Tonight, Omaha will be hosting two nationally televised sports competitions simultaneously. At TD Ameritrade Park, it'll be game two of the College World Series Championships and across the street at the CenturyLink Center, it will be day one of the Olympic Swim Trials. ESPN will be televising the baseball game while NBC will be televising the swim trials. Has there been a bigger day for Omaha sports? It would be hard to pick a bigger day.
Sure Omaha has hosted NBA games, but that was when the NBA was a fledgling league. Omaha has hosted some boxing matches, to be sure...but I don't know that even Ron Stander's heaveyweiht bout with Joe Frazier merits the same comparison. A horse race? Doubtful. Some NCAA tournament games (such as the OJ Mayo/Michael Beasley game from 2008) might be close, but that was just one event.
One could argue that neither event will grab the nation's attention. I'll agree. Lincoln has had bigger days just by the fact that Husker football is more attention-worthy than anything that has ever happened in Omaha. But this isn't about that...this is about a big day for Omaha and having two events nationally televised. 35,000 or more people will be flooding downtown; that's a great thing.
Will it go flawlessly? Nope. You can't build all of the infrastructure to make a day like this completely seamless. Not when this is probably a one-time coincidence of scheduling. Parking is going to be expensive and not as convenient. But that doesn't make this a bad thing; it makes this a great thing that Omaha can support two events like this at the same time.
At least we hope so. Will crowds show up to both events? Or will people bitch about the conflicts just to bitch about it? I'm sure some idiots will suggest that it would be better if the College World Series was back at Rosenblatt. (Oh really? THAT was a parking clusterf*!) Or that Omaha should have insisted that the schedules not overlap. (They tried, and this was the best that could be done.)
What was the alternative? Saying "no" to one of those events? That would be a huge mistake. So let's enjoy what we've got tonight. A lot of cities would kill for just one of these events.
Omaha got 'em both.