Sunday, July 08, 2007

Heat Wave Thoughts

We're officially in the dog days of summer... the College World Series is over, as are the Stanley Cup Finals. College football is still 8 weeks away. Not much to talk about now... CornBlight over at CornNation has declared July the "Month of Corn" since there really isn't much else to blog about yet. Speaking of which, I'll be contributing a bit to CornNation as well. This blog won't be going away, but I'm not sure how the two are going to balance each other out just yet. My guess is you'll see some cross-posting and a little cross-promotion, much like my response to the FireMarkMay blog's summer roundtable.

Today's Omaha World-Herald had a couple of interesting articles to read. First one was on Tampa Bay Devil Rays' all-star outfielder Carl Crawford. Many people don't know that Crawford was Frank Solich's first quarterback recruit:
Crawford can stretch singles into doubles and chase down line drives in the gap. Football, though, still feels more natural to him. It's more instinctive, more reliant on athleticism.

His senior year of high school, the 6-foot-2 lefty rushed for 1,200 yards. He also averaged 25 points on the basketball court, drawing interest from UCLA.

"He just had speed and athleticism," said Gill, the former Nebraska quarterbacks coach, in 2000. "Those two qualities right there, they jumped off the tape."

Nebraska's tradition and coaching staff jumped out at Crawford. Head coach Frank Solich came to Houston during recruiting and ate with his family.

"None of the other coaches had done that," Crawford said.
Hard to argue that Crawford isn't one talented athlete, and that his decision to take the millions of dollars from Tampa wasn't the right one. But you do have to wonder what might have happened if Crawford had shown up in Lincoln in the fall of 1999. Ah...if only, if only...

The new management of the Omaha Royals made an ill-advised attempt to revive their plan for a Royals-only stadium downtown in today's paper, suggesting that the cost difference between the "Replace Rosenblatt" and "Renovate Rosenblatt" options should be given to the Royals for a new downtown ballpark. Talk about chutzpah!

First of all, if there is any money to be saved by renovating Rosenblatt, it will be mostly because the city WON'T be repairing many of Rosenblatt's infrastructure issues at that time. That $25 million dollar estimate doesn't begin to touch the dilapidated infrastructure that will need to be addressed at some point. Siphoning that money over to a minor league ballpark would be an irresponsible act by the city as far as I'm concerned.

Spending the money on the College World Series is a no-brainer in my book. A 2003 study found that the CWS had a $34 million dollar economic impact on the city each year. A 2005 study showed that a minor league ballpark would only have a $9 million dollar impact annually. The only question is whether or not we spend $25 million now (and potentially $30-$40 million in several more years) on Rosenblatt, or if we invest the money in a new ballpark downtown.

Once we figure out the right answer to the CWS, we can look at the Royals situation. However, that $9 million of economic impact is going to make it very difficult to justify the expense of a new minor-league ballpark.

In the meantime, I'll have to keep an eye on my Cubbies. I haven't had much to get excited about since that ill-fated game 6 in 2003. I had to take the dog for a walk in the 7th inning, as I wanted to get back in time to watch the Cubs celebrate making the World Series. We all know how well THAT worked out. But Pinella certainly has them playing better, getting all Cub fans hopes up one more time.

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