Put Me In Coach: College World Series a must-see event

I hope you all had a great Father’s Day. I spent mine back in my hometown of Omaha at the College World Series.

This tournament features the final eight college baseball teams in the country.

In my opinion, which may be slightly biased, it is one of the best kept secrets in sports.

I was lucky enough to get to watch both games that day. In the second game, my dad and I were sitting in front of this father and son who were part of a youth baseball team from the Denver area.

Not only was it this man’s first time at the CWS, it was his first time in Omaha.

As the night progressed, I overheard him talking on the phone to, what I assumed to be, a friend back in Colorado.

He used the phrase “I may want to move to Omaha.”

That’s saying something. I’m sure he wouldn’t be the first who moved to the city just for the 10 days the CWS happens to be in town.

There was an older couple to my right who were from Louisiana and sporting Louisiana State colors. LSU has a great baseball program and Rosenblatt Stadium, the original home of the CWS, was like the Tigers’ second home in the 90’s when they had some great teams.

The fans haven’t stopped coming back, even in years like this, when LSU doesn’t even make it to the tournament.

While there may not be a bunch of people moving to the area just for the tournament, attendance and popularity is on the rise.

The CWS started in 1947 in Kalamazoo, Michigan and had a total attendance just under four thousand people (the tournament was first played in Omaha in 1950).

Attendance really took off after the 2005 series when it jumped from 263,475 to 310,609. It has steadily climbed into the 2011 series when the number reached over 321-thousand people.

The single game record was set in 2008 when North Carolina beat LSU 7-3 in front of nearly 31 thousand people.

After the 2010 CWS, which was won by South Carolina, the tournament moved from Rosenblatt Stadium to TD Ameritrade Park, a venue built for the CWS.

Johnny Rosenblatt served as the mayor of Omaha from 1954 until 1961 and was well respected around the city. He was a star athlete in high school and played semi-pro baseball before entering the political arena and used his popularity to help get the stadium built.

Rosenblatt Stadium is now just a replica of its former self. While I and a lot of other Omahans wish the original was still standing, money and corporate America took over and it is now in the beautiful, but less historic, TD Ameritrade Park.

The setting doesn’t take away from the aura of the event.

The CWS features great food and a fun atmosphere for families and college students alike.

Now that is right in the center of downtown Omaha, there is no shortage of bars, restaurants and party tents to cater to your appetities.

Inside the stadium, you can’t go wrong with the ice cream, Omaha Steaks cheeseburgers and the five-dollar lemonade that’s fresh-squeezed, sweet and easily the best value in the stadium.

Even if it’s just for one game, one day or a whole weekend, it’s an event that needs to be experienced at least once.

It’s an event that features great baseball and can be a great example for kids who are still young and learning the sport to come and see.

The programs that make it there put in hard work all season long and seeing the pure joy of guys playing because they love the game is truly a special experience.

College World Series All Time Stats:

Most CWS Titles:

Univeristy of Southern

California- 12

Best Record in CWS Championship Games:

LSU 6-0

Most CWS Apperances:

Texas- 34

Most CWS Wins:

Texas- 82

Conference with most CWS Titles:

PAC-10- 15

MLB players that have played in the CWS on opening day MLB rosters as of 2012:

80