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The College World Series 2005

Unfortunately the pictures are forever broken on this post.

This past week my friend James and I made our 2nd Annual Trek to The College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. Last year we attended at the last minute, booking a hotel where we could get it (Lincoln) and taking off without an idea what we would be doing. This year we planned on planning better, if that makes any sense, but unfortunately our weekends didn’t work out and it was almost a no go. We decided it was worth the vacation and took off for Tuesday and Wednesday games, which have the distinct advantage of being more sparsely attended.

Rosenblatt

Good old Rosenblatt Stadium awaited us. Conveniently located right next to I-80, we found that the new Jetta provided a distinct advantage when it came to finding a parking spot. Both days we slid in about 2-3 blocks from the stadium - free of charge.

Game 1 of Session 7 found us in the left field general admission for the Nebraska/Arizona State tilt. Having Nebraska in the World Series made things interesting. Typically a team would have a small contingent of fans that would get riled up in certain game situations. But for this game, Rosenblatt became home field to the Cornhuskers (who actually happened to be the “away” team). It actually made the game fun in that it was different. Typically attended by College World Series fans, the CWS momentarily became outdoor baseball with as raucous a crowd as a college baseball game will ever see. Very few college baseball games are attended by 20,000 home team fans.

The game was a classic in every sense right down to the Grady Little/Ron Gardenhire coaching meltdown. After both teams made their requisite late inning comebacks, Nebraska found themselves on top. Giving up a run in the ninth found the ‘Huskers up by 1. Next batter for ASU was a young man who had already hit two home runs. James and I assumed an intentional walk. Next pitch…he’s not walking him…down the middle…BLAST to dead center field. ASU wins in extra.

Game 2 of Session 7 saw Baylor meet Tulane, the top ranked team in the country. Tulane had already lost in the tourney - we were watching elimination Tuesday. Tulane jumps on top by 6 and never looks back. Unfortunate for them because if they had looked back they’d have seen a Baylor team creeping into the game in the seventh inning.

This game featured some of the worst first base play I’ve seen since the Matthew LeCroy fielding clinic. It was astounding. I don’t know if we saw a single dig or scoop in the game by either team. To be honest, digging is not that hard unless there is a kooky bounce (say off the edge of the grass) or if you are out of position on the bag.

So Baylor hits into a game ending double play with the bases loaded, down by 1 run. The second baseman takes a tough short hop, steps on second, and fires a wide throw to first. We were sitting right behind first for this game and in my opinion the first baseman should have fielded it for the out. Granted it was a tough play, but at the very least he should have come off the bag to block the ball. He didn’t. The ball got by first and two runs scored on the “inning ending double play.” Again, a game just short of a classic because it was a blow out for six innings.

Game 1 of Session 7 saw ASU play the undefeated (in the CWS) Florida Gators. Finally we attended a game that was never really close. At least the first base play was much improved. Pretty much all the pictures below are from this game because my camera was out of memory on Tuesday (poor planning).

Game 2 of Session 8 was heard on our drive back to Owatonna. We only heard the end, but it sounded like a doozy, complete with a catcher’s interference call and a walk-off home run by a player whose shoulder was separating every time he swang. Earlier in the game he crumpled in the batter’s box on a groundout.

The whole two days saw heat indexes at a minimum of 105. Ungodly hot making me pine for the ‘Dome. We also learned that, especially on the weekdays, it is nearly pointless to arrive with tickets unless you somehow are able to secure solid reserved seats in advance. There is a healthy scalping market, and weekdays are better since a ticket gives entrance to both games and many leave the first game allowing for the double-sold tickets to be a great value from street sellers (or the ticket-holders themselves).

On to the pictures.

Here is the view from our Game 1 seats on Tuesday:

Nebraska seats

Here is the view from our Game 1 seats on Wednesday:

Wednesday view1
Wednesday view2

The pitch…

The pitch

Swing, batter…

The QB

I believe this is Florida’s backup QB:

Swing, batter

A Lou Brock sighting:

Lou Brock

And the requisite ESPN personality:

ESPN