“Down on the Farm” chronicles various minor league parks throughout our nation, and prior articles can be accessed here.
I was there in June 2004 and 2007, and can therefore confirm the place was magical.
On a freezing April night in 2011, $128 million TD Ameritrade Park opened for an intra-Cornhusker State battle between Creighton and Nebraska. Nearly 20,000 attended, marking the highest for the collegiate regular season.
Two months later, under far more pleasant conditions, the first College World Series game occurred June 18 with Vanderbilt opposing North Carolina.
Former President George W. Bush delivered the ceremonial first pitch following a video message from former President George H. W. Bush, who played for Yale in the first CWS in 1947.
Attendance was 22,745.
The 2012 College World Series began June 15, and offered up many unique storylines, which Kurt Allen and I analyzed earlier this month.
I was able to attend the Arkansas-South Carolina game Thursday night before a packed house, and earlier this spring I watched Creighton beat Evansville before a small Saturday afternoon crowd at TD Ameritrade.
These events gave me two diverse looks at this splendid new facility in downtown Omaha.
The 2012 finals are now set, as tonight, two-time defending national champion South Carolina – who had to win three games in a 36-hour period — takes on well-rested Arizona, who hasn’t lost in nearly a month.
There are differing views on the College World Series’ new home.
Many with whom I’ve chatted miss the “character” and “charm” of Rosenblatt, finding TD Ameritrade “too corporate,” “clean,” and slightly overpriced. There’s truth in these assertions.
That said, viewing a game at the new 24,000 seat stadium in a revitalized section of downtown with great sight lines; smooth ingress/egress; better parking and food options outside the gates; and wonderful baseball surroundings, is hard to frown upon. So I can see both arguments.
I’ll let these photos from 2007 at Rosenblatt and my two 2012 visits to TD Ameritrade tell the rest of the story.