Some of the traditions may be gone, but the fans are not. After nearly a week of play and amusement at Omaha’s sparkling new TD Ameritrade Park, I can report that the College World Series is alive and well. In fact, total attendance through one week of games at the new park was approximately 9,000 higher than the final year at Rosenblatt. Frankly, that stat surprised me.
Sure, the move downtown may have caused some Rosenblatt faithful to abandon the experience. But by all indications, they have been replaced with a new breed of college baseball fan.
Take South Carolina fan Zack Boyd for example. He won’t miss the traditions and lore of Rosenblatt. That’s because he never experienced it. This is his first time in Omaha. He made the 18-hour drive from Columbia, S.C., to be here to support his title-defending Gamecocks.
“The stadium is great and so is the food,” Boyd said after three days in Omaha. “All the different college teams out here and whatnot. The people are also very friendly. I’ll stay here the whole time if my team repeats.”
Alanna Fortune is a new CWS fan too. “It seems like a really nice stadium. I love it!” she said.
Alanna and her husband Cash were in Omaha to celebrate three years of marriage.
“I’m surprised how loud it is here in person, ” Cash told me. “It seems so quiet on tv. The crowd is really into it.”
Cash got bit by the CWS bug in 2008 when his father and groomsmen took him to the College World Series to celebrate his bachelor party. This is his third time back in four years.
Cash informed me that the couple had spent their honeymoon in Denver … so they could attend a Rockies game at Coors Field.
Emily Poeschl has made the adjustment to the new stadium. The Omaha resident was a big fan of Rosenblatt. Having thrown out the first pitch at an Omaha Royals game during Rosenblatt’s final season, Poeschl even had a sentimental attachment to Rosenblatt.
After day-1 of the College World Series, her feelings about the new arrangement were unmistakable. “The new stadium and downtown location are a huge improvement!” she said.
It seems a new leaf in Omaha’s College World Series experience has been turned over. The memories of Rosenblatt Stadium remain with those who experienced it, and a new era is here to stay.