The newly created Omaha chapter of Stony Brook University is taking volunteers. They will hold their first meeting when the Seawolves take the field at the College World Series.
But will the Omaha Seawolves have unis?
Rich Tokheim hopes so. Tokheim, the owner of “The Dugout,” was scrambling on Monday to find a merchandise company to get a license agreement with Stony Brook. So Tokheim can sell the official red, blue or white Stony Brook hats.
Tokheim's shop boasts hats from 160 college teams. Except guess who?
As of Monday, Tokheim said, “There aren't going to be any Stony Brook hats this week. They (Stony Brook) don't have any.”
Well, technically, that's not true.
“I talked to their athletic director (Jim Fiore) today and he said they had 30 of their red hats in storage and about 40 of their blue and white ones and he would be happy to bring those to Omaha (to sell),” Tokheim said. “That's not going to work. But it's a nice gesture.”
The “extra” Stony Brook hats aren't fitted. They're the one-size-fits-all kind, with the stretch band. Which is a perfect fit for the Stony Brook story.
Tokheim said he was hopeful something can be worked out this week to feed the considerable Seawolves bandwagon in Omaha. The same thing happened, he said, with UC Irvine and Fresno State. By the middle of the CWS, the bandwagons were decked out.
There will be Stony Brook T-shirts available along with the other seven teams. And Tokheim says he is trying to get Stony Brook's official “shock the world” shirt for the CWS. Don't count on those lasting long.
Not everyone in Omaha will have this problem. Area hotels and establishments can't be thrilled with the loss of LSU money. Stony Brook will have tons of fans at TD Ameritrade Park. But the majority of them already live here. All they need is something to wear.
They can find a cool LSU hat. Tokheim just unloaded a new shipment he had ordered.
• For the first time in CWS history, the NCAA will use instant replay to determine if a ball is fair or foul, a fan interfered by leaning over a railing or a potential home run ball cleared the outfield wall.
A dispute in the second game of last year's CWS — the first played at TD Ameritrade Park — caused the change. Dennis Poppe, the NCAA's vice president for championships, says the NCAA's baseball rules committee approved the use of replay, which is used in other NCAA championships but never before in baseball.
Poppe said if a replay is deemed necessary, the home-plate umpire would go into the NCAA's “bunker,” a private room located behind home plate with TV sets, and watch the replay.
• Clearly, LSU needs to consider playing some games in the fall. I hear that Purdue is available.
• The 8 p.m. starts for second games will get a lot of airtime in the media and on the street this week. Poppe, who is working his 25th straight CWS, empathizes with Omaha fans. It's an ESPN decision. But Poppe says Omahans have done this before.
“A lot of people are old enough to remember we used to go at 4 (p.m) and 7,” Poppe said. “And sometimes we wouldn't start the second game until 9.
“I can remember eating at Cascio's at 1 in the morning. The cool thing about it, you'd see the teams in there, the agents, the baseball people, fans, having a late dinner. You'd sit down and order a big steak and go back at 2 in the morning. I can't do that anymore.”
• Matt Senk has been the coach at Stony Brook for 22 years. Think he'll get any offers now?
• The loss of LSU means that there won't be an SEC team on that side of the bracket, so no all-SEC final. What's more, last year's finalists, South Carolina and Florida, face each other in their first CWS game. Who's in charge of this year's bracket, Jim Delany?
• CWS fans looking for one last Rosenblatt Stadium memory — perhaps without going out to see the old relic — should check out Cathy Harrington's “Letters From Home” collection.
Harrington, a local artist and baseball fan, photographed several images of the stadium, inside and out, in the spring of 2010, the stadium's last season. Her collection will be on sale at the White Crane Gallery in the Old Market during the CWS.
• MECA and UNO will sit down later this summer to talk about a new lease agreement at the CenturyLink Center. This will be interesting for UNO arena watchers.
The Mavs have one more season left on their MECA lease. They expect to re-up in some form; they have to have a place to play in 2013. But how long will they sign for? Is a new arena in the works? Or will UNO sign for an extended period?
“We should have something by the end of the summer,” MECA President Roger Dixon said. “I don't know that they're going to want to do a 10-year agreement like they did last time.”
• You heard it here next-to-last: Thunder over Heat in six games. Fasten your seat belts. OKC's legs won't wear down.
• You heard it here last: Lee Westwood wins the U.S. Open at Olympic Club. Unless another guy whose last name begins with “W” does.
• Shout Out: To Creighton associate/pitching coach Rob Smith, who took the job as head baseball coach at Ohio University. Say hello to your football coach for us, Rob. And be careful scheduling Kent State.
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