Following is an exclusive Remember Rosenblatt Q&A conducted in 2010 with Troy Foster, co-producer of the Current TV documentary of BaseCrawl – a video journal of every baseball player’s ultimate fantasy. Foster and two buddies embarked on a mission to attend one game at every Major League ballpark in a single season, plus the College World Series at Omaha’s Rosenblatt.
RR: Why did you feel it was so important to detour several hours off your basecrawl itinerary to go to a minor league park (Rosenblatt Stadium)?
Troy: You’re not a hard-core baseball fan unless you’ve experienced the annual spectacle that is the College World Series. Not knowing about Rosenblatt Stadium is like saying you’re a baseball guru who’s never heard of Cooperstown.
When we were mapping out our basecrawl itinerary, we made sure that we’d pass within a stone’s throw of Omaha in June. In fact, the dates of several Major League games before and after the College World Series were framed around our stop at Rosenblatt, rather than the other way around.
RR: What was your most memorable College World Series experience?
Troy: Personally, watching my alma matter win national championships in 2006 and 2007. I went to Oregon State in the late 1990s and spent an occasional spring afternoon in Corvallis watching the Beavers toil in obscurity. Their facilities were sub-par back then and nobody took them seriously because they were one of those “northern teams.” Head Coach Pat Casey and a special group of players scrapped and clawed their way to respectability, first making it to Omaha in 2005.
Following the Beavers triumphs at Rosenblatt Stadium actually reconnected me to baseball, which was an important part of my childhood but wasn’t a strong interest as a teen or adult. However, Oregon State’s storybook run this decade inspired me to give baseball another try and indirectly led to the basecrawl that was the subject of our documentary.
RR: How did the atmosphere of Rosenblatt Stadium compare with all of the MLB parks you attended?
Troy: The game-day experience was, without a doubt, better than anything we saw at the 30 Major League ballparks. Granted, each team in the Majors plays 81 home games and the ones we attended were of no particular significance, but there was something special going on at Rosenblatt Stadium. The tailgating and festival-like atmosphere wasn’t just an event, it was something to behold. I’ve heard other people describe it as akin to a college football atmosphere and I’ve even used those words myself, but I’ve been to plenty of college tailgaters — including the Fiesta Bowl — and this blows those out of the water. If you’ve watched the BaseCrawl installment on the College World Series you’ll notice Daren and I had a little bit too much fun soaking in the atmosphere.
RR: Any tips you would offer anyone considering going to the 2010 College World Series?
Troy: If you’re a fan of the game of baseball, you need to make it to Rosenblatt this last year before it closes. I’m stunned that Omaha’s powers that be think they need a new ballpark, or that they think they can do better than Rosenblatt. This ballpark is a gem I’ll be sad to see it go.
In terms of any “how to” tips, I would suggest booking hotel reservations NOW if you can, because there’s no such thing as a last-minute reservation or vacancy in Omaha during the College World Series. Both years I’ve been to Rosenblatt we stayed over the state line in Iowa — the first time in Glenwood and last year at a campground. Also, get to the games early and enjoy the scenery and the tailgating. Don’t stress over tickets. They were being sold on the street in abundance for not much more than the change in your pocket.
Finally, don’t be like the guy who didn’t make it to the original Yankee Stadium before they tore it down. This year is Rosenblatt’s last song and dance. Don’t miss it.