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June 23rd Roundtable: Can you "Fix" TD Ameritrade Park?

Also, is it fair that Eric Crouch brought up the fact he led the last Football Conference Champion in Nebraska's history, 15 years ago?

This wasn't a #TDAmeriTragedy though
This wasn't a #TDAmeriTragedy though
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

1. Eric Crouch comes out in the LJS and says the 15 year title drought is too long. I think we can all agree with him in that there’s a drought. But, easier said than done, obviously. Your thoughts on his comments?

David: Hard to argue with him. At a place with the tradition of Nebraska a drought like we’ve seen here is somewhat unimaginable. They’ve been in place a number of times in that stretch and arguably should have won at least two of them, but they didn’t. I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s not something that should be acceptable at a place like Nebraska. It’s time.

Ty: I kinda have the same feeling here that I had with Frazier last year.  Granted, the face of CFB has changed, but dynasties (Alabama of late) are still possible.

I guess the biggest question is how long should we give a coach before we expect that?  I think it’s ridiculous to expect it in the first year, but is six enough?  Pelini’s been to four conference title games (in two conferences no less) which is an accomplishment.  But the game against Wisconsin is the taste in everyone’s mouth.

Salt Creek: The lack of true spicy barbeque here is disappointing. Go the full monty, Eric. Blast the team. It’s the off-season. LET’S GET THIS PARTY STARTED.

Brian: The problem is that too many soft-hearted folks see something like this and hit the AUTO button on "WELL THAT’S JUST A SNAP TO THE STAFF" and such. I didn’t take it that way, but since he’s the last guy to get a Conference title, can’t really argue the point much. It’s gone through 3 head coaches, so the blame can and should be shared by everyone in that aspect if you’re going to go down that river.

Mike: I don't know of anybody who would disagree with Crouch's statement.  15 years IS too long to go without a conference title at Nebraska. The question - and the one that Crouch didn't ask - is what should the response be?  I don't think Crouch was saying "fire coaches" or anything similar to that. Some people want that to happen, and will use that to further their agenda. To me, the question is to ask why Nebraska hasn't won a conference title in 15 years. Well, let's ignore the Callahan error and before because it's not applicable anymore.  2009 was due to a lack of offense. 2010 was due to injuries to a freshman quarterback.  2011 was likely due to the change in conferences. 2012 was failures on defense, and 2013 was back to a large number of injuries on offense.  Is there a common thread of ongoing problems here?  Not really.  NU has had the pieces to win a title; it just hasn't put them all together at the right time.

2. EA Sports says that if they can pay players, NCAA Football will come back. Do you think it’s a good idea for EA to give current players? And if so, how do you decide how much to give each player? Do you pay BCS conference players more than FBS?

Ty: I want this whole thing to go away.  However, until the NCAA admits it’s all about money, it won’t.  They’ll fake and misdirect us forever.  I feel like it’s costing them, and member institutions, more money than it should.  I should recuse myself cause I’m sick of this stuff.

Salt Creek: My guess is that the payout from EA will eventually be managed by the conferences, to maintain the illusion of parity within the conference. However, I expect that the NCAA will open up endorsements and allow players to get paid by university-approved vendors. I say university-approved because the only way this works is if the universities aren’t harmed in the process. A free market will never be allowed - adidas won’t want players running around endorsing Nike at an adidas school. And the universities will want control over who they’re associated with - you won’t see any players getting paid by an endorsement of the local strip club.

Whatever happens, any CFB game made should be given to every player featured in that game, free of charge and on the console of their choosing. The same should happen with Madden for the NFL players and so forth and so on. It’s only fair.

Brian: I’m honestly not getting how this is going to work. Do you just put a deposit in the bank and say that X dollars divided by Y players equal Z per player? FBS different than FCS? Coaches more than others? Kind of a pretty decent Pandora’s Box there, but at the same time, we’ve been prying the lock off of it for a while.

3. We all know that TD Ameritrade is a pitcher's paradise, especially at the CWS this year where the HR has been non-existent. Since you can’t really change the park besides moving in the fences (and they are MLB average right now), how do you fix this problem? Or do you?

David: Omaha screwed the pooch on this one. It’s got very little to do with the compression of the bats or the seams on the balls, not saying it’s got nothing to do with it, but not as much as the spin meisters in Indy want you to believe. One of the biggest factors into what made Rosenblatt so friendly to the hitters was that the wind constantly blew out to left center. When they built Mike Fahey Stadium TD Ameritrade Park, they flipped it. They went for a pretty view on TV and for pictures. And it worked. They got it. It’s a gorgeous park with a good view from the grandstand. Fine. Mission Accomplished, I guess, but to do that, they had to turn the stadium completely opposite of what it was up on the hill on 13th Street. Those winds that used to blow out are now blowing in. That 35 mph wind blowing in from center? Yeah, that would have been blowing out to, you guessed it, left center at Johnny Rosenblatt. You can bet your last nickle that score wouldn’t have been 2-1 or whatever it was. You want to fix the CWS? Blow it up and start over.

Ty: ^^  That’s all.  David hit it on the head.  The dead bat era and the new park conspired with each other, but there we have it.

Salt Creek: Re-build TDA in the proper orientation and put up a gigantic mirror in the outfield, so that everyone can see the PRETTY OMAHA SKYLINE. Or deem any hit that travels further than 100 yards a homerun. TALK ABOUT EXCITING.

Brian: Get rid of the shitty bats. If you’re really worried about pitchers getting beaned, 1) that’s not shrunken by using a tapered down aluminum bat and 2) you can make all College pitchers wear that Great Gazoo hat. Since no one is suggesting #2 yet, go with #1 for a couple of years. If the pitching is so much better than it was before, then you have no worry about the bats right?

Mike: Demolish a 4 year old  ballpark?  Really?  If that isn't an overreaction, I don't know what is. I won't argue the point that the prevailing south wind now blows in instead of out, but the bigger factor is the change to the bats.  Offense started to decline before the CWS moved downtown, thanks to the BBCOR bats. And now pitchers have learned they can challenge hitters with greater impunity. Add to that the fact that we've seen some quality pitching at the CWS this week.  That 15 inning game featured the top two pitching staffs in the country; should anybody be surprised that turned into a low-scoring pitchers duel? In extra innings, batters couldn't even get the ball out of the infield. That's not the park; that's dominant pitching.

Next season, the NCAA switches to a flatter seamed baseball.   These balls are more aerodynamic, and travel further.  It'll add 20 feet to fly balls, meaning we'll see balls go further.  Note that these balls still won't be lively as the ones they use in pro baseball.  If you want to improve the offense, start there.  They dialed back the bats for good reason.  Now lets tweak the balls.

4. Best Color/PBP combination in all of sports. Not just CFB, but all sports. Go!

David: I think the most skilled PBP teams are in baseball. The best team probably is John Miller and Dave Fleming in San Francisco. Those guys are bright and engaging and make the game fun. I also really enjoy the radio team of my Washington Nationals, Dave Jageler and Charlie Slowes. They’re not as good as Miller and Fleming, but they’re constantly entertaining and do a great job of engaging their audience.

I prefer my local teams to be homers to an extent. Not over the top like Hawk Harrelson or some of the others out there, but I like to know they’re pulling for the team they cover. I think that brings an edge to the broadcast.

That said, the best in the business, the absolute best isn’t a team, he stands alone and that’s Vin Scully. He had no current peer.

Ty: I have to ID myself as a homer on this one as well.  I love Scott Hastings and Chris Marlowe on Altitude for their Nuggets coverage.  IDK why.  They don’t do anything special, but they’re great! Hastings is constantly pulling in others along press row to participate in the broadcasts.  Hastings has been part of the Nuggets franchise as a player and announcer for quite awhile.  Marlowe does a great job of playing Hastings’ straight man, too.

I also used to love Larry Zimmer and Dave Logan calling the Broncos games on KOA.  Zimmer’s been out of the Broncos biz for quite awhile, (and called CU Buffs games for a LONG time) but that team is the quintessential sports announcing team for me.

Salt Creek: Jon Johnston and gin.

Brian: I’m kind of a homer on this, but not for Rangers Baseball. Not a true fan of Steve Busby, but good heavens he’s better than John Rhadigan. The Rangers radio man, Eric Nadel, is silky smooth. I’m also a big guy of Ralph Strangis and Daryl Reaugh, or Ralph and Razor who does both Stars telecasts on the radio and TV.

I wish more of you could listen to Brad Sham on the Cowboys Radio broadcasts though. He’s speaks his mind and you know exactly what he’s thinking. "First down, Manning is gonna throw, and HOLY MOTHER WHERE’S THE SECONDARY ON THAT PLAY my gosh touchdown Giants." Or… "Handoff to Murray MY GOD THERE’S A CRATER THERE WALKIN THE DOG TOUCHDOWN DEMARCO MURRAY!". You never get it sugar coated with Sham, and that’s why he’s the best of the whole DFW market.

Mike: One play by play announcer who doesn't get enough credit is Joe Tessitore on ESPN. No matter where they try to hide him, he still sparkles. Not sure why he isn't higher on their announcer list, because he's one of their best.  At the very least, he should be doing one of their primetime games each week. Now, ESPN is burying him once again on their SEC network pregame show. Hopefully, once his ESPN contract ends, somebody else will snap him up and get him back in the booth.