OU Realizes the Opportunity In Front of Them

Omaha, Neb.—Just looking around at a couple rows in the seats at Omaha's Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium told the whole story Friday night.

On the dusk of the last first pitch of the College World Series at the ‘Blatt, long faces covered the stadium, many with teary eyes.

People gazed out to the general admission bleachers in the outfield that, although the area has been renovated recently, has brought so many fond memories to fans for years and years.

Others took long, hard looks at the blue, yellow and red reserved seats that fans have filled over the years.

Even more took pictures of the grandstand, where "Omaha's Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium" shines in bright red letters at night, part of the American Red, White and Blue backdrop.

Still others gathered around the statue outside the stadium that has become so famous over the years.

The one common denominator: There was a blend of bittersweet emotions to be a part of the last ever opening ceremonies for the CWS in a stadium that has hosted the annual event for 61 years now.

Players pulled out cameras and captured the moment while sitting on the field in front of thousands of fans.

For a time, all the teams were one, throwing aside any competitiveness that will be exemplified so much over the next few days.

And the Sooners were very much a part of all that, soaking it all in.

"On behalf of the student-athletes representing the University of Oklahoma baseball program, our administration and support staff in the proud tradition of the Oklahoma Sooners baseball program, we're extremely happy to be here in Rosenblatt stadium's last year," said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. It's almost a little surreal when you think about it.

"And I think it probably is for all the coaches and student-athletes, knowing the great tradition of Rosenblatt Stadium and having been here in the '90s as a young assistant and getting to see a team, a '94 team dogpile and being on that field, it really hit me, I think, after we won the Super Regional championship game in a post-game interview, and they were talking about this being the last year. And it got to be kind of an emotional moment, as I know it is for all of the participants this week. So we're just excited to be here."

Golloway simply said it's an opportunity to cherish for a lifetime.

" We feel truly blessed," Golloway said. "I think that fortune has clearly shined on the teams that are here, because there are thousands of student-athletes deserving of this opportunity and many, many coaches that have worked tireless hours to get here. We're the fortunate ones to get to sit before you today, just like on the other bracket."

And the players echoed those sentiments.

"Oh yeah, it's incredible. I mean, just thinking about [it]," said OU junior pitcher Bobby Shore. "Man, this is the last time at Rosenblatt, and we're going to finish it off and hopefully start it again next year at the new one."

OU right fielder Cody Reine made similar remarks.

"That's a great feeling to know that you're going to be one of the last teams that ever gets to play in Rosenblatt Stadium," Reine said.

One thing thing's for sure: The Sooners and the other seven teams are privileged to be a part of this moment that began last night and will last for the next 11 days.

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