It’s Omaha Time!

Two years ago this weekend, we were packing for our first trip post retirement. We’d be immersed in college baseball for four days in Omaha at the College World Series.

We will not be making a return trip this year but as pictures of this year’s teams arriving continue to show up in my Twitter feed, it seems like a good time to revisit a bucket list event and share want we learned.

You don’t need to buy tickets in advance. I used the CWS ticket site and purchased all tickets a couple of weeks before the games. Tickets would have been much cheaper in Omaha, either general admission or using the same ticket site purchasing resell tickets.

Attend all games, regardless of which teams are playing. You’re in Omaha. You’re there to watch baseball. Make the most of the experience.

Four of the teams we watched play in 2015 are making return appearances this year: LSU, TCU, Cal St, and UF.

Wear sunscreen and a hat. Games start at 2:00 each afternoon and since the sun doesn’t set until after 9:00, you’ll need to protect yourself from the heat.

Take pictures at the entrance gate, the dog pile statue and from inside the stadium. You need to prove you really were there!

Meet a winning team exiting the stadium to board the team bus. After each game, the teams board their buses around the side of the stadium. It’s easy to find the location since these 45 foot monsters are lined up waiting for the team long before the game ends. Players celebrate with family, friends and fans.

Visit Rosenblatt. The site of the previous home of the College World Series, across the street from the zoo, houses memorabilia making it an outdoor museum to the game.

Eat at the stadium. It may seem like a good idea to get away from the stadium for a meal, but grazing on ballpark food is definitely the way to go.

NO! THIS IS NOT STADIUM FOOD! Omaha is famous for steak and in the stadium you can feast on Omaha Steaks Burger, Steak Sandwich or Gourmet Frank. No need to search for a steak dinner.

Walk across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and straddle the Nebraska Iowa border. Within site of the stadium, this 3,000 foot bridge crosses the Missouri River and provides a wonderful view of Omaha. Since it’s also connected to miles and miles of nature trails, it’s a good place to stretch your legs and get some exercise.

Spend some time at the Lauritzen Gardens. Omaha’s botanical gardens provide a change of scenery and since no afternoon games are scheduled on some days, this is a good place to spend some relaxing down time.

No trip to Omaha this year. Instead we’ll be watching from home. A good way to spend rainy afternoons and evenings in Florida.

Make Mine a Rag Arm

What good news! All of the Hurricanes’ home baseball games will be televised this season on ESPN3.

That meant we were able to watch the opening game of the season on Friday night as the Hurricanes took on Rutger’s Scarlet Knights. And in attempt to emulate the Mark Light Field experience, we made milk shakes.

Vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, milk and mix.

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A black and white for John.

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Add strawberries, and it’s a rag arm for me.

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Not quite the same as at the ballpark, but with a win and a milkshake, it’s a good way to prepare for the real thing next weekend in Miami when the Hurricanes host the Gators.

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What’s Your Walk Up Song?

Early this week, in anticipation of a new baseball season, The Tampa Bay Rays asked the question, “What would your walk-up song be?”

In response, fans left their ideas for walk-up songs, including:

  • Welcome to MY House by Flo-rida
  • Super Freak by Rick James
  • Take Me Out to the Ball Game by Williams Hung
  • Girls Just Want to Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper
  • Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars
  • Seek and Destroy by Metallica
  • I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred
  • Kick the Dust Up by Luke Bryan
  • Shake It Off by Taylor Swift
  • Don’t Believe Me Just Watch by Bruno Mars
  • Thunderstruck by ACDC
  • Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce
  • It’s All About the Base by Meghan Trainor
  • I’m on Fire by Bruce Springsteen
  • Wild Thing by The Troggs
  • Don’t Look Back by Boston
  • Jungle Love by Steve Miller Band
  • Bad to the Bone by George Thorogood
  • Start Me Up by The Rolling Stones
  • Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bobbie McFerrin

Some serious, some funny, some ridiculous.

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That made me wonder, what are some of the most popular walk-up songs? While in search to the answer to this question, I found that the personalized walk-up music which is now expected when a batter takes his final swings while approaching the plate became a staple of the game after the 1989 movie “Major League” played “Wild Thing” every time Charlie Sheen’s character headed to the pitcher’s mound. And better than just a list of popular walk-up songs, Fanatics includes a feature that makes it possible to see which songs are played, but also to find the song played for every MLB Player during the 2015 season, with an option to listen to the song (and of course, a link to iTunes to make a purchase).

With the college baseball season opening this weekend, I’ll be listening to the music that accompanies the game and rating the walk-up songs of the players…and please, no Katy Perry!

Do you have a favorite walk-up sign?

The Gang’s All Here: Mid-week Family Reunion

It’s not often that you experience a family reunion on a Wednesday night, but that’s what happened last night when the University of Miami baseball team traveled to DeLand to meet Stetson for a mid-week game. Family drove from Ocala, Dunellon, Jacksonville, New Smyrna Beach, Orlando, and Oviedo for the game and to celebrate John’s birthday.

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Even though, the family knew John would be cheering for the Hurricanes, only a handful of those in attendance joined him rooting for the Canes. That’s because Danny, our nephew, wears the uniform of the opposing Hatter’s.

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Fortunately, things didn’t get nasty. As a pitcher, and one who’s only recently been released after surgery to his pitching arm, Danny did not see action in last night’s contest so even those cheering for the Canes didn’t have to choose between family and tradition.

My deal with Danny: I ALWAYS cheer for him over any opponent. If he’s pitching, I’m a Hatter. If he pitched and could earn the win after leaving the game, I’m a Hatter. However, it’s all about Danny. If he’s not in the game or if his stats won’t be affected by the outcome, I’ll be cheering for the Canes.

The Canes didn’t come through and provide John with the outcome he’d been hoping for as a birthday gift, but the smile on Danny’s face after the Hatter’s win was a pretty nice consolation prize.

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My advice to Stetson, get Danny on the mound. Did you see and hear the crowd cheering at last night’s game? We’ll return and cheer for the Hatters…but it’s all about Danny!

We’re looking forward to more DeLand family reunions.
Check out the Stetson University baseball media guide: