Stadium Views

A Shameful past! A shameful present! by gpiv
June 16, 2010, 10:59 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Two bottles of beer in the fridge.

Welcome to Stadium View.   Would you like a beer.

Just practicing.

Big day today.  Got the place almost clean, or at least straightened up.  Waco was also cleaning the clubhouse in back.  We’ll see what it looks like tomorrow.

Stadium View T-shirts are in.  The To Hell With Rosenblatt shirts look good.  Also have one that reads on the back, “We’ve put the fun in championship college baseball for 19 years……so long!”   On the front it just says Stadium View, est. 1992.  We also got the Stadium View staff shirts.  There are a lot of them so we may be selling staff shirts to the highest bidder.

Tents are popping up all over the place and I have never seen so many people in town so early.   A vendor named Victor that I haven’t seen in town for about eight years or so was hanging around yesterday.  Victor a cash only if he wants to buy from me.

A guy was in today trying to peddle some Negro league stuff.  Now I am kind of  a Negro League aficionado.  I have read several books and am fascinated by the teams and the stories.  His dad was a pitcher in the Negro Leagues.  We talked for about a half an hour.

I have a bunch of Negro Leagues gear.  Pittsburgh Crawford’s, Homestead Grays, Kansas City Monarchs and the New York Black Yankees are all in my closet.  But the history of Negro League Baseball is what is interesting.   These men absolutely loved the game.  Many could have dominated in the major leagues at that time.  But they worked for little money, as did many of their counterparts in the Major Leagues and played because the loved it between the white lines.

Mr. Biddle and I talked about how despite the fact of the color barrier, none of the former Negro Leaguers are bitter about the fact that they couldn’t play in the major leagues.  They don’t have the sense of entitlement that comes along with todays athlete.  Many of the players that will appear in the College World Series have had that sense of entitlement since little leagues and especially since select ball. 

Wear your hat straight, bend the rim and look like a ball player.  If we wanted clowns at the world series we would put a part-time rodeo out there between innings.

Dude you’re not entitled.  There isn’t a player who played in the Negro Leagues, probably making a couple of dollars a day, whose bags you deserve to carry.  They respected the game and part of respecting the game is to dress and act like a ball player.

Management reserves the right to bend your hat if you look like a dork at Stadium View.

By the way, if you need to kill a day and a half while you’re at the CWS, jump on the interstate and head down to the Negro League Museum in Kansas city.  It’s really cool.

Baseball is all about its history and the Negro Leagues is a great part, but also somewhat a shameful part of that history. 

College baseball is all about its history.   It may have begun in Kalamazoo Michigan, but all but a small portion of its history has been forged in a Stadium on a hill in Omaha Nebraska.

And for fourteen more days that Stadium on a hill will be the most important place in College baseball history. 

And then we tear it down!

Sometimes we don’t know what we’ve got til it’s gone.

Just like Mr. Biddle’s Negro Leagues, the move to a downtown stadium may be a shameful part of College World Series and College Baseball History.


Big Plans for next year! by gpiv
June 15, 2010, 10:46 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Three bottles of beer in the fridge.

As I write this it appears that the field is set.  Clemson won earlier today and Oklahoma is winning 8-0.  Here they come.

I was at the store for about three hours today, at two different times.  Saw maybe fifteen or twenty people. 

Last year when I had cancer and I ran the St.Bernadette basketball tournament I had a list of things that I sent to all the coaches, forbidding them from asking certain questions about how my family was taking it and saying that they were praying for me because they were Catholic and of course they were praying for me.  That’s what Catholics do.  Not that I at all discount those prayers or there good wishes and I totally appreciate them, I just didn’t want them to tell me about it and get me all emotional.

Get to the point Piv you are probably saying.

I digress.

How the hell could I digress more than I already have.

The series is four days away and if one more person asks me what I am going to do next year I am going to reach down their throat and perform a colonoscopy by pulling their colon out through their throat.

The, “You mean after the fire?” line works and is extremely witty, and you know I like witty.  But even I have a limit to the amount of times I can tell a joke. At least some jokes.

Grasshopper walks into a bar.  The bartender looks at him and says we have a drink named after you.  The Grasshopper looks him in the eye and says, “Really.  Really, you have a drink named Steve.”

Now that joke never gets old and I have probably told it about a thousand times.

If everyone that asked me what I was going to do next year just gave me ten dollars each, we wouldn’t have to worry about what I was going to do next year.  I think I could probably take the next two College World Series’ off .

It is a little like asking Abraham Lincoln how he liked the play that night at Ford’s Theater.

What will I do next year? Here’s some ideas.

I will sit on the front stoop, cause nobody will be coming in and it will be cooler out there than it is in the store and I won’t be able to afford to run the air conditioner.

I will sort a lot of cards because nobody will interrupt the limited concentration that it takes.

I will get drunk.  Somebody’s got to drink all that beer I bought in case somebody showed up.

I will take some times to write my kids some notes..  They won’t be there for the first time lin a long time.

I will take Fathers day off for the first time in nineteen years.

I will be plotting revenge, whether it be against the Zoo, the real culprit in the move or Mayor Fahey and his girlfriend across the street.  Paybacks are hell.

I will read the South Omaha Sun from cover to cover seeing if they have decided to rewrite history and mention that I was once a big part of the College World History.

I’ll call Kris and Moosey because I won’t see them for the first time in a long time.

I’ll talk to the Nazi, because he’ll come down there  and make fun of me for buying some t-shirts and putting in some beer in case anybody shows up.  And then he’ll go downtown and join the festivities.

I’ll go dance in the middle of 13th Street cause the cops on the horse can’t touch me.

I’ll go right up to Starsky’s ad buy myself a beer and I’ll be able to walk right in.

Then I’ll walk across the street and get a burger and fries at Zesto’s at the real price and not the inflated price and maybe throw a malt in at the regular price.

I’ll go out to the back lot and wait an hour or so for a car to pull up and then I’ll park them, for free.

I’ll eat a roaster full of jambalaya, rather than let it spoil.

And then I’ll turn on the TV and watch the College World Series on TV, just like I have for twenty previous years.

See it won’t be very different, will it?

At least the cops won’t be there with a search warrant!

Is your head crooked or just your hat? It might be a big year for bending hats! by gpiv
June 14, 2010, 10:51 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Four bottles of beer int the fridge.

Well the field is somewhat set.  Arizona State disposed of Arkansas in two games.  South Carolina dashed the dreams of Coastal Carolina and there will be no teal on this years shirts.  Florida took care of Miami.  TCU upset Texas to earn there first ever trip to the CWS.  That flat billed crooked hat guy beware.  Ucla held serve and beat Cal State.  Finally Florida State was sable to stave off Vanderbilt to return to the series.

I’d like to say goodbye to two longtime sets of fans of The View.  Some of the Cal State boys will most assuredly come.  They have rented a house down the street for several years and make The View one of their first and last stops in Omaha.  They are a hearty band.  They do not come in the numbers that the other schools do but what they lack in numbers they have always made up for in enthusiasm.

As you know I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve.  There was an incident a few years ago when Cal State was eliminated and their whole team came over to the fans house across the street, in their uniforms. To the thundering applause and cheers of their fans.  It was the most touching fan-player interaction I have seen in my nineteen years.  Sure I have seen some great fan enthusiasm for the championship teams.  But this reaction, in the throes of losing showed what true fans the Cal State faithful are.

I will miss you and I hope you join us this year anyway.

I have to say goodbye t o t he Texas fans.  The first fans that walked in the store 19 years ago were from Texas.  A kid from Texas named Boatwright.  He came for a few years and then kind of disappeared.

I have to say that the Texas fans are a different group than the above referenced Titan fans.  They are supremely confident, some may say arrogant.  They are free spending, free drinking and brash, but they too love their team with all their hearts.  I will truly miss them as they were, as a child, my favorite team in the College World Series. 

Maybe they just couldn’t come without LSU.  It just wouldn’t have been the same.  What group of fans would they have battled their cuisine against?  Texas barbeque versus LSU cajun food has been a good rivalry for years and I don’t know that there will be the tailgates that there have been in  the past.  The air around Rosenblatt will be absent of some of the fine aromas that have emanated during the nineties and 2000’s.

There is a chance that Purple will be a dominant color this year. Right now., TCU and that crooked headed flat billed pitcher of theirs, brings the color to town.  Today Clemson can bring the second purple by defeating Alabama and Virginia could make it three by defeating Oklahoma.

Of course Oklahoma and Alabama could make it four burgundy/crimson colored teams with wins as they would join Florida State and South Carolina with that dominant color.

Well I get the ATM today.  Time to start counting the number of hits.  I predict a record year.  Waiting to get your money at the series ain’t free.

I know that I have cheered the entire year for Texas and LSU t o make it to the series.  I have been let down, perhaps fittingly.  In a year where they are taking my Stadium and my College World Series away from me why would they make it easy on me. 

But we built this little hobby house of ours from not only the Texas’ and LSU’s but the Tulanes,  San Jose States, Missouri State’s and Rajun Cajuns from Louisiana Lafayette.  We built it by being fans of College Baseball and we built it………………..

One beer at a time.

So for the one new team and the seven old teams that are going to make it we give you the Stadium View welcome…………

“Wanna Beer?”

A Little Bit of Soul! by gpiv
June 13, 2010, 12:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Five bottles of beer in the fridge.

It’s Sunday and I have to finish the store for the most part today.  The Nazi keeps coming down and making fun of me.   As if that helps.

I met Paul Fiarkoski who was back for his 25 year South High reunion this weekend.  His website is Remember Rosenblatt Stadium at http://www.remember  Check it out.  Paul told the story of living on 24th street as a kid and from his bedroom he could see the lights of Rosenblatt on summer nights.  It’s sad that there won’t be those memories for anyone in the old neighborhood anymore.  I am sure the old rich people living in and around the New Stadium won’t have those same memories.

Sound bitter?  I don’t know that it is bitterness.  I’m a historian by education.  I am a collector (hoarder) by nature.  I am as sentimental as they come.  I love things old.  I love things majestic.  I love memories because even if my memories are somewhat distorted, they generally are memories of how I wanted things to be.

And I wanted Rosenblatt to last forever.  Sure I can remember it.  But it was a monument and to me it was majestic.  It was baseball as I always imagined it to be.  It was something that I have touched and it has touched me back.

The College World Series will continue to exist but it has lost some of its soul with the move downtown.  Rosenblatt was a major part of the soul of the College World Series and we all know that it is the soul of the event and of College baseball that is most important.

As we are seeing right now with the bulldozing of the College Football landscape, nearly nothing in sports has a soul today.  The soul of College Football is not in Nebraska in the Big Ten.  I should be happy for Nebraska, and part of me is, but the soul of Nebraska football left when we stopped playing Oklahoma on Thanksgiving weekend. 

Nebraska to the Big Ten is about greed and money.  Tom Osborne and the powers that be did what is best for the University and the state and I am sure that there will be a great monetary future in the Big Ten.  But we have no Old Oaken Bucket to play for.  We don’t have Paul Bunyans Axe  or any of the other traditions that the other members of the Big Ten have.

We will for a long time be the outsider.  Like Penn State before us we sold our Soul for a pile of money.

I love Nebraska football because for so long we have had a soul.

That is what Steve Pederson and Bill Callahan took away from us.  We got it back with Bo Pelini, but it might be gone in a different way now.

The filthy luchre.

We will now have a bigger elephant area, nicer parking and fabulous animal exhibits for the Zoo which anchors the Omaha tourism dollar.  Dollars and cents, but maybe not sense.

I am a simpler creature, tied to more primitive patterns and cycles.  I need to think that something lasts forever.

Forever ends in eighteen days.

Piv has College World Series Rules? Say it ain’t so Joe, say it ain’t so! by gpiv
June 12, 2010, 11:04 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

There’s a six pack left.

Wow, Nebraska in the Big Ten.  I have to take some time off of blogging the College World Series to comment on that.

But first, the first two World Cup games ended in ties.  For Chrissakes, what kind of sport ends up in ties.  that’s cause it is not a sport.  It’s an event.  1-1 and 0-0.  There is more excitement in fishing.  And don’t try and tell me that fishing is a sport.  It’s a nice diversion, if your cooler is big enough or an excuse to drink beer, but it is not a sport.  Certainly anything that can be done simultaneously with drinking a beer is not a sport.  And certainly anything that ends in a tie is not a sport. 

Now, Nebraska in the Big Ten.  My conspiracy theory is that we joined the Big Ten just so that our baseball program could have some prominence.   We immediately became the 12th best team in mens basketball.  However, we are a conference power in baseball.  And Volleyball and Womens Basketball.   I think that the move is good.  we need to distance ourselves intellectually from the conference of academic neanderthals.

First day of the Super Regionals sucked.  Texas lost.  They let some hip hop hat wearing freshman pitcher beat them.  If that guy comes anywhere near The View I’m going to take the hat off of his head.  The bill was obnoxious but the fact that he wore it kind of sideways was the really sickening part.  If white guys want to play gangsta, fine, but not on my baseball field.  Show some respect for the game.

I didn’t watch many of the other games.  A little of the Vandy-  State game but that’s about it.  We need a Texas turn around today.

As long as I am ragging on the hip hop TCU dude with the Harry Potter glasses I should give out a few tips regarding Stadium View Etiquette.  Many of these have appeared throughout the blogs and most would be common sense, but please try to observe some of them.

1.  Either take that flat billed hat off or suffer the consequences.  It’s my joint and I make the rules.  Thinking that looks cool only shows that you are delusional or do not care what you look like.

2.  Pull up your damn pants.  If I want to see your underwear I’ll ask you and believe me I won’t ask you.  I may ask Kris and Moosey to give some wedgies to people whose pants are too low.

3.  The sign in the Bathroom says, “I won’t get a chance to pee on your floor so don’t pee on mine.”  That seems like it should be a simple rule, especially for the women.  Please do your best cause Uncle Larry is going to be cleaning the bathroom.

4.  Please take a crap in my bathroom only in extreme emergency.  It’s a hundred and twelve-year-old building and it doesn’t have an exhaust system and there is only so much Glade air freshener can do.

5.  If it does become necessary to take a crap in the place, please do it in the bathroom.  This is a simple corrollary to No.4.

6.  When asked if you want a free beer, do not ask ,”What Kind.”  I’m not giving away Guinness and I’m not giving away Schlitz.  For Chrissakes it’s Busch Light and at about fifteen hundred a year I don’t need any beer snobs.  If you absolutely need your brand they are about $6.00 a can up the street.

7.  Don’t disrespect my t-shirts.  I’m a small businessman who has a limited budget on which to stock the store.  I buy what I think I can sell.  Yeah I don’t have all the stuff that the tent next door has and if you don’t see what you want, buy a Stadium View shirt and be on your way.  “This place don’t have shit,” hurts my feelings and is unnecessary.

8.  Picking up every t-shirt out of the bin is not a requirement.  If the t-shirts are in a stack, the one on the bottom is the same as the one on the top except perhaps for the size. 

9.  Don’t block the front door.  Believe it or not for the most part that is the ingress and egress for the whole place.  Blocking it may prevent somebody from the privilege of knowing the place and the people.  And despite all the above rules, we really do like people at The View.

10.  If you have to sit on the stoop, not in front of the t-shirts.  I know most of you believe that The View is just a front to give away free beer, kind of like those organizations that give away free condoms.  But occasionally I like to sell a t-shirt to someone who is not simply grateful for the free beer. 

After observing the simple rules above, HAVE FUN!

As our t-shirt for last year and this year have both said, “We’re not here for a long time, We’re here for a good time.”

Cleavage Point; Stripper Radar;Betting Lines on a Telephone Pole; Anybody need Tickets;SPF 5000; and a Tear in the Corner of my eye; Revisit the Characters of Stadium View and the College World Series as we know it. by gpiv
June 11, 2010, 10:42 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Editor’s note:  Links to each of the detailed stories are provided in each re-cap if the synopsis sounds interesting…don’t be afraid to click, the story will open in a new window so you can keep reading!

Seven bottles of beer in the fridge.

Trial almost all day today. Prep most of last night.  The good news is that I am too tired to have the naked law school dream.  There is something to be said for exhaustion.  I was at the office at 4:45.  That’s a.m. for all you late sleepers.

Jerry Noble volunteered to designated drive.  He said he became  a professional of sorts driving his daughter Mary Jo Kocol around.  All right Jerry.  Just pull up every night about eleven and then again at midnight.  You can be the first Stadium View Jitney cab.

We’ve had over a thousand hits on the postings in the last four days.  The first few I can attribute to my LSU sendoff.  I also think we’re picking up  a little more readership.  And they had to start out with the sappy ones.  Well it’s good stuff.

I am going to give some of the nominations for the Stadium View top ten characters.  For those just joining us you have to understand that The View is not a business by nature.  It is my hobby.  And rather than a business it is a destination.  We have endeavored over the years to meet and greet everybody we can who comes to Omaha. Do I like to sell a couple t-shirts and a little memorabilia along the way.  Hell yes.  My heating bills in the winter are over $500.00 a month just to keep it at 65 degrees.  Plaster and lath is not the best insulation.  But what we really want to do is give you a beer, share our stories, break bread with you and let you go home with a story or two of your own.  We  are in more peoples vacation photos than any group of individuals short of the four presidents on Mt. Rushmore.

Ask me sometime if you remember about Abby’s Mt. Rushmore with hats.

I am not at this point going to rate the characters in any particular order.  if you go back far enough in the blogs you can read a whole blog about most of these people.  But this is the Readers Digest version for those who are just joining us.

Wacko makes the list.  You’ll see him this year, but if it is after like four o’clock he may not see you.  Wacko has a relationship with alcohol.  He will drink and it will put him to sleep.  But not before he has insulted a fair amount of people from Cleavage Point, and had to apologize to a few women and more boyfriends and husbands.  When Wacko drinks his mouth proceeds at light speed while his brain is on a walking mode.  Then he goes inside, sits in the rocking chair and falls asleep in the rocking chair.

Oh by the way he’s the Stadium View Sanitary engineer.

The parking Nazi will be out back.  He’ll be in the lawn chair across the street in the old lady’s yard that I think might have been doing the former mayor cause she talked him in to moving the series downtown so people wouldn’t walk across her yard two weeks a year.  The Nazi will be complaining about the heat and reading the newspaper while patiently watching the parking stalls.  There are precious few stalls to sell this year so he’s in semi-retirement prior to his permanent layoff.  He does have a way of steering the customers into the store, especially anyone who might look particularly like a stripper.  The Nazi has stripper radar.  While the Nazi claims that you date one stripper and you get branded.  I say, you date a hundred and your reputation may be deserved.

He’s the Director of outside operations, and the soon to be  Director of Future Acquisitions.

There’s some chance that the man in the red chair may make it this year.  He’s an all timer.  From Chicago, he can recognize a cow town in a minute.  So what does he do.  On the telephone pole right north of the building he sets up a gambling operation.  No shit.  And he sits in his red chair and posts betting lines right on the telephone pole in front of the cops.  And even more amazing, people who don’t know him from a hill of beans walk about and bet hundreds (yes hundreds) of dollars on the games, and, they leave the money with him.  It’s not only one of the boldest moves in Stadium View history, but also one of the most lucrative.

The boys have to be thrown in here.  Rob and Ray, businessmen who provide a service, have the ability to piss everybody at The View, including me, off at least once or twice during the Series.  But they also have an ability to entertain and watching them work the street to sell a ticket is an amazing feat sometime. They, like Wacko, have an eye for the ladies and will as a result have several confrontations with boyfriends during the course of the day.  Hey these guys got me arrested for something I didn’t do and I still like them.  Besides they and the Nazi are the only ones who come in early and can help me carry the days beer in each morning.

They are the Director of Ticket Operations which is only generally allowed around The View and which is an unsanctioned operation.

Lee Folger deserves a mention here.  Lee will be out front the first few days of the series, doing what he does best.  Invading peoples personal space in order to force them to take an issue of what is his passion, Baseball America.  Lee will almost assuredly be dressed in khakis with a Baseball America t-shirt on.  Oh and you can distinguish him from the other ten thousand men in khakis and a t-shirt by one trait.  SPF 5000.  Lee has enough sun block on to stop the sun if it goes super nova.  He could sit under the radiation machine for cancer treatment and its rays could not penetrate his sun block.  And if you are new to town and looking for The View, just pause for a moment on 13th street and during a quiet moment you will hear, “If you love baseball, You’ll love baseball America.”  Follow that mantra and you will find the View.

Lee is the Director of Publication Dissemination.

Some people have described me as a character.  I prefer icon.  My favorite part of the day is when I come in from being outside for a while and the place is full of people, many of them who have never been to The View.  The shock on everyone’s face when in a booming voice I announce “Howdy everyone, Anyone want a beer.”, is a joy to see.  Of course one or two regulars will retort, “I thought you’d never ask.”, but most people stare in disbelief as I follow up with, “It’s free, now raise your hand if you want one.” Nothing starts off a relationship like a free beer.  I can then spend the next 15 to 30 minutes explaining the Stadium View story to all who will listen and maybe selling a t-shirt or two.

Oh and by the way I’ll be the guy in the Hawaiian shirt.

I’m Piv, The Owner, the Mayor of 13th Street, and a self-appointed Ambassador from Omaha to the people of The College World Series.

Oh and if you come in and happen to see two or three guys in Hawaiian shirts in the place you’ll be able pick me out from the rest.

I’ll be the one with a tear in the corner of my eye.

Good luck in the Super Regionals and Welcome to Omaha! The College World Series and The View WANT YOU! by gpiv
June 10, 2010, 4:29 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Eight bottles of beer in the fridge.

There is a good chance I am going to have that naked law school dream tonight.  I am so busy at work that the cleaning and organization of the store is lagging.  It’s going to be like the year the guy didn’t order t-shirts for me.

I have a trial all day today so I can’t belabor this one.  Besides I already paid homage to most of those who are the Stadium View core, except my former employee who wishes to remain nameless in order to protect himself and me from the wrath of his mother.  I think he understands what he means to me and has meant to The View.  So while he shall remain nameless he shall certainly be remembered in the annals of The View.

Got a call from friends in California today.  They are a group of fireman who bring me a fire man softball t-shirt yearly and who are doing a video daily during the CWS.  The link will be at my facebook page.  check it out.  They love The View and we love them.  This is going to be one big hugfest and tearfest at The View.

The next four days are perhaps the most exciting for both those of us who are intimately involved in the College World Series and those teams who are playing to make the ultimate trip to college baseballs Mecca.  I played competitive ball and softball for most of my life and the thrill of stepping on the field and knowing that what you are doing may land you in the championship of some kind has got to be unbelievable.  I feel for every player who stands on that field and wants every ball hit to them, as I did, because if anybody is going to make the big play I wanted it to be me and if anybody had the shoulders to take the heat for not making the big play it was me.  If you have never felt the pressure along with the anticipation you may not understand.  But being a control freak by nature, if you’re a good player, you want to control the outcome.

Omaha is a long way from all the competition sites this weekend. Yet it is just a play or a swing away.  Those players who understand that will relish this weekend.  Those who either don’t understand that or want to hide from that will enter the weened in fear and trepidation.

I have voiced a lot of preferences over the last 90 days about who I like and who I want to see in Omaha.  That is the vendor in me speaking.  I speak from the heart when I say that each and every team that takes the field this weekend has my admiration and a hope that they, for their competitive fervor and desire, will make it to Omaha.

It really is something special.  And if your fans are reading this, Rosenblatt Stadium is something special.  As much as I want to make Stadium View a big part of that experience, the Series and the Stadium are what you need to shoot for.  They are both such an unbelievable part of my life and they will be of yours, if you make it to Omaha.

But if you do come and see us.  Each and every one of us will greet you, whether you are one of the teams I had hoped would get here, or one of the teams that I may have said something negative about, with the same enthusiasm and the same respect, because you played on that field and you fulfilled your dream, at least a big part of it.

You got to Omaha.

And to each of your fans, I or my staff will give the Stadium View greeting, never knowing when it may be the last one that we give out, but always knowing that it is the way we roll.  We will greet your fans and we will ask you………………………..

“Would you like a beer.”

“You know they’re free.”

And they are, with the exception of the proviso that you have to enjoy yourself and your trip to Omaha and say goodbye to the old building…………..

Or maybe two!