I’m not crazy about the new stadium. Not because I’m some sort of Rosenblatt apologist, because I never cared for it either. That place was a dive, but at least it had some personality. Like the Homy Inn in midtown Omaha.
TD Ameritrade Park is great because it’s new. Ten years ago I loved my Ford Focus – (well not loved necessarily “loved”, but a strong “like” nonetheless – it was a Focus after all). Why? Because it was new. I had been driving a manual shift Chevy Cavalier without air-conditioning so anything else was a godsend. The new home of the CWS seems great now, but how is going to be once there are some miles on it and the tires need replaced?
The stadium reminds me of Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium – minus the waterfalls and ample parking. It’s round. It’s blue. It’s a baseball diamond. There is nothing interesting about TD Ameritrade Park. No big baseball mitt or soda bottle beyond the outfield wall. No party deck or hot tub for people to watch the game from. No glamorous skyline view showcasing the city. No river or cove outside the fences. Nothing. Instead, TD Ameritrade Park seems like a big advertisement for the Qwest Center which rests prominently outside center field.
The Fertile Ground mural outside the stadium is incredible. If it would have been more prominently featured it would have made for a distinct scenic view with some pop. How about a big steak or something else unique and local beyond one of the outfield walls? Sounds silly maybe, but I don’t know, wouldn’t it be fun to see a big cow out beyond the outfield fence? Like an updated, Midwest version of the Bull in Durham, NC. Maybe a monster version of the Road to Omaha statue? Heck. I’d take one of those blown up air dancing inflatable guys you see outside used car dealerships.
Across town at Werner Park, the home of the Omaha Storm Chasers, you know what they have at their baseball stadium? A merry-go-round. You know what else? A miniature Rosenblatt Stadium for kids to play stickball. Pretty cool. It also has berm seating, bullpens you can walk right up to and food from restaurants I’ve heard of.
TD Ameritrade has a concession stand named “Burger Burger” which touts itself as an Omaha “tradition”. Tradition: [truh-dish-uhn] – a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting. Before it was even opened it was deemed a tradition? Zestos. That was a tradition. Give them a booth in TD Ameritrade. Not some over priced burger on a cheap bun.
It doesn’t need to be kitschy or gaudy. Let’s not bedazzle the place or hang up some streamers in order to spruce it up a bit. But something should be done. Why does one of the most exciting events in the country have to be played in one of the most boring places? There is a reason people go to exotic places for their honeymoon. Big events deserve a big backdrop.
The College World Series deserves a place that has some pizzazz. A place that has some personality. A place that has some character.
You know what TD Ameritrade has? Some little coniferous trees out beyond centerfield.
One more thing. Bring back John Routh and the CWS Maniac.