It sure is a shame that college baseball doesn’t attract more attention.
Most would consider March Madness more entertaining than the NBA Finals, and fans plan their holidays around each year’s college football bowl games.
But the College World Series comes and passes with only the diehard baseball fans taking notice.
As the CWS comes to a close tonight, I am saddened by its passing. See, the student-athletes competing at Rosenblatt Stadium isn’t an everyday-site.
They show enthusiasm. They play with passion. They play with heart.
The defense is ready with each pitch and each batter hustles to each base.
In the dugout, players hang over the railing, eye black smeared and jerseys dirty, engaged with each pitch.
Late in the innings, superstitions arise with rally caps in every shape and the entire team sitting in similar formation.
They play the game like it’s their last. And for some, tonight will be.
It all takes place at a 60-year-old raggedy stadium, falling apart and facing its final days before destruction after next year’s World Series.
Rosenblatt stands in the middle of nowhere, but the players and fans treat it like it’s a magical place.
The fans are just as excited as the players. Hours before the game, baseball-junkies line up outside the outfield gates to reserve their general admission seats.
In 2001 they renovated The Blatt to add an additional 10,000 seats because the place would continuously sellout game after game.
The entire community of Omaha takes part of the two-week event.
It may be Nebraska, but during these weeks in June, the town is seen as a baseball Mecca.
On ESPN’s telecast of Game One, an emotional video tribute was shown.
The narrator told the story of Omaha.
“This place, this place is just inspiring. Rich with history and tradition. A shrine. The shining light and ultimate destination of so many… and so few. You see, Omaha’s not just another stop, not just another spot on the map. It’s a link to our past, and a clear path ahead. As time ticks away on this magnificent little place. It’s not a time for sadness, but a time for reflection. Because no matter at what location or on what hill, it’s Omaha that makes the College World Series special.
2009 has been full of memories. From Arizona State dusting off a four-run early hole to eliminate North Carolina, to Arkansas, one strike from elimination, taking Virginia into extra innings with a two run game-tying home run before beating the Cavs.
Arizona State nearly knocked off No. 1 seed Texas in the next game with a go-ahead triple in the ninth inning before the Longhorns hit two home runs in three batters, etching its name in the championship slot.
All that sets up tonight’s winner-take-all Game 3, featuring two of college baseball’s most historic teams, Texas and LSU.
“Who could have asked for a better script?,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “It’s one game to one. It’s one game for the national championship.”
History could be in the making tonight in Omaha.
It’s too bad the rest of the country won’t be watching.