The local paper today had an article about an ESPN writer that is writing a book on this "CWS experience"... said its supposed to be out in time for next year's series...
Actually the Series started in Kalamazoo
then went to Witchita
(1949) and George Bush Sr was the team captain for Yale...
1950 it went north to Omaha
where the tradition was built by a handful of really strong local and influential businessmen.
The businessmen that get most of the credit of initially keeping it here were:
and Byron Reed
of the Bozell & Jacobs firm
of the old Brandies store and
the Mayor of Omaha and a huge huge baseball fan (and the namesake of the current Rosenblatt Stadium).
In the mid-60's a service organization with all volunteer staff and management was created specifically for the event. The guy that is primarily associated with the organization (College World Series, Inc) is Jack Diesing, Jr.
who took over from his dad who started it, Jack Diesing, Sr.
Those 6 guys build such a committment from volunteers in the community, but also huge corporate support from the big money folks in Omaha... that committment continues today and is a key reason the new stadium is being built and funded (1/3rd or $43M is coming from private donations).
Both private and public money went into the stadium over the last 15 years to really upgrade it and show the NCAA the committment the town had... each major upgrade usually won the contract for another 3-5 years...
here's some of the upgrades that have happened to the exisiting stadium:
2010-2035 NEW DOWNTOWN STADIUM (click for website with drawings)
2008 not an upgrade but <series format changed which is fairly controversial... local Omaha sports writers are slamming the new format as bad>
Large video screen (1500+ sqft)
Sound system & general renovation
NCAA office, umpire room & general renovation
saw a little over $7 million for the fans - concessions, patio, and lots of seat upgrades and all new general adminssion seating (old wodden bleachers gone)
moved (some don't consider this an upgrade but a bad bad move by the city to satisfy corporate interests of the NCAA)
New entrance which is what you know see in the press and on ESPN with the statue for "Road to Omaha" (http://www.cwsomaha.com/road-to-omaha/the-road-to-omaha.html - broken link)
(a trademarketed name)
Press Box major addition and I think the glassed in concession/dining area was added.
Added a lot of reserved permanent seats
Parking and general admission bleachers added
Added a lot of reserved permanent seats plus a bunch of stuff for media and umpires
1960 view of the stadium
Its the work that those original 4 guys, plus the committment of Diesings (Sr and Jr) did that started the tradition especially with the business community and volunteer support and that tradition continues to today.
I sure hope that "Road to Omaha" and somehow the Rosenblatt facade are incorporated into the new stadium.
<HOPEFULLY A NEW TRADITION IS STARTING WITH THE US OLYMPIC SWIM TRIALS
- SOME OF THE SWIMMERS SAY THE POOL IS THE BEST THEY'VE EVER EXPERIENCED>
<Omaha and the NCAA have a fantastic relationship: Besides Baseball
, Omaha did Volleyball
national championship with over 17,000 people; and Basketball
has returned after several decades. The NCAA likes that whether is baseball, volleyball, basketball championships or Olympic level swimming - Omaha consistently delivers a fantastic competitior and fan experience... I think they even made a statement similiar to that when they announced one of those events>
P.S.S... way to go Fresno State
- I went to the first game they lost in the Championship - what a game!