Looks like the diamond on the hill will be around for one more College World Series.
Calvin Sisson, executive director of the Omaha Zoo Foundation, said Monday that demolition of Rosenblatt Stadium wouldn't begin until July, or after the CWS is completed.
"We'll be sensitive to that," Sisson said.
The money will be raised for the demolition and construction of the new park, which Sisson estimates at $2.5 million to $3 million. The foundation will meet in April to come up with a specific timetable. Sisson said it would have to start in July because demolition will take several months to complete. This won't be like putting dynamite under the Seattle Kingdome or Riverfront Stadium. It's likely to occur via wrecking ball, which would be a slow and painful process for Omahans to watch. Please don't let it happen during the CWS.
• Will we live to see a day when Nebraska pays its football coach $6 million a year?
It's a thought to ponder, in the wake of the news that Alabama head coach Nick Saban had his contract extended through 2019 on Monday. Saban will make $5.1 million next year, just behind Texas' Mack Brown (of course) at $5.2 million. But according to the Birmingham News, Saban will make $44,983,333.36 in the next eight years, or an average of $5.62 million per year, if he stays at 'Bama. He's due to make $5.9 million in the last year of his deal, 2019. Before you say NU would never pay that much to its football coach, riddle me this: What will the median salary be for a big-time coach in 2019? How high is up? In seven years, $5.9 million per year might be a bargain. Think about it. If you dare. To voice your concern, contact your friendly neighborhood college president.
• After beating Nebraska in the Big Ten opener on Friday, Illinois pitcher Kevin Johnson said the Illini were out to show Nebraska what Big Ten baseball was all about. The Huskers then got another view: They scored 31 runs on 24 hits in the final two games and walloped Illinois to take the series.
NU coach Darin Erstad understands: "Absolutely. They want to show Nebraska that they can't just walk in and start winning. We're going to get everyone's best shot."
After losing to Johnson, the Huskers went through nine Illini pitchers on Saturday and Sunday. Is this the Big Ten? Get past the first pitcher and have your way? This will be interesting to watch as the conference season winds toward May. Illinois, which won the Big Ten tourney last year, ranks ninth in the league in pitching. Nebraska is sixth. More outings like Zach Hirsch's on Sunday won't hurt.
• On Sunday, cbssports.com mentioned Creighton as a possible candidate for expansion to the Atlantic-10 Conference. The outlet reported that Butler, VCU and George Mason were discussing the move with A-10 officials. Don't hold your breath. CU gets mentioned because first-year President Timothy Lannon was at St. Joseph's for eight years. Creighton A.D. Bruce Rasmussen said on Monday he's not aware of any talks going on and added that geographically the idea didn't make a lot of sense. I agree. The closest A-10 school to CU is St. Louis University. CU would be better off to wait and see if a group of basketball schools breaks away from the Big East the next few years. I'm not even sure that's a great idea for Creighton, which has a good handle on competing at the top of the Missouri Valley Conference.
• Nothing in the coaching carousel surprises anymore, but it was a mild upset that South Carolina got a coach from the state of Kansas and it was K-State's Frank Martin, not Wichita State's Gregg Marshall. Can't wait to see Marshall in St. Louis next year. I'm sure Missouri Valley officials feel the same.
• Bo Pelini must think that his team is growing up. The Nebraska football coach has said this winter his team doesn't handle the roller coaster of praise and criticism by fans and social media. Pelini repeated that recently to Steve Greenberg of the Sporting News, who visited NU spring camp two weeks ago. But, in the same article, Greenberg quotes quarterback Taylor Martinez saying if the Huskers don't make the national championship game this year, it will be a disappointment. Martinez adds, "We definitely can be that good."
Geez, wouldn't Martinez's talk fire up the locals and get the expectation train full of steam? Pelini said, "Actually, I'm OK with it — absolutely. I want them to have expectations to be the best."
Exactly. That's the Nebraska Way. So is handling the hype and hope of the fan base and media. Maybe this team is old enough to ride the roller coaster.
• You have to feel for Joba Chamberlain. What a tough break for Nebraska's Yankee. He was on his way back from Tommy John surgery when he dislocated his ankle while playing with his son on a trampoline. It's not clear how long he'll be out, but it could last into the summer. If there's a silver lining here, maybe that gives his arm more time to recover.
• Does college football need another award? Johnny Rodgers says yes. The Husker legend will announce a new award Tuesday afternoon, presumably one to honor the top return specialist in the nation. Rodgers won his 1972 Heisman in part for his prolific returns. Tim Brown and Charles Woodson are others whose return talents helped them win Heismans. This might be a worthwhile award, though it's hard to project how new NCAA rules will play into the significance of the return specialist. Looking forward to hearing more.
• Bill Self did the best job coaching in the country, the best of his career. That's saying something. But let's not pretend there isn't talent on that roster. There's always talent. Self gave KU belief and toughness. He does that better than anyone in the business.
• Tim Miles needs to hire the best staff to recruit and win in the Big Ten. But I think that he could do himself a favor by looking in state for a director of basketball operations. A local name who can help him in Nebraska (Eric Behrens? Erick Strickland?). That's all for today's advice. Please leave five cents in the box.
• In the wake of Tiger Woods' dominant victory at Bay Hill, and the release of Hank Haney's kiss-and-tell book, one must ponder the question: Why does Tiger Woods need a swing coach, anyway?
• Fist Bump: To Dan Kendig and the Nebraska women's gymnastics team, which won the Big Ten title last week — after winning the Big 12 title a year ago. Nebraska women's sports are fitting into the new league quite nicely.
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