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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Plenty of open seats

Yesterday's victory gave the Royals their first winning month since 2003.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Alright, David Albright...

...I'm not taking your ridiculous column on ESPN.com ("College World Series should hit the road," 6/22/07) sitting down, you douche. Rather, I am going to take it on Ken Tremendous-style and debunk your entire non-argument, pathetic little paragraph by pathetic little paragraph.

Change of venue could broaden College World Series' appeal
By David Albright
Updated: June 22, 2007

The time has come for the College World Series to leave Omaha.

GA: Sweet opening paragraph. When did it become trendy for sports columnists (I'm looking at you, Tom Shattel!) to use one-sentence paragraphs all the time, again?

There, it needed to be said.

GA: Two in a row? Dave, buddy--we've got to work on your creativity. I mean, your total bad-ass, "I'm a rebel, and am going to say outrageous things to grab the readers' attention!" intro is probably necessary to get anyone to read this garbage, but come on man...you sound like you should be on "Around The Horn" or something (by the way, not a compliment. I'm sure you understand.).

And I did so at the risk of never again being able to show my face at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, or take a stroll through the Old Market, or drink in the slice of Americana that is Zesto's.

GA: Um, yep. Pretty much.

And I also did so at the risk of seriously offending some of my ESPN brethren who (to put it kindly) wax poetic about the prospect of spending nearly two weeks in Nebraska every year.

But seriously, why should Omaha have a stranglehold on one of the premier college sports championship events?

Some would argue that it is -- or has become -- a top-tier event because of everything that Omaha brings to the table each June. And they would be right. Seemingly everyone associated with this event is as welcoming and hospitable as the chamber of commerce ads would lead you to believe.

GA: Alright, Dave, you're losing me a bit here: you're making the argument for keeping the CWS in Omaha. I thought this was about moving the CWS out of Omaha. Let's see what you've got waiting for me in the next paragraph.

But that doesn't mean another community couldn't take all of the great things that already exist about the CWS and put its own stamp on the annual festival.

GA: Totally. Except for Omaha having the perfect-sized stadium whose empty seats (12,000 to 18,000 a game) are filled with people from Omaha. Like, the only people on the planet that care to watch as many college baseball games as possible in a two-week period. Oh, and except for the fact that Omaha built this event, and NOT the other way around.

UC Irvine's extra-inning heroics would be a great story in any town in America. So, too, would Oregon State's run from nowhere to last year's national title.

GA: Yeah, that's why it's on ESPN.

It's no different than George Mason's historic run to the 2006 Final Four in Indianapolis.

Ah, Indy.

It's home base for the NCAA and it's constantly striving to be the "Amateur Sports Capital of the World" -- making it no surprise that the nonprofit Indiana Sports Corporation would love an opportunity to have a piece of the great story that the CWS has become.

Indianapolis also has Victory Field.

GA: Daaaaave--I thought we talked about the one sentence guys earlier, didn't we? I guess you're right, they really pound that point home. "Indianapolis also has Victory Field." Fuck me. You really woke me up in the middle of all this drivel. I forgot Indy had Victory Field. It is awesome. So awesome, I've never heard of it, along with 99.987% of Americans, and 97.89% of baseball fans*. Well, hopefully you'll give me some third-party opinions that hold up this ever-shakier argument of yours.

Opened in 1996 in a section of downtown that rivals everything Omaha has to offer, it is "the best of everything in one ballpark," according to Baseball America. And Sports Illustrated called it "the best minor league ballpark in America."

GA: Here's the hard-hitting, meat-of-the-argument stuff I was looking for! Indianapolis has a sweet minor league ballpark! Sweet Christ, how has the NCAA not thought of this! I mean, hello!!! The NCAA home offices are in Indy! What are they doing there? They have to have enough time after a long day of making college athletics as hard on college athletes as possible to realize that Victory Field kicks ass, don't they?

Dave, here's the bummer of the deal. There are a lot of sweet ballparks in America. In fact, Baseball America named Hawks Field in Lincoln the fourth-best college ballpark in America. It looks exactly like a mini-Victory Field. But guess what? There is no one in America--including anyone in Lincoln--trying to argue that because they have a sweet college baseball stadium, it should be the home of the College World Series.

And specifically for your argument and Victory Field...have you ever even researched this park? It's capacity is 15,500 (only 12,500 of which being permanent seats) and there is no parking, except random parking lots and peoples' yards. Sounds exactly like...Rosenblatt! Unless they decide to expand the field of teams participating in the CWS, it is looking like the NCAA would be bringing in 53% of paying fans into the games. And that is if they completely sell out every game, which flat-out would not happen. It doesn't even happen in Omaha. So, in other words...Indy is out. Sorry.

I don't care if the CWS moves to Indy. I really don't.

GA: Damn it, Dave...oh well, I guess you are showing you're impartial. You just need to see some change!

There are plenty of other great minor league parks that could host this event. There's AT&T Bricktown Ballpark (Oklahoma City), AutoZone Park (Memphis), Dell Diamond (Round Rock, Texas), Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Louisville Slugger Field and Zephyr Field (New Orleans).

GA: Really? Round Rock, Texas. Really. And New Orleans...well, I'll tell you what: when New Orleans can boast a population of Omaha's again, then we can talk. As for the others:

Bricktown. Great place, by all accounts. That's about it. It seats 13,066 (you can fit more than two of these guys in Rosenblatt), and more importantly, cannot even sell out Big XII Championship games. If they can't fill the place up to see the title game of Texas A&M and Baylor, why the hell would one think that they would go to see Cal-Irvine? There were 5,713 people there for the Big XII title game. I'll repeat that. There were 5,713 people there for the TITLE GAME. In Omaha, there were 17,000 people at a game on a Tuesday that started at 1:07 PM.

AutoZone. Besides the fact it is called AutoZone Park? I guess since it is in America's hotbed of baseball, Memphis. But, again, it holds 14,320 people. And, again, you can fit more than two of these into Rosenblatt.

Dell Diamond. Well, again: Round Rock, Texas? Really? I'm not even going to research the capacity, because it is not even worth it. In fact, I'm not even going to investigate the rest of your stupid locations, Dave, because it is a waste of time. There is--literally--no possible way to continue these incredible attendance records that are being set in Omaha at any of your "alternates." It is starting to sound like you're writing a column simply to be controversial and because you think the CWS should be played in other venues...offering not a single compelling argument to back up your opinion.

Let the record show that Rosenblatt Stadium, home to the Omaha Royals, is also a minor league park. And while it wouldn't be fair to call it a fixer-upper, the old ballyard on 13th Street clearly needs some fixing up.

GA: Something we can probably all agree on. Well done.

Rosenblatt has undergone nearly $35 million in renovations over the past two decades, with another $25 million proposed if College World Series of Omaha Inc. can get a commitment from the NCAA to host the Division I baseball championships beyond the current agreement that expires in 2010.

GA: Remind me again: is this column supposed to support the opinion of moving the CWS out of Omaha, or the other way around? My head is spinning at this point.

There's also been talk of putting the $25 million toward building a new ballpark in downtown Omaha, but the city politics and the prospect of leaving Rosenblatt may derail that idea before it ever really gets off the ground.

GA: Also true. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out. Now this is what I'm talking about, Dave! You're talking about issues that are actually plausible to write about! What is going to happen to The Johnny? How will this political theatre play out? How would all this money best be spent? You're starting to bring out some good stuff, Dave! Keep it up! Let's explore this some more!

For a radical idea, how about Chicago?

GA: Oh boy.

It's unlikely that an MLB ballpark would be available for the entire CWS run, but two stadiums could work. Play the elimination games on the South Side at U.S. Cellular Field and then move the championship series to Wrigley Field.

GA: Alright, you've hit a sensitive spot here, Dave. Everything is better at Wrigley Field. EVERYTHING. As has been said by many people before, you could open Wrigley Field up for lunch--with no game being played--and a solid 10,000 people would probably show up to eat.

That said, let's explore this a bit more. First of all, you completely took away my "there's no way any MLB team would willingly go on the road for over 2 weeks for a college tournament" argument--which deflates your entire point here--but we can go on. You're right, a championship game, along with winners' bracket games, would be fantastic at Wrigley. The players would love it, the coaches would love it, the fans would love it. But then you bring up...The Cell. Ah, The Cell. I am totally sure that South Siders would just cram that baby full and set off a few old-fashioned tire fires in celebration of having NCAA baseball loser-bracket games in South Chicago. Give me a break.

There's just no way this can happen. It is logistically impossible.

Go ahead and try to convince anyone that college baseball players wouldn't approach a shot at playing in front of the ivy-covered walls with the same fervor and zeal that they currently do in Omaha.

GA: Yeah, we get it. Wrigley Field is cooler than Rosenblatt. Holy shit, a revelation. Dave, hear this loud and clear: Wrigley Field is cooler than ANY ballpark ANYWHERE in America.

For its part, the NCAA has been relatively silent on the matter. Dennis Poppe, the managing director for baseball, told ESPN.com, "I guess when you have a commitment and a good relationship, it's kind of like a good marriage. Why would you look for another one?"

GA: Shocking. The only person injecting any sort of common sense into this argument is a man that makes a living working for the NCAA. Thanks, Dennis. Well said. It is a good marriage. In fact, I would argue it is a great marriage. It is a marriage that the couple worked really hard for many years to make work, and continue to work hard to make it work. And now, at the end of the day, things are perfect. The couple doesn't have to work as hard, have plenty of money, and now can concentrate on visiting the grandkids and taking cruises. Why ditch the old lady, marry a crazy 28-year-old chick who is just going to give you a STD and take all your money when everything is perfect as is? You don't. You enjoy what you have.

Rotating venues seems to work OK for the Final Fours and the Frozen Four, and those events are perennial sellouts. So why wouldn't it work for baseball?

GA: Because no one outside of Omaha gives two rat craps about college baseball. I thought we talked about this, Dave?

For the people who can imagine this event being played only in Omaha, the list of reasons could fill a book.

GA: What is the point of this column again?

Ultimately, the decision lies with the NCAA. And given the agendas, bureaucracy and conflicts involved, it's too early to tell how this will play out.

GA: This is kind of funny. Kind of like the JoeChats from Fire Joe Morgan, in which Joe answers every question with things like "I don't know, I haven't watched the Blue Jays enough this year to answer the question 'is Vernon Wells good?'."

Although it does bring out a white-knuckle fear of mine, knowing that things are left up to the NCAA to decide. SCARY!

The best of both worlds might be to institute a rotation that includes Omaha as a permanent fixture every two or three years.

GA: *looking around, confused*

That would open up the College World Series to some other great venues and cities while still keeping a renovated Rosenblatt and Omaha in the mix.

GA: *Stunned, glazed look, stumbling around the room* I thought the whole point of this retarded article was that the CWS needs to leave Omaha? Now you've decided that was completely retarded, so you need to retract a bit? "Well, I guess since I have debunked every argument I have brought up in the schizo column myself, I had probably back up and somehow include Omaha in my grand plan." Dave, you've left me speechless.

After all, there's only one Zesto's.

GA: You're right, and everyone at Zesto's hates you.

David Albright is the senior coordinator for college sports at ESPN.com and can be reached at david.albright@espn3.com.

*Not official polling data. As in, the author totally made up these numbers. But I'm guessing they're not far off.

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R.I.P., Shooter

In very sad news today, Rod Beck--or more affectively known as The Shooter--passed away at the age of 38. They don't know how he died, but he apprently checked into drug rehab instead of pitching for San Diego over the past couple of years.

I decided to use this picture from his days as a Iowa Cub, as it seemed most appropriate. Pete and I, in particular, used to always plan these trips to Des Moines in order to hang out with The Shooter, as he famously parked his RV in center field and would hang out with the fans until the later hours (or until he turned off his purple martini light). It is sad to think that we always put it off because A) we figured he would be there forever, and B) because Des Moines is too far to go.

Well, driving to Des Moines at least once a week now makes me realize that we were in reality just being lazy and lame. We missed a great chance to hang out with a dude who, by all accounts, was a great guy. It's too bad that his time came too early, and we missed out on it.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Nebraska Political Blogging On Leavenworth...

Just wanted to pass along a link for a great Nebraska/Omaha politics site called Leavenworth Street. It is very well written, and I found it because it got some nice national publicity in MSNBC.com's report on political donations from members of the press.

Anyways, check it out.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Rip 'Em, Eaters!

Just got back from The Blatt...what an incredible game. UC-Irvine--those lovable Anteaters--rallied big time to completely stun everyone at the game; most importantly stunning Arizona State.

Down four runs in the 8th inning, the Eaters scored eight--and if it were not for their completely retarded third base coach, should have scored five--held on with clutch pitching, pushed it into extras to set the stage for little Ollie Linton (all 5' 8" of him, and a total crowd favorite before the last at-bat) to push a single into right field to win the game.

UC-Irvine becomes the first team in CWS history to win two straight extra-innings CWS games (the first being their record 5-hour long game the other night), and have firmly set themselves up as the overwhelming Omaha bandwagon darlings. And guess what? I'm driving the bastard. What a fun team that never gives up.

It's going to take a miracle for them to win two games against defending National Champs Oregon State, but I say bring them on! This is a team of history, by God!

Great stuff tonight, people. Games like that are precisely what college sports--and specifically the College World Series--is all about.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Day 11

Remember a couple years ago when the MIB gave up sobriety for lent. . .I almost feell as if I am hitting his pace. It has been a hell of a ride, and with todays forcast of rain at the Johhny today, makes the Pavillian passes with free food and beer that much more dangerous. To all those in the office today, I wish you well

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I Wonder When They Did This Interview?

I would like to think sometime after The Hold Steady played their (in these parts) legendary Omaha show at the Sokol Underground.

I found this interview actually looking for some live sets from Bonnaroo from this weekend--the "superjam" they have every year consisted of ?uestlove, Ben Harper, and John Paul Jones, which is as cool as it fucking gets for me--and found this Hold Steady interview. Read the questions and answers, and then ask yourself...is he talking about us? Or, more specifically, MIB?


CRAIG: Dudes will be misbehaving and their girlfriends won’t even be there. That’s the Hold Steady crowd—tons of drunk dudes and then the girls that are there are totally pissed. I think it’s getting better. Like more chicks.


CRAIG: Yeah. The smaller shows, there’s always some dude totally into it. He’s pumping his fists, and he’s pretty drunk and then his chick is just like pissed that they’re there. I think they come to the show kinda drunk and then they get drunker. A lot of dudes are doing shots with their buddies.


CRAIG: In the dressing room, it’s Jim Beam, but I think dudes are into tequila. A Hold Steady show is a show where you take the next day off of work. No one’s even fooling themselves. Which is a good feeling. Clubs have always told us that our liquor sales are really good for the amount of people that are there.


CRAIG: I think the music supports partying in a positive way. Most people can feel good and forget their problems. There’s definitely a culture. I think the band drinks a lot. There’s a lot of drinking on stage. I drink Bud or Coronas. The big thing I have learned is the way it works best is to not drink until about ten minutes before we go on, and then to drink as much as possible while we’re on stage. I have to sing a lot, so there is physically not much time to drink. But I can drink a six-pack onstage. A lot of it spills. A lot of it is for show.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

My Brother-In-Law, Heckler Celebrity

How crazy is this? This is a screen shot from The Heckler. Aaron apparently had absolutely nothing to do with this; we think that they got this off of Chicago Sports' fan photo section.

Anyways, pretty weird opening a fairly popular web page and seeing your brother-in-law with Ronnie Woo-Woo, flooding me with a flashback to that wonderful day at the Cubby Bear...

The "Holy Shit, Was I Wrong" Line Forms....Here.

Alright, I don't mean to be all "I told you so," but...

I told you so.

Until LeBron James develops a jump shot, he and the Cavs are not going to come close to sniffing a NBA Championship. Nada. Nowhere near.

And spare me the "King" nickname for Bron Bron. How can you call someone "King" when, after watching this series, you would seriously consider--in the hypothetical "who would you take if you were starting a NBA team from scratch" scenario--taking Tony Parker over LeBron?

I think Mr. "Global Icon" should probably worry about his jump shot before ascending to the status he so desires.

And for those who started liberally throwing around the MJ comparisons--*ahem,* Hales, *ahem*--why don't we compare Jordan and LeBron's first appearance in the Finals:

Jordan: 31.1 PPG, 8.4 APG, 6.4 RPG, 52% FG, 39% 3FG, 86% FT
James: 21.3 PPG, 5.7 APG, 7.3 RPG, 36.6% FG, 15% 3FG, 77% FT

Yikes...that whole statistical analysis thing really pokes holes in that comparison, doesn't it?

I'm off to bed before this game gets over, so it is conceivable that the Cavs could somehow win this game. But I'll tell you one thing--when you're at home, and you hold Tim Duncan to two of his worst games he has ever played, not to mention holding Manu to 1 (!) point in Game 3, and STILL lose??

There is NOT A CHANCE in the world that this would have happened to Jordan.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sopranos Finale

Holy balls. It's going to be great. I'm going to get some beer and watch it at my house, and follow it up with the new show "John from Cincinnati" by the creators of Deadwood. If anyone wants to come over and share in the violence and mayhem with me, feel free.

I haven't been this excited since I found out Devin Hester had a 100 speed rating in Madden 08.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

If you happen to hear gentle weeping in the winds....

...it is the collective sound of all the women in the world having a quiet cry tonight...THE GOODS is off the market, friends. Just got an excited (relieved?) call from Goods to tell me that he made Ricki the luckiest girl in the world, and asked for her hand in marriage.

Congrats, Goods!

(Bold prediction #1, RE: The Goods wedding: It won't matter how many beers you've had at the reception, because The Goods will have had five more.)

Between this great news and the celebration of Sambuca's wedding this weekend, it's been a pretty eventful week!

Congrats to both...to of the finest dudes any of us have had the privelege to call "friends."

UPDATE: Here's an official press release, as written by intrepid reporter Seger:

“In what must be heartbreaking news to women worldwide, Colin [name redacted] is officially off the market. Known affectionately by friends and admirers as “The Goods”, the Kearney icon became engaged late Tuesday night. “The Goods” gained popularity over the years for his trendy necklaces, finely pumped biceps, fashion sense and legendary ability to consume beverages. An official announcement and press conference are expected later this week.”

Monday, June 04, 2007

To be implemented immediately...


Sunday, June 03, 2007

A couple of advances...

Frank Black
Album: Bluefinger
Release Date: September of 2007
Song: Captain Pasty
Song: Threshold Apprehension

Talib Kweli
Album: Ear Drum
Release Date: July 24 2007
Song: Listen
Song: Hostile Gospel

Beastie Boys
Album: The Mix Up
Release Date: July 10 2007
Song: B For My Name
Song: 14th St. Break

Friday, June 01, 2007

Opening Today Major League IV "Wrigleyville"

Jesus Christ! Two days after having a player only meeting, where Jake Taylor must have proven ineffective, and coming off of a disgusting series against the Marlins it is great to see the Cubs firing on all cylinders...

Carlos (I'm going to win the Cy Young) Zambrano after giving up a career high 13 hits with no strike outs decides to take his craziness to a whole new level by punching catcher Michael Barrett. The Cubs who are on an outstanding 5 game losing streak show no signs of stopping their great descent into the cellar of the worst division in baseball!

The only thing missing is sarcastic calls from Harry Doyle, but I'm sure Hendry has something in the works because he has manage to spend 300 million dollars on a team that has one of the greatest skippers and absolutely no chance of winn a goddamned thing!!!

That is all.

Holy Goodness

This is the new Beastie Boys song/video called "Off the Grid". In my completely bias opinion this is a very tasst instrumental treat. That is all.


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