, Jean Stothert, who as a councilwoman last year took the lead in negotiating a new fire-union contract that broke the city budget and who now vows to balance it without raising taxes or diminishing essential city services.

That's an easy task if you believe in magic.

Unfortunately, we're now starting to get an idea of how Her Honor defines "essential city services." Public libraries would not be among them, according to the Omaha World-Herald. 
Omaha Public Library branches could close and other service cuts could be made in light of budget cuts proposed by Mayor Jean Stothert, the head of the city’s Library Board said.

The Omaha Public Library Board will discuss the potential cuts today, board President Stuart Chittenden said in a Tuesday memo to the mayor.

Chittenden said a $13.1 million library budget suggested by Stothert for 2014 “will require reductions in both services and resources.”

According to Chittenden’s letter, the library is facing a potential cut of nearly $393,000 for the rest of 2013 and all of 2014.

Last week, Stothert said city department directors had submitted 2014 budget proposals that exceed forecast revenue by roughly $20 million. The city also faces a revenue shortfall of about $13.5 million in its 2013 budget.

Stothert asked the directors last week to cut their 2014 budget requests to certain targets, although she declined to identify the specific numbers for each department.

Department directors were to submit their trims to the Mayor’s Office by the end of business Wednesday, Stothert said.
LIKE THE I-got-mine right wing of her party (And is there any other wing in the GOP anymore?), Stothert is happy to give a free ride to those who don't need one while balancing the municipal ledger on the backs of those who can't afford a beautiful view from the ol' ballgame . . . or regular cybertrips to

The genius of Omaha is an engaged citizenry and a civic elite fiercely protective of the family jewels -- the city's economy and its quality of life. Pray God that Omaha's own Marie Antoinette shortly will be put in her place by her betters -- an expansive group here in River City, as it turns out.

Now back to your regularly scheduled ballgame.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It's the most wonderful time of the year

If it's the third week of June, and if you're in Omaha, Neb., then it must be the most wonderful time of the year.

College World Series time of the year.

Thus it has been in this fair city -- the magical melding of late spring, early summer, Midwestern hospitality and college baseball -- since 1950. When the CWS got to town all those decades ago, it was a little event at a nice little municipal stadium called Municipal Stadium.

A decade and a half into the tournament's standing engagement in Nebraska's largest city, Municipal Stadium became Rosenblatt Stadium, named for the popular former mayor and onetime ball player. It was still a nice little municipal stadium, though.

That was before cable TV and before ESPN.

When TV made college baseball a small-screen hit, the National Collegiate Athletic Association gave the city fathers a sign they couldn't wave off. The sport was growing; local organizers were steadily growing the CWS into something that wasn't such a little event anymore, and the nice little municipal stadium on the hill started to get a whole lot bigger and a whole lot nicer.

And that was good for a couple more decades. Until it wasn't enough.

So once again, Omaha's movers and shakers saw what they had to do (with the help of the NCAA), and then this growing, evolving river city on the Mighty Missouri got 'er done.

And thus this third downtown College World Series in the bigger and better TD Ameritrade Park.

Verily, a body could become used to this. Happily. I mean . . . just look.

And look.

And look some more.

And look at the crowd flowing like a river down city streets.

And through stadium concourses.

And into the watering hole and eatery across the street.

Play ball!

Monday, June 25, 2012

View from my personal space

At the last day of the College World Series.

Good night . . . and have a pleasant tomorrow.
In South Carolina, your mileage may vary.