If you’ve seen my nonsense before, then you know I am barely serious, rarely remorseful, and always ridiculous. Besides those three, horrifying character flaws, I like to think I add something to stuff sometimes.
Those who can relate to the previous words also may know that I have been all but absent from the web for the last week or so. Well, I’ve been watching/reading/listening to local news and rumor.
I live in the great state of Nebraska, settled in Omaha… Long time home of the NCAA Men’s College World Series of Baseball. The history of that event in this town is long and storied. Since 1950, the culmination of college baseball has played out in a yearly tournament at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska. In 2009, the NCAA agreed to give Omaha another 25 years of glory by extending their contract with the city to hold the event. Most sources agree that this new contract was completely contingent upon a massive upgrade regarding the venue hosting the event. Enter the brand-spankin’-new TD Ameritrade Park.
Over the course of the last year, the whole town has been a-buzz with the new face of the event, and the multi-million dollar construction expenditure that has yet to reap the astronomical rewards that have been projected. Don’t get me wrong… Rosenblatt was and is an icon of American Baseball, but it was kind of a crap-hole. Nostalgic? Yes. Awesome atmosphere? Yes. Efficiency, adequate seating, and/or available parking? Absolutely not.
All issues have been addressed and solved during the design and build of the new, TD Ameritrade Park… Nostalgia can only come with time… But I do have to say that I’m truly worried about the atmosphere. Now, I’m not talkin’ about the “Everyone is so cool” kind of atmosphere… but the Earthly one that has inundated the area with water.
Record snows in the mountains of Montana, along with substantial rain all along tributaries have caused the Army Corps of Engineers to make some tough decisions. They have been releasing unprecedented amounts of water from the Gavins Point Dam in Yankton, South Dakota. Recent rain in the area has not helped.
The Missouri River is rising.
Many communities North and South of the Omaha area have been laying sand bags and plastic for weeks, some have evacuated, and many have already lost everything. The worst is yet to come. The latest, record-breaking increase in water volume that has been expelled from Gavins Point has not necessarily reached Omaha yet. Levees are failing. People everywhere are worried and scared.
Why is all this important? Well, besides the horrifying impact on humanity; TD Ameritrade Park, the new home of the CWS, is right next to the river. Even now, my sources report that sewage is backing up in a few places near the new park. The airport here is also very close to the river. Paid crews are currently working to keep the levees that are holding back the water effective.
I am very conflicted about putting forward this “outsider looking in with an excellent view” account of the happenings in Omaha right now. I want the city to do well, some of our family income is directly connected to the success of the CWS, and, most of all, I just want people to come here and have fun… It’s a truly great event. On the other hand, the “no problem” confidence coming from local media may be more hopeful than factual. Will the event happen? Yes. Will it be trouble free? Definitely not.
Of course the rumor mill here in town is going completely off- the-hook. From stories about the sprinklers being on over at the partially deconstructed Rosenblatt Stadium, to purported schemes regarding the timing and handling of sewage issues…
Pay attention to this one all you conspiracy theorists out there:
Inside sources speculate that the city of Omaha is waiting for crowds to arrive and media coverage to focus on the sporting event while they fire up pumps that will push the raw sewage downstream. Keep a suspicious eye on that one. Not that there isn’t plenty of crap being washed into the flood waters currently; but it is gross and a possible reality, and I do love the wacked-out, underground, everything’s-an-evil-plot speculation.
If you’re planning on visiting our fine city for this event I think you’ll have a memorable vacation. It’s not the end of the World… there are other airports around here that lie on high ground and the new ball park was designed with this kind of thing in mind… However, there are some facts to consider:
- People all around this area have been sandbagging non-stop.
- The Army Corps of Engineers is heavily involved in monitoring the levee system right now.
- Large portions of I-29 and some of I-680 have been closed indefinitely.
- Hundreds of parking spots that were ear-marked for CWS use by local business owners are now underwater.
- If the river backs up far enough, parking lots all around the new stadium will turn into wading pools… it was planned that way.
- There are paid crews working to maintain the levees that are keeping the river from soaking Eppley Airfield.
- Local businesses that operate close to the rising water are optimistic, but obviously worried.
Again, I have no doubt that Omaha’s signature event will happen, but not without an excessive amount of water. Now, the focus of all this has been the well-being of the 2011 CWS, but the true issue here is that the flooding is projected to last for months. Thousands will be displaced and heartbroken. That in mind, our city needs your support, so if you’re planning to visit for the event… please… don’t cancel those plans. Actually, from what I have witnessed personally, I may be able to provide visitors with a bit of advice…
- If you’re staying at a hotel near the ball park, don’t rent a car… there won’t be anywhere to park it. Besides, in that area you can walk-to-get or order-in anything you may need.
- Expect delays of all kinds.
- Be nice to the people who are trying to deal with your natural disaster inconveniences… they are just as upset about it as you are.
- Pack your galoshes.
It all plays out to be one of the most memorable series ever... An atmosphere that will be completely controlled by the other atmosphere, for sure.
By: Stinkweed Pete http://www.facebook.com/stinkweedpete.page