Rosenblatt could still serve important role

For two weeks in Omaha, it was such a grind to get work done that I never got a chance to drive out and see an old friend who wasn't invited to this year's College World Series.

Turns out she was doing just fine.

Rosenblatt Stadium sat idle for the last few weeks of June, her first summer without the CWS in five decades.

When I drove by, the old girl was still looking good – her vibrant colors still bright, the big sign announcing her presence still as welcoming as ever.

And she was getting plenty of love and attention outside, as patrons of the Henry Doorly Zoo were filling up her parking lots.

But it was still pretty sad to see the seats empty, the lights dark and no baseball going on in the place college baseball called its crown jewel for so long.

Don't get me wrong. I fully believe a new stadium was needed. That proved itself on the first Monday night of the CWS when that wicked black cloud rolled into downtown Omaha and sent the crowd scattering for cover.

At Rosenblatt, there wouldn't have really been anywhere for all the fans to go and feel safe. With TD Ameritrade's structure, there is cover under each level, as well as sturdy reinforced stairwells for folks to fill up if needed – as was the case that night.

And I love the location of TD Ameritrade as well. All the sights, sounds and most importantly restaurants are within a comfortable walk of the stadium. Next time LSU gets to Omaha, if you're staying in one of the handful of hotels around the stadium, a car isn't a necessity at all if you don't mind putting some rubber to the road a bit.

There are some drawbacks to the new stadium, though. Not really its fault because like with everything new, there's going to be a period of breaking in needed to make it feel comfortable. Anybody who's ever played the game and gotten a new glove after playing with an old reliable but beat-up mitt knows what I'm talking about.

For most of the two weeks, I knew there was something missing each day when I walked up to TD Ameritrade and I couldn't figure out what it was. Then on Tuesday of the championship series, it finally hit me.

When you walked up to Rosenblatt, you could smell baseball in the air – funnel cakes, barbecue, hot dogs. No such tantalization of the olfactory senses at TD Ameritrade.

Again, that may change once the stadium settles in and loses its new-car smell. But it was a letdown.

Anyway, back to Rosenblatt…

I understand the idea is to raze the stadium and give the zoo – which owns the land – an expansive parking lot. Ok, progress and ways to make money, I get it.

But here's a thought. Save some of that space and put up a College World Series museum of some sort. It doesn't have to be huge. Just at least acknowledge what stood there for so long and what it stood for.

Mark the spot where Warren Morris' home run went out. Find a way to commemorate Southern Cal and Texas and LSU and Cal State Fullerton – all the programs that helped turn the CWS into a huge event.

If nothing else, give folks a reason to stop and pause when they head out I-80 or 10th Street to that part of town and reflect on what was once so great.

On what laid the foundation for such a beautiful, state-of-the-art transition to be possible.

I didn't get to spend a lot of time with that old friend, but I think she'd like that idea.

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