CWS Diary: Day 2

It's an off day and special correspondants Jeff Bebe and David Manning have different ideas on what to do in their spare time.

OMAHA, Neb. -- For College World Series fans, there is no greater challenge in Omaha than finding new ways to kill time between games.

That’s what Cal State Fullerton fans were faced with Saturday after Friday night’s efficient 8-2 dispatching of alleged No. 2 seed LSU.

David Manning was on the road Saturday, spending all day driving to and from Kansas City to see his beloved San Francisco Giants play the Royals.

Jeff Bebe balked at this pointlessly excessive road trip, for any number of reasons, such as ...

  • Jeff Bebe hates the Giants. When Spider is pitching for the Giants, Jeff Bebe will make an exception and go see the Giants.
  • Two words: Barry Bonds.
  • Jeff Bebe hates interleague play. When Shane Costa is playing for the Royals, Jeff Bebe will make an exception here.
  • Jeff Bebe traveled to Omaha to see Omaha, not Kansas City.

That leaves us plenty of time to ponder the age-old Omaha dilemma -- what do you do here with all the time to kill?

Here are a few suggestions for those of you who’ve made the trip to Omaha, or are planning to in the future?

  • As native Southern Californians, we recognize there is no more natural way to kill time than by going to the mall. As we said here two years ago, when in doubt, go to the mall. In Omaha, you have basically two mall options -- the Westroads Mall and the Crossroads Mall. Despite their similar names, the Westroads Mall is much nicer, larger and in a better neighborhood. Once inside the mall, it will all look very familiar to you -- there’s really not much difference between this and the Brea Mall. Jeff Bebe picked up a nice pair of designer knockoff sunglasses for only $10 here.
  • There’s the Henry Doorly Zoo, located right beyond the right field wall of Rosenblatt Stadium. This is Jeff Bebe’s fourth trip to Omaha and David Manning’s third and we have yet to visit the zoo. You’re on your own with this decision. Bebe lives only a short drive from the world famous San Diego Zoo and he never goes there, so why bother going here?
  • Vegas, baby, Vegas! Well, not quite. But you may be surprised to know there are numerous casinos in the Omaha area and in nearby Council Bluffs, Iowa, just across the border. For no apparent reason, we never got around to visiting any casinos during our previous Omaha trips. But we’ve vowed to end that streak this time, probably as early as Monday. We’ll let you know how it goes. Assuming we still have any money left afterwards.

Some random observations after two days in Omaha:

  • Is every road and highway in town currently under construction? Maybe not, but it sure seems that way. Good luck negotiating the orange cones and detours. And on that same note, who designed the streets in this town, Mr. Magoo?
  • You’ve heard ESPN (and CBS in previous years) rave endlessly about the food options at Rosenblatt Stadium. Yeah, some of it is good, some of it’s overrated, but all of it’s overpriced. Here’s our food tip of the day -- go to the Westroads Mall food court. A place called the Cajun Cafe Grille. You can’t go wrong with the Blackened Chicken Combo. It’s only $4.39 -- and it comes with jambalaya rice and your choice of vegetable -- you’ll pay at least twice that for any meal at Rosenblatt. And it’s damn tasty stuff. On the day after our win over the Bayou Bengals, we think it’s quite appropriate to dine at the Cajun Cafe Grille.
  • So far, the weather in Omaha is much more pleasant than it was here two years ago. Friday and Saturday were near-perfect -- mid-80s during the day and it cooled off nicely at night. We’ve got our fingers crossed that the stifling humidity that we’re accustomed to here will stay away as long as possible.
  • There’s a house directly across from Rosenblatt Stadium, on 13th Street, that’s become a temporary dorm for visiting Titan fans. You can’t miss it. As you pull up to the front entrance to Rosenblatt, you’ll see the house adorned with the big blue and orange “F” flag and a banner touting the Titans’ three national championships in 1979, ‘84 and ‘95.

    We understand the house was actually rented by the Fullerton athletic department so fans would have a place to hang out while in Omaha. We applaud that foresight and forward thinking and willingness to fork over some cash. Note to Brian Quinn: how about applying those same principles to hammering out longterm contract extensions for Coach Horton, Coach Serrano and Coach Vanderhook?

With less than 24 hours to go before our fourth showdown of the year with Stanford, we’re starting to turn our thoughts to that game. We hope the Titans can make it four straight wins over the Cardinal which would put Fullerton on the fast track to championship weekend and allow us even more opportunities to kill time and become honorary residents of Omaha.

When the Titans wrapped up that three-game sweep of Stanford in February, most fans figured we’d see these guys again, likely in Omaha, as we usually do. And when the regional pairings were first announced a few weeks ago, it became clear that both teams were destined to meet again.

"We knew when we saw the 64-team setup that if we got here and if they did, we'd meet up with the good ol' Cardinal," Coach Horton told reporters after Friday night’s victory. "In my mind, it doesn't get much better than when Cal State Fullerton and Stanford play. They are extremely well coached, and we both have our own philosophies and try to execute better than the other guy. It's a wonderful series for us, and it's why I coach."

While we were at the mall today, we were reminded that Sunday is Father’s Day. So we’ll take this opportunity to wish a Happy Father’s Day to all out there, and for the three men in charge of Titan baseball -- Coach Horton, Coach Serrano and Coach Vanderhook -- we can’t think of a better Father’s Day gift than a win over Stanford.