Goodbye old friend. I barely knew you, but I’m so glad I did.
With South Carolina’s 1-0 victory over UCLA last night to win the 2010 National Championship the storied history of Rosenblatt Stadium came to a close. After hosting the Men’s Division 1 College World Series for 60 years, Rosenblatt fell victim to progress and the big business of television.
Last week, two of my sons and I headed east to Omaha to take in the grand old lady’s last stand. And what a time we had.
Ironically, we were able to see every team play but one, that being the eventual national champions themselves. But it didn’t matter, we had a blast. The festive atmosphere of college sports fans was mixed with the sad realization from the old timers that an era was coming to a close. The history of the moment was not lost on us and after being there for only a day we wondered why we hadn’t come before then.
Rosenblatt Stadium itself looks new compared to Fenway Park or Wrigley Field, both in which I’ve seen a game. The charm of the park itself combined with the cramped surroundings of the vendor tents lining 13th street made for a unique experience. As for the much maligned parking, I didn’t find it bad at all. Have you ever tried to park at Fenway or Wrigley? And the people…the people everywhere we turned were just so helpful and nice. Sure, the stadium had its limitations, like where to park all of the ESPN trailers so Erin Andrews could escape the summer heat, or additional space for teams to warm up while waiting their turn to play. But ultimately, Rosenblatt was very functional and quaint, and as a fan, a perfect venue for the CWS.
Yes, there will be a new ballpark downtown that will be more supportive of old town business and restaurants. But with new comes the stuff that detracts from the real purpose of playing the game – the luxury boxes, exorbitant ticket prices, the $5.00 hot dogs, etc. Time will tell, but here in Denver everyone will tell you Invesco Field is no Mile High. It will be different.
It didn’t last long, but it was great knowing you. I’m glad I knew you when.