Category Archives: College World Series

Rosenblatt Stadium held 8 of 10 largest College World Series crowds in history

By Paul Fiarkoski

Top ten largest College World Series crowds in history:

  1. 30,553  – North Carolina vs.  LSU, 6-20-08 (Rosenblatt)**
  2. 30,335  – North Carolina vs. Cal St. Fullerton & Oregon St. vs. Rice, 6-21-06 (Rosenblatt)*
  3. 29,921  –  North Carolina vs. Rice & Oregon St. vs.  UC Irvine, 6-21-06 (Rosenblatt)*
  4. 29,034  –  North Carolina vs. Louisville & UC Irvine vs. Arizona St., 6-19-07 (Rosenblatt)*
  5. 28,216 –  Texas vs. Georgia & South Carolina vs. Cal St. Fullerton, 6-23-04 (Rosenblatt)*
  6. 27,452  – Arizona St. vs.  Florida & Texas vs.  Baylor, 6-22-05 (Rosenblatt)*
  7. 27,127 – UCLA 8, Mississippi St. 0 No. 14 (Ch. 2) 6-25-13  (TD Ameritrade)**
  8. 27,122  -Indiana vs. Louisville, 6-15-13 (TD Ameritrade)
  9. 26,941 –  Baylor vs.  Oregon St.  & Texas vs. Tulane, 6-20-05 (Rosenblatt)*
  10. 26,887 – Oregon St. vs.  North Carolina, 6-23-07 (Rosenblatt)

*Doubleheader  **Stadium record

The largest single-game crowd at Rosenblatt (30,553 on June 20, 2008)  exceeded the largest crowd to date at TD Ameritrade (27,127 on June 15, 2013) by a 12.6% margin. The largest crowd at TD Ameritrade Park to date comes in at #7 on the all-time attendance list.

Why does this matter?

When talk of replacing Rosenblatt Stadium began to swirl in Omaha around 2007, the need for more seating was routinely cited as justification for a new stadium. At the end of the fifth year of play at TD Ameritrade Park, it would appear that perhaps the demand for more seating was overstated.

Looks like the City of Omaha could have saved its taxpayers about $130 million.

Source: as of June 22, 2015

A statistical comparison of Rosenblatt Stadium to TD Ameritrade Park.

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Longing for the glory days of the College World Series

by Paul Fiarkoski

Those of us who were fortunate enough to experience the college world series at Rosenblatt stadium still remember, and long for, the glory days. Check out the slideshow and descriptions below.

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Home runs: lots of them.
An average of two per game in each of the last ten years of the CWS at the Blatt. That meant lots of runs each game, and lots of excitement. Some people refer to it as the Gorilla Ball era.

Tailgating: An all-day affair.
Fans from all over the country, especially Louisianna, used to fill the air with the aroma of hardwood smoke and deep-friers at the crack of dawn in order to serve up the goods for pre-game, post-game and post-post-game celebrations. According to lore, adult beverages were consumed too.

Old-school organist: Lambert Bartak.
Mostly impromptu, always upbeat, the tunes pumped out of Bartak’s organ became a trademark of Rosenblatt Stadium. He is reportedly the only organist to be booted from a game by an umpire. His crime? Playing the Mickey Mouse club tune as the umps discussed a call. Lambert joined Johnny Rosenblatt in heaven in 2013.

Foul ball girls: Cute, fit, entertaining.
Whenever a ball was foul tipped up behind homeplate, one of these teenaged dolls would quickly scoot out and face the backstop, and the crowd, to catch it, almost always to a rousing applause from the crowd. When they dropped one, good-natured boos would result.

Flamingos: Bagged and tagged. An annual tradition at the Blatt. Tailgaters kicked off the series with 8 plastic flamingos – one for each team in the tournament. When a team was sent home, the corresponding bird was covered with a black pillow case-like bag.

Free enterprise: Locals turned entrepreneurs. The residents around Rosenblatt were notorious for adding to the atmosphere. Sure, they’d ask for a few bucks so you could park in their yard or cold drinks. But in return you got what you paid for plus great hospitality and a story or two. Greg Pivovar earned celebrity status for giving away beer to patrons of his Stadium View sports memorabilia shop.

Zesto: A cool treat worth waiting for.
Sure, there’s a Zesto replica store downtown but the real Zesto ice cream and burger joint known around the country was just across from the CWS Fan Zone to the south of the stadium. It closed for good in 2013 after suffering a dropoff in business and costly frozen pipe damage.

Epcot Jr.: The glass dome beyond right field.
For many TV viewers the Desert Dome at the adjacent zoo was a mystery. When it was first built, my favorite Omaha radio show hosts, Otis 12 and Diver Dan, referred to it as Epcot, Jr.

A rainbow of color: Bands of beautiful seats
The view was most striking via aerial shots from any outfield vantage point, but anyone who wandered into a sparsely populated Rosenblatt couldn’t help being awed by the glorious bands of blue, yellow and red colored seats that added to the carnival-like atmosphere.

The Rosenblatt Roar: Distinctive sound of success.
You didn’t even have to be in the stadium to know when something big happened on the field, usually one of the aforementioned home runs. The crowd would let you know with a roar that reverberated perfectly from the mostly steel construct. It could be hear from nearly a mile away.

Dingerville: The urban RV park.
It began in the 80s when a few fans from down south opted to bring their own lodging to Omaha for the CWS. They parked em on a grassy median just south of the stadium. The City of Omaha adapted to demand for a few years by installing pad and electrical hookups, then pulled the plug for good in the 90s.

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They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

Rosenblatt Stadium

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot in place of Rosenblatt Stadium. Photo by Drew Fann

by Paul Fiarkoski

Drew Fann is a true fan of the Blatt. He snapped the picture above on a visit to Omaha in 2014 and posted it on Twitter. The image captures the essence of the song Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell that begins with the lyrics, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

The song continues:

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Is that not the Rosenblatt Stadium story?

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College World Series home run stats for past decade #cws

There has been a lot of talk in 2013 about how well-hit balls that would be home runs in many other ballparks around the country are not making it out of TD Ameritrade Park. Fans are calling for moving the outfield in to return the glory days of “the long ball”.

Below is a breakdown of home runs during the College World Series (CWS) over the last ten years followed by a few factors that seem to  have led to a reduction in home run numbers.

Year Home runs Games Avg per game
2012 10 15 0.67
2011 9 14 0.64
2010 32 16 2.00
2009 45 15 3.00
2008 38 16 2.38
2007 37 15 2.47
2006 20 16 1.25
2005 24 15 1.60
2004 17 15 1.13
2003 32 16 2.00

Important notes:

  1. The NCAA standardized BBCOR bats for all teams in 2010 – the last yearof the CWS  at Rosenblatt Stadium.
  2. The CWS was first played at TD Ameritrade Park in 2011.
  3. The distance from home plate to the outfield walls is identical at TD Ameritrade as at Rosenblatt.
  4. Batters face southeast at TD Ameritrade and faced northeast at Rosenblatt. Summertime winds in Omaha tend to prevail from the south.


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A comparison of Rosenblatt Stadium and TD Ameritrade Park by the numbers

by Paul Fiarkoski

The iconic Rosenblatt Stadium hosted the College World Series in Omaha from 1950 to 2010. In 2011, the series moved to TD Ameritrade Park in downtown Omaha where it is still played today. How the stadiums compare

Rosenblatt Stadium TD Ameritrade Park
Total Seating Capacity 23,100 24,000
Outfield Dimensions (in feet) LF – 335, LCF – 375 Same
C – 408, RC – 375, RF – 335 Same
Home Plate to First Row Seats 60 Feet 52 Feet
Average Concourse Width 20 Feet 32 Feet – Infield 30 Feet – Outfield
Leg Room Between Rows Varies From 30 to 36 Inches All 36 Inches
Number of Elevators 2 4
Total Cost $25 million* $ 128 million
CWS ticket prices (GA) $ 7 $ 8
CWS ticket prices (reserved) $ 22 $ 28

*Estimates as of 2011 open of TD Ameritrade Park. Includes initial build cost plus improvements over the years; not adjusted for inflation.


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Fan memories of Rosenblatt Stadium

by Paul Fiarkoski

The College World Series will always conjure up will always revive the nostalgia of Rosenblatt Stadium. But Rosenblatt was more than college baseball. It was also host to games played by the Omaha Royals and their Triple A opponents. Indeed, Rosenblatt was far more than baseball. Here, concerts and tractor pulls were held, as well as fireworks displays,  football games and even weddings. For some, Rosenblatt was a summer job. Others viewed the stadium as a neighborhood landmark.

Regardless of what place Rosenblatt occupies in your heart, it’s likely you have fond memories of Omaha’s legendary Diamond on the Hill. We invite all fans to share your memories here.

Share your Rosenblatt memories in the comment box below.

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Rosenblatt Stadium’s most electrifying moment: the Matt Curry (TCU) grand slam of 2010

Let me start by acknowledging Warren Morris‘ walk-off homer to win the 1996 College World Series championship game for LSU was likely the most spectacular moment at Rosenblatt. With all due respect, I contend that most electrifying moment is described below.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that the moment described below was, for me, the most spectacular AND electrifying moment in sports I have personally witnessed – in person or on TV.

The hole in one, the seventy-yard field goal, the grand slam. There are few athletic feats as rare and hard to attain as these. Players dream about them. Fans long for them. They happen, but so rarely that when they do we, the sports community, never let them be forgotten.

And so, what first baseman Matt Curry and his team of TCU Horned Frogs did at Rosenblatt Stadium on Wednesday night, June 23, 2010, will be remembered forever. A legendary moment at Omaha’s legendary diamond on the hill.

Two outs into the top of the eighth inning, TCU found themselves in a spot not unfamiliar to them: down by three runs in a do or die situation against an opponent (Florida State) far superior in baseball tradition and experience. Indeed, it was by winning a game of this magnitude that the Frogs advanced to the final College World Series to be played at this fabled field of dreams.

We’ll always remember how Curry’s moment in history was set up by Jason Coats. Down by three in the top of the eighth, two on, two outs, tying run at the plate, full count. Next pitch by Florida State’s Mike McGee missed the strike zone. Ball four, bases loaded.

Up to the plate walks Curry, his moment in College World Series history just a few cuts away. With all hopes of staying in the tournament riding on one pitch, Curry faced the same two outs, full-count situation as Coats. Everyone in attendance was on their feet, save a few FSU fans, cheering with all their might. The buzz was electric. The delivery, the swing, the contact, the feeling, the roar. It all happened just like that!

Watch the amateur video captured from the stands>>

Curry knew it was outta here. Few others did. Frogs Coach Schlossnagle’s stomach dropped when he saw Florida State outfielder Tyler Holt camped out underneath the ball in center field. Holt later told Curry he didn’t even know where the ball was. He lost it in the twilight.

The camera saw it. That is until it left not just the field, but  the entire stadium. The ball sliced right through the small gap between the right field bleachers and the center field concession stand roof. Who retrieved perhaps the greatest home run ball to ever fly out of Rosenblatt we thought we would never know.

TCU players mob first baseman Matt Curry after his 2010 grand slam

The Frogs went on to tack on a few more runs and send Florida State home without a championship once again. This happy ending (for TCU) gets even happier. A few days later, the person who retrieved Matt Curry’s magical homerun ball showed up at the Omaha hotel hosting TCU to return the keepsake to Matt.

Story: CWS fan gives back grand slam ball>>

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