The home of the College World Series has served to be a great home for the Big Ten Tournament. The 2014 and 2016 conference tournaments produced great games, saw great individual talent shine and enjoyed great turnouts. When able to take the chance to secure TD Ameritrade Park as the home of the conference tournament, the Big Ten did so. The postseason affair will return to Omaha in 2018, and stay through the 2022 season.
However, the Big Ten has yet to name a host city and venue for the upcoming season.
The prior two odd-numbered years has seen Target Field, the home of MLB’s Minnesota Twins, play host to the Big Ten Tournament. Until 2019, in odd-numbered years TD Ameritrade Park, which is the home field for Creighton, has been used by the Big East for its tournament.
When the Big Ten announced it’s five-year run in Omaha, a return to Minneapolis was not on the docket as no site was named for the 2017 tournament.
And still conference programs awaits a decision.
Big Ten coaches are set for their annual meeting on Sept. 7, where the site of the tournament is expected to be debated. Before the coaches convene, B1GBaseball polled nine conference coaches on their preferences for the 2017 tournament. Coaches, who were provided anonymity, were asked two questions: would you prefer the 2017 tournament to be at a predetermined site or at the home field of the conference champion and if a predetermined site do you prefer an MLB stadium or other.
Their responses below, coaches where near unanimous in preferring a predetermined site. What type of predetermined site is up for discussion. Coaches as a whole aren’t against a return to an MLB field, but a couple raised concern with the logistics of it. A few expressed a desire for the smaller, more intimate setting of a Minor League park, one even a reference of an in-conference location, with a last group without any preference.
Would you prefer the 2017 tournament be played at a predetermined site or at the conference champion?
Coach #1 -Predetermined. Needs to be in Lincoln! Lincoln to Omaha would be an easy transition.
Coach #2 -Either one is fine with me.
Coach #3 -Predetermined neutral site.
Coach #4 -I have always liked off campus sites best for conference tourneys.
Coach #5 -Predetermined site.
Coach #6 -Predetermined. Been down the other road and its a cluster.
Coach #7 -Predetermined.
Coach #8 -Predetermined.
Coach #9 -Predetermined.
If a predetermined site, do you prefer an MLB stadium or other?
Coach #1 -No MLB.
Coach #2 -No preference.
Coach #3 -Doesn’t matter.
Coach #4 -Prefer Minor League stadium. Small, better atmosphere, more access for practice, BP, and usual market themselves to families for large attendance, so amenities and facilities are nice. Would be a good option for only one year. Somewhere like Nashville with a new stadium.
Coach #5 -MLB is nice if they will work with us logistically.
Coach #6 -Either, but MLB is tough because they try to really protect the field so practice day is tough.
Coach #7 -Don’t care.
Coach #8 -I was thinking Minor League.
Coach #9 -MLB or Minor League.
In the end, if the wishes of the coaches come true, it appears fans should expect to know the site of the tournament in advance of the season, the Big Ten will not return to its pre-2009 days of waiting to see who the conference champion is. But fans can’t make travel plans just yet.
Will it be an MLB stadium, the Big Ten going big and trying a one-year go at Yankee Stadium, Citi Field or Wrigley Park? Does a Midwestern city with a Minor League or independent team step to the plate, such as Fort Wayne, Dayton, Cedar Rapids? Or will a familiar stadium be the choice and the Big Ten uses the home field of a conference team, regardless of their eventual finish? Hopefully whatever decision is made, the Big Ten provides a postseason which players, coaches and fans alike enjoy.