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.

History Happens Here!

History Happens Here!

That’s the slogan for the College World Series, and the history we were most interested in on our trip to Omaha was baseball history, but we also squeezed in a trip to the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge where we walked from Nebraska across the Missouri River to Iowa.

We even managed to find time to go to the North Platte State Park, the Lauritzen Gardens Botanical Center, and the old Rosenblatt Stadium where the College World Series was originally played in Omaha.

Instead of posting pictures, here’s a Flipagram created by John, a quick and easy slideshow maker.

Did you notice that four of the teams on the shirt from 2004 also played in this year’s series? Arkansas, Miami, Cal State Fullerton, and LSU

7 Down; 8 To Go

When John and I planned the list of 15 things we wanted to do in 2015, there were far more items on the list than 15. Nevertheless, we decided to only plan 14 of them, number 15 would be left open to allow for spontaneity. If a concert or festival or something came up that we just couldn’t resist, we could add it to the list of 15 in 15.

Well, without consulting the other half of my team, I decided that this was the year to attend the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. For years, we’ve said this is something we want to do, and when planning our 14 in 14 list we’d agreed that it would be a priority for June 2015. However, an opportunity for a trip to Seattle in June eliminated the College World Series trip…just not enough time to do both.

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But as the season progressed, I felt this was the year to go. Not only could we enjoy the Omaha experience, it seemed like 2015 may also be the year we could cheer for the University of Miami Hurricanes team in baseball heaven. So, in mid-May, before the teams had been determined, I booked a flight and purchased tickets for five games, and crossed my fingers that John would think this was a great idea.

Good news! While surprised that I made the decision without getting his input, he was 100% on board with making a trip to Omaha and the CWS the fifteenth event on our list this year.

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After flying from Orlando Sanford to Des Moines, we rented a car, drove a couple hours and were in our seats for the Miami v Arkansas game. The team didn’t let me down. They made it to the tournament, and we cheered them on as they won Game #5, our opening game experience.

We saw all eight teams compete, including two from Florida and two representing the ACC. We were two of 25,000+ spectators in the stadium each game. We watched fans celebrate the winning teams as they boarded the bus after the game. And of course there were hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream, cotton candy, peanuts, an organist playing live music between innings, the batting of beach balls in the outfield, and the wave taking over the stadium.

And while, it would have been nice to see the Canes continue in the series, it was a great event. Turns out the College World Series was the perfect addition to round out the list of 15 in 15…7 Down; 8 To Go.