Following is a blog post that was first published on collegebaseball360.com shortly after the last College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium in June 2010.
The fat lady has sung. It’s over. Never again will a College World Series game be played at Omaha’s Rosenblatt Stadium. I feel it’s only fitting that we reflect on the the final series with a top ten list of final memories.
- The Champions: South Carolina Gamecocks. After losing their initial game in the series to Oklahoma, Coach Ray Tanner and his team of dedicated warriors of the diamond defied the odds (and their fans at times) by delivering perhaps the most memorable championship performance in College World Series history.
- Most Outstanding Player: Jackie Bradley, Jr. The South Carolina centerfielder with a .376 batting average and .481 on-base percentage (prior to the final game) was selected by the media as the CWS Most Outstanding Player.
- Matt Curry’s grand slam. With his legendary June 23 grand slam home run with two outs and a full count, Curry vaulted his team (TCU) past Florida State to avoid elimination and became an instant CWS legend.
- Omaha’s Extreme Weather. Relentless rain and frequent lightning halted or postponed several games during the first four days. Then, intense heat and humidity drove the heat index into triple digits. Both extremes appeared to impact crowd counts. Weather for the three-game championship series was nearly perfect, with temps in the low 80s, low humidity and light breezes.
- Erin Andrews. In what some were speculating might be Erin Andrews’ final gig at the College World Series, due to a contract expiration, guys and gals of all ages were clamoring for glimpses, photos and autographs of the sideline reporter/Dancing with the Stars entrant. During the championship game, Andrews wore an orthopedic boot on her right foot.
- Matt Purke’s Fashionable Pitching. Drawing notice for his unique style of cocking the bill of his hat slightly to the right, the TCU pitcher kept people’s attention with his incredible pitching.
- Matt Den Dekker’s Amazing Catch. Who will ever forget the Florida centerfielder’s sensational sliding catch on the warning track, in the first game of the series versus UCLA?
- The Fence. For an undisclosed reason, the City of Omaha decided 2010 was a good year to secure the entire Rosenblatt Stadium campus with a 6-foot-high chain link fence, allowing admittance only through designated entry points and disrupting traditions that fans had built over a few decades.
- The Empty Seats. Although no definite explanation has been identified as to why, attendance at the 2010 College World Series was dramatically lower than in recent years.
- Too Many Men (and a girl) on the Field. During the championship game, play was halted to remove a mostly nude man and a young lady with “Bye Blatt” written across her midsection.
Trevor Bauer. The sophomore pitcher came to town with a hat he’s worn since he stepped foot on the UCLA campus, and he helped take his team to the CWS Finals. Bauer gained notice for more than his hat, with 24 strikeouts in his two Omaha starts. He’ll also be remembered for his pregame and between-inning warmup rituals. Among them: throwing a ball some 400 feet from the rightfield to leftfield foul pole; stretching with long rubber tubing; and using a javelin-like rod to hone his pitching mechanics.
190-plus Cases of Beer. Greg Pivovar, owner of the Stadium View Sports Cards and memorabilia shop (across 13th Street from the Rosenblatt’s main entrance) earned iconic status after an AP story positioned him as a one-man welcoming committee for the College World Series. Pivovar is known for giving shoppers free food and beer … that’s a legendary greeter in our book!