Rickettses might have another place to park Cubs
BY RICK TELANDER firstname.lastname@example.org June 30, 2012 12:24AM
Ryan Lochte speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials on Saturday, June 23, 2012, in Omaha, Neb. The trials are to start on Monday. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Updated: August 2, 2012 10:35AM
Last thoughts from Omaha, home of the U.S. Olympic swimming trials:
† DANG, OMAHA, that’s a big, gorgeous baseball stadium you got there across from the CenturyLink Center swimming venue — TD Ameritrade Park — just sitting around empty most of the year, waiting for the NCAA Men’s College World Series.
Hmm. TD Ameritrade?
Isn’t that Ricketts family territory? Didn’t pop Joe Ricketts make his gazillions by starting the online financial services company? Isn’t that the company that has been a defendant in 13 cases in Maryland district courts since 2002? The company that agreed to pay $456 million to settle a lawsuit involving the scamming of thousands of customers?
A-yep. That’s the one.
† IT MAKES ME wonder how hard the taxpayers of Omaha got whacked for the fancy baseball structure. A weensy bit? A lot?
Might Tom Ricketts hold his breath here in Chicago, turn blue and, if he doesn’t get Mayor Rahm Emanuel and various aldermen to genuflect and offer money, exhale and take his beloved Cubs to hometown Omaha?
TD Ameritrade Park seats 24,000 (with lots of room to expand), goes 408 feet to center field, has four elevators and no falling cement. Those cow farmers and cornjerkers out there might enjoy the worst team in the majors.
Wake up, Chicago! Help these poor Rickettses!
† RYAN LOCHTE, the swimming interloper to the Michael Phelps legend (or possibly the replacement), has a razor blade commercial in which he carefully shaves his face and neck. I think the ad’s for ‘‘Sextuple Blade’’ or maybe ‘‘The Lawnmower.’’
Whatever, to be authentic and swim-wise, it ought to show Lochte shaving his legs, armpits and God knows what else.
Hell, anything shaves a beard. But these sleek, hairless-bodied men in swimsuits are something a shaving company should exploit.
† ELITE SWIMMERS are built like Greek gods. Except without hamstrings.
Their quadriceps are massive. And, of course, their lats, deltoids, triceps, abs and pecs are ripped to the max. Yep, even the women.
But other than the random breaststroker who needs some leg contraction, they have withered, almost nonexistent hamstrings. The sport does not call for their extended use. Runners have hamstrings. So do football players, basketball players, tennis players, wrestlers, joggers.
† DO YOU RECALL all the swimming world records that were set in the last five to 10 years?
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, for example, 21 out of 32 swimming events had their world records broken. World records blew up at the 2009 world championships in Rome, too. And it was all because of the polyurethane bodysuits everyone was wearing, coverings that made swimmers as buoyant and hydro-dynamic as killer whales.
Well, those suits are gone. Now there are no zippers, no non-textile materials, no wetsuit lengths allowed. Thank God.
The swimmers’ times suck. World records are not tumbling. So be it. This sport is about skill, not technology.
† AT THE TRIALS, there is a red English telephone booth standing near the stairs leading away from the competition pool. Each Olympic qualifier is asked to sign it.
It’s cute. The swimmers stop, lungs still heaving, and sign their names with a marker.
I don’t know what USA Swimming plans to do with the booth, but I couldn’t look at it without thinking John Lennon or Michael Caine was about to step out.
† FINALLY, a correction.
Earlier this week I reported that suburban Chicago native Matt Grevers ran off after his 100 backstroke victory to watch his wife, Annie Chandler, finish fifth in the 100-meter breaststroke.
This was wrong. They are not married yet, just engaged, with the wedding coming after the Olympics. But you can watch Grevers propose to Chandler, bending on one knee on the championship dais at the 2012 Missouri Grand Prix, freaking her half to death, on You Tube.
It’s sweet. And recommended.