Rosenblatt’s Last Year At Bat

06/17/2010 at 12:03 PM Leave a comment

Hey all! My name is Paige, and I plan to graduate from TCU in May 2011 with a degree in journalism and psychology.

My 21st trip to Rosenblatt Stadium will be a bittersweet one. Like every year since I was a child, I’ll sit in the same spot. The entire stadium and I will belt out “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” with the accompaniment of Lambert Bartak, baseball’s favorite 91-year-old organist. I’ll pound down an embarrassing number of funnel cakes with freshly squeezed lemonade, the kind you can’t get anywhere else but at Rosenblatt.

This year, however, something unprecedented will take place at the historical stadium. I’ll be cheering on my Horned Frogs in their first and last appearance at Rosenblatt. TCU could not have picked a better year to make its College World Series debut as it will be the last year before the greatest show on dirt moves to a bigger and “better” stadium. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo has purchased the land and will demolish the stadium to expand its parking lot.

As other championships and sports ditched tradition in pursuit of money over the years, the “Blatt” managed to keep the true spirit and heart of baseball alive. Whereas other championships move around in an effort to make more money, the CWS has stayed at its home on the hill for the past 61 years.

Although Omaha will continue to provide the atmosphere and heartland hospitality that no other city could, it doesn’t change the fact that one of the longest-standing traditions in American sports has finally sold out. Whereas Rosenblatt was named to honor a former ballplayer and Omaha mayor, the new stadium, TD Ameritrade Park, dons the name of the big-buck corporation that could shell out the most money. It will be bigger, shinier and more modern; three things that Rosenblatt had prided itself on avoiding. The decision to switch was one that was not taken lightly, but in the end, the city opted for the new stadium to guarantee an extended NCAA CWS contract.

Baseball players, coaches and fans across the country have expressed sadness over Rosenblatt’s last year, but most of them agree that it hasn’t been the stadium alone that made the CWS what it is. It’s Omaha and its people. The new stadium will take a little getting used to, but Omaha will continue to provide the experience that has become synonymous with the tournament.

LSU coach Skip Bertman might have put it best when he said he couldn’t imagine the CWS being any place else.

“I don’t think you can do this in New York or Los Angeles,” he said. “It has to be in a big city but not too big, and you have to have people with a lot of warmth. Everybody loves everybody here. It’s a lovefest for two weeks.”

Enjoy the lovefest, Frog fans. It’s unlike anything you’ll find anywhere else.

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