Thursday, June 30, 2016

Omaha's Lambert Bartak wasn't the first or last organist ejected from a game by the ump, but he
played the most creative taunt

Last night's deciding game of the 2016 College World Series of Baseball was postponed until noon today because three weather fronts decided to mess with the CWS by threatening to converge on downtown's TD Ameritrade Park. (A tornado hitting the CWS crowd would be really bad publicity for the city.)
     KMTV and KETV broke into programming for live weather coverage. WOWT, which was airing live NBC coverage of the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials a couple blocks away at the CenturyLink Center, did not interrupt Michael Phelp's qualification for the 2016 Olympics for anything so trivial as wall cloud threats of impending cyclonic doom for 24,000 baseball fans and 2,000 of the nation's best swimmers and their fans.
     The delay let us reminisce about the time on May 26, 1988 when umpire Tony Maners ejected organist Lambert Bartak from an Omaha Royals game at Rosenblatt Stadium during an argument between the Royals catcher, manager and home plate ump Angel Hernandez.
     Bartak wasn't the first organist to be ejected from a minor league game. Wilbur Snapp was, in 1985. Nor was he the last, that being Derek Dye in 2012.
     So why was Bartak's ejection so special? Because unlike the other organists, Bartak didn't go with the obvious, Three Blind Mice. He played the theme song from the Mickey Mouse Club.
     Though umpire Maners at first ignored the taunt, when Bartak got to the spelling part, with the crowd shouting out M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E, Maners became incensed enough to throw him out.
     Omahans should be proud of Bartak, especially of his later straight-faced denial that it was all a coincidence and misunderstanding.
     We'll miss Rosenblatt. Kevin Costner sure does.

The new venue:

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