Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Road to Omaha – Fan Perspective Part 2 of 2

Well, I made it there and back in one piece. My arms are a little angry that I forgot the SPF 40, but that’s alright, it was worth it. As promised, here is part 2 of “Road to Omaha – Fan Perspective”; hope you like it.

7:45AM, time to wake up. It’s College World Series day! I couldn’t be more excited. In fact, I barley slept the night before being so filled with anticipation. Nonetheless, I was wide eyed and ready to go. Had to go over my check list to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Shower – check, Breakfast – check, Notepad – check, Recorder – check, Seeds – check, Sunscreen….I said Sunscreen…hmm, must have forgot to bring it. Oh well, it’s cloudy and raining anyway, I should be fine right?

9:30AM, car is leaving. Everyone piles in, all 7 of us, and really has no idea what to expect. This is after all the first time any of us have experienced the College World Series at the new TD Ameritrade Park. Where were we going to park? Was traffic going to be bad? What gate do we go in? Are we there yet? All these questions and more were floating around the excited car.

10:15AM, parked. Is that a spot? I don’t think so, let’s keep looking. Hey, there is a spot in a lot right there for $20. $20?! You really want to spend $20 just to park? Yep. So we did. It was a great location; we were right across the street from the stadium. So, just as fast as everyone piled in, they piled right back out and headed towards the stadium.

10:30AM, waiting in line. We had GA (general admission) seating, so nothing was guaranteed. The gates were going to open at 11am, 2 hours before first pitch. In years past at Rosenblatt, there was no telling how many people were ahead of you in line, but at TD, the sidewalk has markers every 50 feet or so giving you an estimated guess as to how many people are in front of you. So, we felt pretty safe we would get it in. One thing we didn’t think we could get in was the giant bag of sunflower seeds we had leftover from tapeball weekend. So, it was chipmunk time. We all filled our cheeks with seeds and went through the gate. To our surprise, the bag got in. After finding a spot, 4th row right field bleachers, and massaging our soar cheeks, we started to look around in awe. This place was beautiful.

11:15AM, waiting on the bench. It was almost like we were that horrible kid on the little league team from your youth that never got in, sorry if that was you, we sat on the bench. It wasn’t all bad though. We were able to watch both teams, Vandy & UNC, go through batting practice, so that killed some time. We got close to getting a couple homerun balls, but, it just wasn’t our day. We sat around for about 45mins until we just couldn’t take it anymore, we were hungry.

12:00PM, what does this place have to eat? “They better have dip n’ dots” said one person in the group. “I hope they have the bison burger I’ve been hearing so much about”, said another. One person got their wish, the $6 dip n’ dots were there. She couldn’t have been more excited. We all found something on the menu that we liked. We tried sweet sausage with peppers and onions, grilled chicken sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, smoked ham sandwich (don’t get..yuck), popcorn and of course dip n’ dots. Some of the food didn’t even make it back to the bench, see sweet sausage. Everything that was sampled, for the most part, was worth the money.

12:45PM, ceremonial first pitch. Who would through the first pitch at the new home of the College World Series? No other than “W” himself; George Bush. Now, no matter what your political views are, it’s always cool to see a past or present President of the United States. He came out to a standing ovation and tossed a strike right down the middle of the plate. If it wasn’t, would you have called it a ball? Probably not. Uh oh, the sun is peaking out; better grab my sunscreen….oh that’s right.

1:10PM, game time. Finally, the moment we have all been waiting for, well not really, I didn’t care who won, but to make it more interesting, I picked UNC. This pick was mainly to go against Ben who was back home in MN. He hates UNC, so I wanted them to win, just for arguments sake. The crowd was split 50/50 between Vandy fans and UNC fans. This was to be expected. Although, above both dugouts sat, what appeared to be, family members and hardcore fans of the respective teams cheering them on through out. Vandy ended up winning the game, Ben can smile, and their fans let it be known that they were there. Chants of, “Black!” was answered with chants of, “Gold!” numerous times. It was fun to watch and hear.

4:40PM, time to shop…and meet an icon. Every year after the game; people in the group I go with like to go souvenir shopping. Be it for a hat, t-shirt or just a magnet, everyone gets something. However, this year, the best souvenir was free. Rod Carew was signing autographs from 4:30-5:30. We hopped in line with hopes of getting one. But, like the GA seating, nothing was guaranteed. “Just to let you know, Rod is only signing for about 20 more minutes.” said the young lady tending to the line. Start the nail biting. Being a big Twins fan, this would make a great addition to the S.T.O.B studio back home. There was no way I wasn’t going to get this autograph. Luckily for the little kids who had one before me; I got one as well. Which is good, I didn’t want to be a reply of the women on Sportscenter that ripped a homerun ball out of a little kid’s hands. That would just be crazy right? Glad we didn’t have to find out.

6:00PM, where did we park? Didn’t seem to matter how close we parked, one person in the group managed to forget. I’m sure he didn’t mind though as he wondered through a crowd of bean bag tossing, brat eating, beer drinking college kids enjoying the sunny hot weather. He didn’t stay lost for long though, I flagged him down with my blazing red arms. It was time to head home. See you next year TD.

There you have it. That was my day from the College World Series. I have to say, I know a lot of people aren’t happy about the new stadium, or at least would rather be at the old place, interview in first 10 mins, but I loved it. I can’t wait to go back next year. This time I will apply for my media credential more than 2 days in advance. Hope to see you there.

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