Big Ten considers CWS stadium for tournament
OMAHA, Neb. (AP)
The Big Ten might move its baseball tournament to the home of the College World Series.
Big Ten deputy commissioner Brad Traviolia said Thursday that he toured 24,000-seat TD Ameritrade Park in downtown Omaha last week, the same day he visited 9,000-seat Werner Park in the Omaha suburb of Papillion.
Traviolia said the league is in the process of vetting venues that submitted bids and that a decision would be made in the next couple months. Traviolia declined to name other bidders.
The Big Ten tournament typically runs four days in late May, with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The contract to hold the event in Columbus, Ohio, expires after this year's tournament.
Traviolia said Omaha is an attractive option because of its long history of supporting college baseball. The CWS has been played here since 1950.
The Missouri Valley Conference tournament was held at TD Ameritrade Park last year. MVC spokesman Mike Kern said the league has not determined sites for the tournament after it's played in Springfield, Mo., this year. Kern said the Valley would strongly consider another bid from Omaha.
Roger Dixon, head of the agency that operates TD Ameritrade Park, confirmed that he submitted a bid for the Big Ten tournament but did not disclose details.
Traviolia said, however, that the TD Ameritrade Park bid was for an ''alternating years'' format rather than for consecutive years. Traviolia said he didn't know how that would affect the stadium's chances of landing the tournament.
He said TD Ameritrade Park and Werner Park, home of Kansas City Royals' top farm club, the Omaha Storm Chasers, are ''both great ballparks, both very different.''
Traviolia said the Big Ten would be excited to draw 5,000 to 7,000 fans for a tournament game.
''It might look like a drop in the bucket in some bigger baseball venues,'' he said. ''But from a coaching standpoint, there is some attractiveness to being at the College World Series site. Our teams are gunning to get there. If you're able to play some games in the venue before you're there for real, obviously, the coaches feel that could be a competitive advantage gained.''
The Big Ten hasn't had a team make it to the CWS since Michigan in 1984.