Mix: Bidding farewell to Rosenblatt
In the fraternity of NCAA Division I college baseball, the phrase "Road to Omaha" has special significance. Playing in mid-June at Omaha's historic Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, is the goal of every player, coach, team and college baseball fan in th...
In the fraternity of NCAA Division I college baseball, the phrase "Road to Omaha" has special significance.
Playing in mid-June at Omaha's historic Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, is the goal of every player, coach, team and college baseball fan in the land.
This season marks the final time a Division I baseball champion will be crowned at Rosenblatt Stadium.
It won't, however, mark the final time the College World Series is played in Omaha. The city signed a 25-year agreement to host the championship, and starting next year the action will shift to the new 24,000-seat TD Ameritrade Park.
For the purists, moving the Series from the 'Blatt is just another sign of the times in which tradition is pitched out the window in order for the event to get a little more glitz and glam.
As it stands, Rosenblatt Stadium has been the home of the College World Series since 1950.
That's a lot of peanuts and cracker jacks over the years. Many argued the current facility had run its course and an upgrade was necessary to keep the event in Omaha.
That certainly seems to be the case, but still there are some things the TD Ameritrade Park won't be able to replicate.
Last week, I witnessed the atmosphere of the College World Series first hand and I quickly discovered the charm of Rosenblatt and the surrounding area.
Being a greenhorn to the whole experience I went in expecting the givens like watching a few baseball games, eating some hotdogs and getting a sunburn. But that's just the beginning when taking in a game at the 'Blatt.
Anyone who has gone to CWS most likely has passed by Zesto's, a small burger and fries joint right next to Rosenblatt Stadium that also serves soft serve ice cream and malts.
Zesto's entire setup gives off a nostalgic vibe that fits in nicely with the throwback ambience of the small Omaha neighborhood.
It seemed like every home within several blocks of the stadium was either hosting a tailgate party or briefly serving as a make-shift parking lot for out-of-town fans.
Once inside Rosenblatt, it becomes obvious why playing there is the goal of every team whether it be perennial contenders Texas and LSU or the SDSU's or NDSU's of the world.
The field pops out in contrast to the bright yellow, blue and red seats throughout the colorful interior of the stadium.
Cheers of fans bellow from the packed grandstands and the historic general admission bleachers - where empty space is usually nowhere to be found - always seems to be occupied by each team's most enthusiastic fans.
Rosenblatt is one of few stadiums that still uses live music to entertain fans throughout the game. Lambert Bartak serves as the stadium's organist and provides the musical score for every team's run at the title.
A college friend and I watched South Carolina - who is playing in the championship series against UCLA - hammer Arizona State 11-4 and then got through five innings of the Clemson-Oklahoma nightcap before thunderstorms forced an early exit of Rosenblatt and an unplanned half mile-long jog to our car while rain began to pour.
As I departed satisfied in watching a few games at the old 'Blatt, I came away with this parting thought:
The games may have a new home next year, but make no mistake about it; the Rosenblatt brand of the College World Series is one of a kind.
Readers can reach Forum copy editor
Tom Mix at (701) 451-5750