Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sunday Night Dessert: Royals Hung Up On Parking & Sal The Movie

Today's Omaha World-Herald reports on the history of the Omaha Royals agreement with Rosenblatt, and the expected battle ground between MECA and the Royals for the new stadium: parking.
"Parking is an issue for us," [Royals President Alan] Stein said, "and we are ready to dig in our heels."
Of course, the Royals are trying to create a new standard for parking, since other teams in the Pacific Coast League are charging $5 and $6 for parking. Nevertheless, it creates an interesting three way dynamic on the stadium front. The Mayor's office, who wants to see the stadium used as much as possible to drive growth in North Downtown. MECA, who just wants a status quo with the NCAA and the College World Series. And the Royals, who (rightfully so) are trying to get the best deal they can get.

Folks in Sarpy County might want to talk to Council Bluffs Mayor Tom Hanafan who sounds a cautionary tone about trying to build another stadium in the Omaha area, now that Omaha is investing $140 million into the new downtown stadium:
"Why would anybody build a stadium to compete with that?" Hanafan said. "It's doesn't make sense to me. I don't know why we would build a stadium to compete with that."
As I channel surfed yesterday to find the Cubs/Cardinals game, I came across Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh playing beach volleyball on NBC and momentarily paused my surfing. Soon, I noticed Colorado Buffalo logos in the background, and I quickly recognized the empty stands of Folsom Field. Yep... they were staging beach volleyball on CU's football field this weekend. And judging from the emptiness of the stands on Saturday, it looks like this might be a one time shot.

The Buffy logos on the side of the volleyball court were to promote an upcoming motion picture: "Sal The Movie". The Sal Aunese story has long been a source of friction between Nebraska and Colorado fans. Some Husker fans were rubbed the wrong way when the Buffaloes rallied around Aunese an undefeated season. Probably the most tasteless example of Husker fans actions was when someone spray painted "Sal Is Dead. Go Big Red." on the interstate just inside the Nebraska-Colorado border. Somehow, I fear that when this movie comes out, some idiot is going to do something stupid and resurrect this whole situation.

Jason Peter's new book "Hero of the Underground" comes out on Tuesday, telling the story of Peter's addiction to painkillers that expanded to heroin and cocaine that nearly killed him. The Omaha World-Herald has published a couple of excerpts (Part One and Part Two), as well as an interview with Tom Shatel. Peter's story should be an eyeopener; hopefully, I'll get to read it sometime soon. In no way should we glorify Peter's past drug abuse, but we can all certainly appreciate the effort Peter has made in turning his life back around.

The Journal-Star sounds a note of concern over Osborne's plans to build a Husker Hall-of-Fame, noting that Kentucky's Hall closed recently when it failed financially. While something should be done to honor and preserve the great history of athletics in Nebraska, any plans must be viable to be maintained in perpetuity. Husker fans will probably come to visit... once. But it needs to be something that can be maintained long after the initial rush of visitors come and go.


Omababe said...

>"Parking is an issue for us,"
>[Royals President Alan] Stein said,
>"and we are ready to dig in our

I know it may sound petty, but parking *IS* a valid issue here. Free parking is part of the lifestyle to which Omaha area residents have become accustomed. Like it or not, it's part of the culture! Having paid parking *WILL* affect the turnout at the games.

If Sarpy County can offer a similar deal with free parking for the fans, the Royals will most certainly have to take it!

Husker Mike said...

Oh, I know why parking is perceived to be an issue... but people already pay downtown to park at events.

Can Sarpy County offer a similar deal with free parking? Maybe, but the question is how? I just don't see how where Sarpy County is going to come up with $15 to $25 million for a second stadium. I just don't see how it's possible without raising taxes. Omaha managed to do it, but they used mechanisms that aren't really available to Sarpy County.

And that's why I think Sarpy County isn't going to be an option, and in fact, hurts the chances for keeping the Royals because it gives the Royals leverage in their negotiations with MECA. Those negotiations are going to be tough enough as it is. We really DON'T need government entities (Sarpy County and MECA) bidding against each other; nothing good can come of that unless you are the Royals.