Omaha Gripes



I, like a majority of male TCU fans, am a working man. I work your typical 8-hour, Monday-to-Friday work schedule, and am fortunate enough to not have to take it home with me. The weekends are a time I can relax and, when the timing is right, attend as many Horned Frog sporting events as I possibly can, particularly those that include the word "ball" in the name. This year, I followed the TCU baseball team as close as I ever have since graduating, which included watching the Frogs sweep in Austin for the first time in 20 years in front of the largest UT crowd to-date, and making it through 19 innings of the nearly 7-hour, 22-inning affair last weekend before driving back to the D and watching on my phone.

When a female friend of mine from school who is originally from Omaha asked if I wanted to drive 10 hours North with her and stay with her family and friends for the College World Series, I jumped at the opportunity. Knowing my Diamond Frogs were in as good a position as any to win their regional, and be well set up to win a 3-game Super Regional, I began researching the event and seeing what I could do about tickets. That's when I was distraught to find out that, given the schedule of the games in Omaha, it will likely be very difficult to catch even one game that includes TCU in action at TD Ameritrade Park. Assuming, of course, that all eight teams would play in the first four games, I would pretty much have a 50% chance of seeing the Frogs play on the first weekend, and probably even less than that the second weekend. That doesn't even include the worst part of the entire scheduling fiasco: The best-of-three Championship series is on a Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday(June 23-25). This isn't even a one-year situation either, as last year it was the same story.

Now some of you may say, "He's young, he can do whatever he wants because he's not tied down by [Insert Ball-and-Chain Here]!" What these folks may or may not remember is that as a young professional, money is tight and flexibility within the workplace is even tighter. Taking a Friday off every once in a while is certainly doable, sure, but a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and pretty much all of Thursday for the drive back becomes much more challenging (especially in my particular situation where I am still within 90 days at my new company).

Let's take a moment to forget about our own personal situations (because just about all of us would head to Omaha in a heartbeat if given the opportunity to do so), and take a more generalistic view of the scheduling. How involved are corporate sponsors in the process? Lord knows so much about college sports these days involves money (Think about the children! It's about the academics!). Are we avoiding all other major sporting events by having the championship series at the beginning the week versus over the weekend? Take the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball tournament into consideration. Every single game (with the exception of the First Four and the Championship game) was played between Thursday and Sunday. Fans that had a strong feeling their team was going to make it to the Final Four requested work off and booked their flights and hotels months in advance, knowing that at most they'd have to take one day off work if their team made it to Championship Monday, as the first two games of the Final Four were on a Saturday. Why can't the NCAA go by the same set of rules, at least for the Championship series?

One notable difference between March Madness and the College World Series is that the Final Four site moves every year, instead of once every 60 years. Maybe the College World Series is something more for the City of Omaha than other NCAA championships, so the NCAA rewards the city by making it more difficult for the riff-raff to make it to the games. Omahans do seem to really embrace and cherish hosting the event every year, which seems to make the event somewhat special. The crowd there generally seems to root for first-time teams and underdogs, a la TCU in 2010.

All things considered, it's probably good for the College World Series to have the championship at the beginning and in the middle of the week. One pitfall I have heard on multiple occasions with the March Madness Championship game as well as the now-defunct BCS Championship is that because the ticket prices are so sky-high, a large portion of the attendees end up being folks from corporate sponsors and someone-who-knew-someone and lives in the host city. Tickets for fans of the teams are generally reserved only for those who can afford it. By keeping the CWS in Omaha, the fans there seem to really go for the love of the game. It creates that atmosphere that a lot of other championships don't have. For me, heading up to the first weekend of games will be a last-minute decision, very likely based on whether or not TCU plays in either game on Saturday the 14th. I just wish I could join in on the fun of the championship series, without having to live in the middle of Nebraska.

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