Stadium Views


Ice cream and beer do mix: At least at the modern College World Series by gpiv
April 20, 2010, 4:14 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Fifty-nine bottles of beer in the fridge.

Nebraska-Creighton tonight at Rosenblatt.  I think I’m going to the store tonight to clean a little and see what kind of crowd they get for the game.  It’s supposed to be a big crowd.

Unfortunately, the year before I bought the place was the year that Creighton made the series.  My cousin also played in the series that year.  Timing is everything in life.

In 1992 when we opened the place and there were still houses across the street.  We got in the game too late to sell t-shirts so it was magazines and baseball cards.

They tore the houses down the next year to put up a parking lot.  Really it was so that the people could see Stadium View from the stadium.  It was the first of my five LSU national championships and the first year I sold t-shirts.  Next door were two lots owned by a Catholic priest.  He was the parking baron back then and often hard to deal with.

Love thy neighbor was not necessarily in the form of the bible that he had read.   That was the years before I had a fence on that side of the property.  We usually got into pissing matches a couple of times a year about where the property line was. He was too cheap to get a lot plan and I was too broke.  So it was easier to argue about it.

T-shirt selling back then was a lot easier.  One size fit all.  Everybody bought an extra-large, or bigger.  You couldn’t sell a small or medium to save your soul unless it was to an infant.  Then it had to be a preemie.

At that time there was only one bar on the street.  That was Starsky’s about two blocks up the street.  Both he and I thought that the old real estate saying, “Location, location, location.” were words to live by.  We had what we thought were monopolies.

Enter the Omaha city council.  Monopolies weren’t in their description of what they wanted on 13th street.  There was money to be made and everybody wanted a piece of the action.  Temporary zoning variances were the option since very little of the property on 13th street was zoned commercial beside my place and the block I was on.

First it was tents popping up everywhere.  The t-shirt business was getting big.  Everybody wanted souvenirs of the event and the NCAA person who had the contract was a lot higher than the people on the street.  Tents started popping up in everybody’s yard, not only selling t-shirts but every kind of food and junk imaginable.

Through the late 90’s Bezousek had control of all the good sights on the street including mine.  After Print-a-shirt it was Rick’s company as my supplier.  He was user friendly and he helped me out quite a bit, although it wasn’t that I moved much merchandise, he just wanted to keep me out of other peoples hands.

Around the turn of the century the climate changed with the introduction of temporary liquor licenses.  there had been another bar, Buffalo Joes, caught fire and was badly damaged during one off season.  Nike took a long term lease on that place and redeveloped it into a one month a year Nike Store.  Then the old bread store was bought and turned into a one month a year bar.

Then Zestos discovered something that none of us knew before.  Beer and ice cream do mix.  A beer tent went up in their parking lot.  Things became easier when they got a year round license.

All this vending, food and alcohol explosion brought more and more people.  There was a reason to go to the stadium even if you didn’t have a ticket to the game or werent  planning on going to the game.  People wanted to see what the atmosphere is like.

And it’s mostly good.  Except probably the first two days when there are just too many undesirables around, especially late at night.  Despite the presence of alcohol I think everyone, The NCAA, the city and the vendors want to promote a family atmosphere.  And while it is nowhere near what you find in other party areas like New Orleans or Vegas, the area is certainly a little wild for a normally quiet midwestern town.

This century also brought the proliferation of corporate tents.  UPS always had a presence at the Rosewater school, but  we also got Planit Omaha and their huge Budweiser tent.  Then several day to day for rent corporate tents including mine.  Companies wanted to throw a party to entertain their clients and there was no better place then the CWS and 13th Street.

Who do we owe this growth to.

My opinion.  We probably owe it all to those four letter people.  For those of you who want me to keep this g-rated I am going to let out that four letter word that changed the CWS so you can tune out now or read on if you want.

ESPN.

There I said it.  And maybe tomorrow we’ll talk about them unless I jump on one of my other pet peeves.

Pants on the Ground.

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