Following the final outs of the Ole Miss and Southern Miss Super Regional, my group chat started to explode with aspirations of getting out to the College World Series to watch all of the SEC teams go to war for a National Championship. So, on late Wednesday night, we decided we would leave on Friday night after I got off work and would drive to Kansas City to rest our eyes for a few hours. We left Memphis around 6:45 and ventured the eight-plus hours to Kansas City, where we crashed in a Mariott for a few hours.
From there, we woke up, running off four hours of sleep to finish the drive to Omaha. Following the two-hour drive, we finally arrived in Omaha, where we would pick up my media credential and parking pass before checking into our hotel.
Side note, nobody prepares you for the emotions that one might feel when you pick up your credential for the College World Series. It hit me while I was on FaceTime with loved ones, that holy crap! I was actually at the College World Series. That was the first of many times I felt like a kid on Christmas Day; there was something so pure about it that words won’t do it justice.
Once I got my emotions under control, we started to explore the beauty of the College World Series. At that point in the day, we were about two hours away from the first pitch between Arkansas and Stanford. My friend and I visited Fan Fest and started mingling with the fan bases that had traveled to the College World Series. Mind you, I had been to the SEC Tournament a few weeks prior and got adopted by the LSU faithful, but the scene in Omaha was just as raucous as the one I witnessed in Hoover. Despite their teams not playing in the College World Series, I ran into fans from Mississippi State, LSU, Florida, and even Vanderbilt. All those take vacation time from their places of work every year to make the trip to Omaha to watch College Baseball at the highest level. That alone was something to behold. It was a simple but humbling reminder that we might come from different backgrounds, but our love for fellowship and sports never fails.
After downing a few cold drinks with Mississippi State fans, we made our way into the Stadium to watch Arkansas and Stanford in an explosive matchup.
Once inside the Stadium, I did what I always do; I walked the entire underbelly of the Stadium and somehow found myself in the bullpen while the Razorbacks were warming up. At that moment, I had another weird emotional moment. It hit me again like a ton of bricks. I was at the College World Series. I was there to paint a picture for the less fortunate at home. I was having a moment that so many before me experienced. It was magical.
After composing myself, a trip back to the press box was in store. During that trip, I saw many fans experiencing the same emotions I had felt a few hours prior.
Fast forward to that nightcap between Ole Miss and Auburn. There was something about watching the team you have covered and followed for years get to the big stage and compete at the College World Series. I watched a few innings from the Ole Miss bullpen, then back to the press box to work on a story and finish the game in luxury.
On our final day at the College World Series, we decided we would explore all the sights and sounds around Omaha that made the College World Series so magical.
We started the day at a place called Stadium View Sports Cards. I had been tipped off about this place by my Co-Host on the Hit It To Hoover Podcast, Jake Nichols. Jake mentioned that a guy named PIV ran Stadium View Sports Cards, and when you showed up at his business across the street from the old Rosenblatt, he would offer you an ice-cold beer. So, I reached out to PIV and asked if we could come in and do an interview with him for a podcast. PIV called back Thursday evening before we embarked on our journey and responded with an astounding yes.
Stadium View Sports Cards is a magical place. It’s the type of place where you can feel the magic of it by walking in and striking a conversation with PIV and the patrons who come back every year to get lost in childhood dreams and aspirations.
Before heading back downtown, we made our way across the street from Stadium View Sports Cards; we stopped and paid our respect to the old Rosenblatt Stadium. Again, the magic of that place can be felt when you pull into the parking lot. It’s a must for any College Baseball fan to stop there and pay their respect to the legends of Rosenblatt Stadium.
Beyond that, it was time to make our way back into Charles Schwab Stadium to take in the beauty of the Lonestar Showdown between Texas and Texas A&M.
We finished the trip off that evening by watching Oklahoma and Notre Dame before grabbing one of the best burgers I’ve ever had at Billy Frogg’s.
Here’s the thing, College Baseball may or may not be your thing, but I recommend making the trip to the College World Series at least once in your life. Even if you only see four games as we did, words can’t do that place justice. There was something so wholesome about it. Unless you experience it for yourself, you will never understand the beauty of the College World Series. The magic of the College World Series is unmatched by anything I’ve ever witnessed in my 25 years of being around College Sports. In the two days; I was there, I was able to find my inner kid again, and it was something that will forever stay with me for as long as I will live.