Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Night Dessert: A Rosenblatt Finale

One of the major criticisms of the end of the Rosenblatt Stadium era is that "it (the CWS) just won't be the same" downtown as it is on top of the hill.  It's kind of a silly argument because the CWS isn't the same event in 2010 that it was in 2005...or 1995...or 1985. It's a suprious argument because things would be changing even if there wasn't a new stadium.  Years ago, there weren't beer gardens up and down 13th Street.  Back then, ESPN didn't dictate a series that nearly runs two full weeks, when you consider the opening ceremony on a Friday night and a potential UCLA/South Carolina game three on Wednesday night. Omaha made Rosenblatt work for so many years, despite having a concourse designed 65 years ago for a capacity half of what Rosenblatt currently allows.  And let's not forget the NCAA's requests for a "clean zone" around Rosenblatt...

Change can be difficult, but things continually change in life. The important thing is to try and only change the things that don't work. From the Rosenblatt era of the CWS, those are things like cramped concourses, bathrooms, skyboxes, traffic, and parking.   I think tailgating will be different, but still possible in the larger Qwest Center lots. Add in other lots around downtown, and I think it's going to still be possible to do much of what people want to do. The Old Market is going to be an even more festive alternative to tailgating, and the developing North Downtown area has plenty of newer businesses (Slowdown, Barley's, Goodnight's, Old Mattress Factory) that are going to quickly become new CWS traditions. And don't count out Zesto's...lots of rumors about placing a new Zesto's just south of TD Ameritrade Park.

After watching 18,000 people spend the day at the Motivation seminar on Monday, I have no concerns about traffic on game days. Folks who insist on traveling on Cuming Street will get backed up, but there are no shortage of alternative routes downtown, and most of them didn't get backed up anywhere nearly as bad as 13th Street does.  And let's remember that the seminar coincided with morning rush hour; I don't think ESPN is going to demand any 8 am first pitches...even if we get another week of monsoons.

I know a lot of people were following the United States' run in soccer's World Cup, but for me, it was mostly a curiousity.  I understand the nationalistic fervor of most fans, but with games on during the workday, it's tough to pay much attention. The ESPN broadcasts are essentially "foreign" as well, with British play-by-play announcers on the call. The whole concept of "extra time" or "stoppage time" seems downright primitive when basketball and hockey work in tenths of a second. Football isn't quite that precise, but they'll use instant replay to put a second back on the clock. In soccer....well, we're told at the end of regulation we've got "about" four minutes to play.

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