[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Sports Central

[an error occurred while processing this directive]


Please Visit Our Sponsors
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Columns - Calling The Shots

Ryan Noonan spent two years in St. Louis writing columns and changing his phone number to avoid death threats from soccer players. Along with working for the University News, he has also had his work published on AOL Sports. He spends most of his free time looking for a job in sports journalism and searching for ways to infuse pop culture into sports.

In his column, "Calling The Shots," we get to find out if a man with too many opinions and too much ink can be a potentially harmful, yet very addictive mix. Ryan loves to hear your feedback.

Check back every other Thursday for the latest edition.

Current Edition - #94

By Ryan Noonan
Friday, June 27th, 2003
Print   Recommend

CWS: All About the Atmosphere

When Rice blasted their way through the Stanford pitching on Monday night to win the school's first national championship in any sport, it capped off a week's worth of some of the best baseball atmosphere anywhere.

The College World Series has been described as "a college baseball game with a college football feel."

The dozens of food tents, street merchants, beer gardens, and thousands of friendly people encompassing the stadium help give the CWS its fan-friendly feel.

The CWS isn't the same as a regular college baseball game or even a major league game. The thousands of fans from all over the country can attest to that. Over the 12 days of the series, almost 250,000 people walked through the turnstiles into Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium. 250,000 people watching a bunch of college kids, most of whom will never put on a major league uniform, swinging away with aluminum bats.

Even people who have no rooting interest in any of the eight teams often make their way to Omaha, just because they love the event.

During a trip in 2002, I ran into a man sporting a Miami hat, t-shirt, and shorts. Knowing the Hurricanes didn't make the trip to Omaha that year, I asked what the deal was with the outfit. "Well, my (Hurricanes) have come here enough times that I finally just bought season tickets," said the Miami resident. "I planned my vacation time around this week, it seemed like such a waste to pass it up. And don't worry, they'll be back next year."

Sure enough, the same man was in the same seat this season, only this time, he had his Hurricanes to cheer on.

Bill Berhendt, an Omaha native and CWS season ticket-holder since 1973, can do Mr. Miami Fan one better. Bill refused to give up his season tickets even when he found out he was being transferred to Texas 11 years ago.

"I couldn't give these up," said Berhendt, who, like many Omaha natives, can also double as a CWS history information station. "You never know what's going to happen."

Berhendt moved back to Omaha three years later and now sits among the families of the players, just a few rows away from the field.

That's what the College World Series does a person. It gets in the blood. It's like the salmon of Capistrano. The College World Series has that kind of effect, people come back every year, just out of instinct.

When it comes to college championships, you can have the BCS and the NCAA Championship basketball game. The College World Series is something different. It's a two-week party focusing on fun. This year alone there were bead-bearing students from LSU, the long-distance travelers from South Carolina and, of course, the girls from Texas who made me regret not considering Austin when choosing a college.

And these aren't the pampered athletes you're used to seeing on ESPN. A guy can hit a game-winning homerun, then have to wait in the line at the men's room on his way out of the ballpark.

Okay, so the event isn't quite perfect. You still need a master's degree in statistics and economics to figure out who plays in the championship game. You'll either need to shell out $20 for a parking space or you'd better bring a map, compass, and walking stick for your hike to the stadium. And no matter what the temperature is before and after the Series, you can be sure that while the games are being played your seat will always be hot enough to fry an egg.

But for 12 days, the city of Omaha transforms itself into the center of amateur baseball. And for baseball fans, it doesn't get any better than that.

Have something to say? Visit the message boards and discuss this article.

Comments? Agree? Disagree? Send in your feedback about this article.

Previous Editions

Edition #93 - All work and no play 06/13/03
Edition #92 - Apathy: Just don't give a #[email protected]% 05/19/03
Edition #91 - MLS: Guaranteed to put you to sleep 05/01/03
Edition #90 - Diary of a perennial loser 04/11/03
Edition #89 - National League cheat sheet 03/28/03
Edition #88 - American League cheat sheet 03/13/03
Edition #87 - Big 12 teams to beat 02/28/03
Edition #86 - Even the lowly can dance 02/14/03
Edition #85 - Life's guilty pleasures 01/17/03
Edition #84 - The NFL playoff cheat sheet 01/02/03
Edition #83 - And the award goes to... 12/19/02
Edition #82 - Fall from graces 12/07/02
Edition #81 - Tiger Woods is ruining my life 11/22/02
Edition #80 - The impossible dreamer 11/07/02
Edition #79 - O' the humanity 10/24/02
Edition #78 - Playoff baseball rambles 10/10/02

     Back to Home

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Interested in advertising with us?
More information.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]