A couple of hours before the opening ceremonies at the final College World Series to ever be played at Rosenblatt Stadium, it looked like it might be a late arriving crowd.
But, of course, that wasn’t the case.
Fans were busy visiting vendor booths up and down 13th Street, enjoying an ice cream cone at Zesto, listening to Julianne Hough sing on-stage out in the parking lot and posing for photos with each other.
This year, more than ever, is the time to savor and record every event possible so it doesn’t slip from our memory banks.
They call it the “Greatest Show on Dirt” and maybe it is.
When the College World Series Legends Team was announced tonight, even many of the players from the eight teams set to begin action in the next couple of days, grabbed their cell phones and began snapping photos of the likes of Nomar Garciaparra and Barry Bonds.
Here’s a complete list of the 28 players and/or coaches who were named to the team:
Will Clark, Mississippi State University
Dustin Ackley, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Bob Horner, Arizona State University
Todd Walker, Louisiana State University
Spike Owen, University of Texas at Austin
Nomar Garciaparra, Georgia Institute of Technology
Darwin Barney, Oregon State University
Sal Bando, Arizona State University
Robin Ventura, Oklahoma State University
Pat Burrell, University of Miami (Florida)
Fred Lynn, University of Southern California
Dave Winfield, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Terry Francona, University of Arizona
Barry Bonds, Arizona State University
Mark Kotsay, California State University, Fullerton
J.D. Drew, Florida State University
Steve Arlin, The Ohio State University
Burt Hooton, University of Texas at Austin
Eddie Bane, Arizona State University
Huston Street, University of Texas at Austin
Jason Windsor, California State University, Fullerton
Landon Powell, University of South Carolina, Columbia
Ryan Garko, Stanford University
Pete Incaviglia, Oklahoma State University
Brooks Kieschnick, University of Texas at Austin
Skip Bertman, Louisiana State University Coach
Rod Dedeaux, University of Southern California Coach
Augie Garrido, California State University, Fullerton / University of Texas at Austin Coach
By my count, 17 of the 28 were in attendance and took the field to be recognized.
And what would the opening ceremonies be without a long fireworks display?
Traffic pulled off the roads for miles around to watch. Others found a spot in the parking lot to lay flat on their backs so they could get the best view. Nobody seemed to be in a hurry to leave to beat the traffic. And why would they? They were right where they wanted to be.
Earlier in the day all eight coaches attended a pre-series coaches interview. One of the funnier stories that came from those interviews came from the memory banks of Arizona State coach Tim Esmay. He recalled the days when he played at the College World Series:
“You never forget the capability of playing in Rosenblatt,” Esmay told reporters. “And I remember playing Oklahoma State here, getting here and Robin Ventura was in his hitting streak. Hit a ground ball in the first inning and for some reason it stuck in my glove and I flipped it to Mike Benjamin. We turned a double play. The great player that I am, I started popping off to Ventura, and telling him you’re not that 56-game streak. You’ve got to be kidding me. And then three at-bats later, he’s standing on second base after his third double and he looked at me and goes, ‘The streak continues.’ That’s a memory I’ll never forget.”