Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday Night Beer: Omaha's Fascination with the Cubs

I must say that Omaha's reaction to the Ricketts family's purchase of the Chicago Cubs surprised me. Apparently many people were thinking the same way I was; it's a sobering message to the Omaha and Kansas City Royals. Kansas City's inept management of the allegedly big-league Royals over the last fifteen years has turned a once proud franchise into a joke..and by proxy, their loyal AAA franchise three hours north. Until last week, Omaha's remaining Royals fans were reduced to praying that somehow, some way, Sarpy County could find a way to build a ballpark small enough to make a Royals crowd look impressive.

Then the bombshell of the Ricketts purchase hit, and suddenly baseball fans started emerging from the woodwork when the idea of the Cubs AAA franchise playing downtown started to emerge. It's not a slam dunk by any means. First, TD Ameritrade hasn't bought the naming rights to the downtown ballpark. Secondly, Des Moines still holds the rights to the Cubs AAA franchise through 2012. And finally, we still have to wait to see what happens with the Royals. Do they head south to Texas, leaving Omaha without a AAA franchise to swap with Des Moines?

But let's make on thing clear. If TD Ameritrade does purchase the naming rights to the downtown ballpark, there definitely is an incentive for the Ricketts family to have their AAA baseball team playing in "TD Ameritrade Park" versus Principal Park. Joe Ricketts owns a significant chunk of TD Ameritrade, and is on the board of directors. Pete Ricketts is on the board too. Not to mention the lead Ricketts in the whole Cubs transaction, Tom Ricketts, is yet another Ameritrade board member. It may not make much of a difference to the Cubs finances whose name is on the stadium where the Cubs AAA team, but it sure makes a difference to Ameritrade. And that is where the money for this transaction is coming from, and with three Ricketts on the Ameritrade board, they've got a significant interest in seeing the Cubs in Omaha.

On that same note, Tom Shatel thought he was first in suggesting a Cubs exhibition game in Omaha. Let the record show I proposed it a day before he did.

Kind of a crappy Saturday for the local teams. UNO hockey got pasted at home by Miami after UNO spent most of the first period in the penalty box. Nebraska basketball lost a squeaker at home against Oklahoma State.

But truth be told, UNO fans can thank their lucky stars that former Omaha Lancer Andrew Conboy reneged on his commitment to UNO to go to Michigan State. Conboy's freshman season ended on Saturday night when Conboy and Corey Tropp combined on an assault on Michigan forward Steve Camper. If you think the video was bad, check out what found on their video. Conboy's season ended after Spartan coach Rick Comley reviewed the tape and suspended Conboy for the rest of the season for his actions.

Update 1/27/09: Andrew Conboy has withdrawn from Michigan State, and University of Michigan police are considering looking into the situation.


A J said...

I'm confused. The Cubs are going to leave decades of tradtion in Des Moines (and a shorter commute for players) because the Cubs owner MAY own the naming rights to Omaha's 2-weeks-a-year White Elephant stadium?

PCL teams...or any minor league team for that matter....have ZERO impact or influence on their parent club. The Major League Club simply supplies the players, while the minor league team does all the rest of the logistic work.

So why again would they just up and move? And does ANYBODY in their right mind think that the Des Moines people....(and don't kid yourself..that is a true Cubs town, not a trendy bandwagon hub like Omaha) would just say, "Sure Omaha..we'll trade you our iconic MLB tie for your tie with a long-time doormat!

You people are truly crazy, and I just use this as yet another example of Omaha fans thinking the sports world revovles around them.

I do agree with you though that the Royals are poorly run, and that all Michigan hockey players are goons.

Joe said...

No one is suggesting the Des Moines franchise will move, just that the MLB team and choose a different franchise for their AAA affiliate in 2012 and that team could play in Omaha.

Read here:

Anonymous said...

If Omaha is such a great sports town, why don't the Rickett's just move the Chicago Cubs to Omaha?

It amazes me that there are some people out there who are touting Omaha's prowess as some up and coming superpower in sports and entertainment. Last time I checked, the ONLY thing that matters in Nebraska is Husker Football...

You ask most people in Chicago and especially those in Wrigleyville, (myself included) are sickened at the idea of someone outside the boundries of Chicago owning the Cubs.

Stick with what you know best Omaha, college football.. Now go back and finish husking your corn...