19 June 2007

I Miss Omaha!

I mean I REALLY miss Omaha.

This is College World Series week (as though you didn't already know!), and I should be in Omaha. This (psuedo-)annual trip is one in which the planning for the following year begins on the plane ride back. For me, I am never ready to leave when the trip is over - so, I am most gung-ho about going back right when we leave.

I have been talking about this year's Omaha trip since college baseball season started. I caught games in Houston (Rice vs. Long Beach State) and Nashville (Vanderbilt, with MLB's #1 draft pick David Price pitching, versus Florida). I went to the ACC Baseball Tournament in Jacksonville. Heck, I am a college baseball FAN. I planned the trip with my buddy who is heading off to law school in the fall at Louisville. We are both UNC fans, and we always suspected that UNC may make the trip to Omaha with us, but neither of us ever expected Louisville to be there, too. I feel bad for my friend because I bailed out on him at the last minute.

And now I miss Omaha.

I miss the "Greatest Show on Dirt."

I miss my annual steak dinner at Johnny's Cafe. While we are on the subject, I also miss Lo Sole Mio (I would have never expected to find one of the best Italian restaurants around in Omaha!) and the Bohemian Cafe.

I miss the carnival-like atmosphere around Rosenblatt Stadium.

I miss the Henry Doorly Zoo.

I miss the Jesus water people.

I miss getting a free Slim Jim with the local paper every day on the way to the game. Hey - you need the water to wash down SOMETHING, don't you?I miss the brisk walk up the hill - usually in temperatures north of 90-95 degrees - with throngs of baseball fans all hoping to witness some of that CWS magic.

I miss the Titan House. For that matter, I miss all of the rented houses along 13th Street that have people partying from early in the morning until long after the last out is recorded at night.

I miss Zesto's.

I miss staying in the team hotel. One year we stayed in the South Carolina host hotel and one year with LSU. I will never forget having breakfast one morning with the entire South Carolina team. The starting pitcher was sitting about three feet behind me. Cool stuff.

I miss the LSU fans - and the Horns, too. These guys know how to travel. LSU folks all caravan with their giant RVs; hosting large tailgating parties - whether LSU is playing or not - with crawfish boils, jumbalaya, etc. The UT fans have the grills out smoking meats "low and slow" early in the morning.

I miss the eight flags flying over Rosenblatt - the ones that are lowered one at a time, as each team is eliminated from contention.

I miss Harold Reynolds.

I miss the "ball girls" - the ones whose responsibility include retrieving the foul balls hit onto the screen straight back over the grandstand. If the ball is caught - cheers from the crowd; if the ball hits the ground (for ANY reason) - unmerciful boos. One of the great Omaha traditions.

I think Harold Reynolds misses the ball girls, too.

I miss the live organist.

I miss how the whole town embraces "their" event - how when you walk into a restaurant, they don't ask what you want to drink, but rather who won the early game.

I miss the ticket scalpers - they actually seem nice and friendly - and you can still get reasonably priced tickets.

I miss Sammy the Owl - the only real mascot I have seen in all my years in Omaha.

Mostly, I just think I underestimated how much I would miss being a part of it all.

And, if for whatever reason, I am not able to make it back next year, I am going to be really bummed again.


Dave said...

Dude, I miss Erin Andrews...

Next year??? Go Heels! (and Cards!)


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