Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Tuesday Night Beer: MECA Wants Baseball, Just Not Royals

Tom Shatel got confirmation from Roger Dixon that MECA wants professional baseball at the new downtown stadium. In fact, MECA is already working on plan "B": an independent league team like the Lincoln Saltdogs. Only problem is that it seems that the independent league team is plan "A" and the Royals seem to be plan "B". Much like it almost seems like to the Royals, downtown is plan "B" (or "C"), trailing Chalco and Sugarland, Texas.

Isn't this bizarre? The problem with this situation is that both organizations are trying to gain the upper hand in these negotiations, but gaining that upper hand is a potentially risky plan for the rest of the community. And it's distracting both organizations from coming up with an agreement with the ideal solution for the entire community: getting the Royals into the new downtown stadium.

It's a high stakes game of chicken to see who will blink first: Sarpy County by dumping millions of property tax or state sales tax revenue into a new stadium? Sugarland, Texas who'll simply snap up the team? MECA who will sign a new independent league team to play downtown? Or will one of Omaha's city fathers, who calmed the discord last winter and brokered the agreement to allow the new stadium to be built in the first place, get these two sides back to the table and find the solution to this mess.

My wife pointed out the headline at the top of the World-Herald's sports section tonight:
"One of the worst things that ever happened to me in football is Bill Callahan..."
-- Rich Gannon
Of course, that got my attention, and so I read the entire article about the problems facing the Oakland Raiders, and read the entire quote:
"One of the worst things that ever happened to me in football is Bill Callahan really felt like everyone spent the offseason watching what we had done offensively, and we had to change things," Gannon said, "and we spent the whole offseason trying to doctor our offense and do more things at the line of scrimmage. As smart a guy as I was, it was confusing and complicated to me."
Obviously, the headline writer at World-Herald Square wanted to take a shot at Callahan by taking a quote completely out of context, which isn't exactly fair to Callahan or readers. But by that same manner, it's more evidence of Callahan's inherent problem running an offense, whether it was in Oakland or Lincoln.

Many UNO fans have missed Tom Shatel's interview with outgoing UNO sports information director Gary Anderson, where he talked about UNO going division 1 (almost happened twenty years ago when I was still a student, apparently!) as well as the future of the hockey program:
Q: What's your take on where UNO hockey is?
A: It can be better. Everybody involved in the program wants it to be better. We want to compete on a national level. Can we? The answer is yes. But what will it take? We need to look at everything, beginning with where we play.

Q: Where should that be?
A: Our own arena, somewhere in the 7,000 to 9,000 range. I've been in Boston University's arena and it's that size. It has a big arena but doesn't take much to fill it up.
I'd suggest a little bigger: 8,000 to 10,000, but those are details to quibble over. UNO is going to need to replace the Sapp Fieldhouse, and it only makes sense to bring the hockey program closer to campus to make it more accessible to students. If you make it big enough, you also make Omaha a potential candidate for the Big XII basketball tournaments as well. A new arena isn't happening in the near future, as Omaha is investing too much money in the new downtown stadium. But longer term, it's going to be a necessity for UNO.

Husker offensive lineman Andy Christensen ended up being found "not guilty" today of sexual assault. He did plead guilty to two misdemeanors involving his arrest, however. So is there a chance that Christensen could once again put on a Husker uniform? This is his senior season, so it's either this year or never. I must admit that I'm torn on this one. On one hand, not guilty from a legal sense is not the same as innocent. There are different standards that determine whether you need to spend thirty years in jail versus being allowed to play football. Just because he was found "not guilty" doesn't mean that he was innocent that evening.

That being said, Christensen has been punished to this point. He was suspended before spring practice, so he missed all of spring and preseason practice. He hasn't had an opportunity to learn the revised playbook or to practice. Even if Bo Pelini reinstates him to the team tomorrow, it will take a lot of time to get him to the point he could contribute again to the team.

1 comment:

Husker_Engineer said...

I wish one of those 'city fathers' would step up and somehow get the Royals and MECA to play nice with each other. I wanted the new stadium, but that was also with the thought that somehow they would end up playing in that new stadium.

AAA Baseball >> Independent League

Seriously, it is not even really close.