MJ: It's Time for a Mile High Goodbye
There is so much about Denver that is perfect for the MCLA. I've been arguing for a couple of years now that the MCLA needs to make D-Town their permanent championship location. They would be able to brand it, much like NCAA baseball has made Omaha synonymous with its championship. A catchy slogan (my entry: "The Drive for Denver") and it was a no-brainer.
That's all over now.
Despite possessing an optimum location, with a perfectly located airport and a made-to-order venue in Dick's Sporting Goods Park, the MCLA strategic planning committee has no other choice but to give another location a three-year shot starting next year when it makes its announcement in June.
The reason is simple: weather. Last year, most of the quarterfinals on Tuesday were wiped out because of snow, sleet and freezing rain, which meant that the two finalists in Division I had to play three games in three days. The MCLA tournament structure isn't great, but that's just crazy.
This year, we had players, coaches and event management staff cowering in bathrooms and electrical rooms in the bowels of Dick's because of the threat of tornadoes. Alarms blared all over the area as juvenile funnel clouds danced above Commerce City. The tournament schedule didn't have to be altered like 2010, but the final round of games on Tuesday was played in an icy cold downpour.
Could this be pure unluckiness rather than a trend? Absolutely. Is Denver somehow responsible for this turn of events? Obviously not. But, to put it into blackjack parlance, how many times are you going to keep hitting on a 16 against a picture card and lose? Sure, it's the right play, but sometimes you've just got to mix it up to change the shoe.
It's not like this would be a terminal arrangement. The MCLA would take a three-year hiatus from Mile High and test out another location. If the weather proved just as untenable, or the facilities didn't live up to the (high) standards set by DSGP, the association chalks up the last two years to dumb luck, comes back to Denver and plants its flag. The association could even piggyback on the World Championships, which are coming to Denver in 2014.
Bad weather is an MCLA tradition. From its infancy, the tourney has bumped into weather issues, and has managed to survive just fine. But just like in the years gone by, it's time to resume the quest for the perfect location. It has become clear that, for now, Denver is not it.
Best & Worst
Best part about today: I'm off to Denver and not a tornado in sight.
Worst part about today: Three-hour layover at the Minneapolis airport on the way to Denver. Brutal. Hopefully I'll be able to get reimbursed for the $7 beers at TGI Fridays in Terminal C.